“I would like to be remembered as somebody who made the path a little easier for somebody behind me” – Heather Flemming
Art Statement Quickblurb
I am a polymathic director, producer, writer, artist, coach, and social engineer, having moved into a run of the mill passenger van in 2015. I currently split my time between Seattle, WA and Fort Walton Beach, FL, with bits of presence established in Tacoma, Los Angeles, Western Europe, and New Orleans.
Though my styles, interests, and mediums shift, it is consistent that in communication through the lens of the artistic practices I showcase here, I enable fractions of my own self to acknowledge and validate one another. By doing so, I often affect a kind of intimate undercurrent in my audience.
I grew up as an only child in the suburbs of Sacramento during the 80’s. I was into bowling, roller skating, mud, dinosaurs, drawing, piano, and cats. I was born on the day of the dead of 1979, a month early, to a first-time mama at an air force base in California. To hear it said by those who raised me, I was the perfect baby; affectionate, bright, obedient, and slept through the nights.
As a ‘mature’ child who scrutinized authority as peers and grew up very quickly, from a young age I did not relate well with my actual peers. Gregarious and socially outgoing but also moody and morose, we moved and changed school districts often before settling semi-temporarily in rural country, compounding my tendency not to keep the fast-friend acquaintances I made for very long. I did well in school until I no longer cared about it, my disillusionment with the status quo already in full swing by the time I was 9 or so; also about the time I started abusing substances.
I had a doberman as I grew, didn’t ever go hungry, and have fond memories of “naked” spaghetti with country crock and lima beans. I got most of what I wanted as a kid, but also watched my parents fight and fret constantly over money. My home life was emotionally unstable, randomly explosive, and there was a fair bit of push and pull in terms of who was going to end up with me.
At the dawn of the 90’s, after various separations (and multiple runaway attempts of mine), I chose to live with my step father and my mother and I went our separate ways. From then on I was raised by a single parent who preceded me by two generations. I was lonely and angry and full of hate. To gain independence and get the fuck out of High School, I tested out in May of freshman year to enter the fast food workforce at age 15.
In 1995, I began writing my deep ugly thoughts online in a hand-coded, publicly accessible web journal. This practice of writing personal diaries online eventually became popularized and coined “blogging”, but I grew up documenting myself publicly in a time when it was uncommon, and in a way that had not been done before. I was also on a hell of a lot of drugs, and drank like a fucking fish.
Over time I garnered a small fringe cult following as the author of phuqed.org, the tagline of which was “nothings.trivial” but should have been “bile & hyperbole”. I was a narcissist anger hydrant with a knack for drama and descriptive writing, proving how accepting we were of complete assholes in the 90’s if they only entertained us and deprecated themselves occasionally while doing so.
Through a perfect storm of privilege, isolation, and compound trauma, and as one of the first wave of pioneers who began broadcasting their gnarled inner selves online when it hadn’t been done before, by the time I’d rounded two decades old I’d developed into a real fucking piece of work, indeed.
I was a fixture in the hacking community in the mid 90’s, directing operations of a retail computer store at age 17. I first began selling my artwork as a freelance web designer beginning in 1995, explored self photography as I ran one of the first webcams on the internet, and spent most of my adolescence clutching at the dark through what used to be the fringes of society; USEnet, IRC, and eventually, DEFCON (4-20). I rarely left my room, exposed myself to very little natural light, and withdrew into the underground.
In 1998, fate smiled upon me, and I broke free of Sacramento by shunning my anti-establishment ideals in exchange for $30k a year and a bunch of corporate smoke up my skinny white ass. I’d graduated from street grit to middle class, now literally a y2k yuppie in Redmond, and still getting wasted just about every night.
Frustrated by the industries direction and recognizing after a few industry positions that I couldn’t stomach playing the corporate game to save my fucking life, by 2003 I’d left technology in utter disgust, turning to Starbucks, bar tending and sex work to get by. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I had already begun to piece together the scaffolding of what has become I very strange little patchwork existence.
I was active in the digital music revolution at the turn of the century, recording, mixing, and releasing independent electronic music online under the moniker “Not Applicable”, contributing to news articles, collaborating with signed as well as indy artists, and developing an international cult fanbase.
I was formerly noted as “One of MP3. com’s fastest rising electronic allstars”, and it’s been said of me that I “possess the unique ability to virtually freeze time with my moving, highly emotional ambient landscapes, combining dreamy tones with an unforgettably beautiful voice.”.
Since 1999 I have self-released 9 albums, 3 of which were produced since I hit the road and began touring in 2015.
I discovered circus while in Vegas for DEFCON in 2001, and I have often credited this discovery with saving my life. Suddenly I had a connection with my body, a community outside of the overconsumption of hackers and tech, and reason to explore moderation and sobriety.
I began my aerial training with Lara Paxton of Circus Contraption and continued with SANCA, where I began teaching, eventually ending up as part of the staff at Versatile Arts. I’ve performed internationally as a freelance aerialist, including Seattle venues ACT theater, The Pink Door, and Seattle Center. Though I don’t perform or teach big drops anymore, I still love teaching beginners the ropes.
I was privileged to have been an ensemble troupe member for six years with The Little Red Studio, and served four years as the board president, co-founder and creative director of Vita Arts, a 501(c)(3) arts non-profit, producing “The Obsidian Show” and “How Art Saved My Life” for those organizations, respectively.
The feel of my theatrical work is based in darkness and deep reflection, yet is ultimately humorous and hopeful. It is by far the most subversive and encompassing form of art I’ve practiced. In the future, I would like to explore the intensity and collaboration of theater again, and I have a lot of interest in producing interactive concerts, classes, and performances in VR.
In 2005, after the sudden death of one of my few childhood friends, I endured a term of suicidal ideation that was finally overwhelming enough that I challenged my notion that I was too smart for therapy and began seeking earnest mental help for lifelong psychiatric struggles. I rebranded phuqed.org into a members-only journal which evolved over the years from a dumping ground for my hopeless angst into a kind of personal development resource.
I wrote predominantly about my intensive therapy sessions, level ups, and shared depression and suicidal ideation survival tips, usually as I discovered them myself. My rants, anger, and drug abuse gave way to more of a motivational monologue where I described how I was triumphing over myself, journeying into the shards of my psyche, utilizing every tool and skill I could get my hands on to address the multiple instances of fracturing that had occurred in my personality development.
Through various psychotherapies, cognitive process therapy, constellation circles, and a fuckload of art, I gradually built myself up to where I had the personal fortitude to eventually strike out on my own, free of codependent romantic entanglements, abusive friendships, and oppressive work environments. I moved through many mood and personality disorder diagnosis that no longer apply to me in part due to the healing modalities I explored during this time, including receiving massage.
Pushing against my fear of platonic touch was an experience that stayed with me, profoundly altering my course and the options available to me. My own relationship with Complex PTSD, unresolved grief, and severe suicidal depression greatly informed the development of my unique recovery practice to include emotional and neurological awareness in conjunction with movement and manual massage therapies.
I closed my Pioneer Square practice after 8 years, in 2014, succumbing finally to burnout, and the gentrification that has plagued Seattle since.. about the time my arrogant yuppie ass showed up. But making this leap also set me adrift, with only fleeting and relatively short term plans, and a return to very little face to face social interaction with intimates. My last 3 years has been a whirlwind which you can read a bit about here.
“To get beneath the facts I would have had to be an artist, and one doesn’t become an artist overnight. First you have to be crushed, to have your conflicting points of view annihilated. You have to be wiped out as a human being in order to be born again an individual. You have to be carbonized and mineralized in order to work upwards from the last common denominator of the self. You have to get beyond pity in order to feel from the very roots of your being.” – Henry Miller
Before leaving Seattle after 17 years, roaming the country to dismantle and build, I received consistent feedback regarding the remarkable impact I had in my many clients lives. It is true I am a coach and a writer and an engineer, but part of my job as an artist is to help people become more self aware.
I am in my best element while having the stability, resources, space, and community to leverage what I’ve experienced to help others learn and/or express something new. What I seek transitioning from my most recent tour down the razors edge is the opportunity to contribute my deeper knowledge of how to leverage who I am, with what I know, and essentially do it all again, only different, and better, and more authentically, this time.