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20 Questions

Thanks to everyone who sent in a question;
I hope you enjoy these responses/answers.

1. Will this question ruin our friendship?

Not asking the question that you just let me know you're with holding is now going to ruin our friendship. I do not like silence without an outlined purpose, or statements like "I don't want to influence you." and I really don't like anyone assuming I can't handle some question or opinion they are worried about asking--- Filtering leads to gossip and THOU SHALT NOT GOSSIP EVER!

2. What's your view of Muslims?

Since you asked "view"--- I think some of the veils and headdresses are very beautiful and I also find it fascinating to only be able to see a woman’s eyes---> which are the window to the soul. Reading the masculine and feminine reasoning behind wearing the traditional coverings is enlightening to personal value systems that all cultures assimilate in some way.

And as far as religions go... there is only one God... and its the same God across the board so just practicing Islam does not bother me.

3. What's your type? like what do you like and straight or gay?

My blood type is O+ and my favorite type font is "learning curve" because it looks like a school teacher wrote it and obviously there is a "learning curve." I like most everything and I love rainbows and auroras and light phenomenon and all colors. And I think straight lines can be happy but it depends upon everyone getting along while keeping the line straight... like team work.

4. Why does Gail Raphael LOVE You?

So, some background on this question is that--> Gail is the oldest of 22 cousins on the maternal side of my huge family and I'm the 13th cousin. Gail practices psychiatry and I practice painting. So, as kids all the girls put on fashion shows at Uncle Pat's house and I always got the most points for style---> So, Gail, LOVES me because she knows I hang the MOON even if it is only a Paper Moon. ;)

5. What's your favorite period of art?

I don't know that I have a favorite period of art. There are definitely compositional structures I prefer more than others and I prefer representational art more than realism. I also care more about the shapes and color and design more than what the painting's dated story/history significance.

6. If you could have been the artist who made a famous work of art that already exists which work of art would it be?

Mocking of Christ (cell 7) -Fresco
Convento di San Marco, Florence, 1440-42
Fra Angelico

I love this painting because its about how Christ felt in that moment of being mocked rather than being about what was happening to Christ. Most of Renaissance religious painting is about illustrating a story to help people visualize what the bible stories are about but many of the works exploit the essence of emotion for the sake of story-telling and that is why the term iconoclasm exists. Since antiquity humans have been arguing the "right way" of doing anything. And in this painting, Fra Angelico, took into account how Christ felt about being mocked by people of authority who were supposedly in the "right" while performing the mocking on the "Savior of the World."

There is a psychological aspect to just illustrating the face of the temple guard spitting and the taunting batons and hands... the full figures of the guards and priests doing the taunting are not painted in, which makes the painting only about Christ as the main figure and that is an important witness. Most viewers don't think in terms of seeing just the main figure if there are many characters wearing various significant garments. Christ is hard to paint because He isn't dressed like a King and He is the King.

7. If you knew you were dying tomorrow what would you be doing today?

I'd be doing what I do every day which is escaping into a painting or poem or prayer or meditation. After Hurricane Katrina-- I did the live like you are dying thing and covered alot of ground and had plenty of experiences but none of it meant anything because I'm happiest making pictures and poems and doing prayerful meditations.

8. Why do people sometimes hurt each other?

This question came from my friend Laura's 5 year old Fisher and when I read it -- I thought -- SHIT! I'm 33 and last August I asked a nun, Sister Joan, the same question but in a different format: What advice do you have for someone who thinks they are the cause of the world’s problems?

I don't think this question goes away even with conscious thinking because its like being caught off guard by expectation and having to live with yourself and moving on. Your options are: fight, flight or freeze--- rephrased--- confront, ignore, suppress.

The best thing to do is look at yourself in all those ways and own up to your faults and attributes so that you have self-awareness and hopefully will develop your communication to reflect your intentions. And if that doesn't work sometimes people who love each other just own up to having bad days and good days and just always love each other through all of it.

9. Would you charge to be a therapist?

Yes, I do some volunteer work sharing my personal experience with mental illness and if therapy was my main line of employment I'd bill everyone for my professional opinion. Its no different than paying for JML art lessons or purchasing my paintings.

10. What were you in your past life and what do you want to be in your next life?

Seriously, I'm pretty sure I was an artisan of some sort because I just love shapes and colors way too much. And I love the SUN way too much... I know I was not an American in my past life. Maybe I was Persian or Byzantine because it’s sunny over there and they have good art and I have some Armenian heritage. I'm pretty sure religious beliefs do not predate Zoroastrianism because I don't really know how to just naturally think other ways. Too often I think things are backwards but its not just dyslexia because when I doodle on paper my drawings tend to go right to left as oppose to left to right; so, I don’t think English is the language I'm meant to speak. And I love folk arts and textiles like wool rugs with ornate patterns or even just stripes. And in my next life-- hopefully I'll land somewhere that has lots of good colors and light shows or maybe I’ll get to be a rainbow or a pterodactyl.

11. How will the world end and why?

There's the world like Earth which includes Earth’s atmosphere-- even if people blow this place up and all humans die-- Earth matter will still exist and evolve. I think humans need to stop thinking in terms of “humans only exist” and respect the diplomacy of nature wiping out entire civilizations and species.

As for the whole universe world-- I think someday whatever exists in the grasp of world universe will find another universe --like there are galaxies outside this galaxy Earth is in--- there is probably another universe… we just haven’t found it yet.

12. What's it like to be an artist?

I'm pretty sure its just the same as any other job if you love what you are doing. I still require food and a toilet… the facts of life have not changed with this job description.

13. Have you really accomplished all the stuff you say you've done?

I don't know what do you think I've done? If you read my resume its all true and there is other personal life stuff that isn't on it. Don't compare yourself to me-- someone is always going to be in a different place than you but that doesn't mean you can't shine with your own talents. Everyone has to beat their own drum.

14. Why are you so secretive?

I had no idea-- I hope these answers help debunk my "secrecy."

15. If you were to OD what drug would you use?

My goal is to live as long as possible and die from natural causes so, doing the OD thing is not even a thought. As a painter who works and faces people making speculative remarks about mental health and creativity-- "the crazy artist” archetype is a belief that society has accepted as only having a dark-side and the blissful happy side of art is enjoying making your work rather than suffering to work.

It’s a mindset – a mental state. Joy and suffering are part of all life and journeys through life. Nature even dies annually with winter... I do not like gossip or speculative presumptions that artists are crazy because its no different than stating a religious libel or racial libel. It’s like victimizing people by career choice with statements like "all nuns are gay" or "all politicians and lawyers are liars" or " all doctors think they are god" or "those who teach -- can't" or "all stock brokers are thieves" --> it is ignorant to make remarks indicative of bracketing everyone in a group.

Artist respond to being appreciated just like everyone else. And Good and Evil are equally distributed to everyone and everything. Everyone has to be held accountable and hone their integrity.

16. Apples, oranges, bananas or pears?

I'll have all of them PLEASE and add whip cream, pineapple, grapes, coconut and walnuts and I’ll call it AMBROSIA-2015!

17. What do you want out of life?

I want to enjoy this life and I want everyone – GLOBALLY – to enjoy their life.

18. Are you ever nervous about shows?

I would puke my brains out before the wheelbarrow race at field day as a kid and at 33 -- I still have the nerves and either have a pre-show puke or post show puke.

19. Why do you move around so much?

Art and making art requires income just like every other lifestyle so you go where the work is or where you can afford. One of the main reasons I've moved around is that changing environments helps my work. And also, life has a way of up-rooting and I'm not opposed to establishing a permanent residence – it just hasn't been a priority yet. I'd like a permanent home base-- outside of my heart.

20. Would you live in a commune?

What part of life isn't a commune? Somebody has to do the banking, farming, teach the kids, be parents, be the painter, the writer, the music maker... there is room for everyone and all of it--- so life is always COMMUNAL... no one person can be and do everything.


Nat King Cole - Its Only A Paper Moon

I Dressed Myself
Photograph, Gene Nelson, 1984


Posted: Sunday, March 15, 2015