Looking back at the last year in the Communication Arts department and comparing what then was the edge of my interest in subject matter and intent for the act of making art at all, I can see things come into clarity and that edge advancing. In the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom in life and in the study of art as meditation thereon, that growth is the source of satisfaction and harmony. That growth is the root of confidence that any young person needs in order to abandon the view of oneself as an isolated object of the world’s ways, at whose discretion there is only art as some self-instantiating expression-form, that is in essence nothing but outsourcing of frustrations with such a reactive role. Through growth that reveals the interplay of change and of the constants, one can finally know—and not merely muse about—leadership.
A year ago describing what inspired me and the issues that have had the most impact on my work I wrote of the subtleties of moments in everyday life: feelings left unspoken, intentions not mentioned, people’s postures, their faces as records of their emotional lives. I wrote that I was very drawn to vague suggestions of something that was important to the point of being fateful, yet remained indistinct, not captured, and for that reason sublime. I drew reverent records of the moments that contained such revelation, but always seemingly against some kind of uncertainty of the worth of such an approach, because the result would so often present itself as a nice drawing, charged with intense internalization and important at least within the school, probably, only to me.
I believe it was that development that was always tightly entwined with my affair with the immigrant Latin American culture. Besides the haven it offered me as an immigrant and its inseverable connection to my earliest lessons in music, that I still draw from in visual communication, (a study of classical guitar in a Russian music school was seeped in the Latin influences as they were understood by Russian musicality, and perhaps imported through the peculiar political friendship between the Soviet Union and Cuba), immersion into a culture of immigrant Peruvian youth, clashed with the immigrant Russian, Bolivian, Italian and Jewish contingents, gave me a world within which my drawings, or writings for that matter, were inseparable from the reality it was their aim to describe.
Somehow, either ignored or written off as too mystical in the prevalent young pragmatic Anglo-Saxon America, it is the nature of communication in so many cultural groups to maintain and wholly recognize the level of intent underneath the spoken. This level is integral to creation of art that is worthwhile. It is a level that yields to form just like material paint and expressible idea. It is the very carrier of Magic Realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Ernesto Barreda. Barreda’s images of South America are no mere peculiarities of his choice of descriptive form, inexistent outside of the semantics of his imaginings. They have a presence in reality, and relevance. They are made of the same substance that was woven into the presence of the young immigrant men that had grown up in the regions he painted.
I seek to travel to Peru to distill my understanding of this phenomenon from any misinterpretation of that country’s culture that may be convenient for me to imagine now. I no longer doubt the importance of painting revelatory work and no longer view it as a self-centered act, as long as one is observant of the outside world and conscious of the nature of observation. I want to paint Peru, as it is, remembering all I’ve learned of it, remembering nothing but what’s in front of me.
I do not want to paint my idea of Peru and its culture, as I do not want to paint a life of a traveler uninformed by travel. My intention is to keep a visual record of my journey through Peruvian land as directly as it is possible through the act of drawing. Upon return I intend to produce a series of paintings informed by what I will learn of Peru, Latin America, the people and the land, myself, the paint, and the carrying power of intent inscribed in a work of art, capable of giving so much more to the viewer than just something to look at. For, though a work of art might not describe or explain reality as a static objective extraction of truths, it can reaffirm what we within that reality are capable of doing by being a result of such an act.