Interesting Times?

By | Art, Food for thought | One Comment

Interesting times seems to be an understatement of our current global situation. We, the entire human race, is facing a pandemic of epic proportions. Hundreds of people are dying daily in tally. Here in the United states we are currently on lock down. Stores are closed. Businesses are not open. People are not going to work because of fears of contamination of the Corona Virus. Scary, Scary stuff indeed. My children are home due to a statewide closure of all schools for six weeks. My wife’s catering business has taken a serious hit. And of course how many people are hiring designers at the moment, I can tell you, not many. Financially I am scared out of my gourd. I have been thinking about that saying “May you live in interesting times,” all day. Not sure why, but it has been bouncing around my consciousness for the better part of the day. So, when I sat down to write this post, I looked it up. I googled the saying, and the first itemized reference was a quote from Robert Kennedy. 

There is a Chinese curse which says ‘May he live in interesting times.’ Like it or not we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty; but they are also more open to the creative energy of men than any other time in history.

I really am not sure of the context of the speech, other than it was said in Cape Town 1966. I could of course do some digging but it is really not relevant to this post. What is important or relevant is that in the speech mentions the “creative energy” of men. This really hit home for me as I have been dealing with an over whelming creative energy, an all consuming creative energy that has me pushing the boundaries of my own work. Makes sense to a point, I mean all I have is time to think, but this feels different, feels comforting rather than just a simple byproduct of having too much time on my hands. No, rather, this feels like a gift. An “interesting” gift, but a gift non the less. I have been given time to think, and time to explore, while at the same time my world as I know it has changed its routine, changes its pattern. I know you’re probably thinking which came first, the chicken or the egg, well, in this case both.

I believe that my art is not an accident. I also don’t believe that my overwhelming creative energy, is also not an accident. I think that this energy is allowing me to not get wrapped up in my own fears. Trust me, I could jump right down that rabbit hole of fears and what not that I might never come back up for air. No, I think this creative energy was more like a gift with the shit. The universe telling me, here, I know you are going to be dealing with a bunch of crazy ass shit, so I also want you to have this amazing security blanket to protect you and your family from all of that. Just cover your family, hold on as fucking tight as you can, and let your mind wander down that meandering path of creativity. All that crazy built up creative stuff you wanted to do but never seemed to have the guts to push yourself to do, well, now you have permission. Set your imagination on fire and break every erroneous rule you either accepted or created about the boundaries of your art. Letting our imagination free to move about the cabin, while our bodies are fixed in a general location, well, may just be exactly what I needed at this moment.

Can your super power manipulate time and space?

By | Art, Personal | No Comments

When I was young, it was not uncommon for my buddies and I to dream up superpowers we wish we could suddenly have. You know the game, you get one super power, that either you create or pick from your favorite super hero. Maybe this is just a guy thing, but I kind of have a feeling that young girls too may have had such conversations. If your not familiar with is kind of childhood conversation, it’s ok, it’s a fairly simple idea. You, a mere mortal, get to choose an out of this world super power, and then of course spend the rest of your sun filled lazy summer day dreaming up all sorts of ways you might use said super power. Again, not that complex, it’s just simple childhood imagination at work.

Well, while my friends reached into the regular bag of super hero tricks, like flying, super strength, super speed, lasers from your eyes, I always chose the ability to stop time. Not sure why I was always drawn to it, but it was to me the greatest thing you could do. I mean think about it, the crazy-loud-screaming-by-you-at-light-speed world suddenly stops with a snap of a finger and there you are, just you, and no one can do a thing about it. You can walk right down the middle lane of the freeway and nothing will hit you. You can sneak on stage at your favorite bands concert and see what the world looks like from their vantage point. The possibilities really are endless. But the truth is, I was always attracted to stopping time and it really wasn’t until this week that I understood why.

The other night I saw a short interview with a woman who had lost her only two children, both girls, 6 and 8, in an airplane accident 20 years ago. It was just a heart wrenching interview to watch this woman talk about a loss of this magnitude. The interviewer of course brought up the idea of time, time is the great healer. This is where I felt her response was the single greatest description of losing loved ones I have ever heard or muttered myself. She said, time does not heal, it makes us stronger to be able to fight through the pain of the ever growing distance we experience from our loved ones. And there I was, with tears in my eyes, I suddenly felt the need to stop time. To snap my fingers and just briefly pause this slow migrating distance we all experience from losing our loved ones. We continue down our path of life and they, don’t. This distance grows every day, week, month and then suddenly years have gone by, and we find ourselves so far from them that we couldn’t find our way back even if we tried.

It was at this moment that I suddenly understood my childhood super power, stoping time. It is true, I can stop time. and I do it regularly. I am actually quite addicted to stoping time. If I don’t do it at least every couple of days, I start to fall apart. Life starts to turn into that crazy-loud-screaming-by-you-at-the-speed-of-light sort of thing again. I reach down, I grab my brush and I start to paint. The world around me disappears. And it is in these small empty spaces that the ever widening distance from all the loved ones I have lost shrinks to nothing. Time stops and I can dance with everyone who I have ever lost. So, yes, I do have a super power, and yes, and I use it often.  Whats your super power?

The Uglies

By | Art, Painting | No Comments

Sometimes a painting just does not want to be painted. Well, we’ll see about that.

The painting process, in my opinion, can go down two paths. The first isa  super easy process where everything falls into place with very little effort, I like to call that being in the zone. The other, well, is rather painful, and requires one to just work through the process, searching to find the painting that you see in your minds eye, I call this the uglies. The painting that I am working on now, is falling into the later category. I know what I want it to be, but finding it and making that a reality is very difficult. I am searching for the right flesh tones and colors. The shape of the face is not quite right. I normally work to completion, each quadrant that is segmented off. But in this case, I left one quadrant unfinished and moved onto another. When that one proved to be difficult, I moved onto a third. And now I’m frustrated. What to do? So, thankfully, I work on multiple canvases at the same time. It’s onto another painting and I will just let this one sit in the corner and stair at me. I will work through the uglies. This painting, like many before, will not defeat me.

Paradigm Shift

By | Art, Personal | No Comments

A paradigm shift, it sounds so heady, so intellectual. Of course, this would certainly be a topic of discourse among academic intellectuals. This, a paradigm shift, could certainly not be something I would experience. I have been so sure, so ready to accept my fate, my place in life. However, I say that, and to be honest, I have no idea what that is, what my place really is or was. I just had a direction, or so I thought. I sort of knew what kind of art I liked to produce. I kind of liked working on projects for others. But in the past several months a have felt that the tectonic plates under my feet have been shifting. Maybe they have always been, I was just never still enough to feel these slight adjustments. I have for the past six months had a feeling that my direction was never really my direction, but rather what I thought others expected of me.

I know, I know, poor me. Cry me a river. I am sorry if this sounds like I am playing the victim card here, well, I sort of am in a sense, but bear with while I work through this. I grew up having people in my life that fully accepted me being an artist. I even had acceptance becoming a designer. This is great. The down side was that I bought into the idea of what that looks like. Work, work, work, keep working, and then work some more. Keep your nose to the grind stone, and keep climbing that corporate ladder, in the design world that is. As an artist, well, people in my life, liked the more formal work that I produced. They hung them on their walls, and praised the work that, well, in my mind, was actually kind of boring. They, people that came in contact with my work,  preferred the more traditionally academic work. This was wonderful support, however, the pleaser in me, accepted these things as my own truth and kept doing it. I kept trying to achieve greater and greater acceptance as a designer in other peoples agencies. I kept painting works that others praised but really did nothing for me. I just kept at it, day after day, month after month, year after year. I questioned nothing.

About six months ago, things started to shift. Signs from the universe kept smacking me in the face with alternate realities that seemed much more in line with my own personal interests. Voices came through in those quiet contemplative moments and whispered very different things to me. My comfort level with all of this was to say the least no existent. I shared these thoughts with absolutely no one. I didn’t want to feel them and I certainly didn’t understand them. But as I quietly let these feelings in, I realized that I could not turn back, nor could I continue to hide from them. So, there in lies the shift in my paradigm. The sameness, the pattern, the whatever you want to call it, had shifted. 

So what now? What the hell does all this blathering on mean. I am still trying to figure that all out. But, in my own personal meditations and from some very unlikely outside voices, I have to write. So here I am, writing my thoughts and sharing them with the world. What does this mean for my art or for my design career, I have no idea. I mean, I have some idea, I am just not going to share that with you at this time. I am still working through it all and meditating on it. I will of course continue to work as a designer, I have to pay the bills some how. I will also, continue to paint, but the feedback I get will be takin with a huge grain of salt. It is all very appreciated, but I have to follow my muse. As Candide said to Pangloss, in the book “Candide” by Voltaire, “that we must cultivate our garden.” Candide stood defiant to his teacher, and declared that all was well and good with all of the teachings Pangloss had imparted onto Candide, but in the end, Candide must certainly cultivate his own garden, or rather his own thoughts. So, with that, and these words, I stand defiant, and now I roll up my sleeves and head out to my garden.