To be perfectly honest, I'm not really a city boy; nor am I a country boy. If that contradiction doesn't make sense to you, let me explain. I'm a man of extremes, I love the solitude of the deep country and the ocean, miles and miles away from anyone but me, the water and nature. Or, I love the hustle and bustle of the city, not the little city or the mid-sized city, but the big city, Montreal, Toronto, New York, London, Sydney, you know, the "city".
I completed this piece today, and obviously, the city is on my mind. The thing about cities is this, each one is pretty much the same, lots of people, lots of buildings, etc, but each one is completely different too. Each one has a feeling, a vibe to it. I won't tell you which city this one is, I want you to guess, and you can, and I encourage you to, submit your guess in the comments. This one, is a city after a hard rain, you can still smell the hot asphalt melting into the cool water as the torrent slowed to a drizzle. It's dark, and the lights from the shops, apartments, streetlights, etc all twinkle in the droplets of water falling from the sky, each picking up the colour of their origin as they do. I walk quietly, It's really only me, apparently the other city dwellers don't fancy walking in the rain. I can smell a million smells, each the same and each so very different, there are families cooking the food of their homelands, Indian, Pakistani, Greek, whatever; there are university kids baking $4 pizzas, and there are the rest of us, making a chicken or some sausages. It all smells delicious. And in between the smells of the food, I can smell the laundry, some delicate and soft, others, using way too much of that artificial "never ending fresh scent crap" that makes me cough as I continue my stroll. And I hear the soft laughter and conversation through slighty open windows, happy families, students lamenting their midterms, couples making up and breaking up. A frantic woman runs out of a brownstone, she asks me if I've seen Buddy, her fat black cat with a white belly. I haven't, but I assure her I will bring him home, should I see him, the city streets are no place for a housecat, after all. There's something about this place, the people, the smells, the feeling, especially on this rainy night, that makes me feel so good, so alive, so part of something larger than myself.
When you've dedicated your entire life to your art, there are certain things that make one smile. Getting a show in a large, awesome city is one of them. The large city I refer to is the mighty Toronto. I've shown there before and it's great. Great success came from there. Collectors and people who appreciate my work happened there. In one of the shows I had there, there was a man who, as he stared at the piece shown below, Inner Hall with Lady, Table and Flowers, whooped and hollered because he liked it that much. He said that he wanted to open a gallery someday and carry my work. That same piece sold shortly after I got home to a woman who contacted me through my website. Well, for a painter, it doesn't get much better than that!
There was a different gentleman and his wife who ended up buying the other piece, Old City. In fact, they happened into the gallery before the exhibition had even started and decided it was their's! His wife, during their trip in Toronto, actually fell and hurt her leg, yet the man still went through the process of buying Old City. ALL these things make this Canadian artist smile. I'm a blessed man. The last photo shows my two pieces hanging at the Gallery exhibition.
Inner Hall with Lady, Table and Flowers
I was sure smiling later!
This blog post is dedicated to my collectors. It is a sweet and wonderful thing to have people that understand what you're doing, what you're putting into the world, and that you care about the art you're creating. When an artist flows with honesty, originality and passion, people see it. Can being this sort of artist be a difficult life at times? You betcha! There must be sacrifices and hard decisions involved on this path. There are years of sleepless nights and missed meals. There is the living in horrible rooming houses and apartments. There are friends lost, sad days, angst, frustration, tears, shouting at the walls, other relationships lost. There is also elation and outward joy. There is the powerful feeling that I'm doing what I was put here for.
I thank you very much for respecting and embracing what I do...X
The teenage girl. She's riddled with complexities! This girl, depicted in this painting, is no exception. She's not quite a woman, not in every way. She's relatively new on the journey of life. She's self-conscious. She's brave, yet trepidacious. She's smart, yet naive. Males who are in touch with themselves, share many of her feelings. I know, I did! I was a veritable basket case at 17. This piece is called, "17". Maybe you recall being 17?
This painting speaks of all those crazy and wonderful "17" type things. To me, being 17 was like a strange land filled with unseen spirits, ghosts of every positive AND negative entity. There is power in youth. The power is in the pudding. ;)
This piece is called, "Amen". Take a good look and you'll understand. The right person came along less than 12 hours after I finished it and bought it. This person is a collector, they own other paintings I've produced. This blog post is about the awesome and powerful element of, "someone getting it". When a person sees a painting and connects with it, something special happens. There is a wonderful occurance. Everything comes together. It reminds me of why I paint.
When a painter uses everything they ever learned and allow their painting flow to be honest, the piece "happens" the way it should. The collector sees this, they know what's going on. It's like music on canvas. It's like grabbing the lightening. It's canned heat. It's sublime...
There are particles of real emotion in this piece. There are life experiences. There is truth. This is what art can and should do.
I'm blessed to be an artist. What a great blessing it is...
As an artist on the Autism Spectrum, I have learned to embrace my neurodiversity as well as my talent, and even to celebrate them. However, I’ve also come to recognize that the very thing that these things, that make me who I am, and give me my ability to create unique works of art are also the source of my biggest frustration.
First the positive. One of the things Autism has given me is laser focus, the laser focus that has allowed me to study the great masters, to spend thousands of hours honing my craft and creating my own style, the drive to constantly innovate and improve my expression. It’s also given me a unique way of looking at the world that translated through paint are “pure Carl”.
Now for the not so positive. I’ve been painting for over twenty years, and for most of them, I either didn’t know, or kept quiet about being Autistic. Once diagnosed, I kept quiet for fear of not being taken seriously in the so-called art world. It turns out that fear was somewhat justified, just not quite in the way I thought. Let me explain; of course, once I began to openly embrace my Autism as part of my identity, I have been met with the standard, “we’re not sure your work fits within our mandate” response which really is a polite way of saying what they can’t say, “we’re not sure you can act appropriately in our super Upper crust gallery environment and as such, we can’t risk offending our patrons.”
That one, I’ve come to terms with. I don’t like it, but I have come to accept that some people will always be judgmental and narrow-minded. The one that gets me is the initial acceptance, then the subsequent rejection because I’m, get this… wait for it…I either “don’t look Autistic” or “I’m not Autistic enough.” That, I wasn’t ready for. This comes, usually from admittedly well-meaning people who, for some reason or another have a grave misconception about what Autism is and looks like and find themselves disappointed when I don’t meet the image in their mind’s eye. It’s a strange place to be, smack in the middle of public stereotypes, I’m either too Autistic or not nearly Autist enough, but what I am is, just like my art, 100% Pure Carl, so I guess I’ll just let the world, art and wider, fit itself around me and not the other way around.
People sometimes may miss a really great point. Why? Because at the end of the day, nobody's perfect. However, I have to take off my hat to Greta Thunberg.
I felt Greta Thunberg deserved another blog post. At least she's out there DOING SOMETHING. You see, It doesn't even matter how accurate the info she's passing along is, but she has courage. She's doing this as a person on the Autism spectrum (high functioning). She's so very refreshing because she's only 16. She's just a teenage girl. THAT'S exactly why she's so dangerous. Her real power comes from heart and pieces of reality. She actually cares. What a beautiful thing. Thank you, Greta.
Remember when you were a little kid? I do. I remember clearly. It was pretty awesome. I went through some things a child shouldn't, but many of my memories are beautiful. It was the '70's and things were so groovy! Heh, heh, heh...:). The one, big thing when you're a kid is you need to feel safe and loved. You need to feel that if that monster actually DOES come out of your bedroom closet, your mom will rush in. Well, I didn't always have that, not as much as I would've liked. But, my mother worked very hard, having worked two jobs while raising my older sister and I. My parents got divorced when I was 4. Mom won custody and the rest is history. I have to thank my mother, as she was a warrior. I love you, mom!
As a child, I was terrified of the dark. I was an anxious and hyper child, fraught with insecurities, and I stuttered very badly. In this piece, Safe With Mother, we have a great mother, willing to make the sacrifices necessary to get the kids through anything. The concept used here in this painting involves a kind of scary place and mom's gonna get them through. There's a kind of sanctuary thing at the end (the safe place). Yes, I think mom should be warrior, angel, and all-powerful entity. Otherwise, why have a mom in the first place? In the child-mind, this is just how it is...
What makes art good? I mean really good! Happy accidents. In this piece, Empty City, I was so pleased when this painting flowed from my brain and ended up showing the workings of my brain in a very loose and obviously abstract way. This is where my brain makes friends with the paint. I was very unaware of what was going on as I painted this. It was fun and exciting. It felt like a form of therapy. Not flaky or empty therapy, but REAL therapy. It's where color and line work together in a beautiful way.
Am I afraid that the world will glimpse some of my brain? Not at all, I'll still sleep just fine at night. Good art should be honest.
Whether this piece represents GREAT art is up to you, dear viewer.
There is so much art out there these days, with the internet and all. It's flooded. Yeah, there's A LOT of bad art out there. Now more than ever. However, every now and then, we come across art that actually has emotion. Imagine that! Emotion...
This piece, one of my faves, "When the Tide Is Out", contains emotion and other complexities contained in the paint. When I say emotion, I mean the mood I was in when I happened to paint the piece, the way the colours came out, the brushstrokes, the power of the painting. There is a mood of this painting that translates to the viewer. I have to be in a certain mood to paint like this. This is the difference between realism and illustration and art like mine, which actually has feeling, complex emotion, original thought, idea, flow, and originality. These are some of the reasons why old abstract expressionism is worth so much money, in the millions, because there is something honest, different, and powerfully artistic about it. The "Scream" comes to mind.
So, next time you happen to be in an art gallery or are looking for a genuine piece of art to collect, remember to really take your time to gaze AND feel that creation. You'll want something that lives with you to be worth something.