Saturday, May 12, 2018

Thinking about Mama...

Tomorrow is Mother's Day.  I'd like to wish all the ones out there a happy one.  I'm sitting here tonight though, thinking about mine.  July will be 20 years since she passed away.  It doesn't seem that long ago.  Time has a way of doing that.  Passing by before you know it.  I'm gonna spend a few moments reminiscing and sharing.  

My mother's name was Ruby.  I think she may have been one of the most loved people I've ever known.  She knew everybody.  She did her share of pouring out love too.  I could write for days about the things she did to help people.  

I was a "Mama's Boy."  I'll never deny that.  She spoiled me and every other woman I've known has had to live with that.  I've been pretty fortunate to have women who spoil me throughout life, now that I think about it.  

My mama loved fried chicken.  That's kind of an understatement.  She really loved fried chicken.  I ate so much fried chicken growing up that when I got out on my own, I'd refuse to each chicken fried on the bone.  Now since I've had the heart worked on, I can't eat it anymore anyway.  

Nobody made better sweet tea than my mama.  Don't try to argue with me on this.  Tetley tea with two big scoops of sugar and whatever magic she put in it.  I think we would go through 3 gallons a day.  It's got caffeine in it.  I couldn't drink it anymore either now.  

Mama had her spot where she usually sat most of the time.  It was the seat at the end of the kitchen table.  Most times, that's where you would find her.  If I tried to sneak in late, she'd be there waiting on me.  If I ever needed someone to sit and talk to, that's where she would be too.

My mama had her own brand of wisdom.  I never could get much by her.  When I'd come home late, she could tell me who I'd been with, and where I'd been.  I was a pretty good kid and never got into much trouble.  One night, about a month or so before she passed, we were sitting there at the kitchen table and I started telling her everything I'd ever done that I did slip by her though.  I think I told her about ever time I came home drunk and didn't get caught.  I told her about the girl that I thought I had gotten pregnant.  I told her everything. 

Most every time I think back to my mama, I picture her sitting at that kitchen table.  My mind always starts wishing I could sit there and have another one of those talks. I want that feeling of  just knowing that someone loves you and is willing to listen.  I want to hear some of that advice that only she could give.  Over all these years there have been many times that I needed to sit there, but I can't. 

Twenty years later... i still miss sitting with you at that kitchen table. 

Happy Mother's Day Maw...

Thursday, March 8, 2018

I'm gonna build it..... and i don't give a damn if they come or not

Five days from now, on Tuesday March 13th, I'll be celebrating the one year anniversary of my heart surgery.  A lot of things have changed since then.  I was forced to give up smoking, drinking, fried chicken, coffee with caffeine in it, collard greens, broccoli, salt, and if I hadn't given up bad women a couple of years ago I'd probably had to have given them up too.  Writing this list I thought about an old friend of mine, Wayne Storey.  Wayne always talked about his favorite hobbies were drinking beer, shooting pool, and chasing women.  The doctor told Wayne he was going to have to slow down.  He decided he was gonna give up shooting pool.  He was one of the best friends I ever had.  I miss him. 

I've changed a lot in the past year.  Going through something like that seems to change most people that I've talked to.  For several years, I have been concerned about leaving a legacy.  Now I could really care less.  Sure I hope I leave something behind that maybe inspires someone and that maybe some of my good deeds will continue to help others in some way.  I just don't really think of it much anymore.  I just want to do whatever is fun.  I try to spend a couple hours a day doing something in SamG Land.  I have cut way back on making art that is for sale.  It isn't much fun anymore.  Making stuff for SamG Land, that I will get to enjoy is what is fun for me right now. 

I still have a love/hate relationship with these mountains.  If I had it all to do over again, I'd probably never done it.  Other than meeting a handful of people that will be life long friends, not much good has come of it.  That's why I spend so much time making my own world to enjoy.  My attitude has become, "I'm going to build it, and I don't give a damn whether they come or not." Lorri has been very good to me.  She's done more for me than I honestly deserve.  I'm thankful for that.   Maybe I should move to Ohio.  Most of the visitors I get here are from Ohio.  I used to ship a lot of art to Ohio too.  I don't want to go to Ohio, it's too cold. 

The past is the past though, and the present is where your ass is.  The incident last year with my heart surgery makes me think about "What If I didn't make it?"  I've pretty much decided that I want to be cremated and flushed down the toilet at South of the Border.  I decided on the whole "flushing" thing a while back... so people can have the opportunity to keep shitting on me, if they choose.  The location recently changed though.  The original location was to be Flying J Truck Stop in Jackson, Ga.  At least South of the Border is the most magical place on Earth that is basically a truck stop.  Lorri has said she won't flush me, so somebody else has to do that part. 

I also decided that I want SamG Land torn down.  I am still in the beginning stages of it, considering I've only been working on it a little over a year.  Most of that year, I was recovering from open heart surgery.  But whatever it becomes, I want it gone.  I enjoy traveling to art environments.  Pasaquan is my favorite place ever.  It seems like most art environments go into a state of disrepair after the artist is gone.  The person that everyone considered crazy who spent his life building his vision becomes the town hero.  I really don't want to leave a burden for anyone to keep up.  The biggest thing though, I really don't want to leave anything here for the local people to claim.  I always said that I am the art, the paintings and stuff I made were just souvenirs.  Love me while I'm here!!!

I've always done things the hard way.  I have a hard time trusting people.  I see deeper into people than most, and feel like I know someone's intent.  I can be hard to get along with too from a business standpoint.  I've been approached several times over the years by agents wanting to sign me up and promote me.  I always tell them to figure out how to make some money and come back and we'll figure out how to split it.  I hadn't heard back from one of them yet.  I had one lady once wanting to promote me, she said that she could have me where I was so famous that I would be showing my art in London and Italy.  I told her that I was looking for somebody that would make me famous enough that them sumbitches would come over here.  I also refuse to deal with galleries or dealers, unless they buy my art outright. I had several galleries early on screw me over.  I also have a hard time with people trying to tell me what I can't do. 

At this point in life, I am not going to do very many shows.  I have no real desire to do much of anything local, other than the Fandangos at SamG Land.  Healthwise, I don't trust myself to try to do anything by myself.  I have good days and bad days and still need a lot of help some of the time.  I've been narrowing down my show schedule the couple of years and calling them "Rare Public Appearances."  Those are going to become even more rare. 

As I think back to the events of March 13, 2017 I'm still humbled, and thankful for all the love and prayers and kind thoughts that so many poured out upon me.  I cry when I think about it.  I am now as I write about it.  Looking toward the coming anniversary, my mind has been a whirlwind of  random thoughts.  Still searching for my purpose in this world.....  I figure God let me live.... He will show me why......

Love to each and every one of you.....  SamG

Thursday, November 2, 2017

10 years of SamG... how it all started, and what's up now

Looking back to ten years ago this month to November 2007.  I was not real happily married and out of work.  I had been laid off from work and couldn't find a job anywhere.  One particular evening, my wife was fussing at me (it was a favorite hobby of hers, i think) about me not having a job.  In these days of having to apply online for everything, I got on the computer and started applying for all the jobs I'd already applied for several times.  I was really just killing time trying to get an angry wife off my back.  A little box popped up on the screen, "Find the Perfect Career for You!!!"  All I was doing was wasting time anyway, so I clicked on it and started filling out a quiz.  The quiz was pretty long and took about 45 minutes to complete.  Forty five minutes of quiet was pretty sweet.  The results came in... "You should be an artist!"  

I laughed.  I can't even draw.  I began to joke about it and tell people that I was going to become an artist.  A couple of weeks later, my wife bought me some paints, brushes, and a palette for my birthday.  It was about a month late.  We were too broke when my birthday came around to do anything.  

I knew nothing about painting.  I had never done it before.  I can't even draw.  I found a piece of scrap wood in the barn and painted my Uncle Speedy and his one tooth on it.  It was to be a gift to my aunt Mary Ann for Christmas. When I got finished I went to sign it.  I started to paint my name on it and ran out of room after SamG.  I've been SamG ever since. Several years later, the World Famous was added.  I was reading about Andy Warhol.  Before anyone knew who he was, he would send in people ahead of him to announce he was coming.  He wasn't famous at the time, but nobody knew any different.  So I figured if I told people I was famous and they believed me, then in their mind, I was famous.   

In a previous life, I'd been in the antique business and would still buy and resale out of my house.  People would come to the house to buy from me and they started seeing my paintings and wanted to buy them.  Everything was $20, no matter what it was.  I started numbering my art starting with that first painting I did of my Uncle Speedy.  I still have #2 and #3, and was recently able to buy back #7. 

About a year later, I got divorced.  I'd gotten rehired by the auto parts company and was back to travelling every other week.  I left the auto parts company in 2011 after my knee surgery.  I began doing my art full time.  I tried to make a career out of it, but always keeping the attitude that if it ever became work, I'd quit.  As I exposed myself more to the art world and met other artists, I saw a new world with people that I understood.  People who were like me.  I'd found where I belonged.  I gave out a lot of Free Hugs.

I moved a lot.  A lot.  I wound up in Northeast Georgia in 2013. The worst financial decision I ever made.  I'd have left here if I could have afforded to.  I still have a love/hate relationship with these mountains.  That's another story for another time.  

Currently, I'm not doing many shows anymore.  Still recuperating from my heart incident back in March.  I have been working on SamG Land.  That will be an ongoing continuous project.  I'm back to making some art (i'm up to #2074).  I try to spend 3-4 hours per day in the studio.  I've been in a real creative slump the past couple of weeks.  I'll get it back soon.  

The past 10 years have been up and down.  I've had some really good adventures and made some really good friends.  I also had a lot of great opportunities that just didn't work out for some reason or another.  I'm not going to complain though.  It's been a lot of fun.  Since my heart incident, my perspective on life has changed a whole lot.  My goal now is to live and have fun.  While art has always been my "happy fun-time."  Nowadays, life is even more focused on having fun.

Thanks everyone for 10 years of support and all the love you've given me.

SamG loves ya back.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The one about almost dying...

Today I celebrated my 47th birthday.  I have never really liked my birthday in the past.  I'd always get in some kind of weird funk and get depressed from my birthday all the way through Christmas.  This time I've actually been thankful for my birthday for the first time in quite a while.

I have told the story many times since it happened but have yet to write anything about it in detail.  Some of the facts may not be accurate, but I'm going to tell you the story as I remember it. On March 13th, I was working in my studio and came up to the house to drink a cup of coffee, smoke a cigarette (the last one I'll ever smoke), and to use the bathroom.  I had done my business and was fixing to start on the paperwork.  I heard something in my chest pop.  It sounded like the cork gun I played with as a child.  It felt like someone reached into my chest, grabbed a handful of stuff, and twisted it.  I remember everything getting blurry and going black.  My first thought was, "I ain't gonna die on the shitter like Elvis."  I began to pray a simple prayer, "God help me.  Please help me."  I didn't know what was going on.  I kinda had an idea that it was heart related but figured it wasn't too serious.  I almost laid down to see if it would get any better.  My eyesight was getting worse.  I decided that I wanted to try to get in touch with Lorri at work.  I was in pain but I was able to tolerate it.  I was walking around with my arm fully extended trying to see my phone to call.  I called her every few minutes for almost an hour and a half.  I finally was able to find her daughter's number. They work at the same place.  I called her and told her I was in pretty bad shape and to have Lorri call me.  A few minutes later, she called.  I told her what happened and she came home to take me to the hospital.  When she got here I was pacing back and forth across the porch.  I got in the car and we left for the hospital in Demorest.  Upon arriving, I got Lorri to let me out at the door while she parked and I walked in by myself.

I was greeted by the lady at the desk and told her I was having chest pains and I couldn't see.  From there things started happening pretty fast.  I remember them checking my blood pressure and it was extremely low on my left side.  The doctor asked me if I'd ever been told I had a heart murmur.  I told him No.  He had them check the blood pressure in my other arm and there was a significant difference.  He ordered a CAT scan with dye.  He stood there watching the whole time.  As soon as I was finished, they rolled me back into the exam room.  It seemed like only a matter of seconds before the doctor came in.  I remember him telling me that I had a dissected aorta and that my aorta was leaking.  An ambulance was on it's way to take me to Gainesville for emergency open heart surgery.   I don't remember the words, but he pretty much gave me a good idea as to the severity and possibility that I wouldn't make it.  I called my brother Tim and told him what was going on.  I made a facebook post asking people for prayer for me, posted a picture, then turned my phone off and handed it to Lorri.  The ambulance came and I was loaded up.  I started talking to the guy riding in the back with me.  I remember him telling me about his father had some heart complications and how good the care was that he had received at the hospital.  I remember asking him to pray for me.  He said that he would.  I did have a little fear, but mostly I was at peace.  I remember thinking I didn't want to die because I didn't want to miss football season or the last two Star Wars movies.  I thought about wanting to celebrate another birthday.

I arrive by ambulance at Northeast Ga Medical Center and as soon as the doors open, I'm greeted by the surgical team.  Dr. Winston introduces himself and we joke with each other as we are going through the emergency room into the operating room.  I remember rolling into the operating room.  I was given anesthesia pretty quick.  During the time I was under anesthesia, I had the vision that I was floating in yellow water.  There were bright lights shining thru the water.  I could see other people floating as well.  We were all connected to this giant nerve network that I figure was what was keeping us all alive.  I heard someone call my name, Mr. Granger.  There was an intense feeling of water rushing over my face, as if being pulled through the water.  I knew I was going somewhere.  Where was I going?  Was I alive or dead?  Am I going to heaven?  I heard my name again.  I woke up to the sound of one of the nurses calling my name, Mr. Granger.  There were monitors and hoses and tubes everywhere.  I was alive!!!!  I remember my brothers coming in there.  I remember Lorri coming in a little later.  I'm so thankful for her and everything she did during all of that.  She made so many things so much easier for me.  I don't remember much for several days.  I remember there were really cute nurses in Intensive Care but I was in no shape to flirt with them.  I do remember so many doctors and nurses telling me that I had no idea how lucky I was to be here.  That I should have died within minutes. Telling me that God had something in store for me because I shouldn't be here.  Telling me that I'm a miracle.  I felt like some sort of medical celebrity for a while.

Over the next several days, I started learning more about what I'd gone through.  A ruptured aortic aneurysm and had been given an artificial aortic valve.  I started realizing the love and prayers and an amazing outpouring of love heaped on me by so many people.  I still cry when i think about it.  I'd like to thank everyone for those prayers, they worked!  Over the next several months, many shared with me the stories about what they were doing during the time I was in surgery.  Many prayed, some performed spiritual ceremonies, and several admitted to me that they were bracing themselves to hear the news of my death.  I also had quite a few tell me they thought I was pulling some sort of joke.

So I sit here on the night of my 47th birthday thinking back to that ambulance ride and the reasons I came up with for living at that time.  I celebrated my birthday today with Carvel Ice Cream Cake (i've always wanted one).    The Dawgs are currently 7-0.  The next Star Wars movie comes out in two months.  Looking forward to living some more.  Love you all so much.


Monday, December 26, 2016

A Year in the life.... and another one around the corner...

Less than a week left in 2016.  I'll be glad to see it over.  It's been a year of loss for many people.  Many of the people who influenced my early life have passed on.  I've lost friends due to both death, and life.  Some I will miss greatly, some not so much.

This past year has caused so much turmoil for many.  It seems that I see a world more full of hatred than at any point in my lifetime.  The newsman was talking about terrorism on television a couple of days ago.  He was talking about how violence and fear is the "new normal" that we must learn to accept.  It saddens me that we are being told to learn to accept hate.

Once at an art show, a lady came into my booth and was looking at my art.  As she walked away, she looked at me and told me that I was a "Living Paradox of Love and Sarcasm."  I've used that description many times over the years.  I think it describes me rather well.

What do I want for 2017?  I want to keep being me.  I want to be that same asshole, that you've all come to know and love.  I want to continue to make art without allowing myself to put filters on it so that it fits into someone else's ideals.  I know that I don't get invited to things sometimes because people are afraid someone may be offended.  I often get reminder emails from show coordinators that they are a family friendly event, and to please choose carefully the art I display.  That always makes me smile.  I've also burned some bridges, and have no regrets about doing so.  I want to find new people to show love too, and share more love than ever.  I want to work on building "World Famous SamG Land!!!"

I'm totally up in the air about how to show my art.  I have absolutely no plans of showing my art locally, except for events I have here.  I moved here because it was one of my better markets, but as soon as I was local, it for the most part dried up.  Some of those burnt bridges are to blame for that as well.  During my recent Grand Opening, over 90% of the people who visited were not locals.  Even had one friend drive down from Ohio to be here.

Part of me wants to hit the road and do shows way outside of my normal areas, but part of me wants to become a recluse and make people come to me.  I hope to figure out a decent balance of the two, but don't expect me to do as many shows as I've done in previous years.   You'll be much better off making your plans to visit SamG Land, if you want to see me.

with bunches of love.....


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving....

I'd like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  I have been hard at work on my biggest creation yet.  3 1/2 acres of World Famous SamG Land.  Having a home show here on Dec 10-11 that will be the Official Grand Opening.  Hope everyone comes out and sees all the hard work I've done and get a better understanding of my vision and what I hope to accomplish with i

Thanksgiving as a holiday, at this point in my life, has become nothing more than bumming a really good meal off of someone.  For many, it is merely a way of energizing themselves to prepare themselves to fight at WalMart over discounted toaster ovens.  We want to call ourselves thankful, but honestly, are we?

I could go on and list everything I am thankful for.  I'm not though.  Hopefully the people I'm thankful for, truly know.  One thing though that I am truly thankful for is my imagination. I've always had that. This week marks 9 years since I took an online career quiz that said that I should be an artist and I did my first painting.   I've taken breaks from art temporarily over the past 9 years due mostly to life circumstances, but it has been my one true love.  I feel like I'm just getting started, or at least starting over.  Whatever I'm doing, I'm going to do it big!!!

Moral of Today's Lesson:  Don't surround yourself with people who can help you, surround yourself with people who won't hurt you.

Peace, Love, and The World's Largest Grit

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Random Banter from a Sleep Deprived Fool

I haven't been creating much lately, so I thought I would do some writing.  Writing is something that I enjoy, but don't do nearly as much as I should.  I prefer my art as my way of expression.  I've been thinking about art and some of the decisions I've made pertaining to the business end of art.  That is the part I don't care for.  I don't show my art locally much anymore.  People in Northeast GA seem to think that having an art show is a good way of paying for a big party or a wine festival.  I've made enemies for taking a stand for art and have lost some friendships.  I will never regret being the one who says what everyone else is scared to, even if I know I'm on my own.

Now to the subject of art, I just spent a solid two weeks work on what I think may be my best piece yet.  I won't be unveiling it for a couple of months, but I really believe it's something special.  Now I have to get to work on show inventory for the coming months.  Time to step out into your world and hopefully introduce people to mine.

People tell me that my world is too weird.  Your world is a weird place to me now.  Looking at something that may open my world up to more people.  More on that at another time.

I was talking to a friend the other day.  The topic was politics and how people have become so hate filled.  Out of that discussion came this thought, that I'll end with...

  "Just keep being a light until either Jesus or the Mother Ship comes"

Art, Love, Perfect TV Hair