Monday, September 02, 2013

The Featured Creature 2012-13: Last Bites Part II, The Hard Walk

After the HZO and the hectic, mentally draining pace of October, November 2012 was quiet and fairly stress free in terms of production and process.  I posted pieces that I had mostly completed before hand.  However, the universe had plans for my stress levels that would test my very ability to survive.

Later that month, within the space of two weeks, my phone died and I lost my entire address book, my unemployment benefits permanently expired leaving me penniless, my vehicle died the true death, and I came down with the most severe case of bronchitis I've ever had in my life.  I feel like a bit of back story is needed here.

I have an inflammatory disease called sarcoidosis.  It manifested in 2003 in my lungs and left me with only a third of my full lung capacity.  It makes things like moving laundry from room to room, or walking up stairs, or bringing in the groceries very challenging.  It also makes me very susceptible to respiratory illness.  A cold for me can go from zero to bronchitis in very short order and bronchitis can turn into pneumonia equally rapidly.

Being unemployed I have no health insurance and with no income you can see how bronchitis can be challenging.  I spent the last two weeks of November running around to 'free' clinics in attempts of finding assistance.  Let me tell you now, there is no such thing as a 'free' clinic.  In the end I went to the local emergency room.  Luckily, in my state, there is a level of assistance that hospitals are required to give you if you are in emergent need.  I can truly say that if they had turned me away, I'd be dead.

As much as the HZO traumatized me mentally and emotionally, the last two weeks of November put the finishing touches on my sanity and wiped me out physically.  I mention all of my health issues here, because those severe experiences informed my artwork for at least the next three months.  I wouldn't feel what I considered to be 'normal' for months to come.

December was generally quiet as I took my medication, puffed my inhaler every few hours and recuperated.  However a new element entered the Featured Creatures that would later blossom into much more.  December brought the first color Featured Creature pieces into the gallery.  When I began adding tones to the featured Creature pieces, I'd made a conscious choice to keep the pieces in greyscale to keep the drama of the 'noir' type image intact.  These first forays into color would not yield their true fruit until nearly four months later.

In December, all my artwork began to manifest the trauma I'd been through.  Over time, my personal experiences normally evidence through my art, but it is unusual for it to be so immediate and dramatic.  Images of greater disfigurement, powerlessness, and uncertainty emerged, echoing my own journey through fear, frustration, and hopelessness.  My ego had been shattered, but what emerged, was a new set of fictions growing within me.  The coming new year would bring these new fictions to light and within the space of a few months, a whole new paradigm would emerge for me.

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