Duality (Part Three)

Duality is a fine art, self portrait series, about identity, my path to self awareness. Initially created out of the need to express internal conflicts, it has developed into a work dedicated to the interpersonal passage of becoming whole. My desire to produce images that represent this stage of the project, the present, has lead me to make changes while retaining the significance of it’s original intent.

I use photography to help me maintain my personal balance. Self portraits are a way to document and gauge my progress and share it with my viewers. Making art gives me a drive to grow and create, all the while providing stability in my mind. The evolution of the project mirrors the evolution of my self, from manic depression to a stable center.

My process captures real emotions, when I am aware of my present state of mind. I use these significant moments as a foundation for my photographs. I write down my feelings and any related ideas into my journal. While I am processing the reactions I am having, I start to produce my scenarios and shoot my images before the mood flees. By capturing these images in the moment, I am actively working through my consciousness and understanding their value.

The use of film represents the raw nature of the human psyche and the use of double exposures allows me to illustrate the division and re-merging of the ego with the self.  Each image emphasizes a present mental state, not always unified, sometimes unbalanced. As I learn to be conscious of my inner self, this work can be a mindful role model for those whom struggle with their own imbalances.

 

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Art Making

I’ve been making more art these days. I have always enjoyed the hands on process. Finally I’m falling into my own niche with my photography. I used to think I wanted to be a commercial photographer, but in reality, that ship has sailed. Perhaps later in my career when I am a little more developed. For now, the photograph serves as a means to make art.

I decided to allow my creative process to develop on it’s own, stop forcing myself to do things I don’t really care for. Since I love to build things with my hands, I have been using mix media and collage work to share my inner workings, what I find beautiful. I feel like I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and one thing is leading to another, no need to look up and try to figure out where I am.

In college, we called this the creative spiral. Every so often I would look into it, but never really dove in head first. Maybe dangled my legs over occasionally. Worried about landing on my feet. I have come to learn, it’s easier to just let go. After all, it is what it is. And it’s much easier this way.

Right now I’ve become enamored with this translucent pearly gold. I’ve always enjoyed gold leafing, but now I am playing with different mediums. The layering over a deep crimson red has pushed me down a different path, somewhere I’ve not been before. It’s rather intoxicating. The way the gold shimmers, the pearl plays on the refraction of light… bouncing around in the depth of the medium. It’s a beautiful thing up close.

All of these iridescent colors mixed with golds remind me of the Art Deco movement,  luxurious colors and materials, modern clean lines. I have always loved this era, the rebellion that came right before it. Pulling away from the garish, over stated highly ornamental designs of the past. Simplifying and reforming the perception of splendor and opulence.

Here’s something I’m working on, something that makes me smile and inspires me to continue my course in this sumptuous direction. It is reminiscent of religious art, the gold and as Ashley staed, the downward gaze. It really is a encouraging piece. It makes me impatient for my supplies to come in. Ahhh, but the wait is good for me. It’s a little torturing but gives me time to put my thoughts together.

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Duality on Kodak Portra

12220001-a 12220008-a 12220012-a 12200007-aKodak Portra is slowly but surely becoming my favorite film these days. There’s a realistic subtle tone to it that I don’t get with Fuji or Lomo. The clarity is much better than the Lomo films I’ve been testing and the remaining grain is uniform and aesthetically pleasing.

For the Duality work, it’s being transformed into something more ambiguous, less literal in the translation. For the next few weeks I’ll be shooting more images that create a plasticity within the frame. I personally enjoy the way my eyes are forced back and forth, figuring out the two exposures.

There is a play on the eyes, something I’ve been trying to incorporate into this work. I am finding the voice for this particular evolution of the project. As the weeks go by, the images should become more consistent and start to create a play by play story about where I am with my photography and my personal path.

I’ll keep adding the images I am having processed through The DarkRoom.com. In a few weeks I’ll gather up my top images and start printing them out for post. I’ve been experimenting with some alternative practices in printing. I can’t wait to get to the point of sharing those.

New Duality Work in Progress

000094920001-duo-transfer-lighten-blendWorking on something with a little more plasticity than usual. My new approach to Duality is more real, raw and natural. It represents where I am in this photographic journey. Taking my art to new heights and learning what it really means to be transparent.

Somewhere In Between


Self portraiture has been a long standing theme in art, not just photography. From Ancient Egypt to modern day’s digital selfie, the self portrait has been a meaningful and shallow way of expressing one’s self. As a youth I recall seeing Van Gogh’s self portrait. I understand it to be a useful way of studying one’s art. Whether it is painting or photography, the self as a subject has a place in historical reference and as a genre of it’s own merit.I had been introduced to Cindy Sherman during my undergrad and enjoyed her film stills, but self portraiture had no depth until I learned about the life and art of Frida Kahlo. It was a self taught painter, with a disability, forced to use her own image in order to express herself… her torment. Her self portraits document her physical and psychological pain as well as serving as a visual journal of her life with Diego Rivera.

I align with Frida because of my own physical and mental disabilities and living with someone whom was manipulative and destructive. I too painted from within, showing the world what I felt, not just what I saw. For me, the significance of Frida’s influence in my early self portraits trumps that of any photographer. I did not use my own image because I wanted to, it was because I had no other option. I was debilitated with depression and agoraphobia, I could not even leave my bed at times. I connected with Frida on mental level, something I have not found elsewhere.

When it comes to influential photographers in my current work, I look to the work of James Welling and Richard Tuschman. While both artist’s work has been recently introduced to me, I can see how their use of color and light move me to create my own personal pieces. Warmth of the light, coolness of shadows, it’s natural. The introspection of their work is encouraging and moving. Reminding me that not all photographs need to be visually appealing to hold meaning.

Not originally creating work as a photographer, James Welling began his art career in drawing and watercolor. He, like Tuschman, have been impacted by Edward Hopper’s reflective work. In his paintings, Hopper depicts ordinary scenes with an isolated figure in deep thought. His use of

light, color and architectural influence define his style and continue to influence artists today. When I first learned to paint, I referenced Hopper’s use of light and shadow.

I consider Welling a well rounded artist. Not limiting himself to one medium, but making an effort to learn about the different formats of art in order to shape his own. I, myself, have studied art in a similar way. Learning not only about photography, but drawing, charcoal, painting, video editing, acting, set building and jewelry making. All of which have contributed to my own craftsmanship.

I look to James Welling as a diverse pioneer of art. Like Man Ray and Andy Warhol, he isn’t afraid to attempt what others shun. He started working with long exposure Polaroids and tested unconventional methods to intensify colors, such as adding heat. There really is a science to it all and I appreciate the initiative to step outside of the set boundaries to create a niche for himself.

Welling explores color, shapes, textures, mediums and light through unorthodox techniques. His work was stated to be a critical evaluation of photography in contemporary art. His untitled Photograms (1988-2014) are meditative and mood altering, simply by color saturation, lines and gradients. I find his work very organic even though they employ geometric shapes and fractals, which are a part of natural geometry. When I perceive my current work, I make use of shapes, lines and color in a similar manner, to evoke moods and narrate emotions.

In Welling’s architectural images, I find solace and reflection. Each empty room of Wyeth, (2010), give thought to the many rooms of my mind, places I’ve been, lives I lived. They reveal a little bit about myself as a viewer, forcing me to contemplate my past. All of Welling’s work seems to be a study, a form of research. Each time, creating a series of images worth sharing, allowing other artists to grow from. They remind me of my own experiments and how much I enjoy the alternative aspects of photography. I enjoy being hands on. If it is too immediate, the gratification is null. I feel I must work for my art, finding new paths of expression, deviating from the norm.

When I think of my own work, I look back before the Academy. I recall the adventurous attitude I had about photography, the thirst for learning. It was refreshing and now that my work has changed, I am feeling this sense of rejuvenation in my art. I have a firm comprehension on why I love photography and art in general. It’s not just the expression of myself, but the adventure in learning, the

investigation of new and old techniques, science and hands on creation. Just exploring inventive experiments and finding new methods of making art, adding to my tool box, it allows me to experience a bit of personal transcendence. I’m stimulated by the research and my mind is engaged, therefore ideas flow and my work evolves.

In contemporary art today, I had the notion that everything had already been done. It was pessimistic of me, I grew weary of my chosen path. I felt turned off by what I was seeing and questioning myself. After coming to the revelation that I do indeed enjoy creating art and being introduced to artists that I had never seen their work before, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to “see” again until I grew past that. I had to get out of my rut and recall why I started making art in the first place. I enjoyed the study of art and creating hands on.

Being able to mirror contemporary culture, it really opened my eyes to what rethinking the familiar meant. It allowed to to be open and receive new ideas, new to me and once I created art and added my experience to it, it became new to the world. No longer did I hold contempt for the contemporary, I embraced it. I am exploring ideas and concepts and questioning the past, expressing the present, so that I may visualize the future. My art is contemporary in the sense that it is expressing today, the present. I am a part of a larger movement, one day it will help define our past.

Part of what makes my work successful is that willingness to try new things, go beyond photography to experiment and bring forth different aspects of the art culture. I use the skills I learned from charcoal drawing to better understand light and darkness, chiaroscuro. While sure I can read about it, I actually learned it hands on, the way master painters learned. I took craftsmanship from my jewelry making class and physical expression from my acting classes. My video editing interests taught me about camera angles and color of light, how both can lead to dramatic changes in the way one sees.

As I learned the technical side of photography, I used myself as a subject. I explored less and worked harder at doing things the right way. I followed the rules and attempted to please my instructors for the sake of a grade. Doing this allowed me to learn many new skills from lighting, to photographic language and marketing myself. Unfortunately it lead me away from my eagerness to learn and experiment. I lost the initial interest of photography, I misplaced it burying it under technique and assignments.

I discovered my interest in psychology and how to communicate with a camera. I took on the project of Duality, exploring the mental side to my photography. I chose to use what I knew as a subject, me and my depression. It was the only way I knew that I could separate my work from the work of other contemporary self portrait artists. Even though many of the methods were the same, compositing and tableau vivant, my work was personal. I learned how to take personal experiences and express them through photography.

Duality eventually became redundant to me, visually and in context. I was creating new images, but nothing was inventive or innovative. I was acting out my life on a constructed stage. I grew tired of seeing myself and telling the same sad story over and over. I became negative and stopped shooting for personal reasons. I only forced myself to shoot for assignments, leaving my work un-exhibited and un-printed outside of the Academy, I fell into a rut. I did not have the enjoyment of photography and stopped considering it as a career.

It wasn’t until my current directed studies class, that I started voicing myself. Previously I tried to do the right thing, or make images according to the Academy’s direction. Trace listened to my venting and read into my posts. She encouraged me to not continue to do what isn’t working. Trace “allowed” me to experiment in order to make changes. These changes started small, making use of color of light as a focal point. I realized that I enjoyed using color to help narrate my images. Then I experimented with changing the aspect of Duality. I took away the one element that had previously defined my work. Like taking off training wheels, I felt liberated and scared.

It was the reconnection with research and experimentation that drove me to really make changes. I abruptly shot an assignment solely for self expression, deviating from the Duality project all together. It was meaningful, if only to me. It was aesthetically pleasing and it helped me navigate my new direction. I was able to visualize a body of work and in put it into terms that were relatable and professional. I had created a new path. I was invigorated, re-energized and loving the medium again.

I am still shooting self portraits, and enjoying the process. I am engaged with my art and considerate of my audience. I am striving for context that is meaningful and content that is aesthetically pleasing. I am active in my art again and exploring the use of medium format film as well as continuing my digital studies. With the introduction of James Welling to my stock of inspiring artists, I am breathing life back into my work.

My latest addition to my thesis, is a reflection of now, I am expressing what I am today. It’s a blend of the constant flux or transition. I seem to be in tune with the optimistic sense of things to come. The use of multiple layers to look like double exposures, replicating my feelings of flux and instability in change. I make use of equivocal spaces to create a tactile plasticity for the viewer to experience that feeling of movement and fluctuation.

My “self” is no longer a clear view of what I look like, but how I feel. It is obscured as if I am unsure of my identity. It allows the viewer to step into the image as the literal subject, allowing them to feel the ambiguous state of being. In conjunction with shapes, color plays a large component to my narrative. It sets the mood whether it is conflicting or harmonious, a combination of colors and shapes will naturally let the viewer navigate through my images, without hesitation.

All of these attributes help define my work as modern. I have a respect for the classics, learned from the Masters and contribute to the contemporary. I am realizing that everything I have learned up till now are allowing me to be a part of today’s modern movement. Blending together the past and the present is what Contemporary Art means to me.

My self portraits are not a part of a trend in contemporary art, like the selfie. My work in self portraits has been established as a reputable genre, a source for inspiration. Like those whom have come before me, I too am becoming a testimonial for self portraiture. I address the question of why with an explanation of changing answers, from necessity and control to the enjoyment of creating autobiographical images to share. My self portraits have been a performance of documenting my psychology to a study of form in nudes. I use myself to create art because it is what I know best.

 

References:
http://jameswelling.net/biography http://jameswelling.net/categories
Themes in Contemporary Art by Gillian Perry, Paul Wood

Longing to Be Me Again

Longing

Longing to be me again is something I often catch myself doing. Reminiscing the days when I was social, when I wore make up and cared about what people thought. Sometimes it’s nice to just dress up and be complimented. These days there is more quiet in my diet and less chatter. I introvert some times of the year, reflect on my growth and think about where I want to go from here.

Duality has taken me to many places in and out of my mind. I always end up back where I start. Some call it full circle, I call it refueling. Gathering my-selves and estimating our worth. I’ve learned so much and feel like I’m just beginning. Not starting over, just moving in a different direction. Changing my sway, my swagger… but still to a beat. The music never stops for me, it just changes tempo.

 

Where the Wild Things Art

Where the Wild Things Are

I’ve been working on evolving  my Duality work. This is the latest test shoot. Some details still need to be worked out, but it’s coming along quite well. Back to my roots and working on shooting these in film.

Duality: A Visual Essay

Here’s a mini essay about my Duality project. It’s been a challenge and a blessing. Through my project, I have done so much inter-personal work. It’s been an eye opener about myself and people around me. You really get to understand the human psyche and see through peoples actions and intentions. It’s left me feeling raw and humbled.

du·al·i·ty : the quality or state of having two parts

du·al·i·ty

noun \dü-ˈa-ləә-tē also dyü-\ : the quality or state of having two parts

Duality is my long term, photography project falling under the fine art genre. The intent is to create a series of self portraits, that speak to the viewer both visually and mentally. I intend the images to be reflective and reveal meaning behind the evolution of the “Self”.

     “I am conscious of myself and become myself only while revealing myself for another, through another, and with the help of another…”

~Bakhtin

In my own journey of becoming a self aware subject, I look into the works of 20th century Russian literary theorist, Mikhail Bakhtin. Bakhtin’s theory on self realization through the use of a another is key to giving meaning to ourselves and our art. As I produce my duality self identifying images, I have gotten to know myself better. Through playing multiple roles of myself, I can explore the meaning of this quote.

I hope you enjoy my images as much as I enjoyed the journey that brought them to life.

Duality comes to life.

This is my mid term for the Academy of Art, and a first attempt at bringing one of my Duality photos to life. Shot by and edited by me, the self portrait artist, evolving.

Pole Dancer & I

 

Encore Music’s cover of The Weeknd’s “Wicked Games”

Bakhtin; Self Through Another

“I am conscious of myself and become myself only while revealing myself for another, through another, and with the help of another…”
         ~Bakhtin

1 on 1

In my own journey of becoming a self aware subject, I look into the works of 20th century Russian literary theorist, Mikhail Bakhtin. Bakhtin’s theory on self realization through the use of a another is key to giving meaning to ourselves and our art. As I produce my duality self identifying images, I have gotten to know myself better. Through playing multiple roles of myself, I can explore the meaning of this quote. I step into two pairs of shoes, one my extroverted perceived self and the other, my private centered self. I tend to let them both have time to exercise their beliefs and projections. For my perceived self, it’s my notion of how I want people to see me. It’s my style and my likes that manifest into this person. It’s my confidence and my self esteem that are allowed to act out here, in this form. I take pleasures in the everyday and relate to pop culture and the general public. I enjoy the attention I receive and it gives my ego a immediate gratification.

Then there is my centered self. My private life, my introverted side. This is the real Melody, no show, no ego. It’s who I am and whom I’ve always been. This part of me doesn’t really change so much as the perceived self, which is always in flux… reacting to the world around. This introverted self is where I come to feel a sense of center. It’s when I relax and reflect on my life. In my room, all alone in privacy. This side of me does not react to social media, does not act aggressively, but it rests. It absorbs the day’s experiences and slowly makes needed changes in thought and in mindful ways.
By allowing myself to have a dual relationship with myself, I am learning and revealing myself to myself. I am growing spiritually as well as physically. I shoot these self portraits because I feel the urge to express both sides of my personality with my tools of photography. I use these dual images to explore my insecurities and to help me better understand who I am and what direction to move in. This illustration of my innermost ideals make me vulnerable but without them I would not have the clarity that I do now.
Because of my dual nature and the ability to recognize them, I can also find myself in others. I see my past in people, my own struggles and breakthroughs. I listen to people speak of their own life adversities and I can relate because I know too well the trials of life. I can speak up or I can choose to sit quietly and learn more. I learn more about the person as well as myself as I hear their emotions in their voices. I hear passion and pain, I relate. I recall things I may have suppressed. I know it’s all coming to me in good time. I learn more about myself with each conversation. Bakhtin believed that we could not come into consciousness without the unavoidable social element of dialog. To participate with another we find meaning in our own existence.
I am learning not to judge people, but to let them reveal so that I may share in my own revelations in order for us both to grow. I am slowly becoming more conscious of myself, everyday. I have come out of this shell and off this island to allow people back into my life.
I realize that the more I communicate or listen, the more I recognize and embrace my own flaws and my progress.

     “I cannot manage without another, I cannot become myself without another; I must find myself in another by finding another in myself (in mutual reflection and mutual acceptance)…”
                                          ~Bakhtin

I comprehend the notion of not being able to live without another, even if that other is my other. Without another, I have no one to reflect upon. I would always be self absorbed not looking out. In the beginning of my duality self portraits, I was always looking in for answers. As the project developed I steadily started to look outward. First at artists I would read about, Frida Kahlo was a major influence in understanding the relativity between me and the people out there in the world. I started to see myself in her.

     “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”
                                           ~Frida Kahlo

I chose to shoot self portraits because I also knew no one better. I had been alone for so many years in a deep depression. I felt that if I didn’t find a way to express my duality, I may go mad. I use photography as a tool to illustrate what I cannot say and to identify myself … my inner thoughts and self expression. In my art I convey this notion of simultaneously existing with my alter ego or other. It is this mirror that I look into my own eyes as if I am looking into another’s.

I became aware of many things with my duality but not really until I began to see the people around me as teachers of life. Once I moved out of my tiny studio and into a house with a close friend, I felt I came full circle. We have a syntax and a language that not only comforts me with familiarity, it stimulates my intellectual and my memories. As I came out of my depression,  I threw away all ideals of myself and people during this time. I have resurfaced as a new person, an coexisting as the same person I was before. I have been getting to know myself again these past few months through the help of friends and reconnecting with people. I feel like I have grown immensely since this Summer, since I immersed myself back into society. I am allowing myself to see life through others eyes. Without all of these people, I would not have a sense of who I am. Without them, I would still be a scared girl, vulnerable and afraid to come out of the dark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work Cited:
Task of the Teaching Life: Self Through Bakhtin Dialog and Ideological Engagement, Douglas McKnight http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02698878
Bodies of Meaning: Studies on Language, Labor and Liberation. David McNally pp 123- 129

My Duality project and how I got to where I am today.

I was born and raised in the Southern states of America. My mother and father, both from very poor families, met during the Vietnam-American war. I grew up on Army bases with an older brother as my guardian and my hero. He was a natural artist and could sketch or paint anything he imagined. I was always envious of the artist in him. I lived in his shadow until I moved to California.

At the age of 21, I left the South to pursue an education and find my path. I spent the next decade taking darkroom courses and working full time to pay for my California lifestyle. During my time as a business consultant for Apple, I had a break down. I had gotten very ill and spent time in the hospital recovering after a life saving surgery. It was a turning point for many aspects in my life. I decided to follow my dreams of becoming an artist and getting a degree in something I was passionate about. I applied to the undergraduate program at the Academy, it was 2008.

It has been a long road to recovery, mentally. I had fallen into a depression that would last over five years. This emotional roller coaster is how I fueled my creative spiral. I used the photography as therapy and my emotions as concepts. During my undergrad I learned about photography technically and conceptually. I learned about color and light and experimental methods of capture and print. I was so distracted by the academics and technicalities of art, I was able to push through my dark times.
Much of my duality stems directly from my life experiences. During and after my depression, I came to second guess myself and quickly become indecisive. The smallest tasks became enormous obstacles. I became agoraphobic, not leaving the safety of my bed, my island. It was these soul wrenching moments that I used to express myself. I began to shoot myself out of need of a subject then eventually my self portraits turned into my need to express myself, my therapy.

I used myself to learn lighting and conceptual thinking. I also used myself to push my Photoshop skills and composite. I used my own experiences, my own body and mind to produce pieces of my mind. Only recently was I able to convey my vision exactly as I see it in my head. All of the pieces I learned over the years started to come together this year. My confidence as a photographer is finally catching up to me and I can see the growth in my work.
The evolution of my Duality project is visually apparent. The images revealed where I was both mentally and technically in my work. I was using Photoshop to composite and beautiful landscapes to help create a surreal world, to construct my realities. The project was my therapy and my distraction.

Now in the second stage of development, I have grown as a photographer and a narrator. In these images, I’ve grown to appreciate my second nature and even nurture it. Technically the images are more dynamic, less flat. There is more of a commercial feel to them with a better quality of light and contrast. I feel that I am not just a photographer, but a conceptual story teller.

 

du·al·i·ty noun dü-ˈa-lə-tē : the quality or state of having two parts

 
Duality is my long term personal project falling under the fine art genre. The intent is to create an image to make the viewer reflect, experiential. These images are self portraits depicting my internal struggle, scenes from my everyday life. I’ve found a way to bring light to a dark subject with my love for cinema and surrealism. In this series of images, I’ve created real scenarios with a touch of duality magic, showcasing both sides to my personality.

She’s Like Day & Night

Day & Night

 

This is my second image from the newest Duality series. There’s a lot more going on in this scene, I’ve illustrated my own day and night habits.

I try to think logically in the mornings, it’s hard to wake up but I know I need to get my work done early before my distractions start chiming in. This side of my brain has loads of common sense and tends to be straight forward, well organized and rational. I tend to be a little more OCD in this mindset. It’s how things get done around my house. This is the stress inducing Melody, she speaks her mind and isn’t afraid of offending anyone.

While the night time is for my right brained activities. I stay up very late and work creating until I’m exhausted and pass out. I research projects endlessly, brainstorming my ideas for the week. I work without concern for organization or logical thinking. It’s all imagination and vision when I am in this mode. I tend to be more emotional when I am creative. I reminisce and use my past experiences to drive my work. This Melody is more prone to stay inside for a week while she creates her newest masterpiece. She doesn’t care for the general public and finds the inside of her home and her garden a bubble from the rest of the world.

For this image I was inspired by Dave Hill. His composites have been pushing me to try harder. Occasionally I look back on the photographers that have influenced me over the years, and I find something new. Some new technique I never noticed before… it was confidence this time. The confidence to create an image that I am not experienced at. This was my first transitional composite. Going from day to night in one frame is exciting for me. It shows me how far I’ve come in the last year. My concept is evolving and all I have to do is work hard and maintain this balance.

Thank you for checking out my progress. It’s going to be a fantastic fall, stay tuned for another installment of Duality by Melody.

Duality Film Still #1

 

Split Personality

I’m just an average man, with an average life
I work from nine to five; hey hell, I pay the price
All I want is to be left alone in my average home
But why do I always feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone

Rockwell is all that is going through my head as I edit this image. Rad. I am working on the Duality series again. I figure it needs a little closure or a end of some sort. Since I go through life like a movie still, frame to frame, I thought it was on;y right to shoot these in wide screen format. Duality as a movie…. treatment and more stills to come!

Nietszche, Apollonian and Dionysian Poles

Apollo & Dionysus
du·al·i·ty  (d-l-t, dy-)
n.
The quality or character of being twofold; dichotomy.

In Greek Mythology, Apollo and Dionysus are Gods, born from Zeus. Apollo, the God of the Sun, represents music, intellect, logic and reason. Apollo is often seen with a bow and arrow or a lyre. While Dionysus, also known as Bacchus, is the God of the Earth. He represents the bliss of life with wine, agriculture and fertility. Often depicted with wine and a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables. I grew up celebrating Bacchus in New Orleans, we celebrate life, abundance and the ecstasies of living. I fled to California at a young age in search of order.

For me, duality is an inner struggle, something non tangible that keeps us questioning our identity. For some there is a balance, for others an extreme. I am learning to let both sides of my mind live together in a harmonic balance. I’ve been working on my dual sides for the past few years. It has become my creative spiral, from which I draw inspiration from. I struggle with anxiety, hyper-mania and depression. I believe this came about after living such a lavish life in my teens and twenties, the balance was bound to take place.

After surviving my own great tragedy, in which I came very close to death, I withdrew from society and became agoraphobic. I began the long journey of getting to know myself. I was taught about art, history and the creative spiral. I dove into it head first and have landed firmly on my feet.

My spiral is about the inner conflict, the light and dark or Apollo and Dionysus. I have gained the insight to balance my two halves, to create my ideal person and bring peace to my life and those who know me. Since I cannot live without one or the other, I must learn to live with both my yin and yang.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) defines the two and believed that we must have a balance of both order and chaos to be the best possible person we can. Once the scales tip to one side or the other, the tribulation is inevitable. Both traits are required to live a balanced life.

Apollo’s powers of control, blocks creative instinct and spontaneity. There would no longer be that gut feeling, just logic. Without some control, the chaos would get out of hand, therefore leading me on into the depths of emotion and depression.

The individuality of Dionysus makes me original, it feeds my creative side. It makes my art mine. While the analytical side to Apollo helps keep me from excess. It helps to moderate and balance my intuition and reason. So that I may not fall again, but be successful in all areas of life.

Life is full of cycles and learning to balance the scales will bring us closer to leading a fulfilling life. This is why I believe it is urgent that we know ourselves, our limits and how to stimulate some chaos… it gives order a reason to be.

Works Cited:
Co-Operative Inquiry: Research into the Human Condition, by John Heron

A Little Death & Duality @ Fame Chicago

seven n seven  Please Stand By

la sucia

seulement vous

This past weekend a new restaurant, Fame, opened in the Chicago neighborhood Wicker Park. I was asked to submit some work for the opening. These are the 4 that grace some of those walls. These are an extension of the Duality series I’ve been working on for the past few years. I always imagine killing off one of my egos. This set has been a lot of fun, super creative and dark. I’ll be posting the rest as they come to life. Here are some links to the restaurant, if you are in Chicago…. stop by!

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3