Earlier this week the Bay Area was host to a tremendous storm. My windows flickered with flashes of lightning seconds before they rattled, while car alarms harmonized with the city’s sirens to provide the evening’s soundtrack . . . naturally I loved every moment of it. In the middle of the storm, I migrated over to the couch and found myself once again staring up at Uncle Howie’s portrait of Marilyn Monroe. I glance once, then twice, and eventually she pulls me in. As Marilyn and all the faces inside hers shook and lit up with every burst and rumble of the storm, I fell into the beauty and grotesqueness of my cherished family heirloom. Hours passed like minutes, as they tend to do, and on that couch I remained until the next morning.
Today being Saturday the 14th (a title of one of Uncle Howie’s less-than-stellar films), I’ve been chewing on the fact that the man who wrote and directed some of the worst movies in history is the same artist who pieced together a magnificent portrait in which I continue to lose myself. I’ve spent years now with Marilyn and her hundreds of eyes staring back at me . . . accented by the lightning on this particular evening, they made aware of a challenge that has been brewing from within. I wondered if I could ever create a piece of art that granted an audience permission to lose itself in ways that are freeing, satisfying, and frightening.
As long as we can hold its attention, we try to distract our audience from all the upsetting moments that the universe has handed or will hand them. Up for a challenge, I remain curious and terrified of what I might create next.
Happy Saturday the 14th!