From a very young age, I sensed that something was amiss. I think it's because I was quite a happy child, and yet I noticed a strain in various aspects of life around me. I also spent a lot of time in the wilderness and I was acutely aware of the beauty of nature and the obvious power it has to sustain all of life, so I found the state of the world confusing -- it didn't make sense to me that things were so abundant, and yet so not. My perception of these things has always followed me, somewhat like an outside observer.
It wasn't until my early 30's that these dissonant experiences started making sense to me. I was on a road trip to Mexico, and while travelling I was reading a book about globalization and the effects it's having on all humans, which was pretty intense subject matter. Along the way I got a call telling me that my mom was in the hospital and might die. I had never before experienced an acute event like this, and from the moment I saw her at the hospital (including all of the people in there), something clicked and I began to understand those feelings I had as a child. Everything in the book was manifest before me in a personal situation that was deeply tied to the state of our world - my first conscious introduction to the Anthropocene. Thankfully my mother survived, but our lives have been forever changed since then. It was around that time that my art grew into something much more animated, as the energy I was processing needed a space to live, without boundaries.
The definition of the Anthropocene is this - " the influence of human behavior on Earth's atmosphere in recent centuries as so significant as to constitute a new geological epoch." To further that, understanding the effects of industrialization, including the shift from hunter/ gatherer to farming, then the machine age, and now the age of technology; is fascinating. I could go on and on about it, but what stands out to me is how rapidly we have shifted in technology, yet we still function with our relatively primitive minds (which we cannot force to evolve nearly as quickly), and we still have very engrained instincts. For example, the shift from tribal living to the ironic isolation of city life, is in direct conflict with the way the human race previously lived for hundreds of thousands of years. We are literally being forced to fight against our very nature and there are dozens of examples of that, probably hundreds. And yet, we have so much knowledge and power at our disposal. It makes for some pretty crazy times.
I tend to think big picture, so while I analyze the micro details, I also zoom out -- like waaayyy out. Actually, I'm a bit of a cosmic hippy. And like research shows, there are around 700 quintillion planets in the universe, but only one like Earth. It’s pretty spectacular that we even exist to witness all of this chaos. Further, I am still amazed by the resiliency and power of nature and the human spirit. I see plants coming up through concrete, people facing utter despair who make hip hop, dance and artwork that is so incredible, some of the animals are even finding ways through it all. And when we look up, the stars are still sparkling down on us, a chaotic beautiful universe full of wonder. This is not to dismiss suffering, of which there is far too much. Yet I cannot help but wonder if us humans are still just so young in the big picture, and on that scale, something benevolent is happening. Perhaps we are meant to be hyper creative, reflective and courageous. Maybe we are being tested on how radical we can really be. And like the dinosaurs did when they went nearly extinct - we too will evolve into bird - like versions of ourselves. WHO KNOWS.
In the meantime, I make art to deal with it all.
Thanks for reading!