Wednesday, February 5, 2014

William S. Burroughs CENTENNIAL

One of my favorite authors William S. Burroughs wrote a good deal about the hot chills, dementia and withdraws of being junk sick.  I feel like I've been wandering through surreal streets narrated by old Bill's languid and sinister voice the past few days as I've gone through the motions with a bout of the flu.  Today is the writer's 100th birthday so I decided to put my tortured and rare form to work on commemorating him.  After overcoming a decades-long heroin addiction, he continued to write, paint, shoot his guns and love his herd of cats until the ripe old age of 83.  He defied society's every law- both legal and moral in his pursuit of a certain truth through his verse.  The writer founded a style and written world unmatched by any other voice in literary history.  Warts, bodily fluids and all, he exposed the delights and discontents of sexuality, addiction and depravity.  He found antiheroes in the dregs of society which he put on pillars to be fought over in court with groundbreaking obscenity cases.  Men like that make it possible for you to read and see what other crazed souls like mine share with you here... good show Bill- good show indeed.

While I worked on my portrait off and on today, I posted a couple of process pictures on Instragram of my sketch and inks...

  I could fill an entire wall with imagery inspired by Burroughs' work but I had to make this one miniature today if I wanted to fight the sickness and finish.  At 4in x 6in, I took a reference picture to show just how small I was working...

The two apples in the illustration are symbolic.  The apple to the left (pictured) has a bite taken out representing original sin.  The apple to the right has a bullet hole through it.  Burroughs was known to conduct a party trick where he's shoot an apple off his wife's head- his "William Tell" routine which went horribly wrong one day as he took her life when he missed.


  1. I could totally see this as a cover for one of Burroughs' books! I'm sharing this over on the Facebook page for Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac's "On the Road."

    1. Thanks for the great comment Stephanie and thanks for sharing my portrait!


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