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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Caddy At the Club

Perhaps I ended my last post with a deceivingly promising cliff hanger. The truth is (and unfortunately so) that I am probably one of the only ones who will be super excited about this. As you can see, Caddy, the man who graciously modeled for the above painting, has two deformed arms. In case you don’t already know (and anyone who knows me very well at all, already does know), there’s not much that I am more passionate about than deformities. I think deformities are a rare and beautiful thing. However, the fact that they are rare seems to work against me, since it is uncommon to meet someone with deformities, and even rarer that they would be willing to let me paint them. That is why Caddy is a dream come true for me.

As I have said before, reading “One of Us” by Alice Dreger sent me on an artistic journey and inspired a train of thought that motivates a lot of what I do today. Also contributing to my fascination, about a year ago, I read “My Life in My Hands” by Alison Lapper, an incredible woman who has no arms and no legs but does have an artist heart that seems to be almost identical to my own. In the next paragraph, I am going to paste an excerpt from her autobiography that expresses my ideas concerning art. However, I want to preface it by saying that when she says “disabled people” or “impaired forms”. I, personally would replace these words with “deformities” or, as my dad has suggested, “six sigma humanity”. I say this because while deformities often are, in fact, disabling, there is also many cases in which they are not (Caddy in particular seemed considerably “able-bodied”to me). Also, referring to the people as “disabled” seems to focus more on the functionality and limitations of the conditions, as apposed to the aesthetic beauty of it. However, I wouldn’t want to ignore or deny the limiting aspect of the conditions, it’s just that that is not where my interest lies, as an artist. The question posed by the book “One of Us” is, “Can something be beautiful and painful at the same time?”. And I would answer that with “absolutely yes”. In fact, some of the most beautiful things and experiences in life are accompanied with pain (ie childbirth, a difficult piece of artwork, etc). I enjoy seeing the beauty- the silver lining- in these cases that may have endured a lot of pain as well. Another reason I am not inclined to say “disabled” is because it is a very relative term, that really depends on a person’s circumstances (someone might be disabled in one environment or with some challenges, but not in another). Anyways, I just wanted to explain my qualms with the terminology that is used in the book, but, essentially, the idea of this quote really reflects my feelings about the deformed person in art:

“Once again, it made me question the whole concept of the debate in society about disability. I have the impression that the able-bodied majority just can’t be bothered with it. They aren’t interested in exploring the issues or seeing the aesthetic beauty that may lie in the depictions of impaired forms. If we walk along the beach and find a stone with a hole in it, we don’t look at it with revulsion simply because most other stones don’t have holes in them. In fact, we may be entranced by the variety of shape that the stone with the hole has brought to our attention. However we don’t respond in that way to the human form when it varies too much from the accepted norm.”

For that reason, I see deformed people as extraordinary gems. I got to paint “Little Miss Firefly” about a year ago. Then I painted the conjoined twins, but I didn’t actually have a model for that painting. Caddy is my second deformed model, but I am praying for many more to come my way. It might take me a lifetime, but I’d like to complete this series with quite an array of different deformities. If you’ve got the kind of connections I need, please pass them along to me. I’ll be eternal grateful!

Friday, January 15, 2010

(Little Miss Religianity)
Ponders in her Room

In December my first "Little Miss Religianity painting sold at a fabulous art show, that I was so excited to be a part of. Since then, I've really missed Miss. Religianity. She was hanging in my living room, and I had grown attatched to her- more so than I realized until she was gone. So, I decided to try to recreate her, in my newest painting of her pondering in her bedroom. To tell you the truth, I don't like her as much as the first one. I won't point out why.
The painting contains a lot of inspiration from Roxanne, who is herself somewhat of a Little Miss Religianity. She helped me out by creating the drawings that are in the background, and I duplicated them into the painting. She also has a vase on her desk, in which I often find random combinations of items- sortof like the meaningless combo of a naked barbie, a straw and pencil. Contrary to how it might appear, the painting doesn't really make a statement about religion. It's just an image of a child, too young to understand doctrine, but still engaging in spirituality. Honestly, it might be more of a metaphoric self portrait of myself more than anyone else.

On another note, my art experience since moving to Denver has been made up of chain connections. I like to trace each connection I've made back to it's original source and then imagine how different everything would be had I not said "hi" to one person, and thus not set off a long chain of other connections. For example, I met Kyle Banister at Dr. Sketchies. Kyle had me in the baseball art show, where I met Eric Matelski, who had me in the 13 Lumens show, where I sold my artwork to Laurie Maves, who later introduced me to Caddy Cadwell, who is about to make my life's biggest dream come true! To be continued.....

Thursday, January 07, 2010

My Eyeball

I went to the eye doctor this morning, and this is a picture of my the back of my eye ball (looking through my pupil). I can't wait to show the kids. They're gonna be so jealous.

Monday, January 04, 2010

A Better Decade

This post is three to fours days late, because it is about celebrating new years. Bringing in 2010 was pretty uneventful. At first I felt pretty sad about it, because I had been thinking about how we had brought in 2009- with a group of friends, playing board games, eating haystacks (yum!), laughing, and just having fun. This year wasn't like that... none of those people are our friends anymore, for various unfortunate reasons, that I won't go into here- I don't want to break down and cry in front of you guys. It's not a pretty sight. Man, how things can change within the course of a year!

But, we DID have our time capsule to look forward to opening this year. On New Years Eve 1999, I was really determined to put together a time capsule. I think I had to coerce Matt into participating with me. So, we were both 18, freshmen in college, had been redating for a couple months ("re", since we had broken up the summer between highschool and college). We assembled the capsule at my parents house, before spending the evening with his parents to see in Y2K. We put everything inside a pretty blue bottle, that we have toted around with us through 6 moves, over the past ten years. As we broke it open the other night we discovered that besides a whole bunch of pictures that we took with my webcam, we also wrote notes to each other, or rather, the eachothers of the future, that we didn't know very well yet.

Here are some highlights from Matt's letter to me:
"Ten years from now, I hope that me and Nomi are married" CHECK!
"I should graduate from CSM" CHECK!
"In ten years I plan to be living anywhere but Colorado" unCHECK!

Here are some highlights from my letter to Matt:
"I hope Y2K doesn't destroy the world"
"I wonder if we will be together in ten years?"
"I can't wait to kiss you at midnight!"

Those were just the excerpts that neither Matt or I were too embarressed to post. Other things were almost painful to read, as we realized how stupid we were, or how naive we were, or how needy and dependant we were. Since then, we've moved 10 times, created two people, transformed who we are, changed our mind about our core values, and accumulated a lot of stuff. In light of the traumatic transformations we've endured over the past ten years, it makes the changes that have occured over the past one year seem insignicant. Even so, damaged and failed friendships still seem to hit me like a gigantic blow to the stomach. But atleast now I know I am strong enough to recover, move on, and work towards positively impacting my future, and other people's future. Ten years ago, I couldn't have said that. Ten years ago, what was important was getting a kiss at midnight from the boy I was obsessed with- which I think I got. This year, we were in bed an hour before midnight- which is really really late! But I think I still got a kiss.

May this decade be better than the last!