There have been a lot of things swirling in my head that I’ve been dwelling on over the last few days. At first I wanted to speak about the dangers of an uninvited critique, then the shooting in El Paso and Dayton happened and I wanted to write about how borrowing or absorbing national grief can compound an already overburdened psyche. I think now I’m somewhere in between both of those thoughts.
A couple days ago I was in a therapeutic setting where one of the participants suggested that I was afraid to act to change the course of my life. Another participant said that you have to fake joy until you feel it for real…, that one gets what they back what they project to the world. If they look happy and successful then happiness and success will come their way, and the converse if they look dour. For a naturally melocolic and timid person both observations were concerning to me mostly because these were strangers to me and it felt wired to be read so quickly by new people. They gave me much food for thought on how to address my current malaise in life. Nothing new to me was said to me in theses setting and I’ve overcome and accomplished more in my life than might have been expected of me, more than I thought I would accomplish when I was child; so what ails me now won’t for much longer I expect. But I’m at that age now where one must reconcile their vision of their life with their reality and with how they are perceived, and it’s not a comfortable process.
These current musing began last week when a good friend blew into town like a hurricane, bringing along her charisma intelligence charm and intenerate-often-overwhelming persona. My housemate and I of course welcomed her gladly and we had a good time. On her first night in town we went out for dinner and afterwards she visited my studio and proceeded to read me on my current crop of paintings. Her assessment was her own, I won’t begrudge her her judgement even though I don’t agree with it. My point in mentioning it is that I did not want it, at least at that time. Normally, I don’t care so much what folks think of my works but these works – which are mostly botanicals landscapes and planet paintings – are supposed to be my cash cows and I can’t afford for them to not do well at their upcoming exhibition debut. It’s the first time I realized how sensitive I am about the works and amongst the first where I realized how dangerously attached I’ve become to the works being absolutely successful. Again an uncomfortable realization.
This summer seems like it’s the summer of uncomfortable truths. I think we are realizing something we’ve know for quite a while on the national front, that the President is a racist who fans the flames of racism. That the El Paso shooting particularly and the Dayton shooting as well are not isolated incidents of some mentally disturbed lone wolf white man. They are white nationalist terrorism and if they were black or brown people, or middle easterners who killed 20 people at a Walmart there would be a very different reaction. I work at a big box store in Allentown in customer service in a conceal carry state. I deal with angry people all day and am confident that if a violent situation occurred there’s little management could do to save lives, despite the training we have all received. It is an un-welcomed addition to the stress an anxiety I already produce like it’s my job, that I have to worry about some crazy white dude blowing me away while calling me a nigga and invoking Trump’s name all because we denied his .50 cent product return.
I’ve been listening to some interesting new music lately. Two artist/groups I found while letting my Pandora play on in the studio. One group is called Skinshape, the song I like from them is called “I Didn’t Know”. The other artist I’m embarrassed I didn’t know about is called Thundercat, he the creative genius behind a lot of Kendrick Lamar music. I like just about everything on his album “Drunk” but one of my favorites is “Show You The Way”. Here are some YouTube videos of each.
I just finished a drawing series that I’ve been thinking about in one fashion or another since about 2017 and so I think I will do a blog over the next few days about that process and then turn my attentions to working and blogging on those final few paintings for my October show. Until then do be well.