Some kids couldn’t care less about what they wear. Clothes to them are simply part of life, and an insignificant one at that. Our son is not one of those kids. The clothes he chooses are of the utmost importance, and what goes on, and more importantly, what will never go on, his body is the source of more than a little frustration in our house (specifically in his room most school days). To get out the door, make it to school on time, and to maintain a decent amount of sanity in the morning we compromise – a lot. We let him wear the same pants two days in a row and hope that teachers and other school personnel are too busy to notice. We find one pair of pants which aren’t’ too “crinkly” and one brand of socks that touch his feet but not in a bad way and we buy multiple pairs. We hug him and rub his back and empathize with how awful it is to have to wear a shirt with a tag in it. As he’s gotten older his pickiness has subsided somewhat, but there are still times when there is simply only one pair of pants he could possibly even consider wearing and how in the world could we not see that? A few weeks ago, these were the only pants the universe would allow him to wear.
Since we had so much experience in compromise we agreed to the pants and hoped nobody would judge us for it (at least not too harshly). They are too short for him, he has been wearing them for at least two years, they have holes in both knees (which I have patched but still), and he had already worn them over the weekend. They are literally the worst pair of pants he owns. Once he had gotten dressed and I was free to rummage through my own closet to find something to wear he came and sat down on the floor and explained his choice. “I love these pants. They are really comfortable, they have cool stripes down the side, and you can put your fingers in jail!”. He showed me how he could entwine his fingers in the patched up holes. They are the exact same pair of pants, but we saw them completely differently.
Perspective is so important. Perspective is everything. Below is “Make it Rain”. Please enjoy it anyway you like.
In September 2017, Target released their new Star Wars toys to begin promotion of the latest film, The Last Jedi, opening the following December. Being a family of Star Wars nerds fans, we made plans to get there the very first day they were displayed. Since I was more excited about the movie than the toys, I let our six year old son roam about at will and watched him as he raced around the aisles exclaiming “Mommy! Look at this!” over and over. I didn’t think anyone was capable of having as much fun as he at that moment. And then a 40 something woman approached the plush doll section and totally and completely geeked out over the Porgs. (Take a second to Google that if you are unfamiliar, but make sure to come back and read the rest of this blog.) She noticed me looking at her and took my “Really lady?” glance for a “Wow! How cool!” look and proceeded to ask me if I knew about Porgs. “A little”, I answered. She then picked one up and told me all about them. At that moment she was more excited than our son and my initial eye roll reaction to her turned into genuine approval. It’s great to get so excited about something. That’s the way I hope people to react to Chris’ work. To see it and immediately connect with the piece and want to buy it. (She bought the Porg, by the way, even though that little guy was $40 or $50. George Lucas must have a hard time deciding what to do with all his money.) When Chris is creating a piece he always has a theme in mind and the hope to is communicate something through the work. The idea is to get people to have that “Oooo, look at this one!” reaction. I’ve seen it many times and it never gets old. They may not be able to articulate exactly why, but they know they love it and want it. If we can put a painting in a home that will admire it forever, that’s a good day.
Appropriately suited for this post, the painting below is titled “We Are Made of Stars”.
“Mommy, do you know what that is? It’s a girl, holding an umbrella, trying to open it in the wind and the rain. And see that patch of blue in the corner? That’s the rain. It’s coming!” This was said to me, quite out of the blue, by our six year old son in October 2017. “Is it?”, I responded. “Yes, it is”, he answered with absolute certainty along with a healthy mix of just-so-you-know attitude. I stared for a while but couldn’t see what he could. That is the crux of abstract art in general and Chris’ work in particular. There are an infinite number of possible shapes and images in one of his works, and there is no “right” one. Everyone who looks at one of his pieces has a unique experience, even if they come to similar conclusions. In a figurative painting of, say, a tree, a person can look and admire it. It may remind them of a favorite childhood tree or of the beauty of nature. But Chris’ work involves more direct involvement since the viewer must actually decide what they are looking at. It doesn’t even have to be an object; it could be something like anger or happiness. It’s collaborative, an experience with the artist. It’s a small journey, one worth going on again and again. Some of his works have been hanging in our house for years and I am still finding bits that I’ve never noticed before. The work hasn’t changed, my perspective on it has. Amazing.
Below is the painting, “The Red Dress”. It is absolutely one of my favorites.
I found this excellent blog about understanding the purpose and concept behind abstract art. Its helpful for me to read and view abstract art through history to get some perspective on what I am trying to accomplish with my own work.
Abstract art can be challenging to the viewer. For some it is unsettling and confusing. For me it is exhilarating. I don’t feel a since of dread as some might. When I view an abstract painting that inspires me I embrace the unknown and revel in it’s bold complacency.