I love to tell stories with my art. But like Bastian in The Neverending Story, my art enjoins the viewer to use his imagination and life experience to bring the stories to life. And, while different viewers will find their own stories in the work, so might the same viewer over time, including myself.
A little over a year ago I created the above print from a photograph I took of a man very dear to me. At the time I wanted the focus to be on his piercing blue eyes and the story of his life and character that could be gleaned through them. So I asked him to cover his mouth with his hand to both draw the attention to his eyes and to affect a pose that was both thoughtful and a little guarded. In my own reading of the image, I saw the man not only for who he was but how we related to each other at the time.
Today this print tells a different story to me. The man has recently completed a gruelling round of chemo and radiation therapy to battle the oral cancer he has developed. He is slowly recovering but his life has been thrown into disarray and he is on unchartered ground.
When I look at the print now I see past the eyes to his hand over his mouth and that pose has acquired new meaning to me. I see a protective stance and a strength that overlays the weakness. I see a strong man who will soon come face to face with his fragility and find fortitude in letting go and trusting in his own courage to not be undone by this ordeal. I see a man comfortable in his skin and in his life who will not be overcome by the fear and dread that inevitably come with a life threatening event. His strength allays my own fears and fills my heart with love and admiration for him.
I marvel at the perception and premonition that lead me to request this pose, to create the piece and to title it “Blue Ice”. It is a testament to the creative force within us that, when allowed to flow, is a constant wonder and an extraordinary joy and beauty. I am in awe of that force, and feel both humbled and empowered by it. Most of all I am grateful to be able to produce artworks that generate collective and evolving stories with their viewers, including myself.
This post is dedicated to Ron, for his brilliant smile and courage as he continues along this challenging journey.