Journal Entry: The Search for Universal Truth in Life
Art Space in Mind
Maybe, being an alien felt more comfortable than being a faggot.
At the Beginning
In Search of Art & Self
I believe at times, I will forever have more questions, than answers. Certainly, there exists in my life discoveries and self-realizations. But, for every insight gained or answer found, I have stumbled upon yet another doorway leading in ever-increasing, directions.
I have an awareness of limitations standing in front of these doorways. Is it self-acceptance, I wonder, that I seek in the face of the unknown? A teaching on how to be comfortable with difficulty? In this place, can I recognize thoughts as shaped concepts and mental processes?
Not knowing. That’s a hard one. I can be hard on myself in this regard. Add a lot of unneeded stress and pressure to living. If it can be learned in six weeks, I should be able to do it in three.
I think to gaze outward, toward the external, also requires an inward searching eye. To be accomplished, the task has always required my searching within, exploring aspects of who I am as an individual. I wonder how else to understand the herd if I cannot see who I am?
Is this soul-searching? Perhaps. It is a journey towards awakenings. It definately leads me to artmaking.
So begins, a weaving together of different threads of thought. A meditation on being an artist and a human being. But this is also an unraveling. An untangling of the many threads that form who I am. I will admit, the words to encompass my art, thoughts, feelings, struggle to find stable gravity, in this Journal Entry: Universal Truth.
We gaze to the stars and forget the ground below. The sun’s heat is a reminder of a star’s power. In 2018, on the Big Island of Hawaii, the volcano Kīlauea erupted along its East Rift Zone. The glow in the forest could be seen for miles. Many people lost their homes in the lava. This painting, ‘Leilani’ (12″ x 12″ oil & cold wax medium) was in reaction to the eruption.
Journal Entry: Universal Truth
Art Space in Mind
I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of space travel. As a boy, my imagination was enflamed by the genre of Science Fiction. The possibilities it explored seemed endless. Through it, I learned the wisdom in questioning what I see before me. I still gravitate towards Sci-Fi. But, today’s world is much different from the one I lived in as a kid. And what was once science fiction has turned into science fact in some form or another.
Non-fiction takes more of my reading attention these days. The many books and essays on subjects explored by science are captivating. I love great literature, but it is only one conduit to explore new worlds.
I have been seduced by science. Many complex concepts exist outside my expertise, but they remain fascinating none-the-less. Unlike most science fiction novels, science doesn’t so often come to neat or tiding endings. And when it does, it does so with great minds working on a problem from many directions.
Milestones laid down by scientific exploration and achievement are scattered across the pages of history. But, science has arrived at as many questions, as it has answers. Each day, more is brought to light as we look deeper, further, and at the ever more miniscule. Our questions have grown, and our designs have become grander.
A painting from the series ‘Virus and Mutation.’ Under the microscope there is a a world found, reflective of cosmic complexities. Things made smaller are not always, made easier. The seeds of life that began in some star’s furnace gave rise to the virus as well as, the human being.
In the Search for Who I Am
I have always known I am an artist. I knew it in preschool. It was a natural part of my thinking processes, and there was little doubt that it was what I was destined to be. Being an artist is as intrinsic to who I am, as is being gay. Neither is something I ‘became’, they are what I was and continue to be.
Part of art is thinking. I know of few artists who don’t contemplate their subjects, and their internal processes. Artists do this, engaged in what is a physical action. This action happens within and without. It is a flexing of muscle, both in body and in mind.
This Journal Entry: Universal Truth, Art Space in Mind, zig-zags across borders and boundaries. In it, I find intersections along the edges of art and thought that help me find context in my work.
Searching the Expanse
Looking Without & Seeing Within
As a boy, I would wander into the backyard and sit alone in the damp grass. I searched with wonder, the multitude of distant starts stretching into the great black and blue beyond. Fireflies hovered and flashed above the lawn. Their lights twinkled in harmony with the stars. Was there some ‘Universal Truth’ hidden from me in this expanse? Maybe there was someone out there. Somewhere, was there a place that I might belong?
Journal Entry: Universal Truth doesn’t come easy. The search leads me within. It is a trail to self and how we all, define, the other. But to understand this, requires an understanding of who I am and how I came to be the person I have become. Who am I in my role, as the other. This search has never been linear. And there are maps, of a sort, but knowing and seeing are not the same thing. I can find solice in the words and books of ancient sages, searching for the folded corners …
In everything there is a beginning. From life in a massive star’s explosion, to picking paint colors for a canvas on an easel. Elemental conceptually, the colorfield inspired paintings in the series: ‘Clone & Replicant‘ are my basic building blocks.
Breadcrumbs & Trails
No Easy Paths
At times I feel alone on the trail. True there is a path of breadcrumbs. I suppose, none of us are ever really alone if we open our hearts to the hearts of others. Regardless, it still seems a journey without much detail. We live ensnared in Ariadne’s Thread. Life presents problems with solutions of multiple means. Each path unique, but all leading to some, same end. We can either choose to wander in isolation. Or do so as a community. We can wander as one, or as the many.
“Eternity isn’t some later time; it has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now which thinking, and time cuts out. If you don’t get it here, you won’t get it anywhere. The experience of eternity here and now is the experience of life.”– Joseph Cambell: American Professor, Comparative Mythology & Religion
Open the Doorways
To Mind & Experience
I grew up in the ’60’s & ‘70’s. It was just ‘another’ turbulent era of culture and politics. I knew I was different. But it was before self-acceptance seemed to be an option. A time before gay marriage was possible. There were plenty of people telling the world that people like me were damaged and sick. Positive role models were few and far between. And I lacked the language to help articulate those feelings.
I lost myself in Science Fiction. I sought clues that might explain or help lead me beyond where I was. ‘Star Trek’, ‘Lost in Space’, ‘My Favorite Martian’ and other TV shows and movies were flickering flames in a dark age. The thought that there must be more was alive and struggling. Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon helped ground my search with some reality.
The night sky filled my eyes, pop culture my dreams.
Starlight is Elemental
Yearning to live among the stars I fell in love with space, time, and inter-dimensional travel while savoring the natural world surrounding me. Sitting in the backyard lost in my thoughts, dreams and fantasies, digging my fingers into the grass and ground, I would listen to the tumultuous sounds of this world.
Past, Present & Future Tense
Within the Without
I imagined at times, that I heard the voice of this world in each blade of grass. In every tree and insect. I thought I heard it in the rocks and soil beneath my feet. A voice echoed by the beat of my heart. The moon always hung so beautifully. Clouds took shapes of portent across the midnight sky. Flowers, fields, life itself glowed in this magical light.
“Solutions are difficult to come by rationally. The reasoning mind is like a rudderless ship: it describes interesting patterns on the water, but it lacks a sure sense of direction. The rudder of inner guidance comes from super-conscious levels of awareness.”–Swami Kriyananda
I began to wonder what, and where was, my voice. What was the language, I should use to speak it. I loved my box of crayons, and any kind of craft supplies I could get my hands on. I had some fathom, an inkling that art beckoned to be that language. It was not a skill set encouraged.
Art was just a past-time. Relegated to a class in school or quiet times alone. As I grew older, the mantra I was being taught by family and society, continued in an incessant drone. That being an artist, like being gay, was not something I could, or should want, to be.
Mentally and emotionally denied, the two things I was beginning to believe myself to be – an artist and gay – a life of doubt and angst began to shadow and hang heavy in my mind. Outwardly, the forms these feelings took were often self-destructive and left me open to exploitation.
Universal Shared Experience
Age brings with it, another awareness. As does meditation and the practice of art. I have never lost my love of Science Fiction, but my reading habits have blossomed more towards historical and science fact. It provides ample material for work and context. And Journal Entry: Universal Truth gives form to the words I use to understand.
I feel excitement when reading of new discovery. Further enlightened, as humankind continues to reach beyond the confines of this planet and the rocky within. The paintings in the series ‘Universal Truth’ feel expansive and cosmic in much the same way. They are inspired by that same reaching search for the elusive.
If there is any truth I have discovered, it is that we must all look within.
Brightness Lies Within
Photos of distant star systems, gas clouds, suns and planets are a creative ignition point for me. It is a feeling very much similar to that which I experience when caught up in the timeless flow of painting.
Truth in Being
Journal Entry: Universal Truth requires more than a search within. These paintings lay along a path in which I claim, my past, the present and a future filled with possibilities.
Being an artist isn’t a choice, neither is being gay. Intrinsic traits, each a contributes to who I am as an individual. Life, as we know it, is a process. It has unfolded over the hours, days and the eons. One life’s measurement doesn’t seem like much.
So I arrive at, ‘life and art can’t be rushed.’ There is a prolonged committment of time in both. But, I have found in my life, things can be fragmentary. Memories float and reassemble like atoms and molecules. There are bits of time held within these fragments. In mindfullness, it is these fragments of time that my mind turns too.
“The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.”– Goethe
I search continues to lead within. The world has become bigger, the answers grander and life more precious.
As Above, So Below
“We see the sky turning around us every day, but we are the ones who are turning. Is the daily spectacle of a revolving universe ‘illusory’? No, it is real, but it doesn’t involve the cosmos alone. It involves our relationship with the sun and the stars. We understand it by asking ourselves how we move. Cosmic movement emerges from the relation between the cosmos and ourselves”– Carlo Rovelli: The Order of Time
Building A Framework for Ideas
The Noosphere, and thought act as defining principles in my work. Hence, they add both depth and meaning to my art practice. The Noosphere is a theoretical idea. It was developed by the philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and the Biogeochemist Vladimir Vernadsky.
In my art practice, the Noosphere is an empire of perception. Specifically, it forms a base for creative thought, and art making. Journal Entry: Universal Truth is an expansion of ideas that root out, in many directions. They are explored here and in other essays. The ideas manifest in the art I make. But the thinking and work doesn’t always come easy. I am always questioning, how clear am I being?
The conceptualizing of these spheres of influence occupies my thoughts continually. In making art, I search for context. And I am always striving to make work that is better than what has come before. There is a desire towards perfection that signals a red light. I am drawn towards it as I think most artists are.
Perfection is elusive and dangerous. ‘Impossibility’ opens the door for self-judgement and unproductive criticism. I have learned that life requires some kindness. I am no master at mindfullness, but awareness paves a way. I have my moments of grace that appear in unexpected places.
I feel as if there is also a knowing of some kind. Something heartfelt and deep that feels primitive at times. Shadowed and not easy to see in the darkness. I have the tools needed to plant my feet firmly upon this Earth. To make of it a home and place to thrive. But I know, I will always live among the stars.
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