You cannot trust your memory. It lies. But you can trust your scars.
Chris is a painter. He is a film maker, and a photographer and a writer. He doesn’t really ‘know’ how you are meant to do these things, no one has shown him how or taught him the rules. So he just does them how he wants to do them. And they are raw and they hurt and they talk about things and lives that you only usually see facsimilies of at the movies.They are full of terror and errors and they refuse to be safe and friendly and tactile…….AND THEY ARE AUTHENTIC.
And that is a very rare thing is this age of manufactured experience.
He is also my friend, and I count myself fortunate in that.
This is some of his pictures and some of his words. I picked out little bits and pasted them in here.
But it’s hardly scratching the surface.
There is more. Much much more.
Photograph: The living room of an apartment the barrio san fransisco. blankets are nailed to all the windows a single lite bulb illuminates a gaunt man sitting on a stool he is naked except for a white pair of boxer shorts. he is injecting himself in his right arm but his attention is not on this. around his head is a contraption made from jewellers glasses and velcro a small metal arm juts out from the left of this machine on which a safety pin has been glued. on the end of the pin he has impaled a cockroach. focus shoot wait.
The Tenderoin in San fran has a different odour of disease than the mission. In the tenderloin you can smell the h.i.v and despair in the piss that fills the street. Old drunk indians with cirrhotic livers bump into various stages of surgically altered transvestites out catching tricks on the corners and skeleton speed couples zigzag their way to the liquor store trying to stay out of the sun. In the tenderloin its the cambodians and vietnamese who live side by side with the outcasts not the mexicans and old school irish who bring the mission just a touch of community. The tenderloin is more desperate like an old whore dying on a gurney in some hallway in general hospital while the rest of the world walks by.
When you've slipped beneath the borders of society you know it and so do they.Sometimes you can use this as a weapon as you bowl down the street but if someone shines a lite in your eyes you're caught like a cockroach on the kitchen floor. You are the untouchable the unlovable and the unredeemable, you're gone you're broken you're headed for the glue factory with 'surplus requirement' stamped on your ass. Most of us oblige and die quietly, in the park under the proverbial bridge or outside the hospital having our last cigaret in a wheelchair after scuttling through the lobby with our mobile I.V antibiotics stand rattling in one hand. We dont even merit a sigh unless you count the huff from the paramedic as he zips another body bag.
No, its the way of the world, the broken gotta go. Nothing personal but we sure as fuck are not all in this together. we're in this alone and when you realize this you just might have a chance.
Heroin bores me. I've had enough, after 25 years all i can hear is the clink of the liter as it falls to the floor, i pick it up and then clink, it drops again, i pick it up and clink clink clink... that bells tolling for you, tolling over an eternity of nothingness a flatline nirvana with just your abscesses and you to contemplate no ones left to bother you now just a hundred empty bottles of methadone and the sharps containers you took out of the hostel toilets hoping to find someone elses clogged syringe and the colored girls go do de do dedo de do. So what do you do now? your 42 years old havent worked a day since you were 18 its 2003 and you've never used a computer or owned a mobile phone. like Kasper Hauser you just walk into town out of the forest and sit in the square a note pinned to your jacket with the dumb innocence of childhood as your only saving grace.
Chris and I try and hook up most days for an hour or so at one of the many cafes along Golborne road in west london. We talk about art and politics and film, and we talk about Sartre and Foucault and Zizek and larry clark and we drink macchiatos and portugese lattes.
Sometimes we go to galleries looking for new work, but mostly that ends in disappointment.
So chris goes back to his dogs and his painting and writing, and his girl and I go back home and shuffle around some prints and think about maybe doing a new picture. And so the world turns around one more time.
So i'm putting the paint on the lining paper using brushes then sponges and then i'm in a hurry so i just use my hands and like i said im a little touched so as the paint starts to dry i'm seeing faces and bodies rising up out of the graveyard all over the paper. I blink my eyes but they're still there. yes ghosts are manifesting through my hands onto the things i touch and they're trying to tell their story, their rage and their shame and their love but only certain people can see them besides me. Only people who have been broken can make out the faces and dancing bodies spinning themselves into exsistence and then i take a photograph and bam! there he is, a fat aleister crowley in full ceremonial robes with a skull in the background is staring straight out of the print, and im thinking you old dog i got ya, i got ya.
Excerpts from ‘Horse lattitudes’ and ‘The glue ponies’ reproduced with permission from the author – © Christopher wilson 2012 All rights reserved.
For more information about chris, his paintings or his writing contact me via this blog.