The following I wrote back in March 2016, while hearing word and seeing images of my paintings transported worldwide. Worth a read if artists have any intent to save the human world. Alena Levina, Moscow artist and great human being, is front and center in photos with Lena Ulanova, now Saint Petersburg great human being and subject of this blog and exhibition:
When I Was Deep in Poverty You Taught Me How to Give
Milestone. I just passed it, and I am waving my hand. Good bye avarice! There is no mirror living of your neighbor to be admired. Adios oneupmanship! I am not nearly as accomplished as the worst painter. I am going to free up my archive of its output—and I shall do this while out walking the village, going door-to-door with my empty begging bowl. Put paints in it and you shall have a painting. Add stretched canvas and a desire to know me, then clear up a wall for my work. Basically, if you’ll have me, the painting is yours.
Two arrivals yesterday of paintings so close yet separated by thousands of miles. It was like I was split in two. At three in the afternoon I was not ready for the joy-energy to hit me like it did. Like a mortal head-on collision with a Zeus thunderbolt. I am still smoking, but feeling more alive than ever with a new understanding.
The title of this post is a lyric from “The Wedding Song” by Bob Dylan. In no way am I impoverished in the literal sense. I eat. I sleep warm and dry. And the plumbing works 363 days a year. I can get from point A to point B with sufficient planning. It is a practical life, with a few luxuries thrown in from time to time, but rarely with surprise.
Still, I have fed the poorest spirit for too long. It was getting old. It was repeating thoughts, forgetting joy, and closing in—fast-walking to the big sleep.
On an artistic level, I was going inward, deflated, and more alone in my painting and writing than ever before. A difficult direction for even the most steadfast to about-face!
I opened up. I don’t know exactly when. I have an idea how. In part by my own effort to climb out of artistic depression, with catalyst coming last April on the day I received Alexey Stepanov’s paintings in the mail. By his acquaintance I have made warm connection with other inspired people rich in dreaming, who make manifest their dreams through the painting process. It is good company to keep, even if separated by language and a vast swath of earth. Long live Stuckism!
Now I want my paintings to travel. To go where I go while I execute them. To foreign lands. To new love! To Eric Fromm’s plea for a man to be born again. Among all of this and more, I must remain productive. But this energy needs to move. It must go from me, and if nobody is buying, then I am giving. Believe me, there is so much more gold in the latter transaction. I don’t want your money. If I know you and like you, all I desire is that you thrive and be happy.
Maybe a painting will help.
And will you look at that wallpaper! Genius!