“The Turtle Baby of Memories with a Hard On” or the Premonition of War

There are a few places I really like on my new violet painting. I am hesitant. They could disappear under a new layer of paint, but I need to sacrifice certain lines and images I see on the canvas for a greater impact. You never know if you are making “right decisions and sacrifices.”

The drowning man is already visible at the beginning stages of the painting.

You can’t learn about anything until you live through it. How to let go of things and invite the change is a hard thing to do, but you must do it, otherwise you are stuck in one place without any growth. You need to shed your old skin in order to grow another one. We can’t predict if the process of shedding your old skin is going to be painful, but it has to happen.

Several times a day I need to stop and remind myself: don’t rush, enjoy the process. There is a wonderful Russian word “smakovat’.” It means “savor (the taste of whatever you are eating).” Feel all the flavors of creative work. That is what I remind myself every time I feel like I am forcing something out of me.

I will always have this question of why am I doing all this? There is no answer, no logical explanation to “why one is spending so much time, putting paint on a piece of cloth as if their life depended on it? What’s the point?” I don’t think there is any purpose for anything in this world. The world just is and weirdly you are on it circling the sun. I have no idea why I am doing all this. It is just something I must do for some reason.

Originally written on 02-02-18

The sun started shining through my windows just now… I did a little photo shoot with my latest violet painting.

The sun hit perfectly the image highlighting the drowning man and the Turtle Baby with a hard on.

There is a character drowning in the sea of ghosts from old daguerreotype photographs.

I had to be careful about how I continued putting my paint after I had set the “photographs.”
A silhouette of a lady with a hat and ruffled dress is visible in the white area.
A half washed face is visible as if disappearing behind the thicker paint.

There is a baby with a face inside of his mouth.

A ghost is looking through the mouth of the Turtle Baby. It resembles a round window of a ship.

The baby has a little hard on and one blind eye.

The Turtle Baby is defined with another layer of the violet and the white paint later. The ghost is still there.

Depending on how you turn or tilt your head you can see a Native American and a Jewish man carrying this baby-scull hard on on his back. The Jewish man becomes an eagle of some sorts.

I often check created characters in a mirror.

There is a lot on the canvas. I am not sure what kind of name I am going to give to it. We live in very sensitive times. A Jewish man and a baby with a hard on might provoke some weird reactions.

This character can be anybody, but for some reason I see a Jewish/Middle Eastern man escaping Holocaust with a dead baby on his back. Maybe I should call the painting “A Premonition of War” or something like that. There were/are all kinds of people who experience(d) Holocausts throughout the history of the world.

I was very surprised that last night after finishing The Turtle Baby of Memories with a Hard On I went straight into working on another painting. That, most likely, happened because I got inspired by the music I was listening on Youtube. Most of it didn’t have any video, so I put my headphones on and went for another canvas.

My next chosen color was Naphtol Crimson. Sadly the romantic Spaniard disappeared later from the canvas.

This is my last empty small canvas. Not sure if I will be able to get another one soon, but I have a pile of large canvases available for me to work on. These characters that are spilling out of me might look better on a larger scale.

Yesterday I realized that the way these characters I develop on my canvases is pretty much how I approach my characters I create on stage. I don’t know how it happened, but I started using this dripping technique a lot. This technique is very different from what I used to do while putting thick layers of paint on surfaces. I guess acrylics finally showed me how I should be dealing with them.

The watery color drips needed to be carefully directed on the canvas. The white was added to soften the red. It added some thickness to the surface of the character.

I like seeing all kinds of transparencies, so now when buying new paint I know exactly what to look for. I have not set a certain defined technique when it comes to how I put the paint on my canvases. In one I might use thick layers of paint, in another I might dilute the acrylics to the point of “watercolor type of transparency.” It varies. I would like to develop a certain consistent technique.

I felt like I was working with watercolors while working with this type of transparency of the violet.

Yesterday I watched a few videos with Basquiat. Of course, you do unconsciously compare your art with art of artists you like. I found myself thinking about my work. There was this nagging thought about the value of my art, but then I was like, you know what, I could compare myself to others until I die. It is not productive and it is killing the joy of painting.

Am I influenced by other artists? Of course I am, who isn’t. But that doesn’t mean you should stop doing what you are doing because somebody doesn’t find your work exciting. My eyes search for something different than just a beautifully painted naturalistic painting. Graffiti artists thrill me. Use of colors and ways they connect their lines in unexpected ways inspire me.

Today’s artists have developed their techniques to such high levels that the classic multi million dollars paintings look quite funny now in comparison to them. I still can’t understand how somebody would rather buy something made by a dead artist while there are so many mind blowing works created by living ones. As much as I find it funny to think about myself and my art and the part about the time I am going to be “discovered” I am unconsciously still doing it. I believe every artist has that thought running through their minds.

You ask yourself where you stand with your art. No matter what is happening right now with us artists the work we create is going to stay. The future generations are going to look at it and say, just look at this madness. They might suddenly like it so much that they decide that now you are the next DaVinci or some other painter who is going to represent today’s times. This is out of our hands. What is left for us artists to do is to create. The fact is, some of us are going to die without knowing if there was even a slightest… well whatever. I am getting way too much into it. This dilutes my focus from my creative work, so I am just going to shut up and continue enjoying the process of creation. If somebody finds it inspiring and wonderful, great, thank you for looking into the world I live in while I create.

I am not sure if I like comparing myself to other artists. This is probably one of the things I need to learn how to keep myself from doing. Our minds are funny this way. We are unaware about the comparing our unconscious does until it is too late. You begin to doubt, which is counterproductive.

I am probably reaching a certain level of realization about my lack in certain techniques. I become a little frustrated, but I am familiar with this feeling. I am afraid to mess up, but then I do what I have to do to cross the line and a new door opens. It reveals to me new possibilities. Then, of course, I reach another point of frustration, but at that point I just say to myself, enjoy the process. Each new stroke is going to teach you something new.

An interesting thought came to my mind. Basquiat was born in 1960. He was only thirteen years older than me. I am of his generation. Now, when you put things into perspective like this, the level of responsibility for your art becomes higher. No wonder why M. is frustrated. He is continuing with the tradition Basquiat set in as a black artist.

I should say I love being in the company of such wonderful artists. They inspire me tremendously. I just need to stop comparing myself to them. But you know what, fuck it, let me compare myself as much as I want. As long as I create and produce new work, who cares about who is better. We are all fucking creators, so more power to creation not to destructive thinking about somebody being less worthy or some stupidity like that. Each artist shows me how wonderful it is to create. Each of them opens to me a new world I oh so love to explore, so keep creating my dear artists and stop doubting.

Originally written on 02-03-18

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