Monday, January 21, 2013

Got MLK!

In thinking about what to write this upcoming MLK Day, I thought I’d repost what I wrote last year. I couldn’t say it any better. It started with a dream… 

Burr!!! Happy MLK Day. (And Inauguration Day.) 

I had a dream last night. Definitely not like the one Mr. King spoke of almost 50 years ago. 

I dreamt of myself as a little 6-year old boy unknowingly riding on a bus with an older version of myself. When little me went to tell the bus driver that I needed to pee, he told me to go back to my seat. An innocent bystander came over to help and without a thought, the bus driver opened the door, and while the bus was still moving, he pushed us both out! The remainder of the passengers gasped as little me and the innocent bystander rolled onto the concrete, blood everywhere. 

Suddenly, I was now not only observing the dream, but in the dream. I was now the older version of me in the bus. I stood up and yelled to protest his cruel act of violence; I immediately asked for everyone’s assistance. I got very little help and so I got off the bus but I was already too far away from the crime scene. In the end, there was no resolution, the dream got weird and I don’t remember the ending, ugh! 


This morning I woke up and decided to read MLK’s “I Have A Dream” speech; I read it word for word, as I had only done so once before when reading his autobiography. After all these years, the words are still powerful. They reminded me of all the inequality that still exists in our country, our world. The one phrase that caught my attention was “we cannot walk alone.” It sort of summed up everything. How often do we get consumed into our little lives, not realizing that we do not and cannot walk this earth alone? We, each and every one of us, are all connected, past, present, and future! 
(Rather than post last years image, (Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness), the piece featured here is titled, “MLK”). In his speech, MLK quotes this ‘unalienable right.’ There’s that little me that just doesn’t understand how such a simple thing cannot be granted to us all. How does it all get so complicated? And in one simple answer, I think religion really fucks us up and keeps us from uniting as one world. 
(Obama- to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.) 

John Lennon said it best: 

“Imagine there's no countries 

It isn't hard to do 

Nothing to kill or die for 
And no religion too 
Imagine all the people living life in peace 


You, you may say 
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one 

I hope some day you'll join us 
And the world will be as one" 

Friday, January 18, 2013

I'd Rather Be A Circle Than Square

So I woke up this morning and thought is it really Friday again? Where did the week go? After almost 45 years of life, I've been lucky enough to live 2,312 Fridays in my lifetime! 

A few weeks ago while waiting in line to purchase a copy of 1000 Portrait Illustrations by Julia Schonlau, I found a perfect book waiting for me. It called You Are A Circle by Guillaume Wolf. It’s a visual meditation for the creative mind. I believe God wanted me to have it. Yesterday as I flipped open to a random page for my daily dose, it said, “If you think you know everything, you’re dead as an artist.” I laughed out loud as I had just been writing about thinking too much. I think this applies to not only being an artist but to being alive, period. We can never know everything. There’s no need to, otherwise life would not be worth living. How dull would life be to NOT ever learn something new? 

Aside from the beautiful blurbs inside the book, I love the title! I like the idea of me being a circle. I’d rather be a circle than 'be square.' With my latest digital series, I’ve become a bit obsessed with dots. It’s like the book was written for me. The portrait here is titled “Einstein.” I love the silliness of the original photo. I like to stick out my own tongue as well; it reminds me of being a little brat. Einstein once said, “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.” It sort of applies to what I’m trying to say. Though I think of myself as being intelligent I don’t mind feeling or acting a little stupid. I kind of like it. If, for example, I don’t know something, like the meaning of a word, I’ll ask a question. There’s no need for me to pretend to know something when I don’t know. It's one of those things I like about me. 

I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I get to spend it with two loves in my life, Alex and Vero. We’re going on a hike in Griffith Park. It’ll be my 2,312th Saturday. And with them, I can be and act as stupid as I want; they love me anyway. I love them back; it’s a big circle of unconditional love. Maybe love does make the world go round and round. 

…and round

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ego or Igor

Oh boy, it’s another chilly day in LaLa Land. In the 15 years I’ve lived here, I don’t recall it ever being this cold. But I can’t complain; life is good. 

I meant to post yesterday, but somehow the writing didn’t come along. I couldn’t get a clear idea written down. I’m giving it another shot today; we’ll see how it goes. 

One definition for surrender is ‘To give up or give back.’ A second is, ‘To give over or resign (oneself) to something, as to an emotion.’ 

I’m not thinking about waving a white flag and giving up on anything, especially not life. But since my previous post, I’ve been thinking about this word and what it means for myself. What exactly am I surrendering? Is detachment a better word? Possibly. If so, then what am I attached to? The first thing that came to mind is thinking and thought. I think too much. Though it comes in handy for writing purposes, I’m starting to wonder if possibly, it’s keeping me from being fully present in life. 

French philosopher Rene Descartes once said, “I think, therefore I am.” But what if instead it’s “I don’t think and therefore I live.” Though he was referring to man’s existence, what if thought prevents us from existing in our present world. Are we lingering too much on the past or future? 

Since thinking about not taking life to seriously, I’ve felt lighter in spirit. However, I'm finding that letting go doesn't happen so easily. It’s easier said than done. My ego, or Igor as I like to call it, keeps me from surrendering; it’s need for control is it’s very existence. Maybe Descartes is onto something. If Igor doesn’t think, he doesn’t exist. The trick now is how to I keep this little monster of an ego quiet? Meditation? Hmm… I think I’m onto something. In meditation it's about not grasping onto a thought; it's about observing them flow by, nothing else. A river flows perfectly. 

The portrait here is of Frankenstein. Though he’s considered to be the original monster of monsters, like everyone else, he simply wanted acceptance. And as for ego/ Igor maybe it too wants acceptance. And so instead of completely detaching myself from it, I’ll allow for it to coexist with who I am. Because who I am is not who I think I am. 

Until next time, observe lightly. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

One Life No Drama

Burr, it's chilly! Yesterday while on my morning walk I didn’t think of something new or different, but somehow I felt this thought on a different level. As I walked past a man smoking a cigarette, I thought, “We get one chance at life, why take life so seriously.” 

I didn’t have an answer for it; I still don’t. Though I can understand our human need or want for change and/or progress, it doesn’t explain why we take it so seriously. If we get one chance at life, why not take it lightly with a grain of salt and a smile on our faces. 

As I continued walking, I thought of the soap opera One Life to Live. Though, I’ve never seen it, I can imagine the drama involved. What I can’t imagine is my own life filled with drama; it’s not who I am or want to be. I've had enough of it in my 20's especially in my relationsips. (Oh boy, I could have won some awards.) 

The trick now, is how do I keep this idea of living lightly with me everyday, as much as possible? Is it a matter of simply surrendering? Yesterday after my walk, I felt lighter in spirit. A sort of who gives a fuck about it. Not that I didn’t care, but that I couldn’t continue on this path of trying to analyze or understand everything. I’ll go crazy. I want to smile and laugh more. Kids do this so easily. Sure they have their own dramas, but they forget them so easily. They move on; they laugh again. They play. 

The portrait here is titled, “Oprah.” A few days ago, my great friend Angel reminded me about Oprah's obsession with wanting to be in The Color Purple. It was in surrendering and singing to herself gospel song “I Surrender All” that her reality came to fruition. I’ve been thinking about a lot about these words...I surrender. Maybe it’s not just about taking life lightly but more so about surrendering, of letting go and relinquishing control. I’m writing this with tears in eyes all while listening to Ce Ce Winans sing the hymn. Has my need to control taken me away from being fully embraced in life? I think it has. I’ll take this thought with me today. What’s the worst that can happen if I surrender all…If I have one life to be me. 

You've got one life to be you. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

I'm Seeing Spots Dots and Periods

Good morning World! 

Since starting my LITTLE Pop series, I seem to be seeing spots everywhere. I think of them as dots, but they’re actually periods, a punctuation mark. 

Many years ago I took a class on Adobe Photoshop, but since I never used it, I forgot everything about this program; it’s now evolved. In knowing myself, the thought of retaking an Adobe course seems daunting. I like things and life to be simple. But who knows, I may surprise myself. When my brother John inquired about how I was creating these portraits, I told him I was doing it on MAC Preview. He was surprised to hear that all these dots are actually a punctuation mark from our alphabet, a period. 

After a few months, I’ve created various color boards with a simple period, some small, some large. As I move onward, I keep creating more and more boards. Though I sometimes use the same color board, each portrait is different from one another. And because I seem to keep seeing spots everywhere, I’m not surprised that I keep imagining more and more color boards. I’ve become an expert on Preview. 

With recent technology of texting and stuff, I see how a period and every other punctuation mark have become obsolete. As an amateur writer, I still find punctuation marks important. They may not express everything I have to say, but in my portraits of icons, a period is everything. It’s a round spot, a symbol of life coming around full circle. In doing so, I’m allowed to create works of beauty. 

The portrait here is titled, “Judy.” Judy Garland, as Dorothy, inspires it. It’s my second portrait of Dorothy. “Glinda tells her she’s always had the power… but that she had to learn it or herself. It’s been many years since I have seen the movie, but I love this idea. With a little help, I have the power to transform my own life. Period. 

As a grade school boy, I once came in 2nd place for a Halloween drawing contest. I drew a witch with a big nose, a wart, and green face. I wish I still owned it. As I look back, maybe it was a sign; the wicked witch was not supposed to prevail and rather goodness and greatness would be who I became. Almost 35 years since doing that piece of work, I’m still an artist living my life as best as I could, always and still. 

To believe is to move forward, to evolve. I believe in evolution. I believe in who we are and will become. And if the Beatles sang, “Believe in yesterday”; I’ll keep believing in today, tomorrow, and the next days. 

Have a beauty of a week ahead............

Friday, January 4, 2013


According to an online dictionary, equality- /iˈkwälitē/ is defined as “The state of being equal, esp. in status, rights, and opportunities.” 

A few weeks ago while doing a Google search, surprisingly, I found Lincoln on top of a list of 100 icons that shaped U.S. history. I couldn’t agree more. The piece here is titled “Lincoln.” I did this portrait a few months ago; I love it even more now after having seen the movie. 

Yesterday after work, though I still wasn’t feeling well, I went to see “Lincoln.” The movie sheds light on a very important time in our history. Personally, I didn’t remember that there was a difference between the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment. But it was Lincoln’s insights into equality that really did it for me. I especially loved the scene between Lincoln and his black female housekeeper, Mariah Vance. I couldn’t possibly do it justice in words. I was surprised to find myself teary eyed, almost sobbing. The thought of inequality amongst any of us hit the spot. 

Inequality exists not only in our laws, but also in our actions, our words, and even our thoughts. I’m guilty of it myself. Prejudices, however small, create boundaries and keep us from connecting with one another. On many different levels, equality equals freedom. Mandela said it perfectly, “For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” 

This morning in reading a few passages from Deepak Chopra, he writes, “The essential nature of the universe is the coexistence of opposite values… you cannot be virtuous unless you also contain the capacity for evil.” It made me think of our world then and today. It’s often because our differences and our fears of them that we have inequality amongst us. It made my morning walk a pleasure, my heart felt open. How could I possibly cast any stone when I myself am a reflection of everyone else. 

If I can see me in you, and them and there, I can love more easily. 

Have a loving lovely weekend.