Fear was the first place that I found God.
I connected the two when my mother hung this terrifying portrait of the “Heilige Schutzengel” over my bed. (The notorious guardian angel portrait hovering over two children crossing a bridge thats falling apart in the middle of a storm). I’ll say I was more terrified because in the beginning I thought that the angel was actually trying to push the children off the bridge, but later realized the portrait was about fear and finding safety in our ‘higher power’ when we believe in them.
And that higher aid to me was The VIrgin Mary. Despite my parents religious zealotry that permeated our lives with this smog like fear in our home… I felt I had a separate secret connection with Mary. I often envisioned it like this invisible secret phone that I’d talk with her about what was going on in the world. I thought my parents knew her, but never wanted to be friends with her. I imagined thats how lots of people treated her, that she must have been lonely being asked of and objectified. .. So I sought out to be friends with her,
And as the years moved on, and my exodus of the church happened over my rejection from my church peers over my homosexuality…. I still held onto the idea that Mary still loved me and wanted to be my friend. Even in my thirties.. when I had finished her portrait for protection, I lost my lover days later to devastating circumstances in our own home. Incredibly sad and quite insane from loss and grief.., I grabbed the painting from the main room, and into my bedroom. For weeks I laid there with the Mary portrait over my bed and stared at her for hours. It was the only thing close I had to feeling hope in my state of loss… And in those weeks, I clung on to this piece to remember the friendship I had with the invisible.. whether they were scientifically proven or not.
Then it came to me.
I realized the significance of my mother’s reasons behind that portrait. But what I didn’t put together.. was that I had the ability to create these images.. much like someone created the “Heilige Schutzengel”. These paintings were created by someones hands, I never… ever put that together.. and furthermore, I didn’t realize, until at that point of loss.. that I had the same ability to create portraits of hope, love, and continuity for others. This revelation was the main factor in continuing my work.
It is in that, where I say that these pieces, to me, are beyond just paintings. These are visual portal like amulets that imbue the geometric radiation of love, hope, and continuity. These are symbols of spiritual reflection rather than of religious idolatry… These were in my home to make me feel safe and loved, and they exist outside my home to make others, in whatever gallery they whisper through, to feel the same.