I am leaving for California soon. I hope to see the paintings of the Bay Area artists at the John Berggruen Gallery in San Francisco, and to visit some other galleries while there. I have begun a painting of my father, and will be adding a slightly menacing figure who will be measuring his head. I had the pleasure of cataloging some books on phrenology a short time ago, and wanted to use that quack science because it was later manipulated by racists to justify their ideas of a master race. Whenever one group of people decide they are better than another horrible things can happen and they certainly did during my father’s childhood. I really like the photograph of my father that I am working from, because he is caught in the middle of laughing; a seemingly true and robust laugh that I haven’t seen often enough.
Children watching bombs fall from the sky. A combination of two children, one being my father, the other a Hitler Youth who went on to be a soldier in the German army, and a photo of English children hiding in a trench while watching fighter planes in the sky.
From an 1897 photograph of a criminal named Isma Martin from the Library of Congress site, another image of a lone animal, two photographs of my father as a child, and various images of starving, sick children, I cobbled together, and completed a family portrait.
I believe I am almost finished with the “Wrestlers” painting but want to add some more careful linear elements to define the figures. The painting I am working on now is “Family Portrait” which combines images of my father as a child with images taken from Library of Congress photographs of other sentient beings worthy of compassion. I am beginning to blend both of my styles, the more realistic with the expressive, in one work. So far, I am happy with the results.
Family: My biological family, my lover, my friends, people I work with, pass on the street, read, and dream about. Animals, pictures of them, and people I never knew, enter my mind, and sometimes, cause my heart to ache; collectively, they create a gentle buffer to protect me in this world.