Any word loses it’s ability to portray meaning if I stare at it too long, or if I think maybe I spelled it wrong. Maybe you have this experience as well. One tree is fine, but when I type the plural: “Trees” it is shit. It looks wrong, it feels wrong. There are too many rounded letters in the word. I think of pines when I think trees. Pines are pointy, strong, tall, and my favorites are asymmetrical. Those bush on branch having lovelies.
Anyway. I recently ran into this guy’s work. Myoung Ho Lee. Shoots. Guy hangs GIANT canvases behind a tree, then photographs it. Sounds nonsensical. The result is beauty. Every time you lay eyes on a tree you are seeing direct, concrete evidence of the past. Each raindrop, each shadow, every snowfall, and even the breeze helps this particular tree to take the form of it’s canopy. The roots are equal, but often harder to see.
Tonight: after dropping some books off and seeing a friends band I was driving home. My windows were down. It is a warm night here in Philadelphia. Redlight. Two men on motorcycles pull aside. By the way, every single person on a motorcycle looks better on it than off it. Women look either super fit or they look beefy enough to kick your hero’s ass. Men are just gruff and intense. Might be the puffy skinsaving leather? Anywho, these guys bumble up, spitting that droopy blub blub blub from the maybe exhaust pipe. They are listening to music from the respectively owned (or borrowed, who knows) bike. They are yelling to one another, but cant understand themselves over the blubglub and driving bass beats. The light turns green and the universe explodes, but after just a moment, it is just my quiet tires and some wind. I can slow to a pace that allows stopping for children and drunks. I park handicapplered, and walk through yellow street light to my home.
About a year ago I had an idea for a painting series. It had a lot to do with the parallels that can be drawn between the events in our lives, and the branching shatter pattern of tree canopy and root systems. Well, directly with the canopy and trunk, more inferred as to the roots, which can only be seen in circumstance I do not currently have access to. Anyway, a tree will grow a branch to seek light with which to feed the system through the leaves gathering sun or for more aspiration. The comparison is that we make decisions that could be drawn out physically, what serves us grows vigorously…what does not will simply fail to grow. The tree no longer in need of a branch because of sunlight encroachment or whatever might stress a tree out will let the branch die. It slowly rots, still attached, until gravity takes it. Us humans, in our experience are not much different. Think: at some point every heartbreak, no matter how big, will eventually start to feel like old weight. Every thing that makes us feel better or grow will flourish. This is the way it ought to be.
So the paintings….Each would be painted on site with the subject matter being a tree. WOO! The trees would be chosen for their character. You got those big maple and oaks with the round, billowy cloudshape. The pines, all shapes and sizes. But as a tree in the city, it matters little how you were taught to grow up. It is likely you are planted along the street. This means it is likely you were planted under service lines. Read: wires. So, as you grow, remember: some guy will cut you if you get too big. There are gigantic trees all over this city that have no middles. They grow in “Y”s or “T”s, they reach out over the road and over houses. These trees seen some shit. I wanted to paint them while thinking about the parallels between how visible their story is, and how visible mine is. Through a thorough list of my actions, my words, my choices, one may be able to physically see me.
So that was something I thought of doing one time. Maybe I will still.