Radio Silence

Don’t assume my silence isn’t because I am not working. On the contrary, I am in full speed mode. Not all activity is directly related to creating the actual work. Sometimes it’s all about business…which reminds me of 10 things I need to do this week still. I sent off 10 new images to get printed at poster scale. Why? Sometimes you need to get through work at a faster pace to feel more accomplished. The mural size work is satisfying in a different way, but also comes with some challenges. Materials are not infinite and so my anxiety raises when I see the pigments disappearing. After all, Sennelier is not available in Mexico. Nor is the acrylic matte varnish I use. It has required me to rethink the way I am doing things and revert in some respects to the technique I used when I lived here before. Next is just the sense that things are getting done. If a piece takes 3-4 days in the 2-3 weeks it takes to do one mural size…well you do the math. Lastly, sales have dropped to zero since I moved. Zero.

Part of that is momentum. It took a lot to get the sales started and it takes very little for them to stop. The last 3 weeks in US I was completing the trailer remodel for the new owners, closing the art studio, saying goodbye to friends, thrift shopping for suitcases and clothes, selling all my belongings, and more. Arriving here required a lot of rebuilding in the opposite direction. Small disasters in appliance shopping and unexpected expenses galore. I rented a room and decided it would not work so I gave 30 days notice, and as is common with my DF experiences, the landlord treated the deposit like an account for his vacation fund. No return and an stubborn attitude like I had insulted his very being by the suggestion. Always reminders that in humanity there is a thin line between ethics and criminal activity…it’s called law. The enforcement options are so varied in the US, but not so much here in Mexico or other parts of the world. That’s a different blog. The point is the road narrows.

So the images I printed should push me to the point at which I can invite the gallery director over to review the direction of my exhibition prep. I have a tryptic to tell another hero story (for lack of better explanation). THere are two mural size prints to scale up the queer saints. I am prepping to have several painting shipped from the gallery in the US back to me for inclusion in the show. Combined it’s a good start. But the focus of my show has shifted in theme and I think that is worth hashing out in writing for the first time. It all starts from a familiar point I began to explore over a year ago in California. Here is what I wrote at the start of the series.

“The history of LGBT people in the church is complex and hidden by cloaks of honorable mythologies. However, it is indisputable that in order to be deified by the courts one’s sexuality must be stripped as a part of their history. In this series I bring their stories as queer icons back to the front and state emphatically we have to celebrate all parts of the person. Regardless of sex, age, nationality, and or orientation, it is all parts of their being that elevate them to status of hero. There is beauty in complexity of the individual transcending any branding as saints by religious institutions.”

New tryptic image
New tryptic

What I am working on is an expansion of that idea in the context of religion and in a general historical sense. So not just the concept of creating a hero while removing his/her sexuality from the story, but we have all these honored people of history who were in the closet in some fashion. Hiding parts of themselves to avoid the conflict of people diminishing their value in the cultural conversation because of their sexuality. So here is the story I am working on with the tryptic right now and here is a story I am developing as well.

Secondary in the exhibition is a room painted all black that I am allowed to use. In this room I want to use the new series I have started that may sound familiar but I am approaching in a different manner. I am telling the story of desire by exposing the inner feelings of the individual with visual metaphor. I want to expose the flesh – literally – and use double exposures to show tension and evolution of desire. I want it to feel like we are reading their inner thoughts…exposing their private desire for love. Expressing the longing we all have, but from the individual.

Nude 2
Reworked this double exposure from the last version. I wanted to remove the emphasis of the penis which was so large and central it was hard to escape the narrative. I also created a twisted rope with the arms and legs so the figures will come together in the painting and fall apart like ghosts in other parts.

Lastly, I have started to invite other artists of different mediums to work in my space while I am working. I really miss the camaraderie of working in a shared studio building. There was privacy and the knowledge that other creative people were working all around you at the same time. Last night I invited a writer to work on the couch while I painted. It just made me feel more in the moment. I did not drift off into thought and it changed the atmosphere in the studio. The biggest issue outside of supplies for me is space. Using a dual purpose live work space is not easy. I get distracted. My space is a mess because of the process. I moved my tv into the bedroom so I could relax in a space where I am not working. It helps, but it is not perfect. This idea appeals to me. I don’t feel so alone. Really missing my community in Ventura at this moment.

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