Here for the archives I present an authentic photo from 1969 of my very free-spirited and talented Hippie Artist co-worker, Mary Ann, from our days at the art department for SWRL (Southwest Regional Laboratories for Educational Research and Development) posed for a self-portrait with her boyfriend, Papas, who was also my Drug Dealer.
Mary Ann and I had a really great time and relationship in our art department office with our two drawing tables and a big window over-looking the building’s entrance plaza near LAX.
These were magical days of my life living at the beach in Playa Del Rey with a motorcycle, a car, two girlfriends, all the drugs and weed I wanted AND experiencing incredible historic album releases and classic Rock concerts!
Papas, was a hoot, mainly because whenever my buddy and I would meet up with him to do business over at Mary Ann’s quaint little pad in Venice, he’d invariably nod-out for a moment during heavy discussions and then come back up out of it continuing on as if nothing had happened. He was most likely on heroin or downers of some sort, but he was still politically-informed and could ramble on and debate with the best of them. Most of the dealers I knew were intelligent, opinionated and politically-inclined – or at least liked to appear so.
The group I ran with would eventually all go through a heroin phase three or four years later that would last for several years, but unlike the future drug climate, we were exploring life, not trying to hide from it. Only a couple friends got strung out and addicted, ninety percent of us had our fun and moved on. This says a lot about our attitudes and mental states during truly historical times of societal change, consciousness expansion and awareness and adventurous exploration of sex and drugs and the fact that we were always looking to the future and what it held for us, not wanting to be held back by any life-restraining addictions.
Still, these were heavy times and looking at the photo above makes me realize that we were all really just kids; Mary Ann and Papas were probably twenty one or twenty two at the time of the photo and I was nineteen and we were still dealing with the war, the draft, racial prejudice, youth prejudice, political injustice, unjust laws, police brutality, the “establishment” and the general uncharted surreality of our everyday lives while trying to make our mark in the world – and of course having fun while doing it
“Crossroad Career Paths: Psychedelic or Corporate?”
I soon came to a major crossroads in life: the department director, Dennis, was grooming me to become the Art Director to take the place of the “temporary” Art Director. This was a great opportunity at such an early age and would have surely set my career on the fast-track for advancement into Art Director positions all the way up to Madison Avenue and possibly with my own agency – and I knew I could handle it.
But also at this crossroads was the once in a lifetime opportunity to fully and freely enjoy the truly amazing and exciting times I was living. I knew that this was big – a decision about my future or about the present. Being a true artist means having vision, so, coupled with being a free-spirit and a true Hippie I wisely chose to quit my job and hit the road of the unknown, an unknown that surely held exciting and historic times – and I never looked back.
I left my job with around seven hundred dollars in the bank and lived off of it wisely, investing in drugs and marijuana and living lean and out of my suitcase for a couple of years – yes, off of only seven hundred dollars – you could do that back then – and I literally had the time of my life!
Forty-three years later, I can assuredly say that I made the right choice, for had I not experienced those historic times and all that they offered, I would have always sadly regretted it.
Arthur Lee’s “You Set The Scene” lyric excerpt from possibly the best album ever; Love’s “Forever Changes” sums it up:
“This is the time and life that I am living,
And I’ll face each day with a smile,
For the time that I’ve been given’s such a little while,
And the things that I must do consist of more than style,
There are places that I am going,
(There’ll be time for you to start all over).
And there were times for me to start all over; as in the mid-’80s when my textile design art career would successfully rise to the point of buying a house in Malibu, but with the combination of the risky life of an artist and the failure of Reaganomics, after seven years of “ownership” I lost the house and everything.
Undaunted, I then came back even stronger and more successful in the mid-’90s as an action figure / toy designer / sculptor during the historic once-in-a-lifetime high point of pop culture licensing of collectibles and toys.
Now, with the true magic of digital art, the joy of documentary writing and the freedom of world-wide exposure, this 00individual weblog has become my current “drug of choice” … and I am totally addicted!