Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Life Comes Too Quickly

Life Comes Too Quickly, oil on canvas 36h x 24 inches. The inspiration for this piece came from three places/events.  The photo was taken initially on a bike ride from Midtown to Downtown in Phoenix.  I was feeling a little bit frustrated with what was on the easel, so I decided to go for a ride and my habit now is to try to take a camera with me wherever I go. I was aimlessly cycling around with no real place to go or mission. I didn't even care how fast or how far. I still ended up doing a few sprints though. I was struck by the loneliness of this parking lot and wondered for a moment about the lives of the people who were still up around midnight and those who were fast asleep. The second piece of inspiration came from when I was flying home from attending the opening at Abend Gallery in Denver.  I was listening to Jesu and reading Sit Down and Shut Up by Brad Warner. One of the verses stuck in my head "Life Comes Too Quickly". I was feeling exhausted a combination of work and travel and it hit home. My life is flying past me at a million miles an hour it seems and I'm not actually being mindful of the moments I'm currently in.  Last, but not least as I was working on this painting there were a few days of rain and one of them I went for a ride despite the wet roads. I didn't go too crazy, but I passed by a few wet parking lots and decided that even though the source photo was of a dry parking lot didn't mean I couldn't paint a wet one.

This brings me to say something about art.  At the last openings I've encountered folks who want more meaning and some who want less within my works. For those who wanted more I didn't think of what to say to them until weeks afterwards, but I think I can say it here.  Art has it's own intrinsic meaning beyond what the artist feels or intends it to mean or at least this artist.  So much of my work is about process.  I have this initial concept and then the work morphs from that. I also can't help, but feel like my subconscious is trying to tell me something about how I feel about things in my life. In other words - my subconscious knows what's eating me long before my conscious mind is aware of it.  In the end after I complete a painting or drawing - I'm lucky if I know what it means, but understand that the work has meaning whether or not I know what that is.

I think these days artists are way too concerned about their work having meaning.  I don't know why this is really, but my guess is that when people watch a movie or read a book there's always a "point to it".  The thing is this, does the author always know what the book is going to be about when they start writing? Can it be that they just have a flash of a storyline pop in their head. An outline of the characters, scene and plot.  As all the puzzle pieces fit together and the characters are fleshed out the author then follows them through the story and their morality (the author's voice) is then imprinted upon the piece.

It's the same for me as I paint, but my stories are told visually.  The challenge is to verbally express what I've already stated visually without losing the nuance expressed within my brushwork.