Friday, June 5, 2020

It Feels Different This Time

Last week, on a Monday, a man named George Floyd was arrested in a section of Minneapolis, MN called Powderhorn. He was suspected of committing forgery using a fake $20 bill. Police were called and in the process of arresting the man, they used a tactic that was not recommended, not really taught in police academy, and not practiced. Derek Chauvin used his knee as a chokehold, applying pressure to Mr. Floyd's neck. He could be heard by the crowd saying "I can't breathe. Please let me breathe." After nearly nine minutes, the chokehold was released, and Mr. Floyd, unresponsive, was placed in an ambulance, and taken to a hospital where he later died.

Last week, one man's callous and unthinking cruelty sent shockwaves across the nation. We've seen eruptions of this kind since Michael Brown and Ferguson in 2014, but this one feels different. I have spent enough time on this planet to remember the riots in 1992 in Los Angeles after a black man named Rodney King was savagely beaten by LAPD officers. When the officers were not held responsible, the city exploded in violence and flames. This feels like that moment to me. Then, there was a video recording. Now there are recordings, including footage of the entire 10 minute encounter that ended in George Floyd's death. I've linked to it here.  For my own sanity, I have not watched that footage, and I will not post it here.

"I can't breathe", he said.
"Please let me breathe", he said.

My God.
What are we?
What have we become?
Do we understand how our actions can have far-reaching effects and consequences?

Do we understand that we have sown to the wind and are reaping the whirlwind?

Do we understand that we've done this before?

How many times do we need to hear those words?

How many more have to die before we repent this nation's original sin?

More Later


Friday, May 22, 2020

Muscle Memory

In the last two weeks,  I've tried to really focus on making sure I get time in on my drawing table, even if it's just a couple of hours in a day. Because of health issues,  I was away from it for quite a while. As you might imagine, I felt rusty. So the first marks on the page felt unsteady, and I wasn't very happy with my execution. But I think, well, bit by bit, I can feel it coming back, getting steadier and more natural. It's a work in progress (I'm starting to dislike that phrase), but...what counts is how it feels to be doing it, and it feels GREAT. The technique and the fluidity will come back. I just have to keep at it. It's like the title implies...muscle memory.

So here's a sketch detail of an idea. I don't know where it will go or if it will become anything. It's based on a concept I came up with years ago called "Snow Angels". It was used in a holiday card that was sent to friends and family. After so long away, it felt good to re-visit the idea and see if I could improve on it a bit. Right now it's just practice.

Anyway, here it is. Enjoy.

Here's what the original looked like when I first conceived it.

More Later

Friday, May 15, 2020

So...Here We are In Bizzaro World

Look what's changed in a mere 3 months.
Up is down.
Down is up.
The sky is red.
The oceans are chartreuse.

Seriously...what the actual HELL??
Is this...ACTUAL HELL?
They taught us that Hell was a place of torment and eternal suffering.
If you visit an ICU anywhere in this country, that's what it feels like.

Oh, but you can't visit an ICU anywhere in this country right now. Even if you have loved ones in the ICU, you can't see them. That could be a definition of hell. During this pandemic, there have been absolutely horrific stories of families who have loved ones in the ICU who are dying of COVID-19 and they aren't allowed to see them to say good-bye. So people are dying alone.

This was not supposed to happen. We are supposed to be smarter than to allow a microscopic virus to essentially bring the country (and the world) to its knees, aren't we?
Apparently, something has taken over for our good sense and our much touted American ingenuity.
We are now seeing what happens when we give in to our worst instincts, which we did in November of 2016, when we allowed a callous, venal, odious, and wholly unqualified thug wannabe to ascend to the highest office in the land.

We wondered, those of us who knew this was going to be bad, just how bad it could get.
We now have the answer.

83,284 dead Americans as of this writing. That's a football stadium full of moms, dads, grandparents, kids from all walks of life, all political persuasions, races, etc. That's a small city.

A microscopic virus. Amazing how something so small could be so utterly destructive.
Our economy has ground to a halt.
Gatherings of large sizes have been effectively banned for the time being.
The big cities are ghost towns. New York City, that colossus, is empty.
As is L.A. And Chicago. And Boston.

I live in a city of 185,000 people in Central MA. Normally getting around this town by car is a trial.

Not lately, though. Not for the last two months.

Also amazing is the fact that we were a country that was humming along in familiar if problematic fashion just 8 weeks ago. Overnight, we were plunged into this...Bizarro World where things like shaking hands and hugs and closeness could potentially kill us.

Someone said that we aren't missing the material things so much as we are missing the need to physically connect with each other. I agree. I miss that most of all right now.

I am grieving.

So, in times of grief, we artists make art. I was debating whether to save this piece for another post. I've decided to share this now for those who are dealing with the various shutdowns, lockdowns, quarantines, or as we have here in MA, "stay at home advisories".

That's basically all of us right now.

So, here it is. Hopefully it lightens things a bit.

It's possible that by the time I post next, things will have eased up a little.
I certainly am holding on to hope.

Do what you can to hold on to hope. This will end. Hell may be eternal torment and suffering, but this will end. Do what you can to stay connected. We need that more than ever, any way we can get it. And please be safe.

More Later


Friday, January 31, 2020

Where Have I Been?

For the 153 of you who found this blog last month (including one in the Netherlands), I apologize for having been away so long.
Health issues.
I'll explain more in another post.

For now though, I'm glad you found this little space dedicated to affirming the work of making art.
Thank You.

More Later