I was working in my EyeBook yesterday, the one where I write in on one side and draw on the other side. I talked about this in a previous blog entry here. I haven’t been able to get a good/usable sketch out of it for a while now, but the writing has been very therapeutic.
So yesterday I was writing about how I felt that the series I have been working on is pretty complete – in terms of it being a basic body of satisfying imagery, palette, shapes and forms where I can now continue to communicate from – for a little while at least – even though I’m just at 12 in the series.
A lot of artists like to name their series. I suppose I have too; “Dan,” “Pattern Paintings,” etc. but those are kinda obvious. I think I will just call this new series, This.
The only one painting I may want to spring board from is the pink one. There are still complexities in that one that I still can’t manage to let go of. Whether it’s the narrative, the painterly-ness, or the autobiographical/narcissism, I’m not sure which, but I know that I would miss nixing that sort of painting all together, which is why it is going to stay in the series. It has to be there to mix and mold, and evolve with the rest of these fuckers.
I suppose I should feature the last two pieces that I finished in this series in this blog post, since I don’t remember if I did or not. Let me check first….
Okay, I already featured Survivor, but I never showed Rabbi Says. The one that happened to take the longest for whatever reason. It must have been painting around all those letters. So here it is:
Rabbi Says, 2013. 24 x 24 inches. Oil on birch panel.
Shit, did I talk about this before? The quote is taken from the late Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (Reb Moshe). And it’s just part of a whole quote. The painting says:
There are many times when a person feels that he cannot move forward because a dark cloud hangs over him. One should know, however, that nothing can stop him! Sometimes one can make a path through the cloud…
The whole quote is actually a comment on a section of the Torah. It’s hard to explain, but it’s about a troubled rabbi not being able to enter a holy place because of a dark cloud, and this seems to keep happening to him, while his solutions had been: waiting for others to pull him through, waiting for the black cloud to go away, etc. And Reb Moshe’s comments were:
There are many times when a person feels that he cannot move forward because a dark cloud hangs over him. One should know, however, that nothing can stop him! Sometimes one can make a path through the cloud, i.e., he can navigate through his troubles without becoming embroiled in them. This is the preferable course, for who knows how he will emerge if he gets caught up in a struggle?
If one cannot go through the cloud, he should look for a path that has no obstacles (just as Moshe waited for the cloud to depart). However, if he can neither go through the cloud nor find another path, he should push forward anyway with a firm conviction that Hashem will take him by the hand and lead him through.
So, I wanted to honor at least part of this view of Reb Moshe’s comment. I thought it had many important elements that confirmed what it was (for me) in being Jewish – ambition, faith in self as equal as faith in God or the universe, yet it not mattering which, and tenacity to survive (not leaving your life to fate).
And okay, so I wasn’t going to go into this, but I figured if two people already asked me this, two more people might ask me, and so on. And maybe I will stir up shit, I don’t know. It’s only how I feel and I can’t help that!
I was asked why I made the rabbi so silly looking. We all know that I make silly cartoon characters anyway, but twice I received the comment that it looked as if I was making fun of him, and this is correct. But it is not I that is making fun of the Rabbi, or the strange Jews in the black hats, or the Jews in general. It is not me who sees the Jew with the big nose and a scary face, or the orthodox with shards of bad, archaic teeth, or Jews throughout time with their hands out for your money while entertaining you, while balancing on a stick, or making you laugh. Nope. Not me. Maybe it’s me who is tired of that though.
I see those “funny Jews” that study day in and day out coming back to the community that wants to listen to them, give the kind of insight you just can’t get anywhere else.
Anyway, back to the studio.
Oh, speaking of the studio, I added new pics in the studio section of my site. Take a look!