About

Welcome to ossem, my creative space and art project. Here, you will find my writings and other works of art that I have created and collected over the years, along with other musings. I started this project in June of 2018 as it was my 42nd birthday on the 7th and I had been exploring different blogging software around that time.

In particular, I had been exploring Hugo and it was nothing short of inspirational to me from a software design perspective. So inspirational, in fact, that it managed to kick out all of my art and assemble it into this project.

Along the way, I was able to cleanly organize all my art as well as give some history on myself and the influences that me tick in this section. I hope you enjoy the results of this little project and further wish that you can find an inspiration or two that helps you in your own artistic journey.

Enjoy!

Name

ossem is an anagram of the name Moses, who happens to be one of my favorite biblical characters, as even though he was considered a significant Old Testament character, he was poor in speech and found trouble in expressing himself. Despite his limitations, however, he managed to find his people and lead them to their own land and subsequent freedom – all the while by somehow convincing them to follow him in spite of his impediments along the way.

Additionally, the word ossem is a phonetic equivalent to “awesome” which is what first struck my fancy when I heard it for the first time from a fellow creative’s daughter. As my works deal with the depths of spirituality, I have chosen to assume this name as an alter ego and have accordingly affixed it to my creative energy force, much like Jung (below) had with his Philemon.

In describing this character and this creative energy force, I hope to show how I feel that I personally have found my own freedom in these words I type. While this is meant to serve as a guide of my own journey, it is not meant to serve as a model for others. My hope for anything accomplished here is to inspire you in your own way as you create your own art, rather than provide a blueprint for success or anything dramatic or presumptuous as such.

Heroes

A quick look over some authors and artists who have driven and inspired my efforts here.

Carl Gustav Jung

I am heavily influenced by Carl G. Jung’s work. I, like Jung, am the son of a minister, and I have always been fascinated with the spiritual. I find Jung’s work to be spellbinding, although to be completely honest I do not understand all of it. I have a copy of The Red Book that sits several feet from me and it will forever be a part of my life. With the parts I do understand (or believe I understand), however, I try to incorporate into my own works. In particular, you will see appearances by the Anima and the Shadow, although not specifically by name (more on this below).

Jim Morrison

In addition to Carl G. Jung, my other primary source of influence is Jim Morrison who, again, shares patriarchal similarity with me, as both of our fathers served in the military. Whereas Morrison’s father was a Navy admiral, mine was an Army chaplain. In my world, Jim Morrison was a physical incarnation of Dionysus. While Morrison is mostly known for his role in The Doors, his poetry is less known and – surprisingly – accepted, which I have never understood. His writings are simply mystical to me. I am continually captivated and irresistibly obsessed over his hypnotic structures, and perpetually strive for a simple fraction of his mythical essence.

Franklin Albert Jones

Known primarily as Adi Da, Franklin Albert Jones is a remarkable spiritual writer who has also captivated me. No, I do not intend on joining his cult, but I do find his efforts around such activities to be incredibly fascinating, and consider him a prolific writer and poet.

I did not take a fervent interest in Jones’ writings until I learned that he published the book Garbage and the Goddess and then later ordered it destroyed by fire. As there must have been some serious “juice” contained within that book, I could not help but to order a copy and read it for myself. After reading it, I customarily burned my own copy. From there, I took on The Knee of Listening which is by far and away the largest book I have ever read from start to finish (I usually give up by page 100 or so). To me, Jones seems precisely like the type of person that Jesus Christ would actually be if we saw him alive today.

Jones’ primary theme was that of narcissism, and he used his cult as a very effective teaching tool as such. From my own view, it doesn’t take much to see that social media is the mirror of Narcissus’ spell these days. (I say this, of course, in full recognition and awareness that the very resource you are reading this on now is my own mirror.) Through his writings and philosophy, I learned to be incredibly cautious and mindful of human bias, coercion (manipulation), and the repercussions of being an unwavering follower to a sole human being or a singular point of view.

Emperor Marcus Aurelius

I am super hot on Emperor Marcus Aurelius lately, having read The Meditations in September of last year (2017). If reading this book does not awaken your inner nobility, then I have neither any further panacea nor hope for you. Of course, Aurelius was a founder of stoicism which, incidentally, I learned while studying Buddhism. If I could summarize the protestant version of it, it would quite simply be the Serenity Prayer.

Stoicism, however, was not alive in me until I read The Meditations, which contains the words directly from an emperor himself – from well over a thousand years ago. Even in such dated context, the words found in this book still hold tremendous weight. You can read this book and see why soldiers enlisted to die for his cause. In my view, Marcus Aurelius was an emperor but also a warrior poet and therefore a true leader. He demonstrated deep insight into the natural order of the world, and provided his own philosophy on the under-workings of reality. Can you imagine any of our modern day “leaders” who seem to be content battling over the scraps of humanity’s waste actually wandering into such virtuous territory these days?

Works

Throughout this site you will find my works separated into separate categories by type. I will first talk about the types of works you will find, and then the boxes – or categories – in which they have been allotted.

Sketches

While the writings take up a significant part of this site, I have uploaded my sketches from when I was in high school and college, aspiring to be a comic book artist. I wish to get back into penciling again in the future, perhaps now with its digital equivalent and perhaps further pairing it with my writings. Here in these sketches you will find the comic book heroes that I admired and – even more so – the artists that drew them.

Stories

Over the years, I have produced a number of short stories and have included them here as appropriate. After reading these stories, I feel it is something I should re-explore at some point. I have always considered writing to be an exhausting exercise. This is probably why I deviated away from this form of expression and have instead historically focused more on my written word, in turn refining my style there. Perhaps I will gain the strength and courage to wander into this territory again someday.

Written Word

Outside of short stories, my writing style can best be considered the written equivalent of spoken word. I personally prefer to describe it as either “freed” or “spirited,” as it is driven by free association. Through the years, I have developed a system that has captured and refined this process.

When I write my words, I write in a manner that is free-flowing, and “always falling forward.” The premise is to never edit any lines once they are written. What you will read is usually if not always the first run without any further edits or modifications. The typical rule is that once the Enter key has been pressed, the line is “locked” and can no longer be edited.

There are numerous appeals of this approach to me:

  • You see exact, precise output elicited by my psyche, literally “without filter” or censorship.
  • I feel that censorship is an artistic evil that any self-respecting artist should always be mindful of and on guard against at all times. Here, the idea is to attend to this evil at the root or origin of the artist’s expression – the artist themselves.
  • The output is usually produced quickly, without much effort or “slave laboring” over a production. This is directly inverse to all other efforts in my life, which usually require mass editing or rewriting (and rewriting and rewriting…).

As such, if all the other work in my life is “slave labor” and these words are not that, then by definition I am freed by these words. Additionally, if I am not censoring myself, the “spirit” behind such words is, indeed, freed as well.

Titles

All titles of my works are one word and one syllable. This is by design and mimicked with love from Sometime Sunday’s approach to titling their own art. Of course, there are only so many one syllable words that accurately capture a work, so works have also been categorized by year for differentiation as collisions would certainly occur. I find it interesting to explore similarities (or not) between works of the same name from different times.

Boxes

Like Jung, I have categorized my work into different themes or categories. Whereas Jung used colors, I use metals to continue with the spirit of alchemy. Consequently, I have chosen to compartmentalize my work into boxes made of these different metals.

Zinc

The Zinc Box: Circa 1993-1996.

Zinc is considered an essential mineral and metal that can be paired with other elements to produce stronger alloys. I think that is a fitting selection as a primary or first metal used in resuming my journey here. Before I got into web design and computer science, I wanted to be a comic book artist. Here you will find my works from high school and college, mostly sketches. There are also a few writings from this era that I felt were worth sharing, so they are included as well to sort of show how this whole journey started.

Brass

The Brass Box: Circa 2005-2011.

Brass is an alloy of zinc and copper. When I think of the word “brass” it makes me think of something that is a little showy or confident. Indeed, in my late 20s I was a bit that and more. During this time I landed a great job with a software consultancy that had a great culture and exceptional talent. From this, it’s safe to say that I was rather proud of my abilities. Maybe a little too proud. Maybe a little too cocky. Maybe a little crass, at that.

This, paired with a very intense relationship spun me into the realm of mythology, as my partner shared the same birth date of Jim Morrison, that of December 8th. As I am June 7th, we were a perfect centrifugal force from each other, which was actually much more chaotic and challenging as one might expect. This was an especially messy time in my life, and it wasn’t particularly fun dumpster diving through all my so-called works during this time, but I was able to accordingly pull out the “crass brass” as it were, and feel that I have compiled a collection that reflects this time of “growth” in my world, if that can be said.

Copper

The Copper Box: Circa 2011-2014.

As the titles of works found here are all single syllable words, I thought that this might be a good box to break out of that custom here with copper as the contents in here are also different from my usual style.

Typically, I like to write my works in “whole pages” per the editor or word processor in which I am writing, usually Microsoft Word (Word!). When I start a page, I will emit content until the entire page is filled. That means if I spill into a second page with a single line, I will fill that second page completely.

With these works, however, they are much shorter, and can be thought of in their own right as “sketches.” They again are done with in the abstract vein that I have always possessed, along with perhaps energies that I was facing at the time.

Steel

The Steel Box: Circa 2010-2016.

This time to me represents a very chaotic and intense time in my life, and steel feels like a good, strong metal to contain this intensity and chaos. I was not only challenged in great loss with a relationship (which formally ended in 2011), but also on a professional level in which a technology that I also had invested a great amount of time had been abruptly and quietly sunset without much explanation by the corporation that was tasked with its well-being (official reasons are still a mystery to this day).

Even so, I continued with my writing and, to be honest, I was really surprised with how much I had written during this time, in retrospect. I have chosen the ones that carry the most meaning to me and have stored them in here.

Lead

The Lead Box: Circa 2011-2014.

Through Jung, I was introduced to automatic writing, and you will find this at the heart of the content within box, should you choose to open it. I urge caution in doing so, however. This box represents a very experimental time of my life, and one I still debate whether I should share these works here.

Only after much reflection, I have chosen to do so in the name of healing – not only with myself in what transpired during this time, but also in the world in general. Art is a very messy process, but I – like Jung – believe we should be exploring our own works, no matter the messy, visceral grit that the “entrails entail.”

Perhaps if we had more inner exploration within our own selves, we would have less external tragedy in the world. I would like to strive for a world where we add new words to our collective lexicon that are more beneficial and inspiring than “incel,” for instance.

By exposing my vulnerability with my own works here, I hope to take us one step towards this direction. If someone somewhere somehow can use my efforts towards their own transmutation (next), thereby finding their own voice rather than harming themselves or another individual, then to me it is a small price to pay to post my most intimate works here.

These works tend to be rather abstract, fragmented, and obscure. They extensively make use of mysterious, unnamed pronouns that reference unknown parties for seemingly unclear reasons. These entities may at times represent significant spiritual creatures or forces in our world, or maybe even the world itself. At times, numerous participants appear. When presented with these different voices, I attempt to keep them in their own respective columns (hence the use of tabs and other forms of whitespace). They seemingly speak in code and sometimes with one another. Another fellow creative once likened it glossolalia, but I do not classify it as such as the words I do use are always intended to be English.

I feel lead is a good metal to encase and contain spirits, so it is a fitting metal indeed for the works contained within here.

Gold

The Gold Box: Circa 2018-Present.

I feel this is the time that I have entered now, and is really the driving force behind this project. I am mindfully aware and recognize the potential pitfall of false piety in claiming anything to be gold – a most worthy and valuable of metals. It is partly why I include the other metals to help balance it out, and to elucidate its character. I also like to think that gold is a goal and not the destination, meaning that not all of my new works will find their way here (more below). For without the other metals, this one would not stand in its own rightful light.

In alchemy, the goal is transform any material into gold – even, especially, and ultimately one’s soul. In here, you will find prayers and blessings meant for the Absolute, the Creator, the Universe Itself. And yes, this can be considered The Source or even God Himself. To me, these are all the same entity or force. The works found here are meant as a place to praise the Unknown that we cannot prove with our feeble senses but we without any doubt know by our Faith and uncertainty: the Holy Realm that houses us all and – if we’re one of the lucky ones – provides us with our daily bread.

In my view, the world has gotten to a point where it seems more evil than good, especially with how we treat one another. This box is my way to provide some rectitude to help steer me and perhaps others towards a path that is indeed more noble, righteous, and just.

Truly, may these blessings and prayers manifest their intended alloy in us all.

Tin

The Tin Box: Circa 2018-Present.

Tin is another basic element like zinc that can be used to pair with other metals to produce stronger alloys. I would like to think that this is another element that is reflective of my life at present not only in general, but in the world as well, especially in software. It seems that everything is going back to “basic” and “simple.” As Tin only consists of three letters, that seems like an appropriate selection here. In this box, you will find works that I produce during this time that do not quite feel right being in The Gold Box, or any other box for that matter. The other great aspect of a “tin box” is that it can store pretty much anything. Perhaps it might be my final and last box?

Summary / Retrospective

The primary purpose of this project was to capture, organize, and publish my works over the years, as well as also place perspective on who I have been during this time. One thing is for sure is that I cycle in phases and have distinct feelings during these times. I now have these distinct boxes for these different times of my life, and I feel that if I encounter a feeling or work that fits one of these containers, that I can place them in there. This is a satisfying feeling and one that I will be working with going forward to see how I can improve it or perhaps build upon it. I might even end up making a new box or two along the way.

Additionally, it was great to re-examine my art and see the ways that it is similar to when I develop software. It’s also nice knowing that I have a place to go to now when I have a creative idea to simply create it and post it here rather than having it pay rent for free in my head and taking up unnecessary space.

I hope you have enjoyed taking the time to read my story here. Thank you for your time in doing so, and I wish nothing but the best of success in your own pursuit of your artistic endeavors and interests. I also hope that you have encountered an element or two here that has given you some inspiration for your own works. Much luck, respect, and gratitude is sent your way from this resource, fellow artist!

Mentions

Finally, some shouts out to my fellow creatives who I feel have encouraged, supported, and assisted my work over the years. First names and initials are used to protect the innocent.

I will first start with those who appear in my works either by way of inspiration, subject, or conversation. Their names below are linked to the referenced material:

  • T – I love you, and I’m sorry.
  • J – For your support from the start.
  • TerriKJ – For all the talks, inspiration, and of course, The Gift.
  • Sara – For being the person that I should be.
  • SarahB – For being and getting my kind of weird.
  • JustinL – Ditto, Bro.
  • Jason & Jamie – For being “primo” Life guides.
  • MikeW – For teaching me “quiet strength,” not that I have exactly learned it yet.
  • Courtney – For freeing me.
  • Erica – For believing in me.
  • Alyssa – For healing me first by sea, then by land.
  • Ann – For leaving.
  • CurtD & ShawnN – For pointing me towards the prayers, to Zeus and Saint Thomas, respectively.

Now for some retro-inspired mentions, meaning that I was not thinking about (or even know) them at the time that I created the work, but after looking at these works today as I put this project together, it reminded me of them:

  • Erick – For fostering some serious creativity.
  • Brozovich – For teaching me that by finding my edges, I know my center.

Mentions and thanks to other fellow creatives and significant creatures in my life:

  • JonS, SarahS, Satin, and Susan – For being the truly successful writers in my world.
  • PeterK & RichardF – For those Ascentium meetups, and your continuing, valuable input these days.
  • MarcP – For opening the door.
  • Khai – For being a true soldier.
  • Ms. Laurie – For your depth and dynamism.
  • Christine – For pointing me towards the “private” journal where my dreams should go: myself.
  • Yasie – Hold true to your spirit and prose, girl. snap
  • Wendy – For the chat. You kinda/sorta/maybe changed my trajectory.
  • Theresa & Jenn – For the kind words during the collection of this project.
  • JohnT – For being a true professional friend.
  • Aliya – For coaching me in the right direction.
  • Neil – For knowing how to run a team.
  • BobF – For setting the foundation in my life.
  • ChrisW – For having your heart in the right place in how you approach life and treat others.
  • Alice – For teaching me that art and life – like a dream – is what you make of it.
  • Naz – A dream told me you should be mentioned here.
  • EricG – For the respect, opportunities, and those classy flowers.
  • Johnney – That Doors poster, tho.
  • AlexSJ – For resurrecting my inner warlord.
  • Bradley – For the Frusional conversations.
  • Cottle – For teaching me to stick to my guns and for keeping me grounded.
  • Vincent – For keeping me (mostly) out of trouble. I hope this better explains me, Bro.
  • My Nuclear Family – For without you, none of this would exist.