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“The Guy With the Mic”
18”x24” pastels, charcoal, acrylic paint, sharpie and colored pencils on medium weight paper.
[So here we have a really odd mix of personal reflections and existential stuff and nice things I want to say about the subject of this drawing and the process and all that jazz, so .. again, pick and choose what you feel like reading!]
Although I can count on both hands the number of times I’ve actually spent time with Jeffrey in person, the space he occupies in my heart is far from temporary! It’s a place that is shared among several others who’ve walked into my life this past couple of years … people who’ve undoubtedly brought me to a place of higher understanding of the world and who have transformed the way I experience this lifetime in its entirety. I’ve spent the past few days working on this piece and reflecting on all the path that got me to where I am today -- today, which, to be honest, doesn’t exist in any concrete terms for me.
Of course, generally speaking, I think everyone possesses and “existence” that is enigmatic in nature. We use that sense of mystery to strive to discover purpose or progress or a whole host of delightful words that mean so much to so many and add up to overwhelm … to send us into fits of joy and then withdrawal then amnesia and repetition …. such is the chaotic pattern I have been following quite consistently all my life. But my existence as some kind of societal “outlier” has made me fascinated by the fact that I should exist at all (those who are most familiar with me possibly understand what I mean in that phrase). Furthermore, the asymptote of my increasing awareness of how and why I am here grants me a sort of freedom of spirit, and in that freedom, I find myself continuously lost. I think of the “happiness of rebellion” that Kahlil Gibran references in Broken Wings:
“Many a time, since that night, I have thought of the spiritual law which made Selma prefer death to life, and many a time I have made a comparison between noble sacrifice and happiness of rebellion to find out which one is nobler and more beautiful; but until now I have distilled only one truth out of the whole matter, and this truth is sincerity, which makes all our deeds beautiful and honorable. And this sincerity was in Selma Karamy.”
OOoooOOOoooooh, regarding sincerity….. Authenticity….. Genuineness. To my knowledge, the trouble with existing lies not within existence, but in existing without genuine intent and motivation. I recently got the privilege of reading one of Jeff’s papers (or rather, his thesis!) which discussed authenticity in the context of leadership as a solution to racial tension. I hope one day you’ll be reading his books and attending his lectures … or maybe you’ll be lucky enough to work with him, as I have been!
Time & Space (making an appearance again!)~
I don’t know if I’ve shed childhood or grown into it, or if the nature of our social world completely eliminated linear development, shortened the learning curve, etc. The more I learn, the less I know, as the saying goes …. but I know something has changed recently, and done so at an advanced rate. I used to feel such an intense, naive anxiety towards things. It continues to gnaw at my nerves every so often (some days much worse than others), but not to the degree that I should be defined by those feelings. I recognize those feelings by re-reading what I had written alongside my Erykah Badu piece a couple months back … in the same deep breath, I recognize a remedy in some of the poems I’ve kept. Writing about atmospheric textures and nearness to people and the world as I understand it through touch and movement…. it’s finding authentic nearness, engaging in your environment, collecting your experiences as though they were assets, but also enjoying them and recognizing the extent of how priceless they truly are.
It is now that I’m not afraid to mention that it is distance which has always scared me the most…..
Distance takes many forms. It exists around us, as well as within us. It physically keeps us from the ones we love, no matter how present they remain as the commas to our thoughts. At the same time, I find myself loving it, for within distance, I recognize shelter. I am grateful that all distances encompass places and people and ideas that I love.
If you’ve been following my writing, you’ll notice I quote Kahlil Gibran a lot …...you’ll also recognize that I post this one alongside most of my pieces ….. I bring it up in conversation …. it stirs so so so much curiosity within me whenever I take a moment to pause, wandering through the words and their meaning:
“And ere my soul spoke to me, I imagined the past as an epoch that never returned, and the Future as one that could never be reached. Now I realize that the present moment contains all the time and within it is all that can be hoped for, done and realized.
My soul preached to me exhorting me not to limit space by saying, ‘Here, there, and yonder.' Ere my soul preached to me, I felt that wherever I walked was far from any other space. Now I realize that wherever I am contains all places; and the distance I walk embraces all distances.”
I think the people in my life at this very moment (like Jeff!) are helping me not necessarily overcome my fear of distance, but to do what people do with their fears …. and that is, manage them a little better, haha My heart still gets tangled up while skydiving out of my chest over seemingly irrational things … things I still don’t talk about with people because that’s even more scary … but I’m learning to manage and occasionally to share … always learning…
Speaking of …..
So … what happened here?
I LEARNED HOW TO USE PASTELS … that’s what!
Or rather, I’m in the process of learning. You might notice that the colors in this piece are a little more vibrant and distinct than the last three portraits I’ve done. I discovered a new technique with this piece … and I also used both of my hands, which contributed to the speed in which it got accomplished! Now Jeffrey is free to claim responsibility for my skills by exclaiming, “I taught Moira how to use pastels!” whenever he feels like it.
People have been asking me if I’m going to try painting again soon, and … in all honesty, I don’t know. I have physically tried and noticed some improvement, but the pain and the adjustments I need to make (now that I’m ambidextrous … whuuut … I’m also diagnosed with double-jointed elbows = not good!) still take away from the experience. I’m enjoying pastels, though. Interestingly enough, this was a set given to me by a woman on the regional arts board that I’m a part of. I was initially a little reluctant to take them, but I’m so glad I did! There seems to be this clearly defined trail of people who’ve been milestones in my life and, every day, I reflect on all these experiences….how perfectly and consistently things have timed out, despite the uncertainty of time itself.
Back to the Guy with the mic ...
I met Jeff through the same mutual friend, Daniel, who also introduced me to my last subject, Sandra (aaaand….I’m pretty sure this won’t be the last of his friends that I steal/draw!). The cool thing about him is his consciousness … it’s so rare that I meet people who value the same experiences and interactions as I do. If I could have a narrator for my thoughts and for my worries and for my joys, Jeff is one potential candidate, haha One of my favorite conversations with him took place in preparation for Goody Night, just after we’d watched some documentary footage on a few vagabond-esque characters. We ended up exchanging parts of our life stories and came to a few conclusions about the definition of “convenience” … how “convenience” is not necessarily having “things” or having “comfort” … but could be defined as having the choice to be comfortable or to possess things....
And then I think my thoughts took a walk with his for awhile …. and maybe while his came back to reality, mine just kept going ….. distances further and further …...
And then he and Daniel tried to get me to talk on camera and my words poured out as clear as asdfghjkl;..........................
And I realize I have a huuuuge hurdle to overcome in my communication style. “Finding my voice” as I say time and time again. And maybe I need to overcome the fact that I have the tendency to be a broken record in these descriptions …. to “say things without really saying anything.” Even here, I’ve offered a fairly substantial quantity of stream of consciousness writing without actually getting to the point I wanted to make …. (that’s what stream of consciousness does though, haha)
I think this leaves my thoughts to be continued ……………….?
I think so!
Lastly, I want to thank Jeff for letting me draw him!! Part of the comfort in having him as a subject is the fact that I can write all of this and not be worried about saying too much or too little ….or really, worry about following any line of expectation here, haha At the same time, he’s been such an inspiration that his portrait wouldn’t be some randomly generated image (not that I do that often, of course).... it would mean something! His heart is magnificently huge and he opens it to so many people, including his wonderful fiance who I can tell means the absolute world to him and beyond!! I wanted to capture the space in his heart … which incidentally manifests in the vast expanse of joy in his smile.
(Last Updated: February 2nd, 2013)|
I suffer the joys of being trapped in a constant state of wonder. I'm always trying new mediums and evolving my philosophy on life; create, learn, repeat. I love that which I don't understand -- be it language and music, thoughts, ideas, math & science, etc.... foreign cultures fascinate me. As do sharks (for whatever reason).
I adore the DA community and the conversations that I get to have around here. I'm overly-zealous and hideously sentimental, etc. etc.
My art is what it wants to be. I consider myself a surrealist/psychedelic artist at heart, but I dabble in a little of everything. Feel free to contact me if you have questions about my creative services or life itself~!