Punching at butterflies.

This week finds me housesitting, and propped up in the kitchen of my former home, while my cat circles my feet telling me all about his world, and man, is that so much more bittersweet this time around.

I’ve been back couple of other times, both of which were shockingly manageable, but this trip is proving to be a challenge.

They say healing is cyclical, and nowhere have I ever experienced that so profoundly than since being told that the life and path I was on was no longer the one for me. First it’s day by day, then weeks go by and you feel like you can breathe a little easier, then maybe a year passes and you really see making headway, then, as if out of nowhere, the weight of your heart increases, the air escapes your lungs, and the loneliness is thick enough to cut with a knife.

Nobody ever said being a person was easy however, I don’t think I’ve experienced the challenges anywhere so brilliantly than in my serpentine attempts at falling out of love.

So that’s what’s going on, on this end. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

Unrelated with either punching at butterflies or matters of the heart, it was a few weeks ago when Mike reached out and had some info regarding an event of a single speed mountain bike nature which he wanted to share here;

Well, I did his bidding, and sent him an assortment of stuff with the simple request that he clue me in on how the event went down after the fact (a thing that is mystifyingly difficult for people), which thankfully;ly he did, and it reads something like this;


Here’s a few words about our past weekend (im not good at this writing thing)….

The 2nd year of Single Speed Texas went off without a hitch! This year up in Dallas (last year Austin) hosted by Black Cat Bicycle Club with Austin single speeders co-hosting and Chumba Bikes sponsoring.

Vagabonds from all over the country came to enjoy random dip-shitery and Texas dirt therapy. We started the weekend on Friday with a bar/brewery crawl, only a few police were involved near the end of our tour but all stayed out of jail;

Saturday started off well enough at the trailhead gathering, and a random overnight vehicle with unconscious naked patrons inside (more police involved) the ride was underway and the party commenced out in the middle of the trail system and much merriment was had by all! Sunday started mellow enough with coffee and a gravel ramble near downtown;

Bridge beers were had and pooping in a river before finishing up the weekend….. Although not quite, no single speed Texas event is finished until at least a few people get tattooed before going home!

I’ve mostly given up on helping sponsor events to any degree due to the fact that I think sending a basic report on the event in question is the least an event organizer could do in exchange for a bunch of goods.

You’d be surprised at how rarely people maintain contact after I send them product, and after one occurrence when the organizer said I could find all the info I was looking for on Facebook, I gave the whole process the Gas Face™©®. I knew Mike was different though, and in spite of the fact that he said he didn’t think he was capable of penning a short breakdown, I think we can all agree that he was and then some.

I thank Mike for keeping the one speeded fires burning, and for letting the internet know that there’s more to life in Dallas than the enduring mystery of who shot J.R.;

I also realize that if you’re under 40 years old, this reference might be lost on you.

Moving on to a thing that irks the shit out of me, which I get onto a soapbox about, around every six to twelve months.

American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat was foundational in the New York art scene’s reimagining of the region’s Pop Art movement a decade earlier. Peers Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, CRASH, etc. were all integral in establishing legitimacy to graffiti as high art in museums and galleries and museums the world over;

Taylor Phinney is a retired American bike racer-turned celebrated artist;

Should I state the obvious, and the fact that not only does the latter have gallery representation, but is heralded as a particularly creative mind in the bicycle world?

If I cast aspersions, does it come off as (at best) sour grapes or (at worst) jealousy, or am I the kid in the crowd declaring that the King has no new clothes, but is in fact naked, or do I just sit in wonder at the commentary of how the bike world ignorantly turns a blind eye on the fairly egregious style biting of a well established (and dead) Black artist?

Maybe I don’t do any of the above, let sleeping does lie for another six to twelve months, and just let the pictures paint those thousand words.

Personally, if I were Phinney, I’d be embarrassed, but then again, I have a modicum of shame and self awareness.

Nothing has made sense since 2015. I don’t know why I keep holding out hope that eventually something will.

Now in the conclusion of today’s effort, as I have done every week for the last 102 weeks, it’s my great pride to present the 103rd episode of Revolting;

For funsies, try and figure which one of us is Ponch, and which one of us is John.

Feel free to punch those butterflies.

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Leave a Reply

17 Responses to “Punching at butterflies.”

  1. Dr Sweets November 21, 2023 at 6:50 am #

    Easy…you’re John and Robot is Ponch.

  2. Jonno November 21, 2023 at 3:16 pm #

    I agree, Taylor’s art looks like a pretty blatant snaking of Basquiat. Kind of like that band Greta Van Street or Fleet near mirror image of Led Zeppelin.

  3. pilder November 21, 2023 at 6:24 pm #

    Thank you for pointing this art shit out to me as I’ve been living under a rock for 33 years or so, mostly by choice. I’m aware of Taylor Phinney. Son of a badass cyclist mom and a badass cyclist dad. Boyfriend of a really really badass cyclist. Badass cyclist. Artist. Not necessarily in that order. Artists have been known to admit they’re inspired by “so & so” other artists. But rarely do they admit they’ve full-on ripped off, copied, copped, stolen, robbed and mimicked another artist’s art. It’s horseshit. PS: if you ever want to cat-sit in Skyway let me know.

  4. BrettOK November 23, 2023 at 12:41 am #

    I would think most of the bicycle world (and the non-bike world) has never heard of Basquiat, just as most of the art world has never heard of Phinney. I don’t think it’s got anything to do with racism, either. It’s just someone ripping off someone else’s style. Happens all the time, doesn’t make it right, or wrong, just bereft of originality, creativity, and is poor form. Not everything is about skin colour, unless one mentions it, even if it’s irrelevant to the issue.

    • Stevil November 25, 2023 at 6:22 am #

      I never even hinted that it had anything to do with racism. A person of means rips off another artist who fought tooth and nail for his career? JMB being Black is just an additional affront in a precedent that’s been set, and repeated ad nauseam. After all of these years, I don’t know why such a mind-numbing lack of creativity in the bicycle world still surprises and upsets me so much, but it does. I keep thinking we’re better than that, and I continue to be proven wrong.

      • BrettOK November 25, 2023 at 11:34 pm #

        Skin colour just doesn’t (and didn’t) need to be pointed out in this context of someone ripping off someone else’s style. That brings race (and therefore more than ‘hints’ at the context of racism) into the mix, no doubt about it. Phinney obviously sucks and hasn’t an original bone in his (artistic) body, but Basquiat’s art was pretty fucking lame too. I could’ve painted that shit too, but I couldn’t paint/draw what you do. So it’s easy coattails for someone like Phinney to hitch a ride on. Whether it’s right or wrong, it still has nothing to do with skin colour.

    • Blaue Reiter November 25, 2023 at 12:06 pm #

      “just ripping off someone’s else’s style” is wrong, dude, come on! If you don’t care that’s your business, but right and wrong? yeah- this is wrong.
      Stevil you stay up there and call it out!

      • BrettOK November 26, 2023 at 5:00 pm #

        Yep, generally it is, but there’s really nothing original in art, music, writing etc, everything is influenced, or derivative, or a rip-off, there are only so many chords to play, lines to draw, words to use. Stevil has even ripped off Ed Roth on occasion, if you are serious about wanting to call it out…

        • Stevil November 26, 2023 at 7:16 pm #

          Influence is one thing, and is a perfectly natural part of the collective creative process. As far as the Roth piece you mentioned, I did a drawing for a Cars-r-Coffins shirt that was an obvious tribute. I didn’t create an entire body of work that was identical to his, nor did I get gallery representation and claim the work was all my very own brainchild.

          I’m influenced by Jason Jagel, and Al Columbia, and Raymond Pettibone, and Francis Bacon, and Egon Schiele, and even JMB himself… Have I been inspired by them, and use that inspiration to come up with my own unique style, and make my own body of work? Yes, absolutely. Would anyone with eyes look at my work and mistake it for that of any of the aforementioned artists? Not by a stretch. Therein lies the difference.

          • BrettOK November 26, 2023 at 9:54 pm #

            Of course your entire style is not a Roth rip-off, as evidenced by the “on occasion” I used. If Phinney is actually claiming it’s all his own brainchild, then he’s more of a dick than I already thought he was… I haven’t defended Phiney’s blatant plagiarism at all, this conversation started because I thought mentioning that Basquiat was black (and you capitalised Black!) was completely unnecessary, and not a factor as to why Phinney is getting praised for ‘his’ work (is he really? wow!), and Basquiat isn’t (though I’m positive that Basqiuat is definitely more famous/revered/recognised among art circles and by critics, not by bike nerds).

          • Stevil November 27, 2023 at 8:12 am #

            1) ‘Black’ is a culture, a people, and a history, and ‘black’ is a color. It’s my understanding that this is an established rule of written English.

            2) I already described why I noted that the color of his skin is a factor. I can rattle off dozens of well-established white artists from the last 40 years, and off the top of my head can think of two who are Black. To me, this is why it matters.

            Unfortunately this platform won’t allow additional replies, (I added this one on the back end) but I’m certainly open to continuing the dialog if you’d like to email me directly. stevil (at) all hail the black market (dot) com

  5. Logan November 27, 2023 at 4:53 pm #

    Stevil, thanks for putting words to your current state of being regarding healing and big, unexpected life changes. I find myself going through similar times, and boy does it suck. I feel better occasionally, but for the most part the last several years have been kinda shitty. I appreciate your openness and willingness to share. It means a lot to know other people have rough days, too.

    • Philicious January 2, 2024 at 11:49 am #

      Damn dude. I wish we were still friends….

  6. TS Elliot November 27, 2023 at 7:21 pm #

    “Good artists borrow, great artists steal.” – Pablo Picasso*

    *Commonly attributed to….

  7. daveyeti November 27, 2023 at 9:02 pm #

    “serpentine attempts at falling out of love” You have a gift for language, Stevil. Your description of housesitting in your former home is austere and beautiful.

    • Stevil November 28, 2023 at 8:22 pm #

      Thank you. I appreciate that.

  8. Jb November 30, 2023 at 7:06 pm #

    thanks for the merch! all hail the black market! 🤘🏼fun read!