Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Opportunities Amiss

I keep dreaming about redesigning my life. How can I really do what I love? What's that? Well, creating imagery, in a nutshell. So, as I'm opening up to new styles of painting and writing, exploring color like I've never done, mixing realism and abstraction, I'm finding that I really need a teacher...a mentor--for the painting.

Going back to school is not an option. I have a ph.d. so, I'm finished with school.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and call this a mid-life crisis because I did what I knew no one should ever do: pursue a career in which your love is less than complete. But I do love writing, especially if it involves creating imagery. I just don't like teaching any more. I'm tired. I've given hundreds and hundreds of students my blood, time and energy, and now I want to give myself something.

Today, I went to a coffee shop near Thomas Eads gallery. Passing the gallery, an abstract painting caught my eye. I went inside, told the owner I just wanted to look around, and then, saw this FSU student's work, Albert Kyle Pace, and my heart raced. I love his stuff: large, dark, Goya-style portraits with abstract, symbolic settings. I watched Pace work one Friday night during the gallery walk at Railroad Square where he had gallery space.

Glad that I liked the work, Thomas explained how the art department had tried to make Pace change his style. He's bold and adventurous with color, but he speaks through his work. It means something. And, that's not good to academics, Thomas said. It's too obvious, so Pace painted a reply: a twelve-foot self-portrait of a young man throwing-off a croucheted red blanket from his almost-naked body as a shoe whizzes across the front of the canvas. The man's face is contorted in a raging scream. It's an amazing piece of work. It would halt any passer-by.

Thomas added that he's a mentor to artists, that he's trying to push Pace onto a national scene, that we need more writers writing about the art scene in Tallahassee, and why sometimes, professors, are too confined within a historic movement to embolden young artists going in new directions. Instead of saying, "I paint, too," and/or "I need a mentor," I just listened, confused that what I'd been desiring had plopped right into my hand. It was the kind of opportunity that was so freaky I had to just observe it. Then, I thanked him and left.

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