The eery woods. The living stone. The creaking trees. The shuffling feet. The clinging throng. The knowledge shared. The vital glow. The common essence. The discreet glances. The undulating rainbow.
Or, if atmosphere were a wine:
Optimism flavored with a succulent hint of ambiguity.
I didn’t begin making art with this tone in mind, or with the intention of exploring a world generally filled with intrinsic goodness… which may or may not be so morally pristine under the surface. However, it’s natural for me to end up here. Over time, I’ve come to realize this vaguely cautious hopefulness is how I approach the world.
I was raised to believe in the good in all people - and by extension animals, nature, machinery, economic and political systems, etc. Naive, right? I was also raised (or sprung from the womb with a nature inclined) to be a little suspicious when things are too good, too clear cut, too pat. I used to call myself a cynical optimist until I realized that, unfortunately, it wasn’t so much cynicism as realism. Situations generally flow in a predictable pattern right up until the moment when you add human intent and action to the mix.
Certainly actions are important, but do they outweigh intention? Is hell paved with good intentions, or is the path to heaven built on questionable deeds undertaken for good reasons?
Is that a look of affection, that passes between the living monolith and his retinue, or passive acceptance of one’s place in the food chain? Are these vibrant creatures glowing with their own internal light or with life energy slurped from their shambling host?
All of you who’ve read my scribblings for a while know that I grew up a farm boy… in New Jersey. The City was never far, but usually kept a safe distance away. After moving to Japan that all changed. I was living in Tokyo, which has a population density akin to a sardine can (don’t go by the official pop. density stats. This includes the greater Tokyo area, which actually spreads out way into the suburbs and countryside. The 23 central wards are packed in at nearly 15,000 people per Sq. kilometer).
This proximity to such a monstrous mass of people, coupled with my observations on human interactions (surreptitiously watching train buddies is a great way to learn about people), lead to a fascination with parasitic and symbiotic relationships among couples, families, neighbors, and strangers.
Then again, when I say “parasitic” or “symbiotic”, maybe what I really mean is “human connection”?
We All Laugh Together is the seventh print to shamble and wriggle its way back into the shop.