San Francisco: Old Lovers, Homesickness, and Wanderlust

Yesterday started with me thick in a dream. I was laying with my ex lover TJ. We were laying in the same bed that I was currently sleeping in. My arm was lazily circling the tattoo outlines of his chest piece and strangely, petting the small tree that was growing from his heart out of his skin.

“You really need to trim this tree, its getting out of control”, I said lazily plucking at the tiny leaves, while laying my head on his chest.

“Yeah, I’ve been meaning to do that”, he replied. His voice was funny, as if I was hearing it through an old telephone.

I woke up to the sound of my ex roommate letting me know her sister had triplets. I was such in a daze, because the dream was so real, that I had no idea what names she was saying.. .. all I could feel was that strange moment of vanishing and pulling away.. Much like the day he passed away. I had him for a moment in my head, and it was all so clear… and then he was gone.

My head swelled up with pressure, and my throat closed up, and I started choking up into tears. It was the first dream I had of him in 15 months. I even, in waking, smelled him near me. .. My head was playing tricks on me.

I had tried to go back to bed, and let my brain send me back to where I was, but it didn’t work. I just laid there, praying that I’d see him again,and it didn’t happen.

I walked, heavy legged through to the hallway to the kitchen to my ex roommate to ask her to repeat her story and attempt to compose myself for the day. Afterwards she said “What would you like to do”, and I mentioned quickly while wiping my wet weeping face “Cindy Sherman, please. SFMOMA. .. We have to see it”.

If there is one thing that I know, is that if I am interested in anything, it is accessing a part of my brain that only accessible when immersed in a museum. There are things that connect me, make me feel more alive, and awake. I become sentimental, which in any other circumstance is considered one of my biggest faults. My imagination starts pouring out by the waterfall full. Especially when I am connected to an original. I go just beyond the piece, or the structure of it, and wonder about the setting where it was created, the exact time frame it took, the smell of the studio or environment it was created in, even down to the amount of breaths graced that piece itself.

And I suppose I needed that distraction more than anything because I had just virtually spent my morning in a headspace that was so fragile that I desperately needed another kind of emotional fragility and sentimentality to connect to.

And Cindy Sherman, did not disappoint. This was a complete retrospective of her work, and a tour guided by age. I spent my time grazing over her portrait collection of herself as characters that deemed it non self portraiture. .. and when I got to the end, in the room where she had done characters of herself that were older.. I was overcome with that sense of tragic struggle that society has with itself on getting older, fighting the inevitable battle of age by morphing oneself into its idea of ‘youth’ to save ones own relevance for existing in a ‘youth’ objectified world. This, much like art is known to do, put the statement like a mirror to my own self in each piece, and Cindy Sherman’s exhibit became not just a series of portraits, but a series of mirrors, in where I sought identity in each character she portrayed.

Of course this was, somewhat of the same experience I had with the Man Ray and Lee Miller exhibit two days prior, which was curated as a story of their relationship and the art that came from it. These were powerful statements of collected art that shook the very foundation of my own reality through the fundamentals of the art movements themselves.

I left blank eyed, and dream heavy, and walked zombified to sleep yet again at the apartment. I met up with an old friend in the Mission District for Jersey like food, fried to the brim with carcinogens to settle the heavy soul, and walked further around the city that I loved so much.

San Francisco is home to me. It was the place that I found myself. I forget my southern birth. While I acknowledge my roots, I don’t believe I ever started living until my early 20’s, when I arrived with my truck, a 1G computer, and a futon mattress, and moved into a walk in closet in the Tenderloin for $500 a month. My life began. I hatched, and I thank and attribute this city to where I am for those experiences. With that being said, each visit I have from Los Angeles, becomes more painful because I realize more and more how unbelievably homesick I am for San Francisco. It isn’t necessarily wanderlust that I have, it is just that I am, unfortunately, very uncomfortable with where I live. Which is something I need to work out.

Needless to say, this was why I was so continually heavy all day through my walk, because I was filled with such nostalgia. .. I ended up walking to meet a friend, a budding artist, who I have found this connection to, .his name is Xavier MTW. I suppose my fascination is completely and narcissistically attached to my own past, as when I see his work, I am reminded of my own path in starting out as an artist in San Francisco, … seeking relevance and acceptance in my journey for my own voice through paint. I have become quite enamored with his work, and stopped by a few days earlier to check out his future collection entitled “Foucault at Foods Co”, which will debut in November at the GlamaRama Gallery. This time I walked with some of his work he was picking up and transported it to his place, and ended up passing this amazing “DATA MINING NEON” sign, and talking with him about the shows I had seen that day and rambling stupidly about its profound meanings to myself. .. We ended up at his place, and then walked to a restaurant where he said he had something for me. We walked into the warm exterior, and I began to feel confused and excited at the same time.

I looked up glazed eyed at the wall and noticed one of his Foucault pieces was on the wall, and it had the state of Tennessee painted on it … and then realized, as he was taking it off the wall, that the piece was for me.

As he mentioned what a deal it was for someone to believe in his work, I felt my face break into this stupid smile, which simultaneously cracked my entire forlorn feeling of the day, and I ended up, getting on the train back home.. with this … massive gift.. this object that served as a reminder of all things revolutionary and good about what we do as artists… whether it be in an exhibit as a set of mirrors, or at cerebral level for each other.. All of these things serve major purpose for our lives in relevance in voice. And San Francisco, this trip, the exhibit,and my friends here reminded me of that.

Art is like that childhood saying in sense.

Art is rubber.

You are glue.

Whatever you look at,

bounces back,

and sticks to you.

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