nathan stryker

independent artist and web programmer

God isn’t magic

God isn’t magic but majestic
God doesn’t grant wishes but makes dreams
God doesn’t hate your sin but redeems it
God doesn’t seek perfection but is perfect
God gives you more than you can bear but bears with you

toeing the line

what can i do? when i pulled off the masking, the lines aren’t as clean as i’d like them to be. there’s nothing i can do about it at this point except wait. i can then sand out the sides and repaint them, but that’s going to mean more difficulty down the road. if i wait a week instead, there’s a chance i can clean things up enough to blend away the irregularities. no decision will be made tonight.

“if i must boast, i will boast of the things that show my weakness.” – 2 corinthians 11:30

while we wait

inspiration hit and i’ve been working on some painting in between guitar coats. the sunset concept is finally coming together with this background, though i may continue modifying even after i add some foreground. painting backgrounds first makes for some strange transition moments as a vague silhouette of the foreground takes shape. this is further complicated by the fact that i’m reusing a canvas.

failed song idea

i sing my song for all to hear.
although no wretched soul lends ear,
my voice is wrought in vacant halls.
for i – a bird– have this my call:
that though i know i praise in vain
i pray it sooth some unseen pain.
so when no life or death draws near
i sing my song for all to hear.

haircut bravery

my son wanted his hair buzzed before graduation. as a laugh, i started by buzzing his hair into male pattern baldness, leaving his long curls on the sides and back. he thought it was hilarious and then surprised me by insisting he keep the haircut. his reasoning was simple:

  1. it’s funny
  2. it includes a fuzzy shaved head that he likes to run his hands though
  3. he gets to keep some of his curls

i couldn’t convince him that it wasn’t a good idea to have an intentionally ugly haircut. why? probably because i didn’t really believe it. i called my wife for backup, and she took his side: “it’s summer…who cares?” admitting defeat, i asked him if i could leave the curls on the sides, buzz the back, and clean up the transition between the two.

my secondary concern is that the side curls resemble payot and i wouldn’t want people to feel he’s taking part in cultural appropriation. then again, punks have been appropriating cultural hairstyles for decades without specific critique. in the end, he loves his haircut and didn’t even get negative comments from kids at school, and that’s really all that matters.

i love his haircut now, too. it’s him and he’s my son!

“do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.” – leviticus 19:27

the gift and the curse

if someone successful tells you how to become successful, plug your ears. if someone unsuccessful tells you how to become successful, run away. they both will immediately tell you about how the successful artist simply tried harder. this is a lie.

emily dickenson wrote constantly and submitted her works to publications only to have them roundly rejected. daniel johnston recorded numerous tape recordings and handed them out to anyone that would pay him any attention at the various minimum wage jobs he held. weezer’s pinkerton record was denounced by critics and given 3 stars by rolling stone, who called the work “juvenile.” today, dickenson is lauded as a genius, johnston helped shape the shapers of 90s alternative culture, and thanks to rolling stone’s five star re-review, pinkerton has a metacritic rating of 100.

as an unsuccessful artist, i cling to these examples. i’d be lying if i said it wasn’t mostly because i hold out hope for success, but that’s not the only reason. you see, these examples don’t prove that every artist that gives it their all will receive attention. just like a single rat represents the many rats that are unseen, these geniuses whose genius went unrecognized for a time represent the many geniuses whose work will forever be unknown.

though i don’t think i’m an artistic genius, i’m pretty proud of a few of the things that i’ve done. i’m also hopeful that one day i will create a genius work, but i’m pretty sure that if i do, no one will find out.

documenting routine

i feel like i’m stuck in a holding pattern and unless something happens, there’s nothing new or interesting to report here. lately, guitar progress has looked like:

  1. paint
  2. wait 48 hours
  3. sand
  4. wait 24 hours
  5. find error
  6. repeat

i don’t know when i escape this cycle, but at least i’m still doing something (most) every day.

photo credit: jaap arriens

using protection

there may be a language difference at work here, mr. redman and i are separated by all of america and the atlantic ocean, so if i’m lumping him in with the message about “protecting our kids” i hear a lot of, i’m sorry. this tweet just sparked a lot of thoughts that had been bubbling below the surface.

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this blog

intensely personal, i’ve hated every design for this blog. when i relaunched with the basic theme, my intent was to build towards a grid approach to the layout, working on this between coats of guitar paint. my plan was to use the featured images as background images, but  the conflicting priories of placing something featured in the background are already tearing the design apart. we shall see.

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slowing my roll

i have a confession to make: i drive the speed limit. i’m kinda prideful about it, too (why else would i blog about it): when i see someone my age or over that’s driving fast or aggressively, feelings of superiority wash over me. this especially happens in the morning when i see parents taking their kids to school in (honda) fits of aggression or business people racing so that can sit at some desk somewhere. “grow up!” i yell in my head as they zip around me all pissed off because i’m driving the speed limit.

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i think i’m dumb (maybe just happy)

when someone i don’t know thinks an art piece i’ve created is dumb, my assumption is that they think i’m dumb. this is because when i see an art piece that is uninspired or derivative, my assumption is that the artist is uninspired. if i’m being my most charitable self, the person i want to be at all times, i’ll assume they haven’t yet found their voice. regardless, i believe that a person’s creations are intrinsically linked to the person.

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i’m just wild about saffron

i just can’t be satisfied. after putting the first layer of color on, i immediately worried if i’d made the right color choice. i kept staring at this photo and wondering if it was too orange. finally, i convinced my family to stop at the hardware store so i could buy some brighter, more purely yellow point.

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