To Hear Another’s Voice

This was a digital sketch I composed about  year ago for a lithograph idea. I was going thru a strange emotional time, in an uncomfortable setting. I felt it necessary to express to the external world the kind of convoluted abstractness going on inside my brain; for if I didn’t, I would begin to  lose connection with the everything.

However, words would have no function to describe such eccentric, in depth thoughts and feelings; they can only go so far. And so I began an idea with this, although, I like the collage by itself.

I was having articulate dreams about strangers that would interact with me on a very emotional level. This was when I became invested in Carl Jung, his beliefs, his followers, and those that hate him.

In this image, I was playing around with spiraling loneliness, of flesh, thought and virtue; but I was also toying with the idea of the Animus and the Shadow.

Plus, both of the actors seemed fitting; both known for composing lush beauty and airy grace, yet there is little known about the souls of either. Lost in Hollywood’s mystery of talent, drugs, sex, and good looks, it seems both have suffered their own set of personal dilemnas; something with which I feel most of us, regardless of background history, have dealt with at some point in their lives.

What’s love got to do with it?


Somewhere Up There

The plan is to save up a load of money, separate from paying off some loans. This will begin now, I’ll open a savings account and put in $100 a paycheck -assuming I can get a job that pays above minimum wage.

The second plan is to work out, quit smoking altogether, quit drinking coffee, be one with the elements. As cheesy as this sounds, it’s what I will need to do in preparation.

I’m thinking a year after graduation, maybe 2 years, depending on the situation, I will buy a plane ticket to Peru. Yes, that’s right, Peru. I’m going to discover some things about myself, about the world, about humans and the human body while I travel thru the Amazon and to the Andes. I’m going to meet all kinds of people and creatures. I’ll face death multiple times. The travel guide should be safe, but travelling by yourself is never a guaranteed safe travel.

I’ll let go of everything I know; my phone, my books, my friends, my family, past lovers, current hope, a career, an adversary. I’ll live among villagers in the Andes, I’ll see how they sleep and eat and work, what they do to get by. If they feel victimized; or if it should matter. This will be until I meet the planned, appointed and paid visit with the shaman Don Alberto. We will meet at a rocky cliff, a point that looks over an awesome arid climate. We will sit in the dirt among 10-20 other lost individuals from across the world, and listen. A golden halo will sneak its way around his dark, silhouetted figure, as his wondrous towering head of knowledge will block the sun from where I am sitting beneath him. He will speak and I’ll remain silent for hours, only listening. I’ll take the bowl and let the drink ease its way down my throat the way that river bends through the wild fertility of the South American earth.

For a couple of hours, my body will perish in agony as I vomit out everything: my food, my thoughts, my memories, my feeling. I will be pure of thought and self. Then I will wonder why I’m there, why I am here, why I am me and not you. I’ll wonder how I got there, what led me up to the decision and where will I go from there. I will think I’m about to die, or perhaps that I was always dead. Once the thriving pain eases up, the fire in my stomach will slowly die down, I’ll be able to open my eyes again and look out into the world. I will take a long gander into that desert; that long, endless desert.

Guerrilla Marketing Project, the Book of Sparkling Grims


I was finally able to get these pictures to load up for a guerrilla marketing project for my Marketing for the Artists class. If you are not familiar, guerrilla marketing is where you advertise your product or cause in an unconventional way. Often times, this kind of marketing is interactive, and quite honestly, a lot more fun, being that there are no legal restrictions limiting the concept.

For my project, I decided to alter a book and place it in cafes for people to thumb through while they sip on their iced toddies. My blog and my art is primarily about stories told through art, magical or not, and so I found it would be most appealing as well as relevant to create a small, short portfolio of my art work, and collage it into a book. At the end of the book is a tiny, hand-sewn notebook, so that readers can leave notes inside.

I chose to leave this book in coffee shops and cafes because most people who are writers and artists, and also coincidentally leave their houses, go to these places.

The book was originally a compilation of AESOP, Grimm Brothers, and Hans Christian Andersen fairytales (so perfect, right)? Don’t worry, you can still open the book and read most of the material inside it.

I have not been able to get the cafe shots of the book yet, but here are the photos of the book.

the Stranger on the Train

Yesterday, however, I think I saw something I’d NEVER be able to just shrug off. I was running late to class from a mural I’m assisting in. I hopped on the train, just excited to get back to Tempe before the next class starts. As I approach the car, I notice a man in a wheel chair, hunched over in a very odd position on his left arm; his right hand gripping on a bar with great pressure. He was unconscious. No, he was twitching. I noticed then that the car was dead silent and I turn around to see that everyone is staring wide eyed, intently on this poor young man. I look back at the chap and see that the driver is there, checking his pulse and calling paramedics. Then I recall how purple and ashy his face was when I first approached the train.

I’m not quite certain just yet, but I’m fairly confident that he was not alive, or he was falling

I saw this happen once before, when I was 18, I witnessed my grandfather die. The threat of death began 3 years before his death, with a failing back, but ultimately lasted for 3 days before his death. I was there when he was fully functioning and telling jokes, to the moments of incomprehensible pain and fear. It is, to say the least, daunting, and something I wouldn’t recommend for someone who’s loved one is undergoing the same doomed fate. It had changed my views on a lot of things at the time. I can not say much about the mystique of it all, but I can say that death brings about an ultimate truth about life; usually it’s when you see someone close their eyes to the world that you actually open your own eyes up and look around.

The thing is, there was something more to the incident on the light rail stop, a sort of sparkling grim to this all. It wasn’t just that the young guy has come to an end, but the fact that he had no form of identification, hasn’t spoken a word, hasn’t said a name or anything. This drove everyone nuts! I could hear, after the man was wheeled off into oblivion, questions being whispered, weaving throughout the car. No one knew this guy’s story, what led him up to this point, who he’s leaving (or left) behind, what his thoughts were, what he was like; nothing.

I guess what I’m bewildered by is why we should care. If he were okay, if he were near alive, he would have been just another passenger, some stranger. But because he was overdosed, if not dead on the spot, we all suddenly saw him as more. And yet, does it matter when someone is a stranger, that they have died? What exactly makes a stranger? And why is it that not that he is gone, we, the other passengers, suddenly cling emotionally to each other and feel for him?

Compassion is a strange thing; it never seems to express itself in rational or predictable behavior, and often it appears at the wrong time. Perhaps that’s how it’s supposed to be, we as mortal beings can not change time nor can we control one’s decisions, but we can influence others, through regret, guilt, or joy.

From Here to Eternity, Adventures of Public Transportation

For the past 4 years I have been riding public transportation. It began when in my second semester attending ASU. At first I took an express route that went straight from my housing community to the Tempe campus. It was enjoyable, being that the maximum number of passengers were around 15 people. I was able to get to know a few people, including a middle aged recently divorced woman who drove my route home; the time in which I was usually the only passenger. She taught me a lot about growing up, the politics, the money, and romantic relationships with men.

I also met a man in charge of directing future public transportation development in the Phoenix valley. He taught me a lot about how important advertising really is. This route, unfortunately, did not have much advertisement, and it perished under the Arizona July sun.

At this point, I switched onto local routes, as well as a route that took me to downtown Phoenix, where I would then backtrack to Tempe from the light rail. Not having a car can be a lot of work, I must admit.

Oh man, it was around this time where every morning became an adventure. From having to walk through pockets of wildlife and becoming well acquainted with coyotes and homeless people, to seeing the vast fields of reservation land, then being enriched with the vibrant hues of murals and graffiti on the way to my stop in downtown Phoenix, I could never get bored. Not only this, but the people on the route I rode with most certainly made for an interesting transit. The route was really for middle class business people, fairly white collar and seemingly not very interested in the arts. It appeared, at first, somewhat draining to be around the sort of folk who were living such a different life from me.

But really, they aren’t very different, nor are they draining. It seems like I am a good contrast, me and the other few college students on there; we are the sort of flare of a cardinal against a grey sky, suddenly revealing the various reds and blues culminating the clouds. It’s during this route I’m learning that people are not so different from each other, but also is it no less that they are any bit normal.

I also met a homeless man named Ruben, who insisted he show me his portfolio on his cell phone (as even homeless people have cell phones now a days) after he saw I had a sketchbook hiding between me and the window. I swear, homeless people LOVE art students and artists more than they love Jimi Hendrix or dream catchers. Anyhow, the twist to that story is that this occurred the morning proceeding the hours I had spent the evening before polishing a well researched paper on the Flemish artist Rubens, and here is Ruben telling me about his long profession in art, which has ultimately come to a fateful halt.

I suppose I am telling this story because my lack of utilizing money on a car has ultimately shaped a part of me as a person. For instance, people used to terrify me; now it’s easy to approach just about anyone. Vomit, piss, blood, and all other forms of bodily fluids in an inappropriate setting used to do nothing but put me in shock. Well, let’s just say, I’ve seen a lot of things happen on the city bus. But it’s one my daily route where I can put in my head phones, gaze out the window, and just let my mind wander, comfortably among strangers. I can say confidently that it’s on the bus where I find “me” time, and each morning I look forward to see what each ritual travel brings me.

I’m kind of bummed I didn’t take photos of these people. Now I feel the need to draw memory sketches of their faces. Woo projects!

New Idea for Poppy Flora

This week I’m taking a break from another story, or excerpt, that is, and am instead going to post a photograph. So, as I’m beginning to understand what it is I’d like to create with this site and with my art, I’m also starting to realize how influenced I am by the various cultural, political and geographical surroundings of Arizona.

With the use of my lady, Poppy Flora, as my artistic pseudonym, I elaborate on my mixed feelings towards many regulations, developments, laws, education, and cultural impacting as seen in the news as well as in local and urban art of the Phoenix Valley.

Yes, it’s broad, I know. I will elaborate more. But I felt like there was one major land mark that really ties a lot of Arizona’s cities, the southwest, and Mexico together both culturally and economically. This land mark is of course the Colorado River.

Anyhow, I don’t have much else to say here, but as I was playing around with a mural design idea of Poppy on Photoshop, I thought, ‘hey, why not incorporate the Co. River in with it’?

So, here’s just a silly idea I have visually concocted. It may or may not go anywhere, but I thought I’d share with you all. Let me know if you have any thoughts on this. Yay or freakin’ nay.

And here’s a more recent sketch I have conjured.

The Stairway

I never know how it happens, but I always end up here, in the same house. I can’t quite recall the first time I’ve been here, but the smell of the rotting wooden panels and the creaking under the stairway were all too familiar. I always hated walking up this stairway, the age of the house and the feebleness of the steps made it seem like it was going to collapse beneath me any minute. Yet, I know there is something up there, something special about that attic; I had to go there.

The architecture of this dream is always the same; it seems as though there’s a party going on, I always hear music and laughter from that old kitchen up the hallway, but whenever I turn around, it is the same old tattered house, with that red glow of the bare wood, and the lavish, legitimate Persian rugs on the floor and walls. It always looked like a party had happened long ago.

Now it was about halfway up the stairs when I reach that big grand window. Every time I entered this house, I would always stare out this window for a long time, just to see the world around me. The scene stays the same: desert stretches far out into a distant river bank, and the dust would reflect the sun, creating this sort of crimson haze that sunk in contrast beneath a hovering, sapphire sky. The brilliance of the wilderness shines in magnitude compared to the darkness of the interiors of the ancient house from which I stand and gaze. Man, just to think of the number of times I always wanted to run through that field. I would venture through the grass and trees and explore what’s out there; or who.

I can’t go, however. I will never be able to scout out there, in the wilderness, I have a responsibility. Until I can go into that attic and retrieve whatever it is that’s up there, I will never able to do what I want. It’s simply dedication.

After every other failed effort, I’m determined to make it up to that attic. I never knew what was up there, I never could understand what it is about this house, this stairway, this wide window, that drew me towards the attic. The stairs are creaking, the voices grow louder, the dust falls from the ceiling, I can see old cob webs hanging right above my head. The more I remember why I’m here, why I need to get into that attic, the more I begin to notice how disgusting this haunted house really is.

A jolt of fear and panic just struck at my spine. Something awful is up there. Yes, now I’m beginning to remember. It was never a duty for me to retrieve something, the attic itself was trying to lure me in. Now that I’m more than halfway up the stairs, I’m starting to question whether I should continue or head back down the steps. I am so close to that tiny square door, and as I look down, I notice that the stairway is decaying; I won’t be able to stand here for much longer. I can’t move, I am too frightened to enter that doorway, but if I descend, I’ll probably fall to my death.

I’m stuck, like a bolt. Maybe I’ve become a part of the house, maybe those voices belong to spirits of people who were like me, lured in and trapped, slowly but surely transforming into planks or chairs or nails in the wall.

And now I realize this isn’t a memory, it’s not a recurring dream; this is happening right now.