And, on top of reading I have been working on a new piece.
After going to Oaxaca for Dios de Los Muertos last year with Michael and a group of amazing people from all over the country my art (and my beliefs about death) will never be the same.
In the Mexican culture (at least in Oaxaca) there are two days every year that our dearly beloved dead ones come back to party with the living. On November 1st the babies and young children come back. On November 2nd the adults return. Having lived in San Fransisco for many years with it's large and politically active Hispanic community, I was already familiar with the Day of the Dead and longed to go to Mexico to experience a real Dios de Los Muertos. Thus I already had a pretty good collection of Day of the Dead skeletons.
That said, I am writing you today to give you a glimpse of what I been working on in the last few months. It started with a single striking image I saw in Oaxaca. A half alive and half dead Frida.This is not a very good reproduction of the image that has changed me in ways I may never be able to fully articulate. Of course I love Frida (like everybody else). She's practically a saint in Mexico. But what struck me was the portrayal of her as half dead and half alive. Here in the rational northern portion of the Americas there just isn't a place for a reality like this. In Mexico, magical realism and all it's various cousins are not only alive but thriving. Frida can be physically dead but her soul lives on forever in the hearts of the Mexican people who love her. I experienced this again and again while I was down there.
Having had my own near death experience I knew I had to make a piece of myself, half dead or dying and the other half coming to life. (Pretty much what has been going on since the brain injury). I also wanted it to be 3 dimensional.
My friend Rogene who I met just a week before I went to Mexico (she was going too) has been working with paper clay making her paintings more 3 dimensional. The moment I saw her work I knew that was the medium I wanted to try for my piece.
I also wanted some of the other art in my Day of the Dead collection to influence this piece.
For my piece I was pretty sure I wanted to use a huge cigar box I scored in Amsterdam. Opened, it has a book like quality to it. And that would mean one half would be for the skull and the other half for something else. But what would be on the other side? And are all those weird white flowers really necessary?
Either way last Thursday, sick and tired of the rain, I drove 100 miles as drops the size of golf balls bounced off my windshield to get to my favorite bookstore, Powell's in Portland. Once there I went to the anatomy section and took several pictures of anatomically correct hearts. Here's what I got...
The piece is coming along slowly but surely and once I get it done you'll be the first to know...
Thanks for reading my friends and your comments are always welcome.... and yes I am going back to Oaxaca again this year for Dios de Los Muertos. And I may just stay a little longer to learn some Spanish. Who knows.. Here's a few more hearts for you to ponder..