Aaron recently surprised me with a trip to New York City. It wasn’t until the night before that I knew we’d be going into the city, but New York has always been a favorite since he took me there the first time, many moons ago.
Here I am at Printed Matter not too long before he revealed why we were in NYC.
The surprise was an Art Exhibit in Chelsea. “King Pleasure: Jean Michel Basquiat” What was so incredibly special about this exhibition is that it was put on by his family so from the very beginning, there was an incredible sense of intimacy and personalization that you don’t get in most art exhibitions. After Aaron scanned his phone, we crossed the threshold into the exhibition and the first thing I saw were words from the family. Words that were personalized and gave a deeper insight into Jean Michel, the man, the brother. Almost immediately after reading the introduction, I was overwhelmed with emotion. HIs sisters Lisane and Jeanine Basquiat spoke of how Basquiat sought meaning in the things around him, and I felt an instant connection to that energy. When they spoke of how he generously shared what he learned with others, I was grateful for this tidbit of personal information; to feel a sense of connection with him as a human. Because this is part of who I know myself to be. A curious explorer of the world around me, who doesn’t want to hold these things inside. So I release them. With words. With art. With connection. Through storytelling. What a beautiful connective thread, I’d dare say, runs through the fiber of most artists beings.
One of the things that I marveled at was the simplicity of Basquiat’s work. From the images of his “piraguero,” to the red strokes on a painting he made on the year I was born. There is a childlike-ness to his art that speaks to the child in me. I shared with Aaron when we got home from NY last night that there is a part of my inner child that is healing in this season, through the act of painting. My inner child
After the exhibit, Aaron’s phone was dead so we grabbed coffee, plugged in, and took our time unpacking both the exhibit and some personal things we’ve been experiencing. The conversation was casual but intimate. I was grateful for the honesty, vulnerability, and openness. And the growth. I shared some things I had written recently with him, also sharing that I wanted to find a way to make these stories into art, into pieces. But the things is, they’re already their own art through written word. And yes, if the winds of inspiration hit me and I’m led to, I will create visual art for it. But for now, I am content to exist in a flow of creative imagination. To know that the flow is never outside of me.
On my way to NY yesterday, I read a dream I had a while ago. A dream I only remember bits and pieces of. A dream that was gruesome and bloody. And this morning I had the idea to create THAT into a piece. But first, I had to release this experience of being on the HIGHLINE. I had to release the beauty that was yesterday and the fullness of that experience. Both in these words and in this sketch. I’m not afraid to show my naivete when it comes to art, because the truth is, I AM a baby in this particular artistic space, but like anything else, fed and nourished well, I WILL grow. And I will have these words and these sketches, and these attempts at trying something new, even if I or they appear foolish, as a tool for reflection and growth of my future self.
A thing of wonder.
This afternoon, two blocks away from me, a woman was decapitated. I don’t think it’s coincidental that the dream I “randomly” stumbled on when I was going through my notes yesterday, had elements of that sort of violence.
The truth is, I exist in a space where violence is a common occurrence. A space where I have to keep an eye open and be mindful of the world around me; the energy around me. But I also have a divine hedge of protection around me and I trust it. I posted a FB status saying there was a woman decapitated two blocks away from me. A lot of people are wondering what is wrong with people. I wish I had answers. I don’t. I do know that there are a lot of people hurting. I know there are a lot of people unseen. I know there are a lot of people who don’t know how to connect with their inner selves in a way that’s healthy. I know there are voices that torment some people. In their minds, in their hearts. I know because I’ve been one of those people. Looking for things outside of myself to fill me, to heal me. What I’ve learned is that I am deserving of my own gentleness, my own grace, and space to get it right. Or at least try. Over and over again. I also know that I have to be honest with myself about where I fall short. Not in a belligerent way, but in a way that honors the one who created me, by being an extension of who He is, to my own self.
In that coffee shop yesterday as his phone was charging, Aaron asked me what message I want to convey to the world with my art. And that was a great question for me to reflect on. I don’t know yet fully know, but I do feel it coming more clearly into focus every single day. I do know that I want to remind people of the beauty that exists in the world around them. There is danger, yes. As is made very evident from the woman who lost her head two blocks away from me this afternoon. But there is also beauty. Always beauty. And when we struggle to find it, I think part of what we ought to do as humans, is to either become it or create it.
And that’s part of my purpose. How it will play out specifically in my art, I’m not sure yet. What other tales will weave themselves through the hairs on my paintbrush and the stroke of my hand are still yet unknown. But I am here. Telling the story. Of this humanity. Of my humanity. Of the wisdoms the experiences of this humanity have afforded me and the gifts they’ve been for my overall progression.
I will tell my stories and may whoever they are meant to resonate with, receive them in whatever way is needed.
This sketch is a study, really. I was inspired by the Lantern House as Aaron and I walked the Highline yesterday. The art on the walls and the diversity of architecture blew both Aaron and I away. I’ve had a vision in my mind for a few months now. I’m not sure when it became implanted in me, but in it, I am sitting at the edge of the window and there is the hustle and bustle of city life before me. It is hectic and fast paced but on the other side of my window, I am a lone observer. There is constant movement outside but inside, I am still. Still until I turn around and behind me is a house I can only imagine in a dream, although yesterday as I walked the highline, I was given a glimpse of it in reality. There are only two things I know, this is my home and the art on the walls behind me, is mine. I shared this vision with Aaron for the first time yesterday. And the experience of the highline gave me a clearer view of what my tomorrow will be.
Art lives here.
And there is space for me here.