Saturday, September 24, 2022

Bench Sleeping in Houston


Bench Sleeping in Houston, 2022, Watercolor on Paper, 40" x 60"

            I’m in love with everything the ocean ever told me to believe in.

From Mr. Kelp by Manuka Piglet


Past lives and real lies, we’ll all find ourselves in someone else’s place sometime. A person sleeping on a bench in a park across the street from some hospitals? Sure, why not? It only gets worse. The bike’s tire is popped, and the plastic crate is empty. There’s so many damn streetlights on, sleep is impossible. And why are they all day light temperature? What happened to the nice warm glow that used to be everywhere? That universal color of nighttime.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Okinawa Lantern


Paper Lantern Alley in Okinawa, 2022, Watercolor on Paper, 40" x 60"

In 2019, I went on a family trip to Okinawa and Japan. The plan was to meet family on my grandma’s side while she can still travel. One of the cousins helped us get around and gave us a tour to see different things. Well, I’m not sure how exactly he’s related, I was just told cousin. He’s fairly distantly related, I think. Anyways, one of the more memorable things we saw was a family grave that was around 270 years old.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Sewer Grate in Italy


Sewer Grate in Italy, 2022, Watercolor on Paper, 40" x 60"

And the simplest and most accessible key to our self-neglected liberation lies right here: Personal non-participation in lies. Though lies conceal everything, though lies embrace everything, we will be obstinate in this smallest of matters: Let them embrace everything, but not with any help from me.

The above quote is by Alexander Solzhenitsyn from an essay titled “Live Not by Lies” or at least one version I found of it. He released it in the Soviet Union in 1974 before being exiled to the west. I just finished reading his book, Gulag Archipelago. There’s a lot of interesting and pertinent stuff he had to say. Stuff that’s eerily relevant to today’s world. One message from Gulag Archipelago, whose sentiment is embodied in the above quote, is that the power of the Soviet regime was built on lies. And that the people gave them that power by not contradicting those lies, by being too afraid of the consequences to speak against the perceived majority. The majority who are either too ignorant, too na├»ve, or too complacent to speak up themselves.

Studying abroad sounded interesting. I wanted to do one in college before and didn’t get the chance. None of the options fit my schedule or major. But at SAIC, there was a chance to go to Italy for three weeks to paint. I like the idea of travelling to some place for a long period of time. That way I can really immerse in the place and get to know it. Instead of just going to the more touristy things, I’d wander around and see the city. What the city looks like to the locals or even beyond what they see as well. Just wander around and get a taste for all the idiosyncrasies that make each city unique. But three weeks works too, I guess.

Wheelchair Tent in Chicago


Wheelchair Tent in Chicago, 2022, Watercolor on Paper, 40" x 60"

He called himself Shadow. Or so he told me. This painting reminds me of him because he was a homeless guy in a wheelchair. Though I don’t think this was his wheelchair and tent. I suppose there’s a possibility this was Shadow’s since I never saw the person presumably inside the tent. But I also never saw Shadow with a tent.

I would see him on my way to class, walking through downtown Chicago from my dorm. He was often sitting in his wheelchair outside the 711 with a cup for people to put money in. I’d say hi, maybe talk to him for a bit, and give him a five or something. After a while, I got to know him better. I learned that he was a biker and was in a biker gang at one time. He also said he was a bouncer at a bar. He seemed to have had an interesting life. He also said he was dying, that he had lung cancer. As he tossed his spent cigarette into the street.