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 will always be you. I know this because you stir my heart like no other. Because in all my works of art, you are my fuel, you are the air I am breathing, and maybe I am the fool for loving you so very much, as I do, but how can one refrain from what compels him so? It's that between time and space, I still feel you, among the many, there is no hiding the real you from me, your eyes are still those lovely ones I know and beyond that measure my heart for you still grows. In words of yours, I can hear your song, and even now I can write and speak of you in such a way all the day is long. When we meet in the meadow, and I feel our souls touch, it's all I ever wanted, ever needed, and it's always just enough. I know it's you because for you I always choose to be patient and kind, to listen and heed to your wise advice. You're my mirror, my reflection, my love, and my resurrection. No matter how little the words I can gainfully employ to describe all that you are, you are more than the ever present sunset, you are my star.
That being said, let us dreamshift.
This year I have found myself. I sacrificed all that I had in order to do so, and with the love, kindness, and support of others, I was able to survive what the universe deemed necessary to find me bowing before its greatness. What i have discovered in the great expanse of all there is out there and within here, is a great and single truth:
The universe shall provide.
It may drag you kicking and screaming, undergoing tedious scenarios that inspire ample doubt in the plans of the universe, but always, always, always, everything you are going through is a part of something bigger than you, and you are so very important, as tiny and fragile as you are, so that the whole ordeal may be seen through. Whether you are living or dying, you being here to experience at all is just as important as an ant making its way or a star twinkling high in the beyond of which we dream upon.
Surrender to it. Believe in it. Trust it. It is why you are here and that deserves respect.
Now lets dreamshift again.
Here I am, with immense peace of mind, humbled by the universe, having a new respect for all that I am, all that i am apart of, and my individual place in everything, accepting that we are all of this status, in this way we are created equal, our bodies are each a temple built in honor of the great machine of the universe at work. It is our duty to honor the temple by taking great care of it.
The rest of my life will be dedicated to showing that appreciation for the vessel i have been given.
See you next year Feelgood Fans. I love you and thank you for your support. <3
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.
The summer was unlike any other and I embraced every moment I could to rise above everything I ever was so that I might become something more. In my adventures I lost friends, gained friends, closed doors, opened doors, and reflecting upon all of that it is clear to see that those experiences were hardly just a summer thing but an ongoing facet of our life experience that one must learn to adapt to.
For a long time I put my love for painting down to the wayside, giving myself to other parts of life that would be offered and when I did, while much of it was entertaining, I found a ever present feeling of emptiness in my heart. Recently, in my last few days, I have spent time with my good friend Justin James Hanrahan, an Austin musician, in his drum studio experimenting with a new way to create art. While he practices on his drum set and occasionally on keyboard, I work on a new painting. It's an incredible experience in that the music fuels my creativity almost dictating the next direction the painting might go. It is such a high, in that moment, where everything else in the world disappears and i'm both lost and found in an amazing grace of pure creation.
It does help that I found my muse. I never really had one before. Many people ask me what my inspiration has been for my work. For years I never really had any one thing that inspired me other than just how I saw the world, my place in it, expressing my perspective of that place, and perhaps characters along the way. Suddenly with a muse and this wonderful new way to paint, I feel so excited and alive, like never before. I feel this sort of I dont care about anything else but getting out of my heart what is in it and onto canvas. The feeling is relentless and I could do it all day, everyday, forever on end.
Its hard to describe what its like to have a muse and what that means to an artist. It's kind of like being alive tens upon thousands of years ago, hungry, lost, and cold, and suddenly finding a campfire with food prepared and a nice place to rest one's head after years of struggle. There is this sort of curious feeling with having this experience that one does not see or feel at first. The fire is so warm and inviting, the food tastes so good and the bedding is as if a cloud had been hunted down from the sky to be laid upon. These wonderful things are so dearly cherished as they have never been seen before and only dreamed of, and even in those dreams it were only concepts of desire. Through the night as the stars dance above, the food has been eaten, the fire is not being fueled and the cold is creeping in. What is rest then? Suddenly, an overwhelming feeling washes over and one looks about for kindling and fuel to add to the fire, longing for it s enchanting warmth to continue on. This could go on for ever, assuming there were enough vegetation and/or animals to resource for food to cook, and so on, yet with the passing days as the forest the kindly home was made in has slowly become something of an open field, and one looks upon the fire seeing it is no longer the dream that was dreamed of, but a fire that has become one's own. It is no longer the same, it has become changed, tainted, and with that, the entire forest poisoned with an impossible dream. There is nothing left to do when there are no more trees to cut down, no more food to eat, and the fire which was once so surreal and full of life becomes little more than a memory of a dream that once was. There is little to do but pick yourself up and go on, see what else there is that could be out there.
What I take away from that is there is so much beauty in the world. There was beauty in the travelers struggle, there was beauty in the oasis that was found, there was beauty in the lesson learned, and finally there is beauty in the possibility that despite potential hardship more dreams could be seen, had, and enjoyed. While there will never be a home like the first one found, that is no reason to never leave its resting ashes in search of what dreams may come. Its indeed a sign that dreams are more in the waiting.
Somehow, I've been so lucky to stumble upon this warm, kind, and gentle little campsite and now that I've laid my head down with tummy full, I dream it will always be so. The flames whisper in cooing echoes to me that the place I call home is the lucky one, for whom else would cherish it so? I never stopped to think that this place was made by someone else, perhaps for someone else, or destined by the universe for another, yet here I am in love with the moment as if it were all my own.
How I love to create... what greater joy than to do so?
The east side of Austin. Built upon the rubble of a rumored flag toting gang land, a hipster colony arose and defiantly segregated itself from the supercommercial imports and condo farming fun places of west side. Now, I don't wanna sound like i'm writing a tour guide's version of 'The Outsider's' but trends and hotspots move around as much as people do. Austin , much like techonology in the world, is growing faster than anyone can manage it. Where Rainey stole Dirty's thunder, and West 6th kept it's deep pockets despite trend storms, Rainey is falling victim to it's final tides now and a new scene is emerging where minority subculture empires flourished. You'll find a number of new venues opening up all over east side, many owned by bar/venue owners from west side, they took notice of a virtually untapped market, and believe me, they will tap it. Get those $2 or $3 drinks any day of the week while you can :) Now that i've indulged in sharing these secrets with you, let's get specific. What's cool about east side: You can talk to people. West side is all about, "ooh look what i've got and what clothes i'm wearing, and hrmagrjlkangnrkk;a" versus east side wear their sense of fashion seems to be kind of so subculture it can hardly be called fashion, but the people there, are what makes east side cool. Everyone is approachable and has interesting things to talk about. it reminds me of what Austin was about when 'Keep Austin Weird' actually meant something.
One night, a close friend of mine, the ever talented musician, Justin James Hanrahan, took me on an adventure to the east side, a place I had not really paid much mind too for a very long time. We probably hit 7 or 8 bars that night, met tons of people, and had a great time. The night ended seated at a picnic table with some people we acquired a few bars back, where we indulging in the splendors that come from Crazy Ricky's Dawg House. Who ever thought to put fried egg on anything is a fucking genius. If you've had drinks or not, order the bacon, fried egg, cheeseburger and know it's worth whatever heart problems you'll face later in life. I promise you.
I started playing around in my studio again after somewhat of a sabbatical. This painting among a handful of others were birthed and I felt the joy of what it is to create once more. I was planning an art show to be late this August, but suddenly decided against it. I doubt I will have one until next year. If I do it will be a private invite sort of thing as I prefer exclusive events over those which are mass populated. As an artist, it's important that I get to know the people who wish to take my work home with them, that we share a common value for what I have created and expressed.
Lately, I have been really diving back into my memory banks and exploring everything and everyone I was in my life. It's important to be consciously aware of one's past so one may know what not to return to as well as find inspiration for becoming more than one was ever before. In doing so, I've discovered a slew of concepts worth expressing and you'll see that coming out for my 2014 series release.
On an ending note, I'd like to give a shout out to all those who discovered their passions and courageously embrace them. Most people just settle for whatever is on television.