Why Do They Do It?

An actor uses her own experiences to flesh out the character in a story written by another. I, on the other hand, chose some of my life images and create a story in one picture. A picture can tell a thousand words, if done well.

Why, for the duration of my life, had I never spoken about what went into the images I created? Instead I let each viewer get what they would from the image. Letting the picture tell the story.

Yet as I get older, I realize that I enjoy learning about other writers and artists- what went into the famous images or words..how did they get there, what inspired them? 

I used to think that portraying mystery to a client was better since so many people are in awe of art. “How did you do it?” are words I’ve heard all my life.

As people interested in our own species, how we think and act, are perhaps the most universally sought after puzzles that we, on a daily basis, are bombarded with. 

Why did he do it? We seek answers to this, perhaps more than all others.

If someone sacrifices their life to save another, we seem to not question this as much, but instead we respect the action as heroic. On the other hand, the question of why someone takes the life of another, this question we ask and ponder, spouting our theories online.

I show beauty, with color and shape, in my images, not violence. There is already enough of that in the world. 

I love to look at nature. I still cannot believe how many colors, patterns, shapes of plant, flower, insect, animals we are lucky enough to live among on this planet. It is quite astounding that we still don’t know them all. We feel heartache when a species is threatened, but perhaps because we have so many to choose from we cannot see the beauty of just one. This, I think, goes for humans too.

One great part about living in lockdown, is being made to stop and look around us in a way we never have. To have time to look more closely, seeing details, notice things like how clean the air is, the water is, now that we don’t drive, spending our hours jammed on a freeway. 

To notice the intricate features of our homes, our balcony gardens, our partners or children’s faces. What interests them, what they look at, talk about.

Sure, these habits were once enjoyed in the eras before TV, film, all the distractions. But now we actually see, in extremely slow motion, the difference of what it is to loose what we have.

It’s hard for me to know if this insight is occurring to other people besides me.

Yet I hear from others I know, younger people, they talk about this too. Amid the stress of no job and payments to be made, it is because of this pandemic, that we are forced to step back, stand apart, look into each other’s eyes, above the mask, not distracted by a pretty, or any face.

Perhaps this sort of intimacy is too naked for some people. Maybe it’s why some are freaking out, lashing out, striking out. Why do they do it?

The ticker tape roll call of reasons play out beneath an image: A shooting, the victims, the families, 

again we all are faced with this horror: That in one second, anywhere, life can be changed, be gone. Once again we are faced with what we all know: That our time on this earth is limited. That we have no control over this.

That ticker tape is a giant conversation- or should be: Not to see what we, ourselves think about – what our theory was as to why he did it, then post online, but should be used to see how others think and feel about it.

I read these posts, trying to learn how others see things, in this time especially. 

A time when most of us stay behind a screen and read and type about every single thing in the world

This is kind of amazing – still- if we use it to find out why we are who we are. 

Why we act out, stay silent, scream in BOLD font, or barely whisper a word. Internet giving us this warped freedom to say ugly things we would not normally say to another’s face. And words of support that can’t possibly say enough. 

Now that we are faced with instant gratification and fame but also instantaneous judgement and ridicule. 

And now, not only with words, but icons. What are they now called? Emolis?  The first one I ever saw was Thumbs up or down. 

LIKE. Or DON’T LIKE.

I assume this was taken from the Roman gladiator battles within the colosseums. Where the audience is finally given the rare opportunity to chose for anything in their life. Here, thumbs up or down: who will live or who will die. I find this concept quite terrifying.

So I sat down to write a blog about a painting and see I have so much more to say. I post it and people – if they see it- have the choice to read it or not. My challenge is to keep it interesting enough to keep them reading – to take them by the hand and lead them on a mini journey. This keeps me in practice of writing but also has me take part in my part of history. 

See, I did not think I would sit down to write about another shooting in America. But here I am.

I sit in my tower above the street but my compassion searches the world, via internet. I believe it is important to put in my 2 cents about the times I live in. I too, am asking, still, “Why do we do what we do?”

Like, why is your decision to not wear a mask a right, but for me to not breathe in your virus, not?

Like, I am amazed that I never heard about a pandemic that had infected 1/3 of the population, killed 50 million in the USA and over 100 million world wide, lasting 2 years. Yet even the black plague is world renowned while the pandemic of 1918 remains buried. 

That every single detail and in-fighting of the second world war, has been written of endlessly: I’ve read about, seen films on. 

Why has no one ever written about the pandemic that killed so many people worldwide?  Why has no mention of wearing a mask or no mask, never slipped into the literature of the day? Or had I just not read it? 

Perhaps it’s gone like the aluminum wrist bands I wore during the Vietnam War: the initials, ‘MIA’ stamped on each, to remember those missing in action.  What I wore for my friends’ brothers. These too are gone with the wind.

It’s this sort of detail I still look for, to put down, but now not only in one image. Yes, in a blog to post to the world, because it will mark me in my own time and speak for those who are here as well. 

The stories of how people are or are not, dealing with this pandemic are words I’d never read from the past. About WW2- there are books, films, theory’s, history about how people lived then: with no food, bombers overhead, threatened by dictators, concentration camp terrors, this we know about. 

But somehow, pandemics have been erased from our collective memory. 

People said only a few months ago: “Even if there was a vaccine, I wouldn’t take it. How can I trust a vaccine that was invented so soon?” 

So soon?,-“ I say, “It has been a year. And in this time, the whole world has been struggling to cope with the virus, to rely on science to find a solution.” 

“-With everyone in the world busy in a search,-“ I say, “Of course a vaccine has been found!” 

This is a great example of what can be solved when we all have one common goal. 

This is what can be done to cure climate change before its too late. If only we just shut up and work towards a common goal.

I no longer paint one image to tell my story. Because as I’ve gone along, I see, I watch with interest the interviews about films, directors, painters, writers and as they tell stories of where their inspirations came from, I am delighted to hear these stories. I respect their struggle to find the words, notes, brush strokes to talk about their slice of history.

Each becomes part of the global pie of creative art: One big river of inspiration that flows and each of us can add to it, dip from it, all this for the greater purpose of: teaching each other, learning from each other’s stories of life. It is not a private, exclusive river, like the snooty, in – the – know – people, want to make us believe. 

But a vast flow that we all add to and dip into. 

I no longer think my words of how I was inspired to create a certain image will somehow spoil the ‘Magic’ of the viewer’s experience of it. Instead, it may add to that creative flowing river with how I have inspired them. 

Like the ultimate relay race, handing the baton from one to the next: from one to another, our inspiration helps us to understand ourselves and each other. To share together and tell each other,  

Why we do what we do.

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