A Life in Paint
It's been a busy couple of weeks. I've been working my butt off preparing for and trying to raise funds for my showing in Barcelona. July isn't that far off, so it's nose to the grindstone for the foreseeable! Luckily, I love what I do.
I completed this piece, Old Train Yard, in the wee hours of this morning. I'm so excited about it that I'd like to talk about it a bit. For those that follow my work, it seems pretty obvious that this is destined to be, or rather is, part of my People and Places series. As strange as it sounds, I find a sort of raw beauty in abandoned places, in urban decay, if you will. On the face of it, I know that statement sounds weird, how can anyone find beauty in such sadness. I mean there's nothing beautiful in businesses closing, in droves of people, those that can, fleeing from a once prosperous area that has since become a wasteland, right?
Well, right, but also wrong. Obviously, I don't cheer for or champion suffering, but like everything, this too, is two sided. For me, the beauty is in the stories, I can look at an old building, a boarded up city street, or an old train yard, long after the last train has pulled out, and imagine what went on there. I can hear the voices of the people, coming and going, excitedly waiting to either board to begin their journey or for a treasured loved one to arrive. I can see the workers, proudly coming in and out, doing what they do every day. I can see the children, giggling and waving as the huge locomotives chug by. Some of them become fascinated by the giant machines and vow to become train engineers or conductors. The old walls and the grounds have a million stories to tell, wonderful memories of homecomings and coming of age. It makes me smile. I find that beautiful.
Yes, Carl but those stories are no longer being told, the damn thing is closed and all the people and workers are gone, you say. It's ended, where's the beauty in that? Well, I'll tell you. The beauty in it is the ending itself. An ending isn't just the ceasing of something, it's also a beginning, a beginning of something new. Think about it, the ending of a career, a relationship, whatever, makes room for something new, new opportunities, a new chapter. Without the ending, you can't have a new beginning. In this piece, the beginning is represented by the people. They've begun to come back, to mill around, to check the old place out, to allow themselves to dream. It's only a matter of time before one, or a handful of them, take the dream into reality and the old train yard becomes "the new ____", a shop, a restaurant, a museum, who knows, but I for one, can't wait to see it.