The following are a collection of shots from the show Hamlet, which was presented at the Interlochen Arts Festival 2013. I did all the paint work for the show, which amounted to the marble floor and the three portraits. I also put in a sneak-preview of the other show I have finished painting, but you will just have to wait a little longer to see the full product.
I went to an incredible place today. On South Street in Philadelphia, there is a garden where a single artist decided to turn a small plot into the interior of his of his mind. Welcome to the Glass Garden.
Wandering through this maze of recycled wonder, I felt so strongly a child that I almost skipped. Tis the same feeling I get when I am immersed in a really good book. I become so consumed by the artist’s world, I quite forget there is any other.
This place is not that big, but I felt absolutely bite- size in the midst of so much raw love. Imagine someone happily allowing you to wander inside his mind for however long you liked. Absolutely overwhelming as it is glorious.
A garden unlike anything I could have dreamed, and yet had the air of being peeled right from my own imagination. An exquisite place to pause in wonder at what one human can accomplish. If this is not on your bucket list, it should be. I leave you now with the artist’s words…
“I use art as a spider web, to trap people and change how they look, feel, dream.” Isaiah Zagar
I have always had a deep attraction to depictions of angels. I especially have a fondness for angelic depictions created during the time of the Italian Renaissance. Sure, the figures are basically human with large wings and halos included in their visage, but there is something so rich about these figures. True, they are representing messengers of God, but they are far more akin to the Greek ideals of beauty and ideal human form than any creature that would inspire the fear that the Bible describes. True, there are examples of such frightening angels in this era. However, when I think of these creatures, this piece is always the first to come to mind.
This is Leonardo Da Vinci’s Annunciation, which depicts the angel coming to tell Mary that she is going to bear the Son of God. Aside from my general amusement at Mary’s expression ( “Pardon me? Are you quite certain?!”), I personally love the gentle force born in the angel. The drapery of his costume is luscious, his whole body active, and you can actually see the wings joining into his back. I can’t help but feel compelled by this creature. The fact that the artist used a very human looking angel does not eclipse the fact that he carries a divine essence. Even if you took away the halo and the wings, I still feel as though I would know him for what he is because the artist imbued him with the rich energy that I associate with angels. In sooth, I think true angels might appear more like this:
These images come from the fabulous fairy artist Brian Froud. In a section of his book Good Faeries/Bad Faeries he shares his thoughts and depictions of angels. He writes something that I find interesting, “All phenomena of thought or emotion that are subjective to us are objective to angels. Angelic emotions, aspirations, and consciousness are all external, visible, pulsing and flashing through their bodies. the exquisite beauty of angelic faces is due to this: these beings are literally open and transparent, revealing pure intent.” Tis this “pure intent” that I see in Da Vinci’s angel, but strangely enough, I also strongly recognize it in people. For me, every person I meet is pulsing with energy. True, most are very keen on masking that energy and keeping themselves wrapped in their own false complexity. Perhaps that’s why I am so attracted to the simplicity of angels within the art world. They are uncomplicated, purely about their business of bringing whatever message is assigned to them. Their energy is unclouded by self-doubt, suspicion, and lack of direction. Funny thing is, as I said, that energy is very present in people. I once read a book that said something along the lines of (major paraphrase), “As long as we are brave, and hold fast to who we are, and what we love with all our strength, then we are greater than angels.” Our beings our strong, because our beings our loved. Our energy has every potential to be transparent and powerful. Perhaps, once we fully embrace such an idea, that’s when we find our wings.
We all have had such days. Now, granted, mine did not start poorly when I awoke. In sooth, it was only the very beginning, and the very end of my shift that caused my day to be so ultimately sour. To put it shortly, I spent my day making snow. While that may sound fun, the truth is that such work is not going to be on my list of future jobs. The job is cold, extremely damp, and trying to finagle the apparatus responsible for the snow dispersal is, I imagine, somewhat akin to wrestling an extremely cantankerous anaconda while attempting to trek across the world’s largest snow cone. The situation was enough to break down every barrier I carefully erect in order not to lose it while in public, and then top it off with near exhaustion. By the end of my shift, I was so razzed I nearly broke down in front of my coworkers. Yeah, Alexander, I totally understand.
Now, we all have terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days. Such is the way of life. However, I have determined that bad days can be salvaged by doing a couple of very important things. Try any one of them, and I can almost guarantee at least a small smile before the day is out.
-Crying (do it lots): Okay, I would not consider myself a constant crier, but I am a hypersensitive person who feels things pretty acutely. This means things can sometimes strike me sideways, and I know I am not the only one to have this facet to his or her nature. Ultimately, if I just allow myself a good solid cry-fest, I will feel immensely better. I hold that the same is true for more people than will admit to it. I always encourage a good, solid, snotty, cry, because then the stress is released in an outward way that allows one to move onward with more clarity.
– Shower: Seriously, are there many things better than a long hot shower after a crummy day? Or even a good day?
-Recognize the Stress, then Let Go: Part of my problem is that I want to be cooler than I am. This is not self-deprecation, it is merely a recognition of the fact that I react strongly to things. The problematic part is that I try to talk myself out of being upset…which often makes me more upset because I then feel ridiculous. If I can recognize my stress, allow myself to feel it WITHOUT guilt, then I can move on from it once I truly process the emotion. I know why I was miserable today, and the world did not fall apart because I was miserable, thus I have no reason to feel guilty for that feeling. Now, the event is over, and tomorrow is a new (and hopefully slightly better) adventure. Time to move onward and sluff off the yuck in favor for the usual anticipation for the day yet unlived.
– Do Something for Someone Else: The difficulty with terrible days is that they tend to encourage me towards self-pity. Screw that nonsense. I felt pathetic earlier, but that does not mean I am. What pity do I need or deserve? I am rich beyond all count in the things that mean more than any wealth. Though not materially wealthy, I know I have enough to share with someone who could use a good Christmas. So, off to buy an art set for a 13 year old boy whom I have not met, but did request such a thing for the holiday. A friend kindly supplied his other request (video games), but I knew I could pick a decent supply of artistic materials. Then, the dollar store for wrapping materials, and ta da!!!! How can you not feel better looking at such a nicely wrapped package for an artistic teenager?