Home of random thoughts, misguided musings, wicked words and the men who make them.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Sorceror Series: Journey through Self

The Sorceror Series: The Journey Begins in Reflection

One of my students asked me why artists draw or paint themselves. Underneath her question, I discovered as we continued the conversation, was a presumption that the artist who focuses on himself as the subject of his work is conceited. She was relating this to her boyfriend, also an artist and former student of mine who couldn't stop painting himself into his work. As I tell all my students and anyone who will listen, that all art-making for me is about Intention. Nothing is done arbitrarily but happy accidents and experimentation does occur. I explained to her that I paint myself as therapy, record keeping and construction. The bulk of my academic art instruction has been in predominately white institutions. Consequently most of my work that did not have as subject matter white people was always defined as an attempt to make a racial or social statement of some kind. My final year in undergrad I discovered that i had issues with being defined as the Black One. So I began writing short stories and doing Inkwash around 95 about this character. The Black One. During that time I had an awakening that got me off my ass and off to Grad school but I also realized that I was constructing a self based on others and otherness. I was so busy trying to understand what people thought about me I didn't know what I thought of myself. So after some time and my adventures in Grad school I put the Black One to rest and embraced a more sinister ideal for myself and in my art. Based on a vampire character that was also based on myself my artistic avatar became Darrke(pronounced Dark). Well after my brother jokingly pronounced the characters name as Darkie(a racial epithet) I decided to change the name to Abyss. Abyss was the wild side of me. The lord of excess. At the time I was bald and growing a nice goatee so he had these things. He wore all black and lived the nightlife. Drugs, music, booze.... anything that could be done to excess I heaped onto his shoulders in the search to discover myself and my limits. And he got real interesting. He also lead me to look at every character I had ever created as aspects or projections of my own persona. In High School I read a book by and about a woman who had Multiple Personality Disorder and it fascinated me. It even had me pursuing a degree in Pyschology until Art called me back. The book was called When Rabbit Howls or something like that and the author wrote the book in the various voices of her personalities. Rabbit being the first and most traumitized representation of her childhood where she was brutally molested. Rabbit could only articulate through howling her pain. This coupled with my love for the work of Michael Moorcock and his Eternal Champion caused me late in life(well in my late twenties) to begin giving creedance to my many voices and stages. Abyss was for me the first to be self aware. His narrative(in my drawings and paintings) began intersecting with my life in a strange way. And as the saying goes when you look into the Abyss the abyss looks back at you. Things got rough for Abyss, just like they got rough for The Black One and I needed a new intention. During Grad School I created a superhero(once again based on myself) named Elias Infinity. From that I constructed a whole cosmology of selves from my past creations. Abyss though dominant in my mind was an immature persona. He had to grow up. So he began transforming. First I felt he was the watcher aware of all the othe folks but detached. Until I wrote a story where the most prominent of them met. Then I decided to grow my hair. Elias at this time was bald like abyss but I couldn't let go of him. So after a ahem life changing trip(in the real world) to Amsterdam I created the concept of the Sorceror. The spectator as Jung would call him. This painting was the beginning of that journey. Abyss was changing into a warrior-magician traveler. But my and his obsession with looking back was hindering my moving forward in life. This paintng represents that change and began a series of paintings and drawings that have helped me, consumed me and recorded my life in the strangest ways through my thirties. As I continue walking through my creative process on my comic book I will also show these series of works that are the foundation of the story. So yes I am self-absorbed but I learned long ago that if you don't tell your story in your own words somebody else will tell your story in theirs and you may get fucked in the process or at least misunderstood. So I told my student I paint myself because I am the cheapest most available model and also because I do not presume anymore to know myself completely. I'm just discovering. And I 'm a story-teller and whose story am I most intimate with? Oh and I told a friend when i first shaved my head in 93 that I was showing humilty to God and that I would not grow my hair until I felt like I was becoming a man. I realized a few years ago it was time to be a man. But I still hold onto to my humility. Thats art reflecting life and life reflecting art.
Art is Doing. More to come.


Blogger SuperOceanLad said...

Keep it coming. I'm more intrigued by Elias, You, Abyss et al than morcock's eternal champions.

9:38 PM, January 30, 2006


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