16"x20" acrylic on canvas.
Finally -- the missing link! I've had the piece on the back burner for almost a year now -- it's gone through various changes since June 2013 and like a rolling stone, gathered lot's of metaphorical moss. The fact that this took so long can be attributed to me painting over it a few dozen times, I'm sure, and yes -- I've definitely got a lot to say about it. Bear with me as I write some things out, hopefully in skimming, a few ideas might resonate with you! (I'll put main points in bold here!)
The conference -- people's prejudices.
Peace in the face of chaos.
Strange fruit -- looming tension, again.
Association with chaos. On prejudice:
The story I was going to share when I really got into painting this is one that I probably shouldn't share so soon. However, a few months back, I came across someone who really got my blood boiling with her seeming inability to emerge from an ignorant mindset and emotional instability. And granted, I was there to listen and consoled her when she burst in to tears, but maaaan.... in twenty-four hours she fostered some trouble that really didn't need to take place!
Anyway, this person made some statements about a few friends of mine that I could just tell were fueled by prejudice, and, without going into details, it hurt. It hurt on so many levels and opened my eyes to this distinct world I never really saw myself as a part of. The realization that she was comfortable displaying this negative behavior in front of me was a little hard to wrap my head around as well....
One specific thing that stuck with me was the statement, "I wasn't raised like them
She didn't know them!And
she didn't know me.
Ultimately, the whole ordeal made me contemplate self-control and judgment. I think this painting took a rather intriguing turn at the time, as this was the peak of my inspiration~~On language:
The difference between this (Bill Cosby Does It Again!
And this (the actual transcript of his speech):www.rci.rutgers.edu/~schochet/…
The first link is what I saw somebody share a few months back, and in all honesty, it upset me. It upset me first because I felt that the person who shared it didn't have a valid reason to do so. Then, as I read what Cosby had allegedly stated, the hairs on my neck started to bristle. Fortunately, as you'll see in the second link, a lot of the statements were taken far out of context and layed out in a way that was provactive.... But regardless, it still got me thinking. Specifically, I thought about language and education.
A few weeks later I woke up in what I call an e. e. Cummings state of mind ... I was thinking in disjointed but wonderful words and poetry, so I pulled out one of my mixed media books and started writing. Despite the fact that had time had passed, I was still a little bothered by "Bill Cosby Does It Again!" and this daunting double-standard of language I'd uncovered.
e. e. Cummings defiled the English language in his writing, and it was in a way that I am fondly appreciative of. As Pablo Picasso famously stated, "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist." Cummings certainly must have been a proponent of this philosophy; he attended school and taught at Harvard University, garnering much respect and criticism for his eclectic style of writing.I personally love the sound of colloquial talk; heavy dialects that butter the bread of sentence structure and accents that playfully tug at a consonant's identity ...
What's really surprised me lately is the predominantly negative attitude people have towards linguistic distinction, and it arises on all parts of the spectrum. And I guess, where do we make the decision that one method of speaking is more "right" than another? What is the distinction between Harvard professor who dissects language and the street rapper who builds his or her own?
Those were two small scenarios that fueled the fire for this piece nearing the final days of completion. Obviously, this isn't one of my best paintings (technically speaking), but it allowed me to get a lot out of my system in the time it took be created.
This is another piece inspired partly by music; youtu.be/h4ZyuULy9zs
Strange Fruit is one of the most haunting melodies you'll ever hear and it definitely had an influence on my emotional state throughout this process.
I try to mix elements of both calm and calamity together in my work, and depending on the audience and the day, sometimes one mood can manifest stronger than the other.
Progression since June 2013: