Alice Neel

Yesterday, my partner and I took a day together to go to one of the art museums in San Francisco, The De Young Museum. It was the last day of the Alice Neel show. I didn’t know anything about her and didn’t know what to expect. But it was good to get out of the house and we were so happy together. I didn’t pay attention to anything in the car except for talking with my partner. We were so happy. I made her an album cover earlier that morning and we were in the best of spirits, even in the fear I live in day to day. The day was incredible.

There were so many people out, so many people. I have crowd anxiety. I let my partner know this was going to be a very hard day for me. We supported each other completely, even leaning into each other in line, completely supporting each other in total trust. I tell her everything that’s going on inside me. She may be the only person who truly knows me. A lot of people think they do but they don’t. They’re limited by things they think they understand. The world is a vibrational pattern and so many people muddy it with horrific games.

We walked through to the exhibit and it was crowded, and I do what I usually do. I started with technical analysis, reading the information, acknowledging and studying the technique, and then moving at lightning speed through the exhibit. I read paintings fast, I do it all day. I study painting and photography sometimes for 15 hours a day, and exhibits are no different.

So what was the show about? To me it was a really interesting balance. The first thing you read at the show is that People Come First. And Alice Neel did this with attention. The color pallettes, while abstracted, reminded me of Flemish masters by way of Expressionism, as she examined her cities and the world around her, the people she knew, but that wasn’t the miracle, technically they seemed rushed and muted. But the spirit she captured in each of her subjects tended toward universal principles that we all share. It’s really difficult to capture work like this. Each work was to me, someone who did not know their histories, as a kind of emotional landscape as we moved throughout the exhibit. Finally leading toward something very few people were looking at, an offer for the general public to send their own paintings of people they knew, which I watched longer than any of the other works.

I finished quickly so I went up to the cafe, and got a coffee. The cashier and barista was busy. Since that was one of my jobs this year, I saw myself in her work. I know how hard those jobs are. She was busy so I finished the transaction on the computer screen myself, from one worker to another. We both laughed.

I went and sat down and waited for my partner. She finished almost as quickly as I did. We’re both visual and I wasn’t surprised. We were having fun. My fear of crowds almost completely went away in those moments, even though it was still a difficult day, but I got home and realized something important.

A lot of people think my work is indicative of specific people. They’re not. They represent pure emotion and vibrational frequencies that we all carry within us. Thinking they represent individuals is a violent attack on my life’s work. In the same way that Neel, to me, captured something essential to the human experience, that’s what mine do as well, so in my mind, and in my work, I finally broke free of what’s been so difficult over the past year, people literally trying to destroy my work to push their own political agendas. I refuse this. I will not have my work serve as a place of division and hate.

What I make is something transcendental. It’s an incredible experience I can’t quite describe, border lining on a kind of ecstatic, mystical relationship with colour and sound, shape and form. I live to make art, and the violence of comparing my work to living people is something I refuse and stand against. My work is not that at all. I refuse to believe in some oligarchy of people who are taking advantage of my work and pushing their own agendas, for what I do not know.

My work is for everyone, and I finally stated this fully on my sites. I am taking my work back, the abuse ended yesterday. No matter what, I have my partner, my beliefs, my dreams, and my work that is the outpouring of my soul, my deepest realities, and denying this is a violent attack that I refuse to believe in, while people push their own agendas. In a few weeks, my work, which is stolen often, will only be on my site, not other places that have done nothing for me.

If anyone ever reads this I want you to know, that what is happening with this abuse against my work, believing that it represents other people, is wrong, it’s almost a form of brainwashing. I am leaving these thoughts behind and trusting myself. My work is my soul made visible, not for people I’ve never spoken more than a few words to. I’m taking my work back, and I refuse to believe this violence any further.

But yesterday my partner and I blissfully spent time together. I’m more in love than I have ever been. And that’s what matters to me. I am finally free of fear, and while I’m not yet ready to make work this morning, I see my art for the first time in over two years, free of hate that I will continue to ignore.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: