So, where did it all start?
When Paul Gauguin was asked about the historical influences of his artwork, he said that his influences were older than antiquity, older than the cave paintings at Lascaux…it went all the way back to his wooden horse in his room as a young boy.
This was decades before Einstein discovered with certainty that time was relative.
For each of us, Art didn't start tens of thousands of years ago with venuses and herds of aurochs running through ancient dreams… It started with a single blue crayon. A yellow plastic can of Play-doh. Or a wooden hobby horse.
Before my Cave of Lascaux, there was a 1970 World Book Encyclopedia. The B volume. 10 color pages of
birds from all over the world, and I would draw and paint every one as my grandpa watched. The purple gallinule was by far my favorite. The little lily-walking rainbow bird took me to Panama, where Gauguin once lived.
We create our world—it stems from all else, but we create it. That's what interests me as someone who makes art.
"In order to produce something new, you have to return to the original source,
to the childhood of mankind."
– Gauguin, 1895
So, how to re-light the fire the very ashes of which are scattered? Where do you start? A good place to start is looking holes in what we know.
We've all seen those dark holes in nature, like burrows in the roots of trees or small caves in sandstone, and get that feeling of wanting to reach inside…but there is also that flash of fear. A bite. A hand. A slither. A squish.
The urge to probe the unknown—it's why some would fly into a black hole without hesitation just to see what's on the other side. It's the same feeling I get near a Lee Bontecou sculpture.
As I am driving westward, I have been listening to Stephen King's Dark Tower series, and just as this swirling thought of holes has been introduced into my artwork, the narrator says:
"We are here to find holes in this world…"
When you see a different way of life, you are always looking for those holes in this world. That's what I've been doing these last few years. A different way—tears in the fabric of what you have always been presented with as "the way of the world"… More on that in my next post.