Tuesday, September 20, 2011

invisible doors

I want to thank everyone who commented on my post about Dylan, and everyone who talked to me in person about it. It helped me to know that the photo I took of him was able to reach so many people who cared about him. Dylan's funeral was a day of raw emotion. It's hard to believe it was already a week ago. I felt like a lightning rod as I stood there listening to everyone speaking from the heart and from the gut about the friend we all held in such regard. I was unable to speak out loud myself; I felt mute and paralysed, but as we were all gathered around Dylan, I felt as if something profound and difficult was being achieved by each of us, standing together as a group. I've been carrying that feeling with me ever since, and even though I find myself unable to even articulate what that feeling is, I've been doing my best to use it as fuel for my work. The best way to honor someone who loved and valued art is to try open those elusive, invisible doors even wider, and follow my own weird calling as completely as possible. This is the photo I took at the Chapel of the Chimes right before Dylan asked me to take the photo of him I shared in my last post. I referred to it as an "unidentifiable animal" but now I see that it's obviously a feline hippo. I'm not much of a photographer. I'm always snapping photos, then never doing anything with them, but I had to search back and find this one, since it suddenly felt like an important monster to me.
A couple of days after Dylan's passing, I got together with a few of my favorite artist friends: Sean Christensen, Amy Kuttab, Daria Tessler, and Jeniffer Parks; all of whom have been encouraged and inspired by Dylan is some way or another. We decided to collaborate on a large drawing to give to his wife, Emily.
I've never collaborated quite like this before; five hands simultaneously working on the same piece. It seems like the result would have been chaos, but the image somehow achieved a strange kind of harmony. It's pretty amazing to have so many friends who draw. It's always been such a private act for me. It's funny to think back on how uncomfortable I used to get when anyone wanted to see my drawings.
Spending time with these other artists has taught me a lot about the relationship between individuals and their work. Each of these artists has such a distinct world that they build. Talking to them, and watching them work, I can really see that the art they make is a living, changing thing that is with them wherever they go, and it is a relationship that is completely unique to them.This is the closest I've ever felt to being part of an actual art movement. I don't know what I would even define it as, but I appreciate having people around me who are constantly working to reach new hidden layers, and unlock some new thing they've been feeling.

This is what I was working on when the news reached me of Dylan's passing. It's not done yet, but this piece will always feel connected to him now. It's part of an exploration of the idea of parallel realities, which I'll write more about when the piece is done. The first piece in the series was the one from two posts ago, titled "Outside Inside" which was in a show that just happened to be curated by Emily.

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