I actually had something else in mind to blog about today, but I happened to be up in the wee hours of this morning, completing this piece and I have to say, I'm very pleased with how it's turned out. I am absolutely in love with the look and feel of this painting, the haunting starkness of the blacks and greys, the lone figure, and the vibrant anticipation of the greens. I called it Day at the Mall, let me explain:
I suppose I was in a nostalgic mood, but then again, aren't I always? I've become one of those old curmudgeons that sits back longing for the good old days; you know, when music was good and a Big Mac was actually big. I'm just cane away from being the old guy shaking his cane in the direction of those "blasted young people". I'm of course, exaggerating for effect, I'm not even 50, hardly old, but a lot has changed since I was, say a teenager.
Take for example, the mall. Remember that epicentre of teenage life? It all happened at the mall! Anyone who was anyone was there, hanging out, shopping, buying records, having some fries and just walking around seeing who and what were new. And it wasn't just the kids, either. I remember packed parking lots all the time. The mall was where it was at in those glorious 80's, the height of unapologetic consumerism.
Fast forward 30 years to the present time. There are still malls, well sort of. The mall in my hometown, the one that was THE place to be began it's slow march to death sometime in the mid-90's and eventually was transformed into a strip mall, you know, a series of stores all joined together with no interior corridor, no hallway, no impressive lighting or food court. The malls that have managed to continue to exist seem empty now, a hollow reminder to days gone by. Relics of history, barely living monuments to a generation that seems almost mythical now. The huge anchor stores are gone, K Mart, Sears, Zellers and the parking lots are empty, or nearly so.
There's a sadness there, a longing for the comfort of what once was, but there's also a sense of joy, or satisfaction. I think, well at least for me, something has shifted, maybe I just grew up but the idea of spending money on stuff, just for the sake of it, just to pass the time, has no appeal for me anymore. The idea of having the best and the latest, just to impress some people I probably don't like much anyway seems, well, dumb. And I think many feel this way. We've become I think, a more introspective lot as people, opting to spend more on things that mean something to us, things that are unique, experiences, one of a kind items that add value to our lives and our spaces. We're more conscious of the social and environmental impact our choices have. We've noticed whole a world out there beyond the climate controlled, muzak filled one we once relished. A world where we can feel free, and experience so many things, exercise, joy, meditation and mostly for free.
Somehow, all of that came pouring out onto my canvas. As you can see, the figure is walking around in the mall, or what's left of it, it doesn't appear anything is open, or even really there. There are no bags in her hand as she seems to head toward something. But to what? Could it be that something else, that whole other world? That one you can see just beyond the pillars and perhaps crumbling lucite? You know, you've seen it before, you've heard of it, its a wonderful magical place filled with colour and fresh smells and sounds... outside! Yes, outside, in nature! Go on, keep going, that's it, only a few more steps...