Thursday, October 3, 2013

Reckoning

Just completed Reckoning working title was Lonely Outpost 2. I think the new title fits better with the definition of "the process of calculating or estimating something" or "a judgement or opinion", rather than the "avenging for past misdeeds". Of course I guess all could apply depending on you the viewer's interpretation.

I guess for me buildings are representative of souls with the wear and tear. With this series I have known that it speaks of my childhood, but of course it sometimes takes years for me to figure out what my subconscious mind is saying to me. That's okay though. I like the mystery. What I do know is that I have been doing a great deal of reckoning in regards to my childhood past. Somethings have become clearer to me, mythologies shattered, lies exposed, family members that were once lost found, and today new beginnings. 

Of course my way of processing it all is in paint. One of my favorite verses from a Folk Implosion song is "I never know what I'm thinking, until I dream". For me that hits home on how I am. Of course, I dream in paint. Come to think of it that's what inspired the gas station series to begin with. I woke up remembering a dream of me painting a huge series of gas stations out in the desert. I found the photo I'd taken three years earlier of an abandoned gas station outside of Barstow California and it felt right.

I also think that the concept of reckoning is a big part of this body of work in subject matter alone. These gas stations in the Southwestern deserts of the U.S. speak volumes about American culture. The West and the underlining Manifest Destiny philosophy has influenced the politics of the region from the pioneer days to present day. The perpetual bust and boom fueled by the cowboy spirit of American independence. Yes, speaking of this paradigm can get politically charged rather quickly, but I'm not playing politics here. At least I'm making no judgement calls, but rather just exposing the essence of what I see in myself and the world as I know it.  My family members and myself are the products of this culture, these deserts and only through the exploration of this culture and the underlining themes; can I understand them and myself - not to mention all that went down. I guess I'd rather author this story in Paul Bowles' fashion with a rather dispassionate exploration of characters and events without letting you know which character represents the author's voice allowing the reader to make their own calls. In the end there is more gray than black or white and no clear answers to be found.

For my personal history, a big part of my childhood was spent traveling these roads and fueling up most likely at these very stations moving from place to place as my mom desperately tried to find herself with my sister and I living in a temporal state of constant flux. The result of this is her son chose in adulthood to take the existentialist view that "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself" I saw this magnet at the art store my last trip, but I've thought in a thousand times - just worded differently - when thinking about all the places I lived as a kid.

For me it was both fun and dreadful at the same time. For an introverted, socially awkward kid being in a new school having to make new friends every year wasn't a lot of fun. I turned to my art as my companion. In the end I have no regrets, because I realize that I'm the artist I am today as a result of moving all over the place. Yet, I guess the time for reckoning has come.