Monday, January 26, 2015

A Second World Under the Surface

I'm often asked where my ideas come from, particularly when I do things like this latest piece, where I used a photo of a very real subject and took it one step sideways. How do I think of these things? What does the collar and key mean?

The truth is, I usually don't know. I know the feeling behind the art, but very little beyond that. There's always a story going on in my work, yet it's rare that I can say what it is. 

This is what it's like to live with the brain that I have: it seems that the part that invents my dreams at night - the part that had me driving my car across a lake, the part that sent me riding on a horse that shrunk with every step, the part that let me tape a small diamond to the back of my shirt and then fly like a bird until the tape loosened and the diamond was lost - doesn't ever quite shut up when I'm awake. I don't know if other people are like this. I haven't asked. But I will look at something here in The Real World, and my brain will instantly show me the Other World, an altered version where strange and beautiful things are happening. One step sideways.

I don't ask for that to happen, it just does. I "see things" when I'm driving, when I'm looking at photos on Facebook, when I'm walking around town, basically all the time. It has been like this all my life. I almost never know what's happening in those ongoing stories in my head, but there is a sense that it's all part of the same alternate universe, one that lurks just under the surface of our own. Scrape at the ground a while and maybe magic wells up from underneath.

The moments when I'm able to capture fragments of that world are when I'm happiest as an artist. But what it all means? That answer is, and should be, different for everyone. I know, on an emotional level, what most of them mean to me. I'm more interested in learning what they mean to someone else. 


  1. Ah, I haven't been keeping up with the blogs either. This is so well put and reminds me of...something way in the back of my mind. Anyway...

    As an aside I think Madeline L'Engle should have written the horse with the golden key story.

    1. Well, keeping up with a kid tends to mean not keeping up with a lot of other stuff.

      If you find the thing in the back of your mind, maybe, just maybe, you can start painting it during the precious moments when Kid is sound asleep. <3

    2. Yeah, and keeping up with Kid now includes keeping up with Housework. He's just mobile enough that vacuuming has suddenly become a daily thing-and that is just craziness.

      oop-sounds like he's up. At least I got some coffee in me to face the day (and the vacuuming done)