The adventurous art of Pat Perry

Pat Perry

The itinerant life is coveted by many but it isn’t for everyone. The main obstacle is the insecurity of hopping from place to place without a home to return to every night; it’s there but not always within arm’s reach. But for Pat Perry, that has been a source of inspiration, even if that means being held at gunpoint and getting arrested.

Who in the world is Pat Perry?

Pat Perry was born in Michigan but now lives in Detroit, working itinerantly according to his website. He has worked with the likes of the BBC, Twitter, and Atlantic Records and could have worked for even bigger brands but turned them down telling Communication Arts, “I only want to make work that reflects what I care about.” He expanded, discussing the time he rejected a $40,000 offer to work with Taco Bell:

“I would never judge anyone harshly for taking work like this, and even for me, it was a hard situation I mulled over because I could have used the money, but I just don’t want to be remembered for that. Maybe it would have been a flash in the pan, but maybe I would have become the Taco Bell guy.”

Pat Perry - Detroit, MI, 2016
Detroit, MI, 2016

Some of his influences include Max Horkheimer and Friedrich Nietzsche, and philosophy has a significant influence on Perry’s work, particular in his processes:

“Sometimes I just run away […] It is how I get to be alone and be a silent observer for a while.”

Mixed media

When Perry isn’t sketching, he paints on panels and walls. His acrylic work borders on the hyperreal, depicting the regular lives and scenery of the USA. His outdoor works have taken him to the corners of the earth, with murals in Sweden, Canada, New Zealand, and Iraq. What strikes me about his work is how considered and thoughtful it is. For an American to paint a mural in Iraq and for it to complement the surroundings so well is astonishing and refreshing.

Pat Perry - River Friends, 2018, acrylic on panel, 64” x 49”
River Friends, 2018, acrylic on panel, 64” x 49”

Pat Perry’s work evokes and provokes. You feel safe in his creative world, with the soft, earthy palettes, and representations of humanity in its rawest forms. But his paintings and illustrations demand your attention as you search for unseen artefacts and subtle details. Every piece has a story to tell and you’ll want to cosy up to it to fully enjoy the experience.

Follow him on Instagram.

The Toilet Paper Calculator

Toilet roll that says it's the end of the roll as we know it

The hoarding of toilet paper seems to have died down, at least in comparison to March. But for those who didn’t panic buy multipacks of the stuff, you might want to economise when you get some. Enter the Toilet Paper Calculator.

Created by Nathan Yau, the Toilet Paper Calculator takes four inputs based on:

  • How many people live in your home
  • How many times each person wipes per day
  • How many sheets they use per wipe
  • How many sheets per roll of your toilet paper of choice

Are these personal questions? Hell yeah. But do they really need to be asked? Hell yeah; this is your money and the environment we’re talking about. The toilet paper calculator is there to help you get no more toilet roll than you actually need and stop those repeat offenders who use big wads for one wipe.

But if this sounds like TMI (tedious mathematical information), you could try one of Nathan’s mentioned alternatives to toilet paper including:

  • Bidet — a common bathroom installation in mainland Europe
  • Rags or old socks — “Wash after each use.”
  • Leaves — “Probably bigger ones are better. I cannot speak from experience.”
  • Some other water source — “Use a squirt bottle or spray bottle.”

I don’t recommend you use leaves for the sake of your health and your pipes. If all else fails, use your hand, wash it for 40 seconds, and don’t tell anyone. We already know too much about people who don’t wash their legs in the shower. Another good reason for social distancing I suppose.

Venom, the symbiotic supervillain – good or evil?

Venom

When it comes to supervillains, their evilness varies. Sometimes they come from the depths of Hell while others just want to have a laugh (like the Joker). They act as the literary opposites of their superhero counterparts in a semiotic relationship and no other villain personifies that trait than Venom, the alien inverse of Spider-Man.

Trigger warning: this article contains themes related to suicide and murder.

Who/what is Venom?

A picture of Venom terrorising Spider-Man

Venom is a sentient alien symbiote from the Marvel Universe and came out of a request from Marvel for readers to send ideas for its comics in 1982. A man named Randy Schueller answered the call and asked if Spider-Man could have “a new black costume made of unstable molecules”. A year later, and Schueller got his wish. From there the character developed from a black Spider-Man costume to a fully-fledged villain with an appetite for destruction and human heads (more on that later).

Venom was introduced as the Symbiote in The Amazing Spider-Man #252 (May 1984) but didn’t get its first official appearance as Venom until The Amazing Spider-Man #300 (May 1988). Before then, the Symbiote was a regenerative suit for Spider-Man. It was shapeless, genderless, and took the molecular form of a viscous liquid, but could also mimic plain clothes. But it had a sinister secret: it could only survive when bonded with a host.

Peter Parker had the symbiotic costume examined by Reed Richards and the secret was revealed. Peter rejected the bonding and the Fantastic Four contained it. But of course, the Symbiote escaped and bonded to Peter again. With its weakness to sound waves, Peter used church bells to expel it from his body. Eventually, it found its most infamous host, Eddie Brock, and became the villain we know as Venom.

Eddie Brock

The best-known Venom host has had multiple storylines but the most common backstory is that Brock was a Daily Globe reporter (where Peter Parker was the photographer) and blamed Spider-Man for his career failure. He had worked on a story about Sin-Eater and believed he’d revealed his identity only to discover he was wrong.

Brock took up bodybuilding and worked for sleazy tabloids before contemplating suicide. While seeking solace in the church where Spider-Man rejected the Symbiote, it bonded with Brock after sensing his hatred for the web-slinger. He chose the name “Venom” due to the nature of his work.

Other Venoms

Different versions of Venom

Eddie Brock is one of many Venoms in the Marvel Universe. Other hosts have included:

  • Mac Gargan as “Scorpion”
  • Flash Thompson as “Anti-Venom”
  • Lee Price as “Maniac”
  • Tel-Kar
  • Malekith
  • Ben Reilly as “Scarlet Spider”
  • Anne Weying as “She-Venom” (Eddie Brock’s ex-wife)
  • Patricia Robertson
  • Angelo Fortunato
  • Kulan Gath as “Kulan Venom”

The Symbiote’s backstory

Born in the 998th generation from a race of parasitic alien Symbiotes known as the Klyntar, the Venom Symbiote separated from its first host and was “deemed insane by its own race” after they found out it wanted to stay with its host rather than drain it of its life (heavily frowned upon in the alien Symbiote community). It was imprisoned on Battleworld to keep it from dirtying the gene pool.

Venom’s “relatives”

Venom’s family includes the following Symbiotes:

  • Carnage (the “child”)
  • Toxin (Carnage’s “child”, and therefore Venom’s “grandchild” so to speak)
  • Scorn (another Carnage spawn)
  • Mania (born from Venom’s tongue which got cut off in a battle with The Thing)
  • Anti-Venom (a hybrid of Venom and Flash Thompson’s white blood cells, fused together by Mister Negative)
  • Scream
  • Lasher
  • Phage
  • Agony
  • Riot
  • Hybrid (a combination of the previous 5)
  • Sleeper (born from one of Venom’s seeds)
She-Venom

Is Venom good or evil?

It’s a difficult question to answer outright as there’s a spectrum of good and evil but I can say Venom isn’t good. Venom’s existence relies on feeding off a host; it’s a monstrous leech capable of killing. But the Symbiote has shown moments where it has cared for its host. When Peter Parker rang the church bell to repel it, the Symbiote left his body and moved him to safety before finding someone else.

Venom has also shown anti-hero tendencies, predominately in film adaptations, likely in order for viewers to warm to the character. His notable roles as an anti-hero in the comics came in 1993 and 1994 when he made peace with Spider-Man who saved his ex-wife, Anne Weying, saving homeless people from the Symbiote spawns, and to help Spider-Man defeat Carnage in Separation Anxiety.

Venom in popular culture

Venom as a character has plenty of tropes in the comics but its biggest pop culture boon is in Hollywood. There are also a host of Venom toy lines, from Hasbro, Disney and Funko Pop!

Venom: The Movie

Let’s cut to the chase – Venom wasn’t great. It was Sony’s second stab at the character (this one played by Tom Hardy) and they blew it, even if they did finally execute that anti-hero arc. But we’re getting a sequel (delayed until 2021) and Carnage will feature, played by Woody Harrelson who is even more evil.

But Venom’s first live-action film appearance came in Spider-Man 3, played by Topher Grace. The film was widely panned and spelt the end of any further films in the series as it was later rebooted (twice).

Video games

Venom has been a character in the following video games:

Further resources

To watch

To read

What more can we expect from Venom?

From leeching alien to oddly loveable monster pet, Venom is a disparate future for Spider-Man in the movies, as long as Venom stays with Sony. But everywhere else, Venom is more than just Spidey’s adversary and there’s plenty of life left in the jet black symbiote.

Meet Gav – the huge TikTok baby

Meet Gav – the huge TikTok baby

I’m still not on TikTok and still have no interest in joining. But after the awesome dancing duck TikTok, there’s a new kid on the block. Literally:

@kat.027

##gav ##boom ##babypowder

♬ Woah – KRYPTO9095 feat. D3Mstreet

Gav isn’t actually a baby – he’s 3 apparently – but even then, he’s huge. In the above video, Gav is bouncing on his dad’s stomach like he’s a bucking bronco. And that’s baby powder by the way, although pretending it’s smoke adds to the hilarity.

Then there’s Gav doing his best World’s Strongest Baby impression or Gav taking a sugar snooze after devouring candy and eggs for Easter. But the comments make it for me. Check this Twitter thread as an example. My favourite:

You can follow @kat.027 on TikTok for more of Gav’s big buff baby escapades.

TikTok relatedScott Seiss’s retail TikToks and the cutest duck TikTok

LGR eats the World's Hottest Chip

LGR eats the World's Hottest Chip One Chip Challenge

One of my favourite internet things is watching people eat hot food. Whether it’s the hottest wings on the planet on Hot Ones or munching on a Naga chili. I wrote about ProZD (real name SungWon Cho) trying the One Chip Challenge and now it’s the turn of retro computer extraordinaire, LGR. But for this, he took the challenge for his LGR Foods channel which you should check out as well.

For those who don’t know, the One Chip Challenge involves a single tortilla chip made by Paqui, coated in a deathly black jacket of dust, and you have to eat it. That’s the challenge – handle the heat and you’re a chili champ. The heat comes from Carolina Reaper pepper, formerly the hottest pepper in the world. Participants include Kristen Bell, Michael Peña and almost everyone with a YouTube channel and a few hundred thousand followers.

In LGR’s case, someone sent him the chip and the results were just as I expected. The smell is demonic and the taste is pure unadulterated heat. But it doesn’t hit you straight away and LGR found that out as time progressed.

Eating the World's Hottest Chip