Here's to Listening and Looking

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Here's to Listening and Looking

One of the things I remember about my younger days… (and now we're talking half a century ago or more!) is how I loved music.

I still do, of course.

But back then as much as I loved the tunes, it was the lyrics that caught my attention. I mean when I talked to others about the lyrics, so many of them were lost in the music, the beat, the band, the sound! It was as if they were a few steps above oblivious, that the words were even a part of the song. I exaggerate of course, although, maybe not that much.

Words in music meant so much to me. Especially those wordsmiths with a guitar, pen and paper. People like, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Peter, Paul and Mary, Pete Seeger, Simon and Garfunkel… there were so many back then.

I remember listening to the lyrics in my head, trying to understand what in the world these people were singing about? It was so intriguing. Surely they must have a message? Something that would clear up all the confusion of why I was here, in this crazy world, and most confusing of all… who was I?

They all seemed to know who they were and why they were here. They must have a message, they must have the answers. But could I decipher the code? Could I translate what they knew, into something practical for me?

I remember the lyrics from Paul Simon, "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenements halls and whispered in the sounds of silence." and another line from a movie I saw later in life, words spoken by a character in the movie 'Contact', named Ellie Arroway. She said, "I was looking for patterns in the chaos." I think these quotes sum up my search at that time for something substantial to hold on to.

I never did find the key to the puzzle in all those folk singer lyrics. Turns out that the musicians singing all those mystical words in all those songs were probably no closer to answering those questions than I was when i first started asking them.

For some reason, I've always been interested in words, more so as I get older. Words, their meanings, where the word originated and why it became a part of language. It hardly makes sense, since I was such a lousy English student in school. Yet there is this fascination with words and their purpose.

ideas are complex

I am an artist. I exercise that in terms of visual art, mainly paintings. Yet I find great artistic satisfaction in givings names to my art. It is my opportunity to create a bridge for the viewer into my thought about the painting. I suppose for some, it might help, while others may find it confusing. Its fair to expect that every person might see something different than I did.

And to be fully upfront, some titles are just for fun anyway, without much or even any connection to the artwork. Although in this process of abstraction, there are some hard to unsee secret images that occasionally reveal themselves after being in front of the art for some time, and I love it when that happens.

So, one might ask, "Are there messages in some of these chaotic patterns you create?"

That one would consider there might be messages that are not obvious or easily found, reveals to me at least, that there is this natural desire in the human mind to know more than we know. Perhaps we are all on a pathway to find our identity and purpose in this ongoing event we call life?

So, are there patterns in the chaos? Messages on subway walls? Secrets that might reveal themselves in some of my artwork?

One thing I have discovered… if your not looking… your not finding.

All the best in your search.