Six years ago I lost my creative synapses and the use of my hands. My brain was downtrodden with pollution, physical intoxicants, to the point of consistent delerium. Slowly, very slowly, I began to lose everything, and the world closed into this tight heated cramped space of living. I had, in essence, become less of shell of myself, and my ultimate defeat and crash in 2009 left me burnt with nowhere to go. It was rock bottom.
Surely what cured me was to retrain myself in painting. I spent the next few years diligently retraining my hands to work again. A compass and a clear plastic ruler were my teachers. I spent 60 hours a week, consistently painting, isolating myself from the world in this dingy studio off of Kingsley and Santa Monica in Little Armenia… a slightly run down sector of East Hollywood in Los Angeles. The thought process was there, but I lived by the ruler and compass like a pair of crutches.
I have been afraid to leave those crutches, and in fairness, with my recent launch over the past few years and exposure through Disney, people have relied on that geometric aesthetic as a representation of what I do.
However in January, something happened. I was being filmed for this documentary called “Tie It Into My Hand” by Paul Festa. I was the 89th teacher in this film, and what I was teaching was incredibly ethereal in concept, but totally tangible in reality. In essence, I was to teach Paul, the violinist, how to play the violin concerto by Tchaikovsky, better. The thing is with me, and the for the most part the rest of the teachers, is that none of the teachers were violinists… they were artists in other fields. So in this documentary, I decided to use what I commonly am plagued with, which is synesthesia. Synesthesia is not common for sensory deficient people. For the most part, our brains make up what we cannot see or feel. Like tasting a headache, or smelling a temperature. … I’m very used to crossing these senses to get a glimpse of what you may see in color.
So in this film, I’m teaching paul to play a color that represents the emotional cortex of the piece. In essence, since this music piece is somewhat of a love/lust letter, I’m imagining that he should be feeling deep warm colors mixed in with high heat colors. I’m hearing him play, and when he’s losing momentum, the piece is beginning to feel cold… which could roughly translate into blues and turquoises… muted cools. So I’m asking him to play again until the color represents the piece for him, and the musical temperature represents the piece for me.
When Paul Festa left that night, I closed my door and sat down at my drafting table and peered out over the edge to the window, which was slightly aglow with the city lights muted against a deep dark night. My head was humming with things that I hadn’t felt in a long time. As if, my shell cracked, and my yolk was about to spill. I could feel the crackling in my form begin to happen… and this vastness in my head began to manifest itself. The narrow, hot, shallowness began to widen into white open coolness. It was at this point where I started to realize that something strange was about to happen.
The draft of No. 12 “Wake Up and Smell the Sound of Coffee” was the gateway into this series, and this was the initial gush of nonsense that first came out. It was as if an infinite number of light bulbs were popping like popcorn in my body. Lights glittering ablaze against the brick walls of my head. .. That is what I felt, and that is what I painted. This piece is a cityscape, infinite in form and population. Each window in this piece has a tiny story. There are valleys of words, and at the base, is the borderline of where the colors I used existed, and became an actual beings for the piece. I cannot tell you what colors I used, because there is absolutely NO structure to this piece to ever recreate this piece again.
In the face resides the editorial for the piece.
MAIN FACE EDITORIAL:
“FEBRUARY 12th, TWO THOUSAND AND TWELVE, LOS FELIZ VILLAGE, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
WARM PACIFIC WINTER, SIXTY THREE DEGREES, EAST HOLLYWOOD:
I’ve often wondered how people portrayed a depiction of an idea before the invention of the lightbulb. Did they use a candle, or a flaming big torch up above their head? How did people communicate a symbol of an idea? Possible I should have researched it before writing this, BUT that is the point of this. I fully come into this piece not knowing the origins of a depicted idea. All I know is what happened while creating this. You have to know that I require structure to create the lines, divide the color, and I feel safe as a blind person to hue to have structure to section off where things need to be. .. It is more therapeutic to have that. But THIS. THIS VERY PIECE is a lightbulb turned on after so many years of quiet darkness. The room is lit up and the space is beautiful. My head has become this city full of noise and sound, … and its so nice to have it.”
SIDE PANEL EDITORIAL:
“When I was 8 years old I moved to a town called Marietta, Georgia. The bay window faced south east towards the city of Atlanta. As I grew, so did the expanding waistline of the city. The window faced this hill/street that ended at the top cul-de-sac and all you could see was this faint glow… and the older I got the brighter the light grew. I thought the light was something heaven bound, the beginning of another world, far better than this redneck town. I didn’t know that is was the city getting bigger, as the reality of my dreams were slowly more exposed as I came into my teens. I learned that the light that I stared at contained far more possibilities than where I lived. There in the city lived people who would understand… and the traffic, OH THE TRAFFIC, it would be busy as my head. Sure enough that glow, the one I followed, brought me THERE, to this MOMENT HERE.”
BORDERLINE OF WORK AND PLAY:
“Please colors, identify yourself and what you worked on today, and don’t forget, please turn in your time cards at (and) the end of your shift, Thank You. The Management