Dream: Resurgence

When I sleep I dream of a man. A man that is me, but isn’t me. Physically he looks like me, but I know it’s not me. This man is free of sin. He’s seen the world for what it truly is. He’s wandered high and low and found all the answers of the universe. I know this man is not me, but something tells me it is. He stood in the river pondering something, he began to speak… and then I woke up.

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Dream: Alone

When I sleep, I dream of being alone. Vulnerable and defeated I hide my shame from sight. “I don’t want to be seen like this, people can’t know how weak I am.” I can hear myself speak, but the words never surface, like yelling into the void. I find myself alone here often, is this what I truly want? To be alone in the world? I was about to find the answer to that… And then I woke up.

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Dream: Paradiso.

When I sleep, I dream of peace. I dream of being alone in Paradiso.

The river touched my toes, I submerged my body into the water, washing the sins of my past and present off my naked soul. Here, I laid down my truth, my fear, my guard. I am able to embrace my true self, A man, a lonely soul, a wise soul, and a naive persona. I stood tall and proud declaring to my world, “I am here!” And so I was.

Then I woke up…

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Dream: Paradiso

Gray Skull: the Island of Dreams

It sounds pompous when I say things like this but my family owns an island. It’s not an island in the Caribbean Sea or anything of that nature, it is an island in the St. Johns River of California; a river that has seen damage from pollution and the carelessness of my fellow man.

Upon doing my research on my grandfather (on my father’s side) I was inspired by the dream I had of him and started to think about dreams and how we use them for different things. I use my dreams as a way to interpret my inner desires. My grandfather and I would sit and talk on Gray Skull Island (the island we own), discussing things such as: if the world ran out of clean drinking water, how would I find a solution to it? If the world was not able to sustain life what would I do? And other environmentally conscientious ideas like those. We would sit, talk, and listen to the wind while watering all the trees we had planted many years ago. I am glad that those trees are still alive and well. The Eucalyptus trees still stand tall, serving as barriers and protectors. As I wandered through the brush I found many large Eucalyptus branches and saw the way they curved and reached up toward the sky, I was installing large Dream Catchers within the trees at this time and thought, what if I made a large Dream Catcher out of the branches instead of yarn or string, so I started weaving the branches together, it is not a literal dream catcher but it serves as one.

Self-Portraits X

Incubation

Self-Portraits X

Birthing

Self-Portraits X

Emergence

Self-Portraits X

Purpose

New Research Project.

I will eventually upload all the images for this body of work, mostly so I can have a living archive that’s easily accessible.

First off, I have been researching my grandfather’s work. I started doing this because I noticed our aesthetics shared a lot of commonalities. Our work mostly featuring the bare posteriors of men. I wanted to know if he and I were interested in the same ideas or not. He died April 22, 2005 when I was about to turn 13 years old. Shortly after his death, I would try to take my own life. I am not sure if his death played into my motives on taking my life into my own hands or not. However, this specific time in my life is when I began to develop creatively and think outside the box.


I was visited by my grandfather a couple of nights ago in a dream. We were in his studio discussing the artistic process. He eventually would show me this case, that I had never seen before. It was this beautiful leather case with green trim and rivets along the side. He told me, “this case holds something that you are looking for.” and with that I woke up. I immediately drove over to his studio in Visalia, Ca. [it is part of our (my family’s) house]. I began searching for this case. I searched through his drawers and found other vital information to the research I was doing. After about an hour of going through the drawers I decided maybe it was just a dream. I then decided to look at his paintings again and began the documentation of his work. About thirty minutes into the documentation of his work I found a pile of frames, I began to organize them because I will be spending more time in his studio this summer so it will make my research much easier. I was moving the frames and other fragments of the past and then I saw something sitting, covered in years worth of dust, on the floor underneath the frames. I picked it up and sure enough… it was the same case from the dream. Shivers ran down my spine and all my hairs stood up on end. My ears began to ring and my heart began to race. I sat there staring at the case in disbelief. After about ten-or-so minutes I finally gathered my courage and opened the case. Inside was this beautiful poem he wrote (I think)

It reads:

“He left the caves
And terror of the night
Where Saber-tooth Stalked
He left the caves
And planted the earth
And made it green
He left the caves
And dug in the ground
For metal
He formed it
Thus to make his arm lethal
So he conquered the world
Subdued the beast
And raised his abode upon the sward
Then he made new caves
And drew from the depths all
Even more than Earth had to give
He Excavated!
Fabricated!
Masticated!
Decimated! and at last
Used what he had wrought upon himself
And he returned to the caves
Crystal womb dissolves
Swollen Rivers feed valleys
Life begins anew
The shimmering heat
Blinding white sands
Glisten, Dance, Look
Mirage City
Mankind— there is work to be done
Mankind— set your goals
Don your vestments and get to work
for the sake of mankind
there is work to be done
(for)…
Mommy said if we make a mess
We should stay and clean it up
Air that is four
Parts air,
Clear skies with white clouds,
Animals that fear not hunters,
Only natural enemies;
Clean, fresh oceans and seas
And
Many miles of unpolluted land
Animals in danger of extinction
By Human Hands,
Polluted air: Three Parts Smog
One part air,
Ugliness of brown oceans
And hazy skies;
Factories expelling harmful smoke,
Decline of Earth’s
Natural Resources—
M A N
Always greedy and hungry,
Having no pity on its victims,
The fire devours…
They shoveled out my oak tree
The one I climbed as a child
The one I loved as a dear friend
The one upon mute limbs,
Friendly compassionate arms,
I uncovered my heart
And let go my tears.
They tore it down
And blasted out the granite rock
I used to crouch upon by the stream
And dream in warm sun
Until the stars began to glimmer.
Took them all away
And put asphalt street
And lighted signs and painted buildings
They put cement sidewalks
And metal gas pumps.
They stood back… smiled proudly
And called it home.
While I could only cry!
See man
See man’s cities
See his cities breed hate,
Poverty, and crime
See man build more cities.
See man’s progress
See the streams filled with detergents,
The air filled with chemicals
The world filled with noise,
The sea filled with oil.
See man grow
See his children starve,
See him crowd into cities
And crowd nature out.
Look friend,
See man committing
Suicide.
I wonder where the creature is
That came from hence this shell,
Only mother nature knows and
She will never tell.
She holds back all her secrets
As she works her constant plan,
I often wonder what’s in store
For the creature known as man.
A stream, newborn of the warmed snow
Laughs and teasingly caresses
The rock in its path.
So innocent; it knows nothing
Of what is to come…
As age seeps in, debris soils
The hand and shatters the heart
Of the unsuspecting river,
We must stop
This needless murder.
Over rocks it flowed,
Free, Crystal Clear, The river…
Now dull, Polluted!
Rhythmic patterns pour over a rock,
Then are gone—
Pretty little snake.
Maybe God,
it was in those waves,
that thrashed so against the cliff
That I first felt your power.
Or,
it may have been in the sunset,
That I first sensed your might.
Or,
Perhaps it was the time I lay
in bed at night,
And had only you to calm my fears,
That I glimpsed of your care.
But then, God, As I think it was
Probably from the Moment I
Grasped air into my lungs and
Gave out my first cry,
That I became aware of
Your love……”

I will upload my pictures of his work eventually. But I had to share this story with people. This isn’t the first time my grandfather has bestowed gifts upon me from beyond the physical plane.

 

Given the tragedy that happened in Orlando, I think that played a factor into this discovery. My grandfather was one of the most sensitive, compassionate, and loving people you would have ever met. He openly welcomed everyone no matter what. And I feel that his spirit lives on through me. He is definitely watching over me and guiding me through my journey as an artist. He’s definitely a guardian angel.

Reflecting Vulnerability

I have been taking a hiatus from my photographic explorations for about a month. I was noticing that I was just capturing images that had no meaning, they were just beautifully crafted images.

I captured this image back in March, and have been obsessed with it every since. This is a place my grandfather built and it feels like a hidden gem that no one else can access.

I have learned that my images contain nudity— because they are my safe haven, I can let down all my guards and be vulnerable, and be comfortable in my own skin. It’s a place that I have been searching for all my life. Growing up as a Queer artist in a small town in Central California has led me to seek shelter in many different places. I have never been able to openly express myself, and now as an adult, I am attempting to show my vulnerable side.

Self-Portraits X

Reflecting Vulnerability