THE ART OF HUMILITY: THE PORTRAIT OF DORIAN GRAY BY OSCAR WILDE

Disclaimer: this is a post with a political opinion that is my own. Please do not continue if you agree with President Trump’s recent comments on Charlottesville. I accept everyone’s right to their beliefs.

My blog is an artist blog and after the events of Charlottesville last weekend I saw the President in an Oscar Wilde novel called “The Portrait of Dorian Gray”. It’s a classic story of a corrupt narcissistic young man who barters a deal with the devil to remain youthful and handsome forever. It’s a story of “it’s better to look good than feel good “. Dorian Gray has no humility. A wealthy society man who cares only about himself he commissions a portrait of himself. He fantasizes about how great it would be if he could remain youthful while the painting would age as each year passes.

I recommend the 1945 film with George Sanders and Hurd Hatfield as Dorian Gray.

Dorian and Trump are no different and I am watching the President deteriorate as each day passes. Dorian becomes more self centered and corrupt. He is engaged to a society woman but she is too proper to deflower before marriage. He engages a lower class show girl to satisfy his sexual needs lying about his intention to marry her. When she becomes pregnant he murders her. His portrait meanwhile gets more grotesque as he becomes more evil. He hides the painting in the attic to avoid seeing the truth of who he is.

I see this happening to Trump. The murder of Heather Heyer is the blood on his hands because he has dog whistled the neo nazis, the white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan to become bolder. And how narcissistic of Trump to not acknowledge her death. To not go to Charlottesville to speak to her parents. He said more good things about the extremists and not one word about Heather. SHAME ON YOU NARCISSISTIC TRUMP. YOUR PORTRAIT IS SHOWING YOUR SINS.

STAY IN WONDER 

I have always been in wonder of the world around me.  I have never lost my child like awe.  Imagination is key to creativity.   When that is gone I will be lost.  2017 is my emergence into living a Willie Wonka life.  Want to change the world….do it!   Open your eyes and see the amazing things around you.  Laughing, running towards pure imagination.        LETS GO AND PLAY. 

Always ask questions. WHY?


THERE IS NO COLOR


I have taken a quiet time the last couple of months to restore my mind.  As an artist and inspired individual where do I go from here.   How do I use art to heal this broken world?

The world is broken because we don’t think creatively.   Every person has this ability to be naturally creative.  It’s suppressed and replaced with following formulas that don’t work for everything.   Schools don’t engage students to think.  They memorize to pass tests.  The individual is lost. 

Art has been tossed out of people’s lives.   Not important.  Today’s craze of adult coloring books is a farce. Again no creative thought is used.  Just color in someone else’s creativity.  

There is a fear of being creative.  Being creative is not “keeping up with the Jones”.  Not following the pack. 

I am mentoring a young woman artist.  A beautiful Latino woman who has given up her art.  I looked into her eyes and I saw a spark of hope that she could do her life differently. 

I’m going to get her to think like an artist. 

SHOULDN’T EVERYONE?

PEACE TO THE WORLD 


REVISITING ’60s IN A DRAWING 


In my teen years during the 1960’s, if you put a piece of paper in front of me it was instantly covered by some drawing from my imagination.  The 1960’s were turbulent times.  Race riots were explosive headline news daily across the country.  There was fear and hate I didn’t understand but was fed.  

It was the time of school busing and I was to be bused to a junior high school far away with a lot of black teens.  I heard about knives in the schools and being told to carry extra money to pay off bullies

I ended up being sent to a boarding school because I was a truant for a year and left back so my mom sent me away to have the nuns deal with me.  And I would have to go to school. 

Actually I ended up doing well with discipline and I had company with a lot of wealthy girls who were problems to their families. We were misfits trapped in a nunnery in Sag Habor Long Island.  But I have to say I did well in school.  I only tried to escape once!

Anyway, back to this post of the racial issues.  I ended up being accepted by the High School of Art & Design in NYC.  My major was fashion illustration.   And I always was doing a doodle or drawing every day.   My mom rescued boxes of my work and that was the tip of the iceberg. 
So one day I had my markers and paper and in my imagination I saw two young black girls and it started with a doodle and became this small drawing.  I called it “Sisters”.  It was in my mom’s apartment.

In 2005 I found it and showed it to my friends at work.  The paper was old but the drawing was strong.  One of the secretaries loved it and she offered me an excellent price for it. It spoke to her as a black woman.  It was how I related to African Americans in 1965 as a teenager who despised violence and hate.   I didn’t want to have fear and in a doodle I saw love. 

MORE FABULOUS ART ON THE HUDSON RIVER – WAVE HILL 

Wave Hill has a Sunroom Project Space where guest artists display their work.  I met artist Amie Cunat peeking through her exhibition “HIDEOUT “.    Her work is created with cardboard and paper mache.


I love this colorful hanging and I think it would be an extraordinary room divider in my apartment.  

And Amie’s special guest at the opening was dressed to match the art.  

THE HUDSON RIVER IS ALIVE WITH ART – WAVE HILL SHOW “NATURE POPS”

The Hudson River is alive with art.  I attended the opening reception of The Glyndor Gallery show Nature Pops. 
“A half-century after the emergence of Pop art as a revolutionary response to new norms of consumerism, Nature Pops!, Wave Hill’s summer 2016 exhibition, brings together work by artists who calibrate this movement in contemporary terms. Continuing to re-evaluate popular culture, particularly the increasing mediation of our experience by technology, artists question whether we can still have an authentic experience―even in the natural world. Interpreting nature and the environment through a populist lens, Nature Pops! includes recent work that is especially relevant in an age of digital overload and environmental crisis. Presenting the show at Wave Hill, a stunning garden and cultural center located in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, adds particular depth and dimension to the discussion.

Nature Pops! affirms the fascination that the aesthetics of pop culture—the culture of everyday—still has for artists, but offers nuanced perspectives, sometimes subversive, sometimes playful. Cartoons and comics were accessible media that Pop artists elevated to fine-art status in the 1960s and ’70s. ”

There is a tremendous amount of talent in the Bronx and the Hudson Valley.  If you have not been to Wave Hill you are missing a world of nature and art.   It is a hidden gem in the Bronx.  My friend, Jamie Passevento, a fellow artist friend and I attended the opening of the above exhibition.  It was exciting and colorful.  It was a fun show expressing nature in the form of the Pop Art movement.  Here’s the art and artists who participated in the show. 

EMILIO PEREZ – his unique prints inspired by outer space. 

 KIRA NAM GREENE – amazing paintings in watercolor, gouache, and colored pencils.  Kira weaves incredible patterns with food in Pop Art tradition ala Warhol. 


AMY PRYOR – Amy uses collage, sculpture and painting to explore commerce and culture. 


JOANNE CARSON – extremely colorful paintings of flora and landscapes. 


GABRIEL DE GUZMAN – Curator 


THE DR. SEUSS THEORY OF MY LIFE

I purchased Dr. Seuss’s “Oh the Places You’ll Go ” 15 years ago.  It’s my favorite inspirational book for what life is about.   So this morning my daily writing practice turned to the voice of Dr. Seuss.  

“OH THE PLACES YOU’LL GO…” 

Oh the people 

you’ll meet 

It’s a journey worth taking 

But it’s not a small feat 

Though you may want to quit 

Hide your head in the sand

If the fear takes over

You can hold someone’s hand

So be courageous and go towards the light 

Never use avoidance 

To deal with your plight 

This world isn’t pretty 

In fact it is sad

When you keep giving to others 

It negates some of the bad


As an artist standing at the turning point 

Not knowing how far

Keep being creative 

Be the artist you are

THE ART OF … SANITY 


I HAVE BEEN STALKED AND CAPTURED BY THE DARK CREVICES OF MY MIND.   I CAN UNDERSTAND VAN GOGH’S FIGHT WITH SANITY.  BUT I AM A VERY LEARNED WOMAN WHO HAS SPENT A LIFETIME EDUCATING MYSELF ON HOW THE BRAIN WORKS. 

KNOWING IS THE FIRST STEP IN BEING ABLE TO STOP FIGHTING THE DARKNESS AND LET IT JUST FLOW THROUGH. 

DURING THESE TIMES I HIDE IN MY HOME AND RETREAT.   I’M TAKEN AWAY FROM INDULGING IN LUSCIOUS OILY PAINT COLORS AND BUILDING LAYER UPON LAYER OF RICH THICK PAINT.  I’M IMMOBILE TO ACTION. 

I accept those times even though I shut the world out and fear I will never escape my demons.  But I have to always avoid giving in to false evidence appearing real. 

A month ago I experienced a new mental twist…anxiety disorder!   I didn’t know that I had it.  But I have to say I chased my recovery from it and sought help.  I don’t have to go through pain alone anymore.   And all through this I let the luscious oil paints flow on canvas and shared my experience to a troubled student in my painting class.  

I don’t give in but I also don’t fight my mind…my darkness is another part of being an artist.  I even used darkness in a series of paintings.


I’M BACK TO BEING JEAN.  I’M BACK .   I trust God and give to others.   

MY MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES ARE NOT A MORAL ISSUE.   THEY ARE THE PIECES OF THE MYSTERIOUS PUZZLE CALLED JEAN MESSNER. 

IN REMEMBRANCE OF VINCENT VAN GOGH. 



KEITH HARING-ARTIST OF NEW YORK CITY SUBWAYS 

Keith Haring began his art career at my subway stop on 96th Street and Lexington Avenue number 6 train.   

I remember the first baby drawing on black unused ad space.  A few stations away another.  I knew something was happening. BUT WHAT??

Weeks passed more babies with more levels of complexity.  More creatures too.  I kept watching a growing art phenomenon in the subway.  This was late ’70s early ’80s.   I feel so lucky to have been witness to the emergence of an artist who was really exploring the canvases of the city.   History before my eyes.