Plainly Explained

What can I say that hasn’t already been said before? Words often get in the way of what I really want to say, which is one reason I create. Words can say a lot but not everyone thinks or feels the same things and while we can get a good idea of someone else’s emotions, we really don’t know exactly how it is to think or feel like someone else. I thought about churching up everything I am going to say but then I decided I should probably stay true to myself and reflect my raw, imaginative, complex-honesty, like I do in my art. I’ve edited this paper numerous times, kind of like how I paint over my paintings multiple times. What I think in this moment may be obsolete in the next, it changes like the weather. My obsessiveness is on display for you to see because I’m trying to translate how it is to be me so that you will have a better understanding of my art.

I am someone who has been labeled as being mentally ill. People who speak their minds, and use them, are sometimes dismissed as being crazy, or something weird like that. Who knows, maybe those kinds of people have some kind of genius about them. Or, maybe they’re miniature Jesus’? How many times do you think a Jesus has disguised himself or has been reincarnated and proclaimed to the world, again, since we apparently still haven’t gotten it right, “Hey! Everyone love and respect each other!”, or whatever Jesus might say, as if the secret of the second coming is NOT a sexual innuendo, and the universe was NOT an accidental combustion of a giant cosmic flatulent cloud where the something had to eventually come from nothing, including the gases… not to mention the spark.. But, actually something that awakens inside of you that is recognizable in others as well as yourself and, when so, everything rises to some higher level of harmony and existence, when you are awoken to it. But then other people are like, “pfff… goh dang hippie”, or, “How you gonna pay for that?” I could go on, but, you know, the absurdities that are still happening in the world but have been proven by history to not work.

While I don’t like to claim mental illness, I do accept it. I like to share that, and make a point of it, hoping that it might encourage others and reassure them that they are not alone and that they can pursue anything they wish to pursue. I’ve often wondered if I am still in one of those facilities and that what I am experience now is just some kind of dream-like illusion. Anyways, art gives me a reason to live, and, through all of the madness, it is a way for me to show that there is still a sign of life inside. There’s actually quite a bit.

When you display your own personal experience, through art, you catch a glimpse of a moment of how it is to be you, displayed for others to see. Any specific piece is up for infinite interpretation and those interpretations may lead to infinite conclusions. While that last statement may be a valid point, if you do analyze artwork, all different types, you might realize that all creativity comes from somewhere. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we are all regurgitating the same source of life in our own unique ways. There is a deep sense of connection with past life’s, and past people, who were all expressing themselves creatively. Everything about you reflects a certain story, and style, that is uniquely you while also being ‘one’ with everything else. To me, that source of creativity has something to do with the reason for existence. I am expressing every aspect of life in every mark that I make, or even by just ‘being’ me, all of which is a never ending conversation. Creativity is an explanation of life and all of its magic, and mysteries, and I am in a constant state of describing what that source is.

Over the years I think that I’ve crafted a style that is significantly unique to the art world. I am primarily a mixed media artist and a lot of my work is very experimental. I really like layering, to create depth and texture, and painting over things to create an ongoing story that can be viewed numerous times and still have something new to see. I also use a lot of materials that I find relatable or interesting such as things I’ve written down, pages of books, or actual objects. I go through phases of applying materials, to writing and drawing, and also painting, but not necessarily in any specific order. I am always looking for ways to break out of my own boundaries to make something new that sets itself apart from the rest. I also like writing on the back of my paintings, almost as if it were a journal, and I call that aspect Tales from the Backside of The Canvas. There is an innate intuitive instinct (insert another intelligent cool word here) about what I do and I don’t really have to premeditate on it, it seems to be very natural. As I change, and continue making art, my style is always evolving and expanding and reinventing itself.  Like all things though, my art will eventually be buried in history, and I like that because it’s artistic and it’s a reflection of life, in a sense that even the artwork will dissolve and fade away one day. What’s important to me is that the spark, where it all came from, will go on forever and hopefully ignite other flames along the way.

A lot of these art shows want all of this information from you. They want to know things about you, and your art, that is going to interest the public. I get it, but I don’t really like that aspect. I’m really good at explaining myself and describing everything but it’s like even if I say very little then it seems like too much and when I say a whole lot, it seems like not enough. The things I make are like a David Gilmour guitar solo. It’s just cool shit. They came to look, not read. Who wants to talk about deep shit while you’re trying to drink vodka?

Controversy In the Art World

Artists that do their own thing get a lot of flack. One reason this is so is because they are standing up to the giants. A lot of the artwork that you see in museums are pieces from artists who did their own thing, they didn’t conform to any rules just to make a dollar. During their time, they were typically very controversial people, but only because they were made out to be that way. There are too many people out there trying to control art, but that isn’t what art is. There are a lot of phonies out there that are involved in art just to be an image, or to portray the illusion of what they think an artists is-they are pretending. And these are the people who get offended by the artists who do what they want.

These false persona artists who are just playing a role may have some temporary success here and there, but the people who are truly passionate about what they do, and create from the heart, are the ones who have their work hanging in museums and are the ones who are written about all throughout the history books. Everyone has their opinions, but as an artist you can only read and listen to what others say so much before you have to just make art. Learning from others and practice are great but its more about being true to yourself and listening to the mindset that these great artists had. Aside from anything visual, what are some common ground factors that make a great artist great? I hear the little things here and there more so than their actual work. I connect with greatness, whoever its projected from. They’re not telling you so that you make exactly what it is they are making. They’re sharing their experiences so that it leads you to your version of this truth.

Here are a few that stand out to me (paraphrased):

“Whoever learns to paint like a child has mastered art".” -Picasso

“There will be someone after me who uses color even more.” - Van Gogh

“Write the truest thing you know.” - Hemingway

“There are two important days in a mans life, the day he was born, and the day he figures out why.” - Mark Twain

I could go on and on with these. I don’t think about them as much as I did when I was younger because that’s what led me to where I am now, and I focus on my own style. I go back and find new things all of the time, but I’m more concerned with forwarding what I already know. All of the things that I read, heard, and saw from other brilliant people, created the picture that I am today. It’s not about making yourself, or your art, look like someone else’s. It’s about being true to yourself and true to the art that you create.

You can’t put chains on greatness. If you are doing what you know and love, someone is going to recognize that. There may be more people who don’t like you, and talk bad about you, but that’s good. You don’t need those people. All of it is moving you in the direction you need to be and weeding out the people who don’t belong. Someone is going to want to find out the truth about you, and invest in you because they see lies and envy flowing from the eyes of others, and they know that you’re the one who’s being real and genuine. Those stories people are saying, whether true or not, are stirring curiosity in peoples minds-they are interested to know more. This is what I’m seeing at the moment.

Peace-Gratitude-Change

Today is March 24th and I have officially been on the Special Delivery tour for two weeks now. When it comes to writing, Hemingway said to “Write the truest thing you know.” In traveling around the country I have rediscovered a sense of who I am that has been hidden or lost. Sometimes in your life something comes to you and you just know what to do. That’s how I felt about this exhibit. I’m not always in-tune with picking up on that small voice inside of me, or following through with the idea when I do recognize it, but I am aware of what it means. When you hear someone say, “everything you need to get through life is inside of you.” What that means to me is that there is a true sense of who I am and who I am suppose to be and when I align myself with that person then I have found everything I need in myself because I am content with who I am in that very moment.(Whew). On our drive from California to New Mexico yesterday, Jet and I had a conversation about life and art, and love and God, and what it all means and our place in it. I know that when I work on bettering myself then that allows me to give other people the best version of myself and that has the potential to help them grow as an individual as well.

One thing that I want my art to do is to lead other people to the foundations where they can build the best versions of themselves too. With whatever happens after this exhibit is finished, I know that I have benefited on a personal level and anything else is just extra. I’ve had time to think about my family, and friends, and co-workers, and everyone I love and to realize how grateful I actually am. There’s something about an endless sky that gives you the quiet to listen to your own heart. Having the space to be away from everything has allowed me to release a lot of negativity and free myself from anything clouding the truer aspects of who I am. I realize that this is what I need to be doing. Art gives me the space to be able to grow into who I really am. One reason that I have the potential to feel weighed down at times is because I am having to do things in order to survive, that are not fulfilling to my soul. In spite of any circumstance I am in, I put in all my effort and reflect the greatness inside of me. I will always strive to accomplish my dream in hopes to inspire others and to one day be able to dedicate all of my time in to my love of art.

What do I want from my art? At the end of the day all we want is to be loved and accepted, and maybe even more so.. understood. I think one aspect of my artwork is a desperate attempt for me to show every aspect of who I am so that existence finds me worthy. There was a time a few years ago when I had the idea to write “here’s a pretty picture for you” on a large canvas and then to paint the canvas with my brains. Thankful, by the grace of God, or whatever reason, I didn’t. I didn’t see a way out of my mind and I felt eternally damned. And then somewhere along the line I decided to try. I decided to try even though I didn’t see a way out-a clear path. Maybe that’s faith?

I’m writing about this because I don’t talk about my personal self often and I am a highly reserved person. But I think that in sharing what people are afraid of it ends up strengthening ourselves. That is one thing that I see about society, a constant need to keep real life hidden. That is one reason for my insanity-when I see the whole world living contrary to the speeches at a funeral, or a graduation, or a memoir about something important..

Holding all of it in doesn’t help. You’re not alone in feeling alone.

A desperate search for acceptance, relatability, love and all of those things that society laughs at, yet cries about when they’re alone. I started to accept myself. I started to accept how I walk-the sound of my voice-my smile-looking at a picture of myself. It started with me. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to me these days because I felt like I went through it all alone, and then came out stronger. But I wasn’t alone, I was listening to other people tell their stories and what they did with their experiences. I knew that there had to be something more to it then that. The main point that I want to share is that you are not alone. There are people like me who live in similar struggles and stay up late painting in hopes that it may inspire someone else to pursue what they love whether its art or anything else. As people, we are resilient creatures. Today I feel lucky for who I am and what I am able to do.

The last thing I want to add to this section is that I’d like to move to a different city where there is more opportunity for me to forward my career as an artist. I love Chattanooga but I do not have the support that I need to without a full-time career. So aside from this trip be one of personal growth, I’d also like to kind a location that is more accept and sees the worth in what I do.