Dance is a celebration of life, and sometimes a celebration for the next life. Dance is the cultural provision for joy. We should all celebrate the good of life, rather than highlight death, destruction, social anarchy and uncivil behavior — that’s the job of the news media. Dance is always a good thing unless under the influence of some bad drugs or mojo. Are their any societies without it?
Depressed people need to dance. Sick people need to dance. Dance invigorates, and it pumps us up. So get of your duffs and dance. Find a song to inspire you if you don’t have the music in you.
Music was important to many people in my family, though I don’t remember them dancing at all. My mother, especially, was big into musicals, and I’m not sure when but by the time I was 6, I had seen all types of groups and musical, including Up with People. You may not be old enough to remember that, but I think dance can excite you, throughout your years. That’s where I remember first seeing a group dance.
Today, hip hop continues the crazed dance moves, though there are plenty of other talented dancers working broadway shows and even in Vegas, baby. Whether it be Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” moves, or something more akin to hopping about like your pants are on fire. Keep moving.
The piece was like a dream for me. I saw it when I awoke and it took a few attempts to get the essence down. Hard to picture dance, as movement continues, long after your first blink.
Captured by Neptune
I have been working in a dead-end job for some years. It feels like I’m tied up, caught in a net. But the real ropes in life are the decisions you make. I made decisions that have tied me up. They’re like a pile of rocks you place on yourself. Each decision piles on another stone of weight and forces you into one location, one place, and one destiny.
To break free of that, you have to chip at the rocks one by one.
This piece was designed to capture two locations worlds apart. They represent two paths of thought and decision-making. One was my family choices: choosing the wife, having the kids. I sometimes regret those choices, but I suppose that’s selfish.
The second path was the one I choose in my career. The lack of technical skills I learned in college have left me thinking about what I should have done. But the career I have is the type that provide no growth potential — except for what I can learn on my own. So today I spent most of the day learning new Adobe products for different purposes.
The combination of family choices and career choice have left me tied up between the world of work and the world of family. If I leave one, the world implodes; and if I leave the other they both implode. Requires some tricky walking this path of mine. Though the art is merely the combining of pictures, the face and for is of my personage. Someone asked me for a self-portrait, so this I suppose is it. Maybe the chipping is working; maybe there is a light at the end of the trident!
The Roots of Pain
I called this picture “the roots of pain” because of an emotional, draining weekend. I experienced this recently, and justified it because of the weather. As many of you know I live in California, Southern California to be exact, where it is supposed to be sunny, but this year it has been quite rainy, and the long overcast conditions got over on me.
You may know my daughter was buried last year. A wife and I visited the cemetery both on Thursday and Saturday, and the sky was overcast and dreary both days. On Thursday there was someone being memorialized at her feet. Now the strip in the cemetery was once a road, and so they’re now planting recently deceased people up and down this road. So all of the plots have either a headstone or a little plaque for where the headstone will go.
I was thinking as I was working on this piece about how I felt, standing there with all these folks who have died, many who have died from cancer and other diseases or were taken through acts of stupidity like my daughter. And around us them are these old trees, with the roots reaching down holding them up, keep themselves alive, and I thought of the irony of the situation. I mean this is my daughter, and she should be springing up not buried.
So near my daughter’s location are these 4 oak tree with these huge root systems reaching down into this pathway where all these people are now being buried. There you see squirrels scrambling around looking for nuts. They live in those trees, and they are part of nature, but these coffins are crowding the roots of these trees in such a perverse, unnatural way.
So at this moment of my weekend an emotional oppressiveness passed through me, and I was later working on this piece, I created that line stretching across the painting’s length, representing the slice through my soul. It looks kind of like a razor to me, but the idea was it slicing or the living from the dead.
The woman with the hat represents my daughter; it looks like she’s speaking, yelling more likely. Her head full of ideas, color and expressiveness. But then I realized, she’s dead so she can’t be speaking. I’m the one speaking. I’m groping for her voice and her ideas and her expressiveness, even the drama she revilled in.
Yet my thoughts are earthbound, as my soul envelops the emptiness of my heart looking for that space to be filled again. But I am remiss in forgetting that life has a future, and endlessness, an eternity to be experienced, when the physical returns to the dust, and the spiritual is completely set free. So after all it is her spirit I miss, not her body, not her flesh and bones. It’s like as human beings were bifurcated in our thinking: but the true life is what’s on the other side. What we have here is just the roots of pain, and those are the things we will rejoice over leaving behind.