What do we need the most for 2021? As an artist, problems are generally straight forward - You grapple with an idea, you connect it somehow to a medium you're comfortable with or feel like experimenting with - And you go for it. But a year like 2020 throws all bets aside, and crumbles all our plans...
It’s been a little while since I’ve posted any art videos, and it was simply too heart-compelling to let such an intense year go by and not reach out with my own, another set of hands joining in the upcoming challenges facing us, all you my brothers and sisters, us as a real and genuine family who’ve been erroneously taught for eons, that we are separate from each other.
For me, 2020 actually really started in 2015, when my dad died. Or was in 2010, when my mom died?
Or was it when my beautiful creative intelligent and most cherished sister, Jeanette, died in 2000?
Or does Chaos and Cruel Uncertainty have a starting point? Is a child trapped in second grade, confused and lonely, uncertain of reward and punishment, their imaginations suffocated - Would I trade my worst day of 2020, for even one minute of grade school?
In 2015 I had to travel extensively to help my family with Estate chores, and that took me away from my artistic home, New Mexico, and began a journey that I first thought was just to wrap up the bizarre materialistic details of a dad dying and helping my siblings with the estate stuff.
I didn’t think that a Spiritual Journey had begun, which would take me on personal journeys of tribulation with family, twists and turns in relationships, my studio being packed away into storage, lunging emotionally out into space for any tether to reconnect me to the meaning of my mom who had died, my dad who had died, my sister Jeanette who died, discovering the world of rescuing abandoned dogs, seeing parts of the country that before were only rumors and opinions at college cafes, learning about Yoga and it really being a spiritual practice, learning about my blindnesses with Politics, with Social Media, with romantic love, and ultimately, back to my artwork and, what is meaningful in our lives.
2020 hit me the most in my heart, thinking about all the people who we don’t hear about who are suffering, who have died, the families of local businesses who are suddenly without income, the elderly in nursing homes and care facilities who were suddenly without the closeness of their family and their own loved ones. Knowing in my mind that as battles of political opinions raged on, children were beginning to go hungry and have their social lives and summers and holidays become a type of chaos I couldn’t even begin to understand.
This was the first year of my life as an artist that I felt completely powerless, in the midst of this chaos, to understand, at least with my mind, what was happening in a way that my artistic mind could process, could see. Could even feel, so I could at least move paint in some abstract way to capture a meaningful and maybe, a hopeful scene of colors.
On December 21, while I was doing my night gig, for the first moment, a small flash of an idea came into my mind. I know now that it came from some other place, what I consider the source from which all benevolant uncertainties arise, that place where everyone who’s creative draws their inspiration from. Because of times so desolate as 2020, you know that something has been given to you from this space, because you know to the core of your shivering skin and bones, how much you had ached for it, and had been truly, without it.
And the flash was very simple, very quick, like a little light going off inside me, and I just saw the notion of a hand and a heart.
That’s when I knew that this void had begun being filled, with even something as possibly insignificant as a notion, a tiny sketch - But immediately, my heart warmed and I knew I had a painting to make for it.
This is called Giving and Receiving Love, because Love is something that we just don’t get, and we just don’t give - It’s something that flows through us, something that we cultivate and nurture, maybe like a garden? Lots of thoughts have come to me and played themselves out in my head about meanings while painting “Giving and Receiving Love,” but I’m an artist, and words sometimes fall, and fail, in light of our visions.
Your visions. All our brothers and sisters visions.
At first I thought this was a personal answer to “what would I make for my friends for Christmas of 2020.” It was after beginning to make it, to paint it, that I realized it was a clue for how to begin 2021.
With Love. Capital “L” Love. Cosmic Love. That Source of All Benevolent Manifested Uncertainties, Love.
Dwelling on not only getting, but beyond getting. Transforming ourselves from the idea of ‘get,’ like just being lucky at road scores or sweet deals, to actually conscientiously allowing ourselves to receive Love. To melt our better-thans and Holier-Thous and receive Love from the Cosmic Source like a flower receives sunlight. How a flower rests between the certain death of drought, and the certain death of deluge - Perfectly in willful ease of receiving Light.
And through this receiving, Giving.
Happy 2021, may my thoughts continue to be with you, as I hope yours are with me, and as we all may be for, and with, each other.
With much love, and looking forward to every day with you, my brother and my sister.