Alps, Acrylic Paint
I did this when I moved to the states around 2000. I missed traveling to the Alps or Tatras during Summer, so I painted them. I tried going for Impressionism out of my admiration of Monet but realized that it may have been somewhere between Impressionism and Pointillism when I learned more about Seurat. In the states, I discovered the Colorado Rockies, North Carolina Smokies, and Grand Tetons, so got excited again… hoping to get to paint those lives 🙂
Figure Drawing, Chalk
This was an interesting experience when taking figure drawing in college, cca 2003. We could find models who were willing to go nude so we could learn how to draw a body. I felt a little bit like Michelangelo, Manet, or Gustav Klimt
Our instructor was very adventurous, traveling around the world while teaching and creating site-specific art. She showed some examples of art from somewhere in Asia, where she used unconventional materials to create abstract installations in public natural scenes. Kind of like the whale sculpture made of plastic bottles and other trash to educate people about ocean pollution.
I have not found other drawings from the class, I think they may be in my parent’s attic, but this is an example from long ago. I am looking into figure-drawing art groups in Chicago, seems like there are a few.
The 10-minute sketch at UNC Charlotte, 2002
During freshman year, in one of my first art classes, we were tasked to draw a quick sketch of what we saw. It was super fun!
This was done in 2002. I called it “1989” – the year communism ended in Czechia. This is me and my mother a few years before that. I was actually at the Velvet Revolution with my grandmother myself, but I used this picture because it was one of the very few days my biological parents were together. I thought the photo was an amazing capture of the moment, but my dad has always had a knack for visual arts. I also used it, because savoring such moments during political oppression was important and one of the best ways to survive communism. Perhaps that is what kept this memory alive for me, even though I was only a newborn. The silhouettes are people walking away from the communist flag and the three kites represent the Czech flag being set free.
Thangka Meditation, Ink and Paint
During my time in Kathmandu, I was introduced to Buddhist art. Thangka is a representation of the movements of both the spiritual and physical cosmos around the center – om – of the axis through geometric shapes symbolizing the different metaphysical states of the mind. I felt like I was avoiding getting devoured by the black hole of my psyche in the multidimensional plane of our consciousness. I once told a friend that the universe could be our consciousness and he thought I had no clue what I was talking about. Questioning is not a crime. I believe we are part of nature and energy and for nature, time doesn’t exist, then how would we measure our consciousness? We all have our own minds and worlds in them and I think multiverses of infinite dimensions are quite possible, why not?
It made me think of the language of aliens in the “Arrival” movie as a representation of auditory hallucinations, telepathy, or extrasensory awareness. I thought about it when I saw the patterns in the visuals of their language. Hearing is the last sense that goes away during the dying process (except for orgasm, since even dead bodies can have an orgasm). The memory of sound could be extremely impactful, one of the ways we remember moments throughout our lives. I know that for me (and probably a lot of others) certain sounds bring back a memory I didn’t think I had. Many of us (especially musicians) are incredibly sensitive to sound and remember it the most from all other aspects of our lives. Does it travel through the illusion of time with us? Aliens show patterns that could remind a person of their memory and their senses in response, perhaps using this to make the connection? Perhaps that is one goal of the Thangka meditation art – clear your mind from the sound and let go. Well, I refrained not to get too lost in my thoughts and try to feel the magic of the meditation. Maybe the activity is meant for you to discover what your biggest strength is. What other senses get awakened for those with hearing problems? Beethoven could still compose after he lost his hearing, just memory. Does it become a part of your soul, therefore part of your universe? Great exercise for the mind, but I have to say after a while all I could focus on was how much my ass hurt after sitting in the lotus position for full five hours. For me, meditation will take practice. The multidimensional plane could teach us to be open to new experiences. Needless to say, I was incredibly impressed by some of the mandala experts. They sit for days, weeks, or even months to produce truly astonishing work. If you ever venture out to Bhaktapur or Kathmandu, make sure to check this out!
Trophy Virgin Ambivalence
I did not do this masterpiece. I got this on my way from Cuba to the USA. I lost my passport on the plane (nothing new for me) and called the airline to recover it. I was lucky they found it but surprised that they sent it to me with this artwork. Well, it may be selfish of me, but I kept it. I thought it was interesting. I gave it the name “Trophy Virgin Ambivalence”, because of some of the women’s rights issues and what women have to do to protect themselves. My take on this drawing is that they have to be both the beauty and the beast to utilize their psyche through the wheel of mother nature’s wisdom while holding on to innocence that has been stolen for many at a very young age, right from the dust of the stars they came from. They had to learn some aspects of life at a younger age than others and had to grow up faster, therefore the wheel of mother nature’s wisdom. The sheep symbolize their fragile hearts and modesty that they’ve been trained to hide in order to show the pride required by society and possibly hide fear, especially in totalitarian circumstances. The mask is so prominent that they become ambivalent about the connection between their inner and ascendant personas. To me, it can be tragic, with the seriousness of sex trafficking and the like, and their destructive impact on one’s psyche. To hide one’s low self-esteem, they have to appear arrogant and careless.
I am not sure why one mask has clear eyes and one doesn’t, but that would be my question for the artist. Perhaps an ascendant persona is necessary to avoid being completely hypnotized by the gaslighting of our political systems or those with ill intentions, or simply to keep a shield protecting the layers of who we are.
If you know the artist, feel free to let him know I have his drawing if he is looking for it. Muchas gracias!
One of my favorite artists is Thomas Barbey. I was inspired to play around with arranging photos in a surreal setting. This was back in 2006.
This was a fun activity to do when volunteering with the Chicago March for Science Committee. Logos and signs for shirt designs.