Hello loves; how are you?
Things at the studio are going swimmingly as I come up on the final phases of The Gold Series, my first major collection, check out "The Wanderer" in the amazing frame by our friends at Northlight Framing down the road from me in New Milford.
It's a rainy day here, but with fall settling in and the river outside running low; its not strange that I'd be thinking of closure and endings.
Three years ago, really three and a quarter…I realized that my unique creative talents combined with compelling personal narrative should launch me into something outside myself.
How could I turn such a negative, an HIV diagnosis, into a positive the way I had with my Cerebral Palsy and painting to overcome my motor skill handicaps? As I complete the final pieces, let's reflect:
The answer to these questions was, of course, to combine them. To use the power of art to speak to the many issues of and surrounding HIV/AIDS both in the US and internationally.
I set out to paint 50 pieces. I set out to showcase the way I'd used Buddhist concepts and teachings to overcome challenges to acceptance of my own mortality. I set out to create a body of work that used a palimpsest abstraction to convey the silent pains and unspoken complex narratives of those with HIV/AIDS and chronic conditions. As I worked hand in hand at the grassroots level tackling these issues I realized my project was more serious than I'd intended. It was a chance to highlight vital issues such as:
- depression and mental health issues amongst the HIV positive
- PrEP, Syringe exchange programs
- serodiscordant (mixed status) relationship
- drug use in the gay community
- minority access to HIV/AIDS prevention and education services
- the trans community's unique burden in the fight against HIV/AIDS amongst those who are engaged in sex work and
- ever present reductions in state and federal funding for direct services and research through agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and offices of the Ryan White Care Act and even philanthropic bodies such as United Way.
among many others. This is why select pieces of The Gold Series have been accompanied by thematic essays and select poems, highlighting the issues at the core of The Gold Series. Together, across medium and style, The Gold Series originals, studies, prints and final book serve as one artists comprehensive view of HIV/AIDS as a painter, fundraiser and activist living with the virus.
Stylistic motifs throughout the collection are rooted in process-focused deconstructions of my thoughts or mantras as conveyed through "automatic" or repetitive movements imbued with meditative absorption and mindful application. Many of those feature my signature "glyph" constructs, some of which are repetitive syllables or words (as in the piece "OM" 2014), others mere nothingness absent the meditative background to their flowing movements. ("The normal heART" 2014) This too is deliberate, and intends to draw into question the very underpinnings of meaning, context and mimetic purpose. Such semiotic arguments are raised in light of The Gold Series mission to explore the deep complexity of living with HIV.
To that end, these confusing, shifting knots of "meaning" contain the questions of struggling with fundamental meaning, period. Of struggling with what defines love, lust, living, dying, surviving, medicating or failing. They are like the trails of the whirling dervish, circling to find meaning in the chaos, in the turning, yearning of humanity towards God in the search for meaning.
Other motifs of course run throughout, but for now, I wanted to touch on my glyphs, because I happens to love them.
Thanks for checking in with the studio, until next time, stay saucy!