“By an error repeated throughout the ages, truth becoming a law or a faith, places obstacles in the way of knowledge. Method, which is in its very substance ignorance, encloses truth within a vicious circle. We should break such a circle, not by seeking knowledge, but by discovering the cause of ignorance.” (Lee)
It's fair to say that I've lost the most in my lifetime in 2019. Between the death of my Dad, my departure from a six-figure career, and my disappointing exit from welding school, the scales of this year have been overwhelmed by loss. My former company is struggling. The country is slipping into recession and deep social division. I've lost 25 lbs.
For the first time in my lifetime, I'm considering protesting a sitting president while he rallies his hate troupe at a downtown arena. In the rain, amidst tens of thousands of supporters and fellow anti-Trumpists.
A year ago, I was struggling through drama at home and at the office, but both had a certain stability. My newly-purchased Trek Roscoe 8 was my passion, art was my escape, and life was relatively predictable, as my blogs from last year can attest.
A year later? Chaos and regression are the order.
But in the rubble of a burned-down life -- where I cling to a small semblance of survival and have more questions than answers about my future -- I've been offered the greatest, most valuable, most appropriate gift that I've ever been given: time.
For someone like me, time is an escalator ride moving too fast. I have more to do than time or financial resources to do it, the polar opposite of the last ten years of my professional success. And while the success of the last ten years erased many problems from my youth and set me up for the freedom of now, it doesn't come without sacrificing the future. I'm cannibalizing the resources of then for now, burning the wick of life at both ends.
Inviting ruin you know you could avoid is a scary prospect. Most just repeat what has worked previously. Surrender to the stranglehold of responsibility and duty, conform to the blueprints of the comfortable life. Reinvent yourself in the same way somewhere else similar and familiar. Repeat until balance is re-achieved.
However, when equilibrium is broken, it must be repaired.
Freedom has allowed me to dig into the artist that I became over the last ten years -- the pained, tortured, stressed, anxious, hopeful, scatterbrained, impatient, adventurous creator. Dedication to a 50 hour/week Corporate global job offered me bountiful financial and tangible resources to create, but little time to use for it. Rapid fire methods of creation became my outlet. Splatter art. Pour art. Resin art. Abstract art.
The rage and fluidity of my life became my method of expression.
I envied the artists that could sit down with a single painting for 10 or so hours, really put attention and heart into a piece; that kind of focus was unavailable to me, due to the time management challenges and work stresses that spilled into my personal life.
I lived to work, more than I worked to live.
Today, the opposite is true. I'm struggling for survival but productive, with nothing but creative time on my hands and a list of projects a lifetime long. I'm halfway through my first book in 4 years, even if it is just a gussied up inventory book of what I've made in my life. I have enough content for Vol 2, and plan to release it next year. It is the culmination of hundreds of hours of focus, and reflects attention to detail and discipline my previous life didn't allow me. It has led to an output few artists get to realize:
a cohesive story.
"Echoprism" covers the legacy of this artist across a life-long timeline ("a visual poem to Chris") -- not only my legacy, but the contained, capsulized remnants of all the genetic lines that went into the making of my brothers and I, as well as the different artistic versions of me throughout time - the cartoonist, the decorator, the designer and the heretic.
In my Serenity Gallery, I've gathered the works of my Great Uncle Lou. I never knew my Great Uncle Lou, only knew him from a distance. I can't summon an image of his face in my mind, but his style stuck with me. His breathtaking watercolor paintings. His underrated talent. His home with a ski-jump roof and stream of running water cut through the floor of his house. His line of artistic offspring that I was never close to (I have a couple of their works too). His blood is in my veins, his talent in my blueprint.
I am his distant echo, and also the keeper of his memory and legacy.
His art is now viewed through my prism, as one of the last remaining living from the family lines. His art was handed down to me for safekeeping - without titles, without helpful details, without the stories behind the work. There are few people left now that can tell Lou's story, and can provide the clarity I'm looking for. His hard work is tucked away in the dark, dusty portfolio of a man he never knew, his memory left to me to decipher.
His why has been mostly lost with time. I won't let his (or my Dad's) pattern of oblivion repeat with me.