I had the privilege of visiting the wonderful Minneapolis Institute of Art, and their current Matisse exhibit.
They had an amazing treat which was the entire book of Jazz, created by Matisse spread between multiple walls.
I needed his words. I needed his succinct wisdom, which awoke so much thought and thirst for art, for a community of artist, and most of all for creating.
" HAPPINESS. Derive happiness in oneself from a good day’s work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us. Think that all of those who have succeeded, where they remembered the difficulties of their beginnings, cry with conviction:
" Those were the good days."
Because for most people: success = prison , and an artist should never be a prisoner. Prisoner? An artist should never be: prisoner of himself, prisoner of a style, prisoner of a reputation, prisoner of success, etc. Did not the Goncourt’s write that the artists of the great age of Japanese art changed names many times during their careers? I like that: they wanted to safeguard their freedom. “
Home, for me, is as unattainable as a perfect lover. The concept itself hides, veiled deep in hopes and dreams- a shillouetted form, impossible to construct in detail, and never reachable. To generate physical space that would allow me to feel anchored to as my ‘from’- it seems to be a mirage.
Physical beings have a physical origin. What happens when you are born within the ellipses- a non space?
Place of origin is sacred and meant to explain a wide degree of who we fundementally are. It can and usually does define our cultural default settings. Origin is the place that understands us and a space that accepts us on grounds as simple and as unbreakable as being ‘from’ it.
Land is an extremely powerful human bond.
It gives cause for war and unites people.
In our ever changing human geography the entire concept of ‘from’ has become far more complex.
From is losing its ability to be defined.
I was born ‘displaced’. Born in Vienna, Austria as an American citizen, to non-profit working parents, I lived among and was raised along side refugees (forcibly displaced people) from the entire world.
We shared changing tables and went to the same child care, sang the same songs, we were living a shared life, as displaced people in a society that did not welcome us. The space we knew as home was telling us to go home; it refused to be our ‘from’.
If it is not where you are, if it is not where you are born, the value of physical space as a part of our identity begins to be redefined.
For years I found myself trapped, hurt that I could not answer the question of home. It hit a chord so deep. I felt like an instrument missing a string of my identity, and the chord was incomplete. The songs were incomplete.
It was a fracture I could not shake or reconcile.
20 something years too late, I was introduced to Alain de Botton’s book The Architecture of Happiness’ . In his writing he spoke of home, of buildings as things that draw out the good in us. That there was such a thing as physical space that draws us to itself- and even more so, asked us to engage our deeper selves.
I fell in love with architectural design. I fell in love with context. I found freedom in the beauty and potential of buildings and space. There is life that can exist in structure and land, and it is silently more powerful and flows deeper than human borders and legal documents.
It is the structures and the natural scapes that have lasted through time keeping our secrets, our photos, our memories, our thoughts, our whispers, our glances, and our shouts.
When asked, I felt conceptually homeless. As an adult I have recognized that I took pieces of physical places and my moments, and I quilted them into a capsule of memories spread around the world. This widely spread physical space holds my story, my home.
This home has anchored me and shaped my worldview, my friendships, my life trajectory, and my art.
It is in the survived downtown of Vienna, the uncomfortable blue seats of the Badner Bahn, the van I passengered through the southern savannah of Kenya. It is in the sun filled compound of Bangalore, and the cobble streets of Malta, the Greenway of Minneapolis, the small corner cafe where I met my friend family, the corn fields of Indiana, the cliffs of Tijuana, and the Jungle north of Hato Mayor in the Dominican.
It is in the places that defined me, that became parts of my story and my anchors.
My home keeps growing.
A few days ago I had the privilege of visiting Leg Up Studios (http://legupstudio.com/home.html) in North East Minneapolis. They are working in conjunction with my client, to generate a custom screen print wall paper- that if you are in good ol’ MSP, will be coming to a wall near you this spring!
The studio space is incredible and their work is even more impressive.
The toile consists of four illustrations created specifically for the client. The design features Minneapolis with an art nouveau and art deco influence, and subtle comedic twists. It was a blast to illustrate.
This series has gotten enough positive feed back that I will be generating a sequel series for personal exhibition and printing, so keep your eyes peeled folks… cause here comes Minneapolis.
What drives someone to hold dreams as simple entities that never reach the light of real life, and those that set them free to be risked reality? What separates the one who dives into the Sahara to follow an intuitive thought or question and the one that stays in Suburbia to raise their four children?
What separates us?
As children we all dream bigger than realists may tell us is possible. What allows some to follow the unrealistic and push beyond, and others to be satisfied with undisturbed dreams.
Are there regrets involved on both ends?
Who do I want to be? Do I want to stay in safety or risk the impossible and all that comes with it, for hope that just maybe it is possible to do the things I long for so deeply?
Where is the line of self restriction and actual responsible reality?
a forest of use
It is time to wander with you once again.