The great idealistic Italian philosopher Benedetto Croce brilliantly understood that "All history is contemporary history.” Migrant Imagination is an installation project that begins as a series of drawings made with shoe polish. The drawings depict Italian immigrant factory workers in states of meditation. Italian culture and Industrialized Brooklyn, NY are linked inside migrations, loss, desire and transformation. It is an immigrants’ story that carries with it the hopes of economic opportunity out of an old world of disenfranchisement, impoverishment and alienation. Seeing the history of Italian culture and American Industry of the 20th century with a critical and imaginative eye, with moral and ethical vision, a contemporary image of migration and transformation is conceived.
With eyes closed in spiritual contemplation (imaginative knowledge) the men and women of Italy transcend the factory floor; representing an ideal state of self- surrender. In the practice of Transcendental Meditation liberty and freedom are natural states without struggle. The mission in meditation is purely creative- not destructive. By looking inward a trans-historical embodiment is proposed. The immigrants personify the inalienable rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The people are not political or national agents but spiritual beings in pure consciousness changing the concept of “identity” or nation into one field of unified being.
Shoe polish is a metaphor for street art in a postindustrial, postmodern American culture. Like an immigrant endeavor the shoe polish drawings represent the outsider and outsider art, and outsider art is about migration and transformation. Shoe polish also connects to Italian American culture and those trades that have been available to immigrants, cobbling and shoe shining as a form of capitalism and democratic liberal expression. It is also a narrative about the capital creation and the industrialization of a nation. This history tells of inadequately rewarded labor, assimilation, social and class warfare, and ultimately integration. These conditions remain painfully constant the world over. By painting the workers into meditative states they are transcending the limitations of this world and fulfilling their true desire for “The American Dream-” that there is enough for everybody. Such higher order consciousness manifested transforms the recapitulation of history, portraying a new social paradigm. The migration is therefore complete and those principles of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness are finally fulfilled.
AnonOMus [The Art Of Evolution] is a multimedia exhibition in two parts. The first is a series of intimate drawings (drawn with shoe polish) and paintings depicting soldiers in states of formal meditation. As agents of class, economic and cultural warfare, the soldiers are being surrendered by the artist into states of higher consciousness- changing their marching orders from war to peace. With eyes closed to journey inward, they non-violently resist going into battle and at once cease fighting everyone and everything. This spiritual action transforms history and recapitulation. The figures embody a new paradigm within the infinite field of spiritual being.
The process in Meditation is purely creative- not destructive. The AnonOMus soldiers meditating personify our inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They are not as political/national tools or weapons but are become spiritual entities, changing the concept of “power” from destructive force into creative awakened well-being. In our age of American Empire and “the world as a battlefield”, AnonOMus [The Art Of Evolution] is a transformational form of non-violent protest. The soldiers become transcendent prophetic message carriers for peace, equality and love- A new revolution.
Citizen Soldier, is a documentary film project focused on bringing critical attention to the unknown experiences of soldiers returning and returned from foreign wars. Through the sharing of personal stories a larger socio-political exposition is related detailing the pervasive impact of war here and abroad. The honest interviews are their own civil reckoning, an unburdening of the past towards cultural healing. A larger community is involved beyond the confines of the military experience. At some point, the soldier rejoins society, not as a soldier, but as a veteran. Citizen Soldier addresses ambiguities regarding war and all that it affects.
As a form of inquiry, painting combines with journalism and film to critically explore narrative and painterly concepts. This interdisciplinary process connects with the earliest modes of graphic representation while investigating the efficacy and legitimacy of painting in our culture of spectacle…including the spectacle of war. By using stop action animation the portraits come to life in stride with each audio interview. The painter reveals each mark and decision frame by frame. In this way the artist partakes in his own self-admission. Painting and digital technology unite metaphorically embodying states of reemergence and integration. The language of painting intimately conveys a human experience from within the maze of technology, in this case dissolving the fog of war in a militarized culture.
TRANSCENDING A NEW WORLD ORDER is a pictorial proposal, a demonstration for universal empathy and compassion. Gathered in one room/conjoining rooms are a multitude of portraits of world leaders and pivotal political faces from all ideological personifications, contemporary and historical. Each portrait conveys its person in a state of deep meditation. Enemies and allies are symbolically joined in transcendence - manifesting one spirit.
Viewing historical figures with their eyes closed is a complete departure from the traditional western gaze; shifting centuries of pictorial portraiture from looking outward to looking inward. The outward gaze is one of conquest, ownership and ego; the gaze inwards is towards self-appraisal and surrender. Represented is a means of re-identification, both within and without. National, historical and ideological identity is accessed, while deconstructing the veracity of whatever belief system is operating. These men and woman are portrayed foremost as human beings demonstrating the desire for enlightenment thus manifesting the ideals of liberty and equality. By looking inward, a trans-historical condition is proposed, one that insists upon the viewers’ cognition of their own belief systems and fixation therein. Throughout the exhibit there will be places for anyone who wishes to sit comfortably and close their own eyes. This project supports a paradigm shift that allows these symbols (our own thought models) to change, reconfiguring political discourse towards social evolution.
In my time as an American there has always been war. I’ve seen the promotion of war, the celebration of war, its negative impact economically and morally, and the perpetuation of foreign wars in the guise of national security. War is a deeply embedded social system of consciousness. It brings with it constant fear, dread and unresolved awareness of unnatural death. My father was a sergeant during the Korean War. We still have his uniform. My deceased brother Kevin was in the Navy at the end of the Vietnam War. He was a double shellback.
Born in 1961, my conscious awakening to global current events was thus during the Vietnam War. As a very young boy I was an early riser hoping to watch morning cartoons on the “boob tube.” Looney Tunes-Bugs Bunny- operated beside the AM news clips; graphic unadulterated scenes of combat from Vietnam including broadcast commentary. I remember thinking that we should drop the A-bomb on them, the “others.” So I was conscious also of nuclear annihilation. This is the radioactive world I was born into. My older cousin Johnny was conscripted and disappeared into those Vietnamese jungles. He was a medic, 2 tours. He basically disappeared when he came home, suffering from PTSD. Though Johnny is still alive, I have never seen him since my early childhood. He has been my personal ghost of war.
My art practice is intuitive, spontaneous and performative in nature. I find my symbolic figures and landscapes through action working across media. I often use myself or my family and friends in collaboration, to act out symbolic scenes of socio/mythic import and then compose for painting as indexical of ontological experience. To transmute digital imagery into a subjective organic experience is to cause the act of seeing to become experiential, to be meditative. I want the paintings to be reflective of and manifest transformational states towards higher order consciousness. My practice at the core is a demonstrative act for social unity, spiritual discourse, and an aesthetic embodying humanism as it relates to ecology, equality and true liberty. I am grounded in the symbolic painting tradition as regards compassionate social awareness and individual self-reckoning. I consider the power of transformative imagination through the creative subjective act to be a form of resistance and release from entrenched and negative socio/political systems.To contact me, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org