Who am I? In this experience of consecutive moments strung together in a seemingly random collection of chaos and connection that we call life, and moreover, reality, we have with great intent and purpose, posed the question and with all that we are as living beings, consciously and subconsciously explored the definition and answer to that question.
Who am I? In the eyes of strangers to myself I have been known to be an intriguing, eccentric, profound mystery of a persona, an artist of many expressions, painting, writing, cinema, philosophy, and at the core, perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the character I am to them is my ability to be all of these things so effortlessly.
In the eyes of my friends and acquaintances, I am all of those things, yet they have a more clear and concise view of what drives me. They know me as a man who is careful, yet in love with chaos, a man who has a deep passion and respect for possibility, to such an extent that I invest in the potential in others so that they too might see the potential in themselves.
In the eyes of my lovers, I am thoughtful, generous, kind, compassionate, and exponentially patient.
To me, my greatest work of art has been, is at this moment and will be, god willing, for quite some time to come, my life as a human being. I did not always have ambitions to be an artist. When I was a boy, I wanted to be a geneticist. My Grandfather, a prominent doctor in Atlanta and graduated atomic physicist would share with me in my childhood, knowledge of quantum-electro dynamics and genetic coding, among many other fascinating subjects.
As I grew older I found an overwhelming need to connect with others, to be social. I found it difficult to relate to others as most of my peers were into sports and school agenda, while I was contemplating riddles of the universe and how everything interacts with everything else. I have painted hundreds of paintings, sold them all over the world, written countless poems, produced a handful of short films, authored a children’s book and novel, and hosted events to showcase all of my works throughout my time. Knowing all of this I feel what is important is not specifically what I’ve done or why I do what I do, but what it is that I find enjoyable in what it is about art and creating that I find beautiful.
Painting is to me as breathing is to you. I see everything as a painting; it is my way of expressing my perception of the world. I am married to it. There are times I am in love with it and when I am painting, it is as if my soul were making love to the art form itself. There are times I hate it because there is only so much it can offer me. As we all know, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
When I step out of my studio, put down the paintbrush and pick up a pen, I find my mistress. I cheat on my true love with the written word. While I feel guilt and shame in betraying what I love and respect so much, I do find in writing, a certain vulnerability, an emotional understanding, and most of all a way to create what colors cannot.
Much as a man would have a wife and perhaps a mistress, yet his passion were working on a hot rod or his sailboat in his spare time, this is how I feel about producing cinema. It is my secret passion. It is something I feel inferior in and yet love to do. When I have the time, I run with it the only way I know how. The beauty in my film work is hardly in its content, clever as it may be, but it’s the process in which I go about producing them that I love the most.
Who am I? People spend their entire lives searching for that answer and the truth is that there is no answer. All that is, is all we have, it’s what we make of it that counts. We are all artists in our own right, expressing how we feel about what we are perceiving and our place in the universe.
Constantly trying to identify and label everything. At the end of the day, at the end of this article, even at the end of this sentence, I really don’t care who I am, because I am anything I allow myself to be, which, for every aspect of the concept, is creation itself.
Love for all of you,
It's been almost two months since my last entry in here. I've been through so much that everyday feels like a year that passed. To write again, to write here, right here, feels like being held in my mother's arms after not seeing her for so very long.
Speaking of my mother, today is her birthday. Let's talk about my mother some.
She is a fascinating woman. When we first met, a doctor was pulling me out of her with a plunger (seriously ), where upon greeting the world, the doctor, and my mother, I took my first breath. Sometimes I wonder what her first thoughts when seeing me were. I might ask her that when i talk to her later today.
My mother did her best raising me, she loved and treasured me despite having an excruciating time trying to understand me. I recall one day returning from high school to hear her listening to one of my Led Zeppelin albums, which on this curiously unusual taste in her music selection prompted the question, "What made you want to listen to Led Zeppelin, mom?" She then responded, "I wanted to try to understand you better. i thought maybe if i listened to the music you like, it might give me some idea." I wished her luck with that and headed to my room. It is obviously impossible to truly understand anyone since we are all so ridiculously complex, not to mention constantly changing, yet over time I grew fond of that memory, for it is quite a treasure to have a mother who desired to attempt to do so.
My mother has not really had a great deal of money in her life but she's worked hard for the money she earned. She worked 2 jobs when i was in school and even though she couldn't afford to, she would and still does send me money on my birthdays and holidays that are gift oriented. I treasure that she does that more than the check she sends which feels like a dull rusty knife of guilt slowly tearing the flesh of my body as i cash it, because its just the thoughtfulness of a wonderful mother who would give like that.
Sometimes when i think of my mother, I want to give her the whole world. Every year, the older I get the more I love her and value that i have such a great mother. She doesn't live so close to me anymore. We used to live close by and have breakfast in the mornings and have long talks over coffee. There also times i feel like shit because i wish I spent more time with her while she lived close. There are times i feel like shit because now that she lives in Michigan, i don't call her as often as i feel like i should. That doesn't mean i don't think about her everyday or love her any less. Sometimes i daydream that i'll sell a couple paintings, enough to get ahead on bills, and fly up to her and surprise her with a big hug and we can have long talks and coffee like old times.
I miss my mother's face and the artful way she would listen to me when i would tell her what i had going on in my life or what kind of reckless, wild things any mother would not approve of. I've never been the type of person who could be told what to do, i'm more of a make a lot of mistakes but at least they were mine to make sort of person. i think she knew that because after i'd tell her something i did that i knew was hardly community oriented, she would say," and what do you think about that?" or "How do you feel about that?" which would then force me to take another look at myself, analyze and in so many ways, make me a better person.
More reasons why my mother is an incredible person: She holds to her conviction. When she says she is going do something, she fucking means it. She doesn't play games. At all. I'd say she was less stubborn and it's more that she just has a lot of backbone.
Also, while she has very strong opinions about things, she won't mention them unless asked and she is totally okay with other people having their own opinions. I don't know too many people like that.
My mother is incredible because she took a job that I honestly feel is beneath her but offered her the opportunity for transfer-ability so she could move up-country on a moments notice to take care of her mother ( my grandmother). I feel like this is an outstanding show of character. Most people put their folks in nursing homes and stop caring. My mother took this as an opportunity to get to know her mother and by doing so, learn more about her own self. She is like that, always learning and growing in each new experience.
It's valentine's day and every time I've had a lady-friend to celebrate the occasion with in my heart, i was always honoring my mother. The few times in my life I found someone I felt was of enough stature to be my girlfriend, she would advise me to live for that special someone and really appreciate that person. That's something I've gotten better at over the years, but life is a learning process, trial and error. I sometimes look back and wish I had been more kind in many conversations I've had with many people but all i can do is choose to be kind in all of my future ones. Time is cool like that.
I don't know if anyone could say if i'm a good or bad person, ( depends on who you ask, i'm sure. ) but i appreciate her eternally for, no matter what, always taking time out of her life to love me and think of me. I am her son and that means a lot to her. That may sound obvious, but sometimes saying that out loud or writing it down, there's a lot of weight to it. It's important to feel the magnitude of that.
Mom, if you happen to read this, i'm sorry i won't get to see you on your birthday. I hope by pouring my heart out about how much you mean to me, can in some way, compensate for my absence. I love you. You'll always be my valentine :)
PS. Feelgood Fans, if you're alive and able, tell your mother you love her, whether on good terms or not. At the end of the day, they're people too, just like me or you. It's good to be recognized for being who you are. Especially, I'd imagine, for being someone as important in life, as being a mother.
For my friend,
You rang through the hallows of times better seen,
I felt you from the shadows I come from,
and respect the light beyond the darkness that you so fondly dream.
Some footsteps we make are footsteps we repeat again,
It is okay to make mistakes as a man,
for what beach is not made of many grains of sand?
You fear that you hurt your lover,
you feel that you hurt your friend,
but they stood by you through weep and tire,
they'll be with you til the end.
Feel the strength you have
now that you see where you have been weak,
a humble man is a great man ,
and a man that good women seek.
What is too err if not to learn from?
and isn't that why we are all here?
what are we to become?
if not to face our inner fear?
I know you feel shame and sorrow,
but with all the love in my heart, my dear friend,
remember to believe in the hope of a better you, tomorrow.
As all great things come about in the patience of time, so it seems my post regarding Life Diet come into fruition, yet it is upon an experience that brings a sense of inspiration which compels me to share with all of you what thoughts and revelations were born.
Today I shared a favorite pastime of delighting in a spot of tea with my dear friend Rachel Biggs, a masseuse and profound person. As all of our conversations tend to go, they delve deep within ourselves and experiences to share groundbreaking, self evaluating, life changing epiphanies with each other that can do no less than inspire the other for more of said spiritual growth. Today's tea we discussed my recent endeavors and how far I have come in my experience since beginning my Life Diet. While it has been the best thing I have ever done and I have found great strength in it, I have come to a point of imbalance. My struggle lately has been to figure just what exactly is imbalanced, so that I may solve the core issue.
I know that I am happy. I have fun, socialize, enjoy every moment I am alive, create, share, love others, love myself, and yet all of these wonderful things aside, I have found a part of me that seems to diminish a little more each day.
Before my Life Diet revelation this summer, I had a great routine of waking up at 7:30am and hitting the gym. I would eat well (and healthy), do some work for the business I run, then hit the town at night. Until my Life Diet, there was a sense of emptiness in all of that. Curious enough, in my transition and re-evaluation of my life and what is important to me in the Life Diet process, my work-out routine and eating healthy seemed to fall to the wayside as creating and socializing with like-minded and positive compatriots seemed to become my top priority.
While it may seem to be quite obvious, as most obvious things often take state of obvious slightly after the case of consequence, I began to noticed that even though my happiness was at an all time high, my health was not. Then the question comes into play of sustainability. What is a life for living if a life not fully nurtured?
I've written before how you are your own best friend. You were there when you were born, you'll be there when you die, you know how you like to be touched, what movies you like to watch, foods you like to eat, what fears you may have, what makes you smile, and knowing that about someone, knowing such intimate personal details about someone, gives weight and great value to that friendship. A friendship that close means you would never do anything to hurt them, in fact you would go out of your way to protect them, to help them because you want them to have the most out of their life experience.
Let me advocate this point from another angle, in that the body is a temple, a castle, a home for the soul. Ideally, one would tend to their home or place of solace with great care, respect, and devotion. (Granted, I have seen many homes that certainly lack the aforementioned, please note that I began that sentence with, 'Ideally".) Without this temple, there is no great spirit to be housed or celebrated, and in basic, you're basically dead or dying.
Let's get even deeper. When I think of the person closest to me, who I think the most highly of, I think of my brother. I hold him in such high regard that I would sacrifice anything and everything to know he is well. My brother, in his infinite wisdom, knows better and would say (in different words but something of the kind) a man who sacrifices everything has nothing, while a man who takes care of himself, provides for himself, nurtures himself, has everything to give. Which goes back to the old saying, you cannot love another until you love your self. The prolific point of that statement is often misconceived in regards to find one's mate of matrimony or spouse, when in truth it means when you love yourself, it is such an eternal fountain of love that you cannot help but have enough for everything and everyone. It means you really and truly appreciate all that you are apart of in the miracle of the life experience.
Let's go back up for air. To harmonize a balance in your life, you must love yourself. In order to sustain that you must nurture that love by taking great care of the body that gets you around on the day to day. That means exercising, working out, or some sort of physical activity (regularly), in addition to eating right and eating well. It also means being responsible for yourself and your actions. It means not putting yourself in situations that might compromise your ability to have as many doors open to explore the next day as you did today, if not more. Tomorrow or maybe even 10 years from now, you may want something you never knew you wanted, and again, as obvious as it may seem, take care and be wise to allow yourself as much of a chance to be able to have that want and provide for it when the day comes. Your best friend will look out for you, i'm sure of it. That's what they're there for.
Until next time, keep up the great work in exploring yourself and your place in the universe. You're doing wonderful at it.
Enter the Theater of the Womb. Day two of Skyin with me on paintbrush, Justin James on drums, and special guest Jesse Hahn. The video below is approximately 30 minutes but if you can make it all the way through it, you can witness how our magic takes place, unfolds, and blossoms into something tangible and beautiful.
This piece was particularly hard to make for strange reasons that can only be described with feelings of which there are no words to describe, yet upon its creation, its meaning came to light and made perfect sense, thus its name, Theater of the Womb.
A year following my showcasing at what used to be a venue on Rainey Street in Austin, Tx, I finally met the son of Danny Huhn. Danny happened to be in town from Germany visiting the owner of White House, the venue I chose to showcase at for my winter collection in 2013. We met there on the porch over a cigarette and clicked in that way like minded friends do. She makes frequent trips here for various reasons and this time we were able to meet again, her son Jesse along for the visit. Jesse Hahn is a delightfully talented 16 year old pianist, who lives and breathes his art. One of the rare youth of his age who seems to have his mind in the right place.
Justin and I, have on a rare occasion, brought someone else in on our Skyin art form, which I explain as an experimental art form where painting and music are created through conversations with one another. It is always interesting to subject ourselves to the sounds of other musicians, just as old friends might let a stranger take part in their usual conversation. It was especially exciting in that this musician came from an entirely different country. Danny took the liberty of shooting a few clips with her smartphone, you can see one below.
'We Grow Together' was a piece I created a few weeks ago when I first started work with Justin James at his drum studio. We began to explore something neither of us an artists had done, seen, or even heard of before.
While he played his drumset, or keyboard ( sometimes at the same time ), the music fueled my paintings, and in perfect exchange, what I was painting fueled what he played. Then we discovered there could be a language between sound and color. In our discovery of both science and art, we began to have conversations through our art forms, with one another.
We gave it the name, 'Skyin'. It's levels beyond the technical showboating of Jazz, it goes beyond modern art abstractions, it's a collaboration of both music and painting, both gaining from one another, the product produced is the energy between the two while it's being created, not necessarily the music recorded for later listening or the painting when finished.
'We Grow Together' was painted in approximately 13 minutes, (the time lapse video shown below cuts your watching time down to 3 or 4 minutes, for your convenience) and is a wonderful example of how when we begin Skyin, there is no intent or idea initially, its just feeling what's out there, feeling the universe, going with it, embracing it, growing with it, acknowledging your gift from the universe and giving thanks, showing appreciation by using your gift in wonderful effortless gratitude. When you really feel thankful for how beautiful life is and how amazing it is that we're here to even feel all, creating has no rules, no boundaries, it's just you and the expression of creation.
When I look at what I created with the musical collaboration of Justin James in this painting, it depicts the essence of the individual's relationship with the universe and the grounded bond between the two and how they grow as one through that tie.
More vids, art, music, and discoveries to come.
Art is the reason for every moment. Live that.
I had a pupil of mine stop by for a session yesterday and we went over the points highlighted in my Art of Happiness article from several months ago. One of the parts he had difficulty with was loving himself. I felt, as I aim to progress sharing the concept of a Life Diet with all of you, that this is one of the key elements to being successful in the endeavor.
It's interesting to me that it could be such a difficult thing to love oneself. We all grow up in contrasting social developments and yet in them, we have one common veil that blinds us all. The only real way to grow as a spiritual being is to think and feel as the soul that you are. We must separate yourself from the idea of being a mere animal foxtrotting about with a material purpose and obligation to the benefit of others before ourselves. I realize that last part sounds a bit bold, but as a dear friend told me once upon an epiphany, "The best way to help others is to help yourself."
Let's dive into the construct of the veil that blinds us. There are two kinds of paradigms that should be noted first.
1. Those who attempt to desperately control their reality, which is an impossibility, thus futile and a negative.
2. Those who create their reality, which is encumbered by endless possibility, a positive.
The veil that blinds us in the trial of identity itself. When we are born we know only the love of our maker and beyond that, there is a constant battle of people vying for identifying us as extensions of their own ego.
Imagine being a guest in a new country. You don't know the language and everyone is dressed in outfits you've never seen before. They have cultural traditions that make no sense at all. All of them want you to be like them, wear their outfits, speak their tongue, and take part in the activities that make them feel as though they are one with something. That is you the moment you are born.
The best thing to do, as difficult as it is and insane to comprehend at first is to try to realize just how much you do not know, for example, you know just as much about what is going on inside of you as you do the strange and miraculous world around you.
The body is a machine. The mind is a computer. The soul is the operator. That was the hard part, the rest is easy. First of all, you have to disassociate the labels of the constructs in your memory data storage in order to begin the process of self-ratification, then, re-identify those pre-existing constructs with labels you identify with as your own.
Think back to when you saw your first circle. If this is difficult, fast forward to the first time someone identified that object as a circle. This person is responsible for defining how you think to this day.
Disassociate this memory. Forget that person and their label for that object. Call it whatever you wish, you may even call it a circle, but it is your label now, your construct.
Repeat this step for every single construct in your data core. Fundamental objects are like elements, they are constructs for complex real time parameters, just as elements are used to create complex compounds.
Unraveling this a bit further, understand what it means that your mind is a computer. It utilizes hardware, software, electricity, etc. When you disassociate your pre-existing labels you are free to see your mind at work and how every moment you are associating, referencing, labeling, filing, and documenting the world around you.
The goal now, is to isolate the various programs at work, they will be running simultaneously or triggered after certain circumstances. Isolate, identify, prioritize and execute new commands.
Take a moment now to soak all of that in. The universe doesn't understand labels. It isn't in its language. All it knows is beauty because the universe is a constant explosion of perfect moments becoming new perfect moments becoming new perfect moments becoming new perfect moments, etc.
Self love is accepting that you are another perfect moment of the universe, you are the universe, just as your nose is you, your toes are you, your eyes are you, your atoms are you, all of those are part of the universe. When you step in front of a mirror, pass by a window, or look over the side of a boat into ununscathed waters and to see your reflection, all you should see is the beauty of the universe at work.
When you see that, tell me, what's not to love?
Recently, in my pursuit of living my life through the steps I laid out in my earlier post, 'Art of Happiness', I have come to find that it can go so much deeper than merely the steps listed. Much like when you are in a dream and lock on to something, focusing on it, it doesn't ever stay that same construct you originally saw, it sort of evolves in slow motion, only to reiterate how everything around us in a constant state of change. All that aside, I'd like to introduce everyone to a philosophy and lifestyle remedy I have coined as, 'Life Diet'.
This is a powerful tool. It's almost so powerful that it's not for just anybody. It takes a serious amount of conviction and living with great intent. It means being able to know what is right for you (not the same as what society or anybody else dictates as to what is right for you) and being able to focus on positive things, people, and circumstances. What you may read in this post may not sit right with you, it may not be something you feel comfortable doing, but for people in your shoes there are wonderful institutions with rules you can follow to make you feel like you're accomplishing something with your existence put in place such as church, AA, and any other groups that harbor a secular identity and mantra to keep exclusivity appeal in order to fund infrastructure and administration costs. Those institutions are not bad things, and you're not bad for taking part in, supporting, or enjoying your time spent there. They're great for people who want something more out of life but aren't really sure what or where it is. Fortunately, I'm writing down, expressing into words, as clear and concise as I possibly can so that 1. I can better understand the journey I am on of taking my life experience to a new level and 2. Inspiring any one of you to become more than what you are in all your endeavors.
What is a Life Diet?
A Life Diet is much like a nutritional diet. While nutrition is a very important part of a good Life Diet, it is certainly not the only aspect. A Life Diet is basically the process of trimming out all or as many negative influences from your life as possible in order to maintain a positive state of progression and live the life that was originally meant for you. It is a multiple phase process that involves a great deal of courage in facing the unknown, yet when one realizes that we are always facing the unknown, it is the embracing it that makes us strong, and this is the essence of what a Life Diet can do for you. It allows you to allow yourself to be fully engaged in your life experience. Over the next few blog posts I will share in depth what you can do to implement this incredible purging process into your life and you will be forever transformed into the you that you have always dreamed that you could be.