Art Mirrors Life: Subconscious Reflections of Change
When I look back over the past few years since the accident (May 2018), I realize that the evolution of my painting styles reflect the phases and emotional states I moved through while acclimating to my new life in a wheelchair.
Sounds obvious. But it wasn't to me, as I had never painted before... stick figures maybe, but that was it. All I have ever done was - and is - paint the coolest things that come to mind, of the hundreds of ideas and visions I have every day.
I won't bore you with all the details, but here's how it shakes out.
Phase 1 - September 2018-February 2020 - Experimentation: Click to view work
Talk about being thrown into the deep end. I needed to figure out how to live at home - that had to undergo extensive modifications - instead of a structured rehab center... sleep, eat, dress, bathe, watch TV without a remote (Alexa), open and close doors and drawers, go to social gathers, etc. Everything was trial and error.
When it came to painting, art followed life, so I experimented with all different types of abstract painting styles and how paint could be used on canvases. From pouring it, to flinging it onto canvases using a wooden stick, to dry and wet brushing, color combinations, paint mixing, what types of brushes to use..... whew.... everything I could. And my appetite for progress was insatiable, in every aspect.
Phase 2 - March 2020 - December 2021 - Joyful Chaos: Click to view work
Once I became comfortable, Covid hit and it was decided that we would move to another house. Lots of excitement and joy, opening up new avenues, opportunities and adventures. But at the same time, very chaotic. I had to learn how to live in another house, endure renovations and get comfortable. I built an amazing studio and gallery, and the future was bright and colorful.
When Covid came around in March, I decided that I needed my own style. I had previously been paying homage to the great abstract artists, but moving forward, didn't want my work to be derivative in any way. So I pivoted and began incorporating my love of complex systems including archeology, music, symbology and ancient languages, coupled with inspiration from the basic tenets of Chaos Theory, into my designs - in both obvious and subliminal ways. Add using semi-gloss latex applied to the canvas using squirt bottles that I could grip better than a brush, and my work came to life. Happy and filled with joyful expectation, the work was also extremely vivid.
Phase 3 - January 2022 to the Present - Structure & More Experimentation: Click to view work
Life changes at the drop of a hat - as I well know - and I went through a divorce in the latter half of 2021 through summer 2022. Big, unsettling changes that resulted in my living alone at the house until it was sold. Almost moved to Florida, dealing with buying a place sight unseen, moving logistics, getting a whole new support and health eco-system, new insurance... all with the underlying uneasiness of moving to a new place with no friends... and leaving my mother, sister and family, and terrific friends behind. Add in a few key medical issues and it was chaos, and not the kind I enjoyed. So I became the most organized I'd ever been, but lacked that joy and passion.
I moved to an apartment a few miles away and am still getting used to living alone, jumping through hoops to get things in order, etc. But in a good place, and ready for anything and everything.
My art is now very structured and little by little, I am experimenting and evolving. What's interesting - to me at least - is that I, mostly subconsciously, embed a wide range of positive symbols into the work: spirit of life, yin / yang, strength, heart of the warrior, fertility, circle of life, sun / earth / astronomy / astrology, infinity, music notes and more. There is less color but I am slowly bringing it back.
Maybe a little deeper than expected, but that's the essence of my art. Hope you enjoy it.