The 5 Faces of Life

Published on 10 February 2024 at 16:27

Medium: Watercolor on paper

Date:  2023


The 5 Faces of My Life

The featured art piece this week is about the five faces of my life:
Childhood; Youth; Adult; Aged; and the face of Demonic Energy.

The Face of Childhood
As a child, I loved dragons. My grandma had a vase which I was allowed to hold in my hands at age two, on my lap covered with a big towel. I looked at the dragon on the vase for hours. Outside, I could see the dragons in the clouds. At home, I drew pictures of dragons. When my mom was almost 100 years old, a friend asked her, “What is Jay going to do when you are gone?” “Oh, he is going to live in China! He loves dragons.” My dragon pictures at age 9 surprised the art department at the University of West Texas and got me my first exhibition there at the university. Leonardo da Vinci said, “There are faces everywhere, in every stone and every piece of mud.” I see those faces too. Mom’s admonition that every rock and every blade of grass is alive and has a soul was an encouragement to look into life for the details of faces. Here in this picture, the child holds a bird. This represents creativity to me. In fact, birds could be considered the last of the prehistoric dinosaurs. The Bird God was sacred to the Maya people of Mexico. Birds reside in the realm of dragons.

The Face of Youth
Here a thin fellow in a beginner's karate uniform hovers anxiously. For me, this was a time of rules and disciplines without observable reasons to me and a time of no creative growth. This was a time of fear and following rules in life. With great discipline, I was able to follow the rules successfully. My university experience was the most uncreative time of my life, but as in working in the cornfield, “You just keep a-going!” ‘Youth’ includes my first life in the city, grad school, and the Army where I was named ‘Model Soldier’ of the battalion. In the Army, for the first time since early childhood, I had time to myself. I saw and drew the vision of a flying pig in the sky as I lay in the long uncut grass by the Maine River at Wurzburg, my Army post. This picture event is still one of the most thrilling moments of my life. Also, ‘Youth’ includes being in the first group named ‘hippies’ in San Francisco and my move to New York City. To live in New York City was my goal since age five after seeing a movie of women in red velvet drinking champagne under chandeliers. I told my mom, “I am going to grow up and be in society.” Mom said, “Nonsense, we are all in society.” I turned away. “This woman knows nothing.” She had not seen the movie. Years later she said, “I never thought you would be the one to live in New York City.”

The Face of the Adult
I live in New York, a goal as fulfilling to me as finding a real dragon. The Demonic Energy first experienced as a child devoted to dragons found me a place in New York. I found my loft on Canal Street my first day and have lived here nearly 60 years. My association with some demonic people expanded my experiences (both painful and glorious) of the world bigger than my cornfield. I used my Army art habits to write and illustrate 6 books for children (Hadn’t I made all these pictures of battalion mascots to give to generals and colonels in Germany?) Here in New York, Castelli Gallery came to see my soft sculpture, but he saw the children’s books. Castelli pointed: “Go there. That is where the money is!” I showed the books to over 100 publishers before they sold. Suddenly!! I sold those books for the amount I thought I would need for the rest of my life! For my 50th high school reunion, I wrote: “My works have been published in books and exhibited in Museums. I have performed in theaters and fought in Madison Square Garden.” Part of the Adult life was my 22 years study and teaching martial arts in Brooklyn, focusing the energy of the physical body and helping others to find that, too. The picture here is me in my karate uniform, an unexpected and glorious part feeling the joy and power of being adult.


The Face of Aged
The face here at the top, wreathed in blue circles, is me, the aged adult. The circles represent a completion of my life experience and for myself, the wisdom that I feel I have, whatever it may look like to another viewer. I fulfilled my divine child. Furthermore, I experience now each part of my day more deeply. My images in paintings are deeper, clearer, and more fluid. Twelve of my books are being published on Amazon. What could be better for an aged person? Another face of age is after 80 years of cello playing, thousands of hours of practice, including practicing out in the motor pool in the army while studying at the Bayerische Conservatorium—I have this year discovered music. I found a profound teacher, a nuclear physicist on YouTube. I learned how to discover deep meaning and emotion in the cello. I feel the music and can glimpse the tremendous complexity and beauty of J.S. Bach whose work I have played for 70 years. Why could these changes not have come earlier in my life? Can you relate to that, too? Did we do as well as we could do along the way?

The Face of Demonic Energy
Here a dragon drapes over the shoulders of the Adult. As pictured, it is the image of the dragon brought to China with Buddhism from India. This is the fish-tail dragon with the head of an alligator. The Chinese redesigned it to look like the Chinese dragon today. This dragon is a combination of both the negative and the positive. With its demonic energy coursing through me, it emboldens me to embrace risks and unleash creativity. It ignites a joy in discovery that lights up the path of innovation and adventure. It has the demonic energy of my fingers in a light socket. It connects to the Adult and the Aged but only touches the Youth. I see it as luck. I see it in the resolution of problems through work that I have experienced in New York. I feel it as the tremendous energy in New York in all the many fields of creative energy that I feel all around me. I feel it as intuition. This aged person completes the cycle begun as a child. I feel floating on the demonic energy of a lifetime.

The Future
Is this a finished picture? No, not while there is a breath to enjoy many of the changes in demonic energy which has become part of our lives today. We know where that demonic energy is for each of us. Some is in the new cell phone!! Where is the energy you are using? How is it today?

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