"CHRONO"   February 2022

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

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The Uninvited.  Denver, CO 
Denver, March 2021

 

The Uninvited

 

No one knew what the breeze had in store.

 

One seed,

Two seed,

Three seed,

Four.

 

A foreign invader that is for sure.

 

As they grew they took more and more.

 

Four seed,

Eight seed,

Seeds Galore.

 

Things will never be the way they were before.

 

The landscape they knew, nevermore.


 

Painting this piece took me on a journey through Dandelions and their symbolism. I have found the dandelion is a very nebulous symbol that is really about perspective. My original intent was to create a painting of a weed that complimented my poem “The Uninvited”. I had a more prominent location in mind for the piece to be placed, however, that place was altered, so I decided to place it in a nearby location with similar context. The dandelion was adhered to an electrical box right below the pedestal where a monument to Kit Carson once stood before the protests and riots in June against the systemic racism in America. The statue was removed following public outcry. Once glorified as a hero of western expansion, Kit Carson’s legacy is now entrenched by the cruel and barbaric treatment of Native Americans. Kit was a weed that showed up in the west, causing white settlers to grow in number, taking land and resources that wasn’t theirs at any cost, like the lives of thousands of native people. 

 

But what is a dandelion, how does it function in nature, and how does it symbolize colonialism? 

 

Dandelions are a European flower, not native to the US and brought over during colonialism and westward expansion. They show up uninvited into balanced native ecosystems with roots evolved to go deeper than most other plants allowing them to steal water and nutrients from the native plants, leaving them with less resources to thrive, even killing neighboring plants. They reproduce quickly with seeds that spread in all directions, growing fast, even after being chopped down repeatedly.

 

As  I worked on the piece, I began to realize the dandelion has a plethora of very different meanings. I thought of people who came to protest in June like myself. I thought of all the “othered” groups in America that don’t adhere to its culture of American pride and “whiteness” route in oppression. I started to look at America as this perfect lawn with a white picket fence, a structured garden, an attempt at a mono-culture where only those deemed worthy may be allowed to join, definitely no place for a weed. Yet, they show up anyways, to break the perceived image of perfection. I feel myself and others, those who showed civil disobedience in light of injustice were the weeds, our voices, the seeds, spreading and growing forever changing the gardeners, (the governments), plans for deceiving people of color into oppression, into the deceitful structure it has worked so hard to build, it’s well groomed garden.

 

I do admire Dandelion’s, so it is hard to portray them in a negative light. They are a powerhouse of nutrients. The entire plant is edible. The flower is a high source of vitamin C and antioxidants, the leaves when young taste like Arugula, the roots when dried are great for tea abundant in liver cleansing qualities. They provide a bountiful source of pollen for our dying bee populations and are so bright and plentiful sometimes it seems like they are just asking for our greater attention just like they command that of the bees. 

 

So, what is a dandelion a symbol of? A dandelion is a symbol non-consent and is unsanctioned just like the act of putting up this art - someone will pull this weed eventually. A dandelion is also a symbol of resilience. A dandelion takes more than its fair share from some but a dandelion also provides for others. A dandelion regardless of which context it is in, is largely a symbol of the unwanted.

CHRONO

A step ahead.
A step away.
A shift of matter.

Physical imprints.
Abrasive texture.

Gentle noise.
Gentle breeze.
Gentle heart.

Creatures surviving move about.
Past lives strewn throughout.

A crashing sound.
Pulverizations aboud.

Children play, animals crawl.
Life upon life, all-in-all.

Collective reality appears.
The joys and fears.
The Salty tears.

A hard gust.
Now they are dust.

Changing states.
Lifted Weights.

Pieces of me.
Will always be.

Life upon strife,
Upon life, upon strife.



This environmental art piece and poem was created in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico after an observational meditative practice in nature. In meditation I stay focused on the present moment by engaging with all my senses within my surroundings, not allowing my mind to leave the present space.

The beach was crawling with the smallest creatures. Hermit crabs no bigger than a fingernail, snails gathering in mass within the confines of stone, wave-beaten stone revealing layers of past catastrophic events, the rough sandy beach composed of pulverized shells, life, and rocks for millions of years. The layers upon layers of life and energy this beach has had on it is an extremely long timeline.

Mimicking the snails in clusters and following the layers in the rock, I began gathering the darker purple-gray hued stones and placing them within the guidelines of the rocks natural layers. I started to gather lighter pink-purple stones. Stones I later realized were actually very worn brick. I then began finding terra cotta colored pieces of brick as well as white smooth eroded pieces of concrete. There was more natural stone than man-made just like there has been more to natural history than modern industrial humanity. The piece in its entirety represents a timeline. The line of stones comes from the sea, as current evidence suggests most life did and just like the crabs and snails I observed did. The stones were precariously placed with the knowledge that the piece is impermanent, like all moments are, and like all life is. Doing environmental works, like my street art, are great lessons in letting go. Two days later the waves made it disappear.

 


 

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"The Fall"   October 2020

Created with Collected Aspen Leaves

Remote area of White Pine, Colorado

This earth work was created in White Pine Colorado in October and was inspired by a poem I wrote after receiving a Watsu water therapy session. Watsu is is a form of aquatic bodywork where the practitioner gently cradles, moves, stretches, and massages the receiver; the receiver at the mercy of the flow and movement. A practice in letting go fully. As I relaxed into the session I imagined I was a leaf, detached from a tree leaving everything I knew behind at the mercy of a flowing river I fell into. I wrote this poem following the session which later inspired the visual piece.

The Fall

Breathe in, Breathe out

Breathe in, Breathe out

Breathe in, Breathe out

I grow. You grow. We grow.

Sunrise, Sunset

Sunrise, Sunset

Sunrise, Sunset

I grow. You grow. We grow.

A cycle.

A change.

Detached.

Estranged.

I grow. You grow. We grow.

A current. A flow.

Surrender to what I do not know.

I grow. You grow. We grow.

Big thank you to Meghan Layne for volunteering her beautiful voice!

www.meghanlayne.com

"The Gold In The Mountain"   October 2020

Created with Collected Aspen Leaves

Remote area of White Pine, Colorado

I stayed in a secluded off-grid cabin and while walking around the forests I discovered a remote abandoned mining operation in the White Pine area of Colorado. The tracks that came out from its collapsed tunnel ended at a drop off that looked out to a mountain with splashes of gold aspen leaves. I immediately created a metaphor for the "gold in the mountains" - Why dig? This beauty is free. Mines are scattered all throughout the Rockies. A brutal life of hardships in the search for material wealth, an environmental crisis on stolen land for western wealth. The opposite of hardship is pleasure, and pleasure is what brings people in the droves up to these mountains to see to gold the mountain provides at no cost.

These leaves were handpicked along the forest floor, two full trash bags, several hours of cathartic practice. Meditative for sure, it felt like the forest started to meld with me. Two female Stellar Jays would regularly perch just barely a couple feet away, a curious chip monk that seemed to just suddenly appear from time to time, a butterfly landing on me, the quiet constant chatter of aspen leaves, large deer bobbing their heads at me slowly moving through the woods, the belting of elk, and the running water of Tomichi creek. What a treat for the nervous system.

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Impermanence/Permanence
June 2020

This mini series of three was created using Iron pigment I refined from an extremely deteriorated object in the California Desert. The Ginkgo leaf was painted using acrylic.

The Iron oxide used for the hands represents impermanence. The once solid object now dust. The Gingko tree is the last of its genus of trees that have survived the hands of time for 270 million years. A timeless symbol of endurance and permanence. In these times of climate change and Covid 19 we are reminded more and more that there are forces beyond our control, we have had to face our mortality, our impermanence. Like the Ginkgo leaf, our planet will remain long after we leave. But like the dust from iron, we can undergo a metamorphosis, become something else, something more sustainable, something more permanent.

I really hope that the faults brought to light in our governance and society can be seen and heard and real change can be made. I created unsanctioned street art pieces that were place in Denver. CO to accompany the studio work.

"IRON/MAN"   July 2020

Pigment made from iron oxide, applied with brush.

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With each breath of air, you gave me life. 

 

I find myself protected in dark waters for what seemed an eternity. 

 

As the water disappeared I was brought into the searing light by great force.

 

Excavated by your hands, gasping for my first breath.

 

I was molded into the image in whicWh others pleased,

 

I never wanted to be a machine.

 

I found myself longing to be dust once more.

 

A metamorphosis.

 

One with the earth.

 

Dirt.

 

Fertile grounds.

 

A seed grows. 

 

A red fruit.

 

Inviting a taker.

 

Flowing in their blood,

 

I roam free across the land.

 

Enjoying the moment while it lasts.

 

One day I will become dust once more.

 

Ever changing. 

 

I am Iron. 

 

I am man.


Plants, animals, and human beings require iron to make DNA, which encodes all life. Animals and humans also need iron to make hemoglobin, which delivers oxygen to the body. Iron also carries carbon dioxide out of the body, which plants need to function.

"Spira Mirabilis"   November 2019

Reclaimed timber and materials.

Liberty Arising Healing and Retreat Center - Boulevard, CA

I titled this piece Spira mirabilis, latin for the miraculous spiral, known to modern math as the Logarithmic Spiral, or to most as the growth spiral, as it is repeated throughout our universe and nature. The spiral curve can be seen in the outward spiral of our galaxy down to the swirl of a hurricane, to the rotation of a bird of prey as it approaches its target, the twisting of a shell, the unraveling growth of a fern, the twirling of a vine, and the structure of growth on many plants like sunflowers, succulents, pine cones, cacti, and roses to name a few. This form also plays a part in our human perception, the curve of the ear spiraling to the eardrum and the nerve structures in our cornea are logarithmic spirals. Spira Mirabilis joins other sacred geometric shapes as proof of natures grand design and perfection proving our universes natural intelligence, a subject I am fascinated with. 

 

On a spiritual level, we can easily build walls around ourselves, but if we choose to step out into the greater world around us and shift our perspectives, we gradually grow and our world becomes bigger with each experience and interaction. In a sense, we all follow this spiral outward of growth, how far your growth spirals arm reaches is up to you.

 

There is something primal and therapeutic about working with the earth and I am grateful to have been able to explore it this year. I wanted to celebrate this miraculous spiral and the personal growth and deep reflection I have had of recent, especially in 2019, living and contributing at a healing retreat in the remote mountain town of Boulevard, California. I had a vision to create a sculpture from a pile of unused, milled, pieces of Lodgepole Pine on the land. The form is secured together by a trench placing large pieces of the wood planks under the earth and stabilized with connective wood pieces on the interior. The sculpture blends into the landscape as if several trees had grown together to create the structure. I placed a few areas to sit, contemplate, and meditate and added two reclaimed mirrors to act as a moment of reflection and play with the space dimensions. The floor of the sculpture is made from bark pieces to give it a sense of movement. The Spira Mirabilis, was completed with handfuls of native wildflower seeds continuing the theme of growth for seasons to come. 

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Exposure/Vulnerability/Renewal

November 2019

 

I shot this portrait on the full moon November 12th, with the theme of vulnerability and exposure, blending in to the flesh colored sandstone, becoming one of the rocks in the

landscape that has become so much a part of my soul. 

 

Over the past year I have felt more vulnerable than ever. Living 4000 miles above sea level in

the high desert-like region of the Tecate Divide just a few miles north of Mexico in an Intentional community known as Liberty Arising. I was exposed to new experiences, forced to break patterns, leave my comfort zone, experience loss, experience gratitude, grew spiritually, changing my definition of economy by exchanging work for my living and food, and explored new ways of living outside a city 40 miles from the nearest town with a grocery store.

 

I completed a full Cycle here - experiencing snow, heavy rains, regular 40-60 mile per hour winds, colorful super blooms, scorching heat which brought all sorts of creatures out, and gorgeous fall days filled with fields of sage green, reds, and browns. Overall my vibration matched that of the inhabitants of this region - survivalists, ensurers of extreme change where my definition of comfort was consistently challenged.

 

After arriving on the land last November, this spot was discovered on top of one of the rocky hills nearby, it's been known as Bear Rock. The area is like a sculpture garden made of sandstone, carved away by time, the prevailing gusty winds and occasion heavy monsoon like rains. It’s here, 3 weeks after arriving that I shifted my perspective, perched on these rocks, feeling welcomed by the landscape in awe of its beauty. 

 

I leave this land in less than a month, set for Colorado. I wanted to find a way to express that so

I chose photography which is not my normal medium.  Hours before this hike, by coincidence or perhaps not, my mother messaged me saying it was my Great Grandfathers 50th anniversary of his death. He was among the first aerial photographers during WW1 gaining crucial information from the skies. Proceeding the war he became a portrait photographer in Baltimore City with my Great Grandmother. This shot I took, in photography terms is also known as a “long exposure.”

 

The air was unusually still on that Tuesday evening, coyotes howled all around, and the landscape looking out into Mexico was gleaming in the surreal moonlight. The energy of the night was profound, renewing.

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The poetic life of a 5,000 year old tree.

September 2019

 A cataclysmic event thousands of years ago pushed an ocean floor ten thousand feet high above sea level leaving behind an infertile, alkaline and dolomite soil that looks similar to snow, giving the White Mountains of Eastern California their name. This infertile soil, unfavorable to most, became the ideal place for a forest of ancient Great Basin Bristlecone Pine trees living with little competition for thousands of years, seemingly succeeding in immortality.

 

Around the time the first dynasty of Egypt began building the pyramids, on the opposite side of the globe, a small tree began sprouting on a mountain top in eastern California. Alive with a vibration, it moved nutrients from root to leaf, leaf to root, like a pumping heart. This small sprouted tree was not alone, it’s already amongst elders in a forest thousands of years old, being fed nutrients through an ancient network of mycelium. This little tree grew for 5,061 years to become the oldest being of the forest, currently the oldest organism on earth. I was fortunate our paths crossed on a day in September in 2019, as it received my exhaled CO2 and gifted me back a clean breath of oxygen enhanced with insight.

 

A walk through the Methuselah Grove in the ancient Great Basin Bristlecone Pine Forest is like walking through a sculpture garden. Only the several thousand year old sculptures here are not formed by human hands, but a mixture of extreme elements. Wind, snow, and infertle soil cause these trees to twist and screw, stunt their growth, and kill parts of themselves off, creating their sculptural, tightly knit hardwood, that fire can barely scorch. Fully adapted to extremes, the main threat these trees face is a black fungus that rots their “heart”, or core, like a dark energy. Once the trees die and fall to the forest floor, they remain upwards of 11,000 years, bleached by time, they resemble bones. In the ravines throughout the forest, thousands of pine cones gather like a river. These seeds hold the genetic information to grow for thousands of years, to survive against the odds, to one day become a 5,000 year old tree, to continue the cycle of this seemingly immortal forest. 

 

The quiet observations within the grove of the Great Basin Bristlecone Pines was a humbling lesson in growth, endurace, strength, grief, and the natural intelligence of our planet to provide lasting life.

 

To grow in an environment that is unfavored by others.

To endure the discomfort of extreme conditions.

To strengthen your inside, to ward off the fire from the outside.

To allow a piece of you to die so that you can continue to grow.

To witness death from an empty heart.

To live long enough to share your wisdom with others.

To leave your seeds to continue your legacy.

To be you or me.

To be a 5,000 year old tree.

"My FInal Gift, Life" Earth Sculpture 
April 2019 - Liberty Arising Healing Retreat, Boulevard, California

I have been wanting to work with earth sculpture for years and finally felt called to create this 20’ diameter piece out of bark from fallen trees.

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I have been wanting to work with earth sculpture for years and finally felt called to create this 20’ diameter piece out of bark from fallen trees.

 

To preface, tin early 2019 I have been working on the land of a retreat center in a remote region of southern California rebuilding gardens and roadway parameters with rocks and logs in an aesthetic way. I found myself enjoying getting my hands dirty and connecting with the earth. It was a meditation, something I felt very present in, as well as an artistic practice in composition and place.

This was one of those projects I felt something greater than myself coming through me. There was a persistent focus and drive to complete it with constant discoveries and inspiration during the process.

A large, old, seemingly dead Coast Live Oak tree at the corner of the property sparked inspiration. Once, this Oak tree as well as many other trees on the land were alive. Years of drought followed by the arrival of an invasive beetle known as the Gold Spotted Oak Borer killed them. I thought about the property owners who spent a summer living under this epic tree, leaving a decaying piano behind. I pondered about all the life this tree provided. Shelter to a passing bobcat, nesting grounds to birds with a never ending supply of insects, home to rabbits, squirrels, and rodents fattening themselves on the abundance of acorns which in turn they became prey for the coyotes, the clean air it created, the mycelium of fungus underground feeding on the decaying organic matter from the tree and its ecosystem above, distributing the nutrients back full circle to the plant. All of this exemplifying nature’s design and intelligence.

“...and now it’s gone”, I thought. “...what a loss...”

I thought of the tree’s death as this void left behind, a symbol of loss. I decided to physically represent that void with a circle made of bark made from fallen trees across the property. I placed the bark in a counter clockwise fashion making my way towards the center to give the feel of motion. At first, I began laying the bark outside up how it sits on the tree, which was primarily a gray. As I worked my way inward, I flipped the bark, using its red interior, until I got to the center which was made using bark I had blackened with fire.

At a point during the process the initial concept of loss changed to life.

As I was collecting the bark and moving it throughout the property and eventually to the final sculpture, I realized that the fallen trees were not the void of life after all. What was a loss for some in the ecosystem was a gain for many others. There were termites, lady bugs, spiders, lizards, and toads taking shelter. New tenants would move in as I would move the piles about the property.

The trees had so much to offer in life, and now, much to offer in death.

The hope is this sculpture will now continue its purpose as a habitat and the tree’s essence lives on and on. The tree’s final gift in life, was it’s death, which in turn provided more life, the natural cycle, a full circle.

For this series I have begun breaking down rust, like that from barbed wire or the Mexican/American wall, into a pigment. The themes will explore physical and personal boundaries.

During and after living in the southwest thinking a lot about borders and walls, having the wall

to Mexico quite literally in my back yard, I have have thought a lot about the development and monopolization of land here in the states. The invention of barbed wire, which created physical property lines that are strewn all throughout the west as colonizers claimed land rights. Being out in this remote area has also allowed me to dive deeper into myself, exploring my person boundaries. I want this series to explore human's pushing their edges. What drives us to push our comfort zones?

"Edges" Series, (2019 - in progress)
 

pigment
pigment
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Contemplation
Contemplation

12"X12" Iron Oxide on Paper

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Pushing Boundaries
Pushing Boundaries

12"X12" Iron Oxide on Paper

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Courage
Courage

10"x12" Iron Oxide on Paper

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Greener Pastures
Greener Pastures

12"X14" Iron Oxide/Acrylic on Paper

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"From the Ash" Series, (2017- 2018)
 

This series experiments with creating pigment from ash that fell in Portland during the Eagle Creek Wildfire in Oregon.  It destroyed 45,000 acres of wildlife preserve and was caused by a teen playing with fireworks. The series will work with imagery pertaining to wildfires and human encroachment of preserved wilderness. All work is done on Bamboo paper.

Just A Playground
Just A Playground

Ash and Charcoal on Bamboo Paper Hand holding firecrackers like the one that started the fire.

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Eagle Creek Wild Fire, Sept 19'
Eagle Creek Wild Fire, Sept 19'
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Experiments with Ash
Experiments with Ash
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Flourish
Flourish

22"x30" Ash and Charcoal Pencil on bamboo paper

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"Flourish" (detail)
"Flourish" (detail)

22"x30" Ash and Charcoal Pencil on bamboo paper

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Perfect Time
Perfect Time

8"12" Ash and Charcoal on Bamboo Paper

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IMG_3828
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Spring/Sprung
Spring/Sprung
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Fine Ash Floated From 20 Miles Away
Fine Ash Floated From 20 Miles Away
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