Reflections on Untitled II                                                           

 

How to put it in words.

Growing up I was enthusiastically odd.

 

When I found painting it made that seem more a blessing than a bug. My instincts told me if I went all in nothing would be impossible and life would be beautiful.

 

When I first moved to New York City I stepped off the plane like I was arriving at Misfit HQ. New York City was the Land of the Different where weirdness was celebrated. All these artists and writers I looked up to came through this town. Individuality was championed, the only thing you wouldn’t find was everyone thinking the same way.

 

It felt right to be in an unforgiving town with an unforgiving passion. The hardness of the city hardened my wits and prepared me for the challenges of being an artist. I was tuned in to the New York buzz. I knew I just had to paint, paint well, and be punk rock about it. 

 

Somewhere something changed, I don’t know exactly when, maybe it was gradual as it always is, rather than all at once.

 

NYC feels so different now. It’s like there was an Old Genie from the ancient world that lived in our city’s ether, and when we breathed in that ether turned to genius and spilled out from our lungs as culture.

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Now it seems we aren’t catching that rarefied air. And it’s like everyone is sharing the same head. You can almost predict verbatim a lot of the words before they’re said. So strange, that really is so strange.

And its like there’s fear everywhere. No one wants to be known for thinking different. Looking different, sure, but thinking different, hell no.

 

I often wonder where that punk rock mentality went, that fuck-what-you-thinkness that I so loved about this city. I would ask the Genie but I can’t find him. All I see now are corners that glow with half-lives of that Genius goo, dimly radiating from the 80s or something.

 

Underneath everything seems so much the same. Not on the surface—on the surface things look different—but underneath it’s so much the same.

 

I often feel I can’t really speak my mind. I bite my tongue. I know a lot of you feel that way too. It would help to have some more generosity from the culture while we collect the proper words to describe our ideas, especially when they’re newborn.

 

Is it crazy to wonder if this is still a home for free-thought?

 

From my roof I can see the statue of liberty and as corny as it sounds sometimes I wonder if the Old Genie is hiding in her torch.

 

Something is off but I know these buildings were built on bedrock and I love the way the sun paints the sky when I stand by the river in Brooklyn.

 

And I love the street jazz I hear from time to time while sitting on my stoop drinking water.

 

Many words, many words. This painting loaded in all the weirdness I feel about New York City. It’s like, I don’t know, I have to look different way, or put on a mask to pass through the Iron Gates of Modern Culture. It truly is a mis-fit. I feel mis-fit to this city, whatever this culture is now, and I wonder if the Old Genie still lives here or if he went down to Florida when Trump got elected.

 

In the spirit of Mrs. Doubtfire, I just want to be close to what I love before its taken away from me. So here is a mask, a disguise. Perhaps the Genie will be like, "alright dude you didn’t have to embarrass yourself like that I’m just waiting to get vaccinated,” before he returns.

 

I guess we’ll see.