Cracking the Odometer
Normally I don’t put a lot of stock in my own birthdays. Something in me, at this age, says “just another day”. Once you have kids your focus in life changes. This year my birthday saw me turn 39. Since people put so much emphasis on turning 40 I figured this year I’d roll the odometer back.
Naturally I can’t get younger. No matter how you slice it or how many pacts you attempt to make with the Dark Old Ones you just keep getting older (Cthulhu drives one hell of a hard bargain, btw. Plus he’s a total liar). Frankly, at this point in my life I’m actually pretty happy with myself. Having had a personal rediscovery of sorts in the last year. If you’ve been following along with my ramblings you know that I’m working to redifine my work a bit. I like what I do, but I feel like it needs something more. Something of that spark I had when I was younger. I wasn’t afraid to reach into my imagination and pull out all the odds and ends and put them down on paper and canvas. I enjoy doing the work I do. I enjoy creating portraits of city streets and urban settings. I enjoy juxtaposing the figures and exploring their relations to each other. I feel like there’s really something that needs to be said there and I’ll keep working toward my goals in that vein. I’ve managed to pick up a fair bit of commissioned work that’s due for the holidays. It’s all pretty representational stuff and I’m really looking forward to diving into each piece. It’s just that lately I’ve been wanting to get a taste of that imaginative spark. I don’t produce much emotive work. If you look at my paintings close-up you can see the emotion and energy in the brushwork and the intense colors, but the subject matter remains pretty neutral. So as an exercise I’ve been indulging my Id a bit and letting the little pictures that get stuck going round and round in my head out more often. I’ve got sketchbooks full of them. Some are grotesque (example below)and some are darkly beautiful. I may as time goes by post more.
So I suppose, in essence, I’m not really rolling back the odometer of my years. I’m letting the part of me that wasn’t afraid to be off-kilter, or “wrong”, or un-PC, or just plain silly back into my studio. Over the years you can get comfortable in a thing. Sometimes it pays to be a little uncomfortable to remind you who you are.
So here’s my latest… I’m calling it Rabbit Proof Fence (shown at top). For those of you who’ve read Richard Adams’, “Watership Down” (a personal fav) you’ll recognize the character as the Black Rabbit of Inle. The Grim Reaper for rabbits. Don’t get it? Read the book. You’ll love it. If you check by his feet you’ll see my little memento moris. An acknowledgement of his purpose and my own mortality which becomes more apparent with each passing day. I’m OK with that.
Find the spark. Remind yourself who you were and what you liked about that person. See if any of that’s relevant to your current state of mind. If it makes sense (even a little bit) let some of it back in.