Thursday, December 29, 2016

My Experience With Painting Number 4 "I Remember ..."

This is my best attempt at recalling what happened during the 8th painting of the Childhood Fractured.

“I lost my virginity when I was 6 years old.” Allen said. A silence pierced through the studio. The space was well lit. My eyes rolled over to Cheryl. She was filming. A camera was in front of her face, however, I caught a sliver of it. And it read, mortification. Those words – I lost my virginity when I was 6 years old – have been reverberating in my mind. To even approach the implications of that sentence leaves my soul exasperated. I lost my virginity when I was 6 years old. A sentence, perhaps, I will never forget.

Allen’s countenance shifted. Moments before uttering I lost my virginity when I was 6, and begging this painting session, Allen was his usual self: boisterous, joyful, level, and confident. Now in front of canvas he was vulnerable, open, and lost in expressing a trauma passed into art. His voice was soft. His posture was not masculine. He let his guard down.

Allen chose to use blue as the background. He made quick work of this with intuitive strokes from his paintbrush.  He began giving form to the room in which his virginity was lost at 6. Strokes of purples and greens were used in a contrasting manner throughout. He carried on painting and narrating. Something I have since grown accustomed too. And he was to remain in this creative state until something happened. Somewhere in this creative excitement Allen lost himself in the center of darkness.

I watched Allen descend into pain in front of me. I was as curious as I was empathetic in regards to what was going on inside of this man’s mind and heart. All the sudden, his paint covered hands began shaking. Then his body. These shakes turned into violent tremors. Allen’s speech began breaking. He could hardly get a word out. He grabbed his paintbrush with a quivering right hand and attempted to paint. I could see his brown eyes behind the frames of his glasses. And they read, courage.

Watching a full-grown man break down in front of you is profound. When a man breaks down in front of you because he is reconstructing the memories of his sexual abuse, it is inspiring. I was given the privilege of watching a man, Allen, plunge himself, once more, into the murky waters of traumatic memories passed. Only to return stronger. And for what? For his own art career? Glory or Fame? No. He did this to help other people. He was doing this out of sacrifice. The most selfless of all human characteristics.

After this temporary break down, Allen finished the rest of this painting with creative clairvoyance. The video we taken of this session will capture it better than my words. We began decompressing and meditating on the experience as we do after each session. This began with a huge, collective exhale. For us we feel it is necessary to talk about the rigid complexities of sexual abuse if we want to heal.

Allen was pondering the motives of this girls who sexually abused him which is the subject matter of this painting. One of the girls, who the act was commenced with, was his age, 6 years old. The other girl, who was older, was the perverted orchestrater, the architect of the act. She was the force behind this act being committed. She forced Allen and her little sister to have sex. As we sat in a circle, I pondered their motives as did Cheryl.

I posited that they, whether implicit or explicit, committed these acts of sexual abuse out of instinct or necessity. These girls, without a shadow of a doubt, did not one day happen upon this mode of behavior. They were taught this. Forced into doing these terrible things in their own home. And in this context, by their own parents. When this series is completed this will be revealed in its entirety. You can understand this behavior if I say: When I am hungry, I eat. When I am thirsty, I drink. When they are bored, nonplussed, or in a libidinal frame of mind, they commit acts, or force others to commit acts of sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse, I am begging to grasp, is learned. It is impressed upon people by people who have had it impressed upon them. And in this context, it is the parents of the Morgan children. For the uninitiated, the Morgan parents were the perverted orchestraters behind Allen’s childhood sexual abuse. Allen has a profound empathy for the children who abused him. Indirectly, it wasn’t their fault. And he has a profound empathy for all those who have the same lived experience. This is sentiment I have gleamed off him.

These posts are not the focal point of our project. They are window in what we are doing. And if you see something through this window that touches you, please compel yourself to take up the mission of ending the sexual abuse of children. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t at least try.   

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

My Experience With Painting Number 8 the "Cruxifizion"

We entered the studio. Allen placed the primed canvas on the easel. Cheryl positioned the cameras into place. And I took my usual seat off the Allen’s left. We were there, intent. Intent as ever. Intent on finishing the next installment in our Childhood Fractured series. And without notice, amid the clamor of the setting up, Allen confessed he still didn’t know what he wanted to paint. I buzzed with curiosity. It was worn on my face. Cheryl must have caught it with her camera. How could he not know what he wanted to paint? The silence rolled on. It was broken by Allen explaining himself. The nature of the day, of the work, of this project has taken an emotional toll. A worthy toll. Allen’s creative hiccup was not due to lack of passion, desire, or commitment. It was due to the rigid complexities of our work. It is due to exploring, with creative intellect, the worst experiences, the worst days of his life.

“Piss or Crucifixion” Allen said, along with some other themes for the painting that have since been lost to my memory. There, on the stool, the word Crucifixion caught me. I looked at Allen and then Cheryl. “Crucifixion. Paint About Crucifixion” I blurted out. Allen nodded and took his place in front of the canvas.

After creating his pallet, Allen began by giving form to a cross with red strokes. He extended this form with yellows and other vibrant, contrasting colors. He carved away unhinged. As usual. Brave. Like another day at the office. But this, this is no ordinary office. And this is no ordinary work. We were moving through time. And Allen, through his colors. All the while narrating the subject matter of this piece. I watched him stumble several times on his memory recall. Allen provided succinct detail in our other sessions, however, this one was convoluted by complexity. Recalling any traumatic event to recreate it on a canvas, to say the absolute least, is very difficult. When the event being recalled is sexual abuse, the word 'difficult' does not suffice.

I continued soaking in this experience. Stroke after stroke after stroke until it was finished. It was over. My mind was swirling. The subject-matter of this painting was egregious. A synergy of raw emotion was flowing between us. Allen, full of exasperation, took a seat. He seemed to be out of character, displaced. Cheryl, still filming, asked Allen a question. The question seemed to have struck one of his chords. The question was about bringing the Morgan family (the family that sexually abused Allen) to justice. Allen balked at the question. He felt as though he was not doing enough. I assured Allen, and myself, we are doing all we can. We have finished the seventh painting. We are fashioning pieces of our soul into art to spread awareness on sexual abuse. To end sexual abuse. As time progresses, we are realizing how big this topic is. How much bigger this work is than we are. We just want to make the world a little less dark. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

My Experience With Painting 7 "The Shed"

I write this, with what I believe to be, a clear mind.

The 6th painting was finished last Saturday afternoon. Cheryl, Allen, and myself were there in the studio; the mood, somber; the lights, bright; our spirits, curved. This session was out of character, or, that is to say it was different. Perhaps, it was the same. Maybe we were out of character or different. Maybe it was me who was out of character. Me who has changed from this project. I suppose we all, at one point or another, find ourselves negotiating ambiguity.

Allen, in front of the canvas, eyes closed, breathing steadied, victim of the unwarranted, broke into painting. Before him, gold, purple, and black contrasted in lines. They were begging for attention. “I am going to paint the day after I was raped” Allen said. He tripped over these words. His body winced. It was if a stranger had whispered this into his ear. After outlining the figure of a woman in dark ominous colors. And after talking through his memories aloud, Allen said something profound – “I was only a tourist in their hell”. That sentence begs to be explained, I thought to myself. Allen continued carving away at his canvas. Contrasting lights and darks through compromising brushstrokes. Allen was giving form to the formless.

As we continued I was entranced with that sentence – I was a tourist in their hell. What a profound statement. I was taken aback, sitting there on a stool, watching Allen paint horror. This man, this brave soul, Allen, in front of me, was painting the day after he was raped. How can words do this justice? It was a passionate, short session. The painting finished. I was a tourist in their hell- these words reverberated me. I queried Allen as to their meaning. He began explaining the complex empathy he had for the children of the Morgan family. Those children did, and still do, live in the most perverted hell. The Morgan children, some of who sexually abused Allen, lived in that house. Allen was only a tourist. These children were raped and sexually abused on a daily basis. Allen was only a tourist. Allen, in self-searching retrospection, came to the conclusion that the children of this family were born into the most horrific of environments. He could only speculate to the abhorred nature of their day to day lives.

We continued talking after the session. Our hearts were heavy. The grimness of this all set in once again. Allen had mentioned another profound statement, another stark realization – At the moment we were painting this, somewhere some child is going through something similar. Somewhere some child is being fractured into an infinite amount pieces. Pieces that may never be put back together. This was a humbling experience. We followed this line of logic into a conversation on our perceptions of societal reality. It is difficult to navigate through this bog without stumping your toe on a contradicting idiom. Nonetheless, we did. We pressed into the heart of the matter. It is important to keep in mind, the raw exchange of energy and life force that takes place during our sessions. Cheryl, who rarely talks about her experience being sexually abused, felt compelled to share a piece of herself. And in her sentiment the question arose once more-- why are we doing this? Why are we sharing this? How is at all possible to navigate the murky waters of this world, on a boat, and save all those who are drowning? We only have so much room on this vessel. There is only so much time. So much food. Shelter. I am not sure. Are we even worthy of saving others? Is this some contradicting concept to bolster our own sense of self-worth? Our sense of purpose?
Perhaps, it is not about changing the world. I at least I feel this way. It is about changing people’s cognitions, their thoughts and actions. That is all an artist can hope for. That moment, when your audience, if only for that fleeting moment in time, are changed. Are given new eyes and a new heart before returning back to the bulwark of their mind. We need to explore the space between our souls. I believe I have rambled long enough. What a life.  

Monday, November 7, 2016

My Experience with Painting Number 1 "Bitter Cold"

I find myself somewhere up the stream of life. Here, I will take a breath, reflect, and meditate on my experience of the fifth painting. We found ourselves, there, in the space of Allen’s studio. Cheryl, the project videographer, was setting up the cameras with diligence. Allen was rummaging through his paint. And wondering what colors to give life too. I gleamed this notion from the concern worn on his face. I turned to find Cheryl. She was discerning the best angles for the cameras. I continued observing all this motion. Before I knew it we were off.

Allen, with brush in hand, began carving away.

“I am going to paint the first time I was sexually abused.” Allen announced. The collective mood shifted. It was a sense of calm. Now, it was the gripping realization of why we were sitting in this space, childhood sexual abuse. How profound are these implications? How deep does one have to dive, without fear, into their soul to pull from it something that can illuminate the pain of another. And help another, guide another, and in the process help themselves.

“This is why we are sitting here. To help people” I thought to myself. This thought is always running back and forth through my mind, however, during these sessions it thrusts itself to the forefront of my faculties with assurance. Allen isolated his pain in brush and paint. There, Allen’s agony took the form of yellows and oranges against the sharp red background. They swirled with intelligent magnificence. The space was captivated. Allen’s breathing intensified with each stroke. And he continued narrating his experience with bravery. It was more red, yellow, and orange. Red, yellow, and orange. Red, yellow and orange! It was splash after splash of color. Then, some purples, and other contrasting colors. We were enraptured. Everything stopped all of the sudden.

Between colors, Allen’s wife came home. Cheryl’s dogs, who were upstairs, began barking. The passion subsided for only a moment. I was sitting there dumbfounded. Cheryl went to go quite the dogs. Allen was standing upright, chest out, eyes closed, and breathing heavy breaths of meditation. Allen was in the middle of one of his nuanced forms of meditation. I watched the gravity of it all hit Allen in waves; the sexual abuse, the memories, the digging in his soul for diamonds to help others, the time and space spent occupying this isolation. Upon completion, Allen uncovered a bit of wisdom.

He discussed the complexity of his being in relation to being sexually abused. On the one hand, he loves who he is. On the other hand, he was victimized by monsters and their children in the most sordid of ways that no person should ever have to live through. And these sordid, yet, confusing experiences of sexual abuse have formed him into the man he is today. Allen loves who he is. And he is cognizant of the how these experiences have shaped who he is. In this short moment of retrospection, Allen hit on the core of what I believe we are trying to achieve, or, what we are trying to convey. That these gut-wrenching experiences can have profound effect on who we are for the better. That we can love ourselves. This self-love allows us to come to terms with abuse, realize exactly who and what was done to us, and grow from it. Allow these demons to push us forward. To propel us into the people we want to be. To achieve to dreams we want to achieve. This is what people who have been sexually abused are capable of…anything.  

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Inside Allen Vandever studio

Here is some insight in to what Allen Vandever Chicago Contemporary Artist practice is about.
Top artist Great Chicago new best painting live art inspiration 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Help us so we can Help others

We are currently in the process of sourcing fund for Childhood Fractured through sponsorships , grants, art events, and fundraisers through community partnerships. We will continue to raise awareness on sexual abuse through art. And we will continue to add our constructive, critical, and positive voice in the endeavor to end this international epidemic. The Eight + thousand of views we have gotten on this page in such a short period of time, instills in us the resolve to see this to the end

We are only two men. One of us write and the other paints. The nature of this project demands much more than this, and although the painting and writing is an important part, there are many other skills in which we have had to, and must continue to, hone in infantile stages of this project. Web Design, event planning, public relations, community outreach, sponsorship development, editing, business planning, accounting, non-for-profit and LLC starting advice. We are a pure sweat and bones company at this point. We have no pay and we covering all the expenses. If you are interested in helping in any way please let us know here is a list of things we you can do to help us.

1 Share our blog on your social media accounts 

2 Follow our blog and share your feelings and thoughts in the comment      section

3 Break the silence! Please share your story's with us! We will be starting a testimonial page on our Web sight soon more info to come.

4 We are starting  fundraising to further bring this project into reality.  Our plan is to raise money through grants, sponsorship, and individual  contributions. Please contact us if you would like contribute in any way or  know someone who wants to.

5 We are looking for connections with companies, corporations and foundations to sponsor this project. If you  or some one you know could share this contact information, this would help us get a foot in the door.

6 We have applied for our first grant. If you know any with grant right skills or advice that would be willing to help that would be great.

7 We are starting a non-for-profit and are looking for people with knowledge.

8 We will be looking for publishers as we near the completion of this project. If you have any resources, please feel free to contact us.

9  We are open for interviews and would love any form of press. If you or anyone you know is interested, please feel free to contact us! 

10 We are so grateful to all of you! We have a great deal of gratitude! Thank you all so much and...Godspeed!

11 also soon we will need people to help edit 

We need help to raise awareness on sexual abuse, if you have ideas on how you can help this project please contact us!

Monday, October 3, 2016

A Childhood Fractured Series 4: Allen Vandever

To watch this video to the end is to understand, in the slightest, what sexual abuse can do to a person. I just have to worn you this is not an easy watch. This video really captures what this project is about.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Thank You. This Is Where We Are.

The inspiration we have gained from everyone that has reached out to us, in any capacity, is remarkable. It is propelling us forward and catalyzing us to make this project reach its potential. We are currently sourcing funds through grants sponsorships and personal donation. We are also looking for community organizations to partner with in the event anyone of you need help, you have resources at your disposal. We have been making great strides in this, however, if any of you have any resources that will help us, please make sure to contact us.
Also, if any of you have been impacted by sexual abuse or this project in general, please...please...please! get in touch with us. In the upcoming months, we will begin the testimonial portion of this project. And we want to hear your voice. Whether it be interviews on camera, anonymous stories or letters, or any form of artwork, or, anything else you can think of. We want you to get involved. We want to hear your voice! If you have any ideas for us, please feel free to send them.

Peace, Love, and...Godspeed!

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get in touch with us at 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Creature Creations by Allen Vandever Chicago Artist

Several years ago my neighbor was moving and he decided to give me much of his art and supplies. One day I came home and there were four huge garbage bags sitting on my door step. Within these bags were disturbing dolls made to look like dead babies. They were used in a large anti-war installation and photo project. At first I was repulsed by these toys, and then in a moment of inspiration, a light bulb went off. Lets give these dolls a new life! Yes! it was a eureka moment. These toys have been damaged and scared for life, yet, they can still carry a purpose. So I took parts from other toys and gave them new lives and new bodies. I tried to bring fun back into them. I tried to bring the life back into them. This project echoes my childhood self. My neighbors scared me for life, stole a piece of me and discarded it. This is the sentiment i am instilling in these toys. Even if something is damaged, broken, beaten, battered, torn, it can always be turned into something more beautiful, vibrant, and lively than it ever was. 

I hope you enjoy these videos I have it set up so they will play one after the other so sit back and enjoy.

Please click on picture to watch videos
Allen Vandever Artist Chicago Artist Top Chicago artist new art Chicago art contemporary art


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

My Experience With Painting number 5 "Fracturing of a Boy"

I am writing this on August 5th, 2016. It is nearing 7:00 pm on this calm, Monday evening. Throughout this continuous stream of consciousness, what I perceive as “me”, has encountered a host of characters, some more base, malignant, and cancerous. Others possessed of fair, decent, and redeemable qualities, yet, with a stroke of my pen, I cannot posit a finite conclusion of another’s character through words as assuredly as I can write: The sky is most certainly blue. This, is of course the trivial uncoiling of my thoughts. NO! This is my declaration to all; I witnessed the most astonishing feat of bravery I have ever seen. A feat that has been braided into my essence. I watched a man, a friend, stand before all, and paint the worst day of his life.We were there, in the studio, and as Allen rolled the cameras, he was undecided as to what he wanted to paint. After centering himself, he stood in front of his canvas with intimate knowledge, and admitted: I am going to paint the worst day of my life. “What a mysterious gesture…” I thought to myself, “To even broach this subject.” Is it not in our nature to sequester “the worst day of our life”, into the catacombs of our memories? Or is that the instinctual response elicited by my young character? I am not the arbiter of such things.Allen began with an abstract depiction of the boy he once was. The boy who was so slighted in his early years. After this, he traveled to his right, with slashes of red paint, absconding with the emotional balance of the room, and declared “Mr. Morgan raped me!”  My heart quivered from an unknown trepidation. And I fell bewildered by the absurdness of this all. Allen began floating beyond the physical world of his canvas, and painted the likeness of the murky cavern deep within the recesses of his being. A cavern that was born through the vile avarice and concupiscence of men. A cavern that was born the moment Allen was raped, and has since been a part of his cosmic makeup. And what It was to watch him paint this.I was watching this loving, gentle giant of a man, weep tears of purity, from the childhood that was stolen, from the childhood that was fractured. And even with these tears streaming down his face, and his soul in knots, his heart exposed, he endeavored to keep painting, in the true spirit of selflessness. He kept on painting the cavern, that he has since meditated back to reclaim his dignity and the boy who was once lost.While Allen was painting this cavern, I was anywhere, experiencing reality through an oblique state, with lucid eyes, witnessing the horrid complexity that is implied when you are born as a human being. In a flash of retrospection, I translated the series of events that has led me to here and now, the absurdity of my life. It’s brings me a sweet solace to know this experience was filmed.I watched a man, who has since healed, rip open the scars inflicted upon him by perverts, to spill this sanguine blood on his canvas, as a loving guide, to show what horrors we can experience as people, and how we must make it our sovereign duty to help all brothers and sisters of this universal cosmopolis. I watched a man indirectly paint “We are all here together”.  

Allen Vandever Painting the fourth work for Childhood Fractured Project 
Chicago artist Chicago art expo great art new art contemporary art live art free art big art love art

Monday, August 29, 2016

My Experience With painting number 11 "Chopping Wood"

I am writing this on August 25th, 2016. It is nearing 10:00 am and I find myself at a desk. I cannot help but to feel as though the layers of my ego are being peeled away from the nature of this project, leaving me here, with no claim, naked, waiting for the divine to illuminate my path. Leaving my inner most thoughts on the page is a confused gesture, which I pray, in a non-conforming way, will provide you with the emotional toll this project has taken, and will continue to take, on Allen and myself. The closer we come to completion, the more daunting, overwhelming, and scary, the reality of it all becomes, from my point of view.

We finished the third painting several days ago. I have only just summoned the wherewithal to write about. I arrived at Allen’s early in the morning. I met two of his interns, both splendid people, and we went to have brunch. We shared a meal and intellectual conversation. I posited my disposition, during this conversation, of art and the purpose it should serve in civic and political society, the substance of which I do not want to share at this time. Allen offered his own wisdom. After arriving back at Allen’s house, I began writing the first draft of the second painting while Allen worked with Fayre, his intern, to prepare the canvas that would be used later in the day.

Writing this first draft was such a difficult task. To write a story, fiction or otherwise, is to put myself inside the headspace of another, and explore their realms of understanding and the respective nature of experiences that coincide, and relinquish all, back on the page. A day will come, when you will understand the true nature of what Allen has lived through, and perhaps, myself. I finished this draft in a cloud of delirium. I had to take a nap. During this time, Allen continued showing his intern the artistic ropes.

Several days before this day, I received word from Allen, that another artist, a filmmaker and photographer, wanted to get involved in this project. I was reminded, once more, about the universal reach of this project. Cheryl, the filmmaker and photographer, is the women who took pictures of us some days before for this project. She arrived sometime later, after I awoke. Allen, Cheryl, and Fayre, and myself went into the studio.

Allen rolled the cameras and we were off. There was a bizarre calmness in the space for this session. The subject matter was horrid, but, in comparison to others, it was rather lighthearted, which is a rather damning thing to say. Allen, with his passionate flare and thoughtful strokes, began painting and narrating. I expected him to make quick work of this painting, due in part, to a personal breakthrough he had achieved hours before, from a heartfelt and retrospective conversation we had. Allen gained a corollary view into the relationship he had with Mary, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Morgan, and through this, Allen discerned what impact this had on his emotional development and intimate relations.

The canvas continued taking shape, with such vivid and bright colors. After careful strokes and intelligent color which culminated into several fleeting moments of immense intensity, we took a brief intermission to switch recording devices. During this time, I took note of Cheryl’s expression, who was sitting to my left, and Fayre, who was sitting to my right. I would describe their faces as dumbfounded with curiosity or interest. Their presence in the space added a calm and balance, I suppose.

The cameras started rolling once more as Allen mustered what he had left and dipped back into the past. There are two things that must be mentioned that proceeded our intermission. The first is Allen unearthing a truth that had been lost in time and memory; the incident that provoked Allen’s furious bewilderment while cutting the wood and his envisioning the wood he was chopping as Mr. Morgan’s head. Moments before the subject matter of this painting took place, in which Allen was 12 or 13, and the abuse from the Morgan’s had subsided, his father had tasked him to chop wood. When Allen went to do so, he saw the kids of the neighborhood, including the Morgan girls. They began making fun of Allen and jested the size of his penis. Allen asked how they could possibly know such a thing. The Morgan girls responded by saying they had pictures of it. This is what caused Allen’s confusion and precipitated him to chop to wood while in a fantasy of killing Mr. Morgan, all in confusion. Allen worked through this revelation aloud while painting.

The second the event worth mentioning occurred moments after the first. Allen picked up an axe he had in his basement without warning. I said to myself “Is he about to chop the painting?”. I was astounded, when Allen, began painting with the axe. Painting axes with an axe. It painfully clever. The axe is representative of certain aspect of Allen’s artistic character, something I believe he can elaborate on more. Even more so was Allen’s inclination for precise intro and retrospection into the times of abuse and it’s causation on his mental state today. This is the way of the artist, in my eyes; rendition, through a chosen medium, the world around and how it is braided with the world within, and from the cyclical symbiosis, the artist, in the thick of their learned and paradoxical endeavors, ebbs and flows, from their self to the world and back, manifesting what they so choose, until the flame within, burns out.   
Allen Vandever painting a flash back 
about chopping wood with an axe
Alan Vandeveer Contemporary Great Chicago artist Chicago art

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

My Experience of painting number 6 "Murder"

The task at hand is to articulate the exhilaration of creating the second painting in our series. And before I begin, I must say, the depths of the human soul, no matter how morbid, is a remarkable place to explore.
I arrived at Allen’s home around 2:00 pm. The weather was weighted with humidity, but my mind was much heavier. The entire morning, before my arriving at Allen’s, was spent writing about the sexual abuse from my childhood. This was the first time I have ever done such a thing and if were not for this project, I would have never broached it.
Allen and I exchanged pleasantries and I took a seat. I pulled out my laptop and began transferring my sexual abuse piece from notebook to word document. Allen’s son, Walter, came downstairs and asked his father: Can we go to the park? Allen being the father he is, took his son. He could see I was writing and was keen on the tumultuous nature of it and allowed me to stay at his place and finish my work. I finished transferring the piece from my notebook in about half an hour and by this time, Allen and Walter returned home.
I asked Allen to read my piece in an emotional daze. I tried removing myself from this pensive state of self-absorption. Around the time Allen finished reading my piece, I was back here. He told me the piece was well written and he was proud of me. As a writer, hearing the words “well written” or “nicely written”, depending on your current state of mind, ooze from a readers mouth like welcomed silk. But, when dealing with such ugly subject matter, crafting something of aesthetic value is less of a concern. This is an ongoing conversation between Allen and I, which I will elaborate on some other time.
Allen’s wife, Dawn, arrived home shortly after this, to watch Walter, while we went into Allen’s studio to paint. Allen had already prepared the canvas earlier in the day. The studio was a bit in shambles from the previous session when the rain flooded it. We began shifting various items around to provide us with a more comfortable work space. I picked up a can of red paint, and much to my surprise, it splattered all over the floor and my shoes. Now, in all likelihood, this was my mistake. But a modicum of me believes spilling this paint was either a wonderful coincidence or an act of divine providence. Either way, me spilling the paint only added to the already boiling levity of the experience, of the art.
Allen laughed it off and began using the paint to color some of his painted jackets. I thought nothing of it, at first, but Allen had different ideas altogether. After this, Allen started rolling the camera and provided a monologue, and once again, I fell enamored. After our last experience in this space, and the overwhelming emotion invoked by it, I was expecting much the same, if not a more nuanced outlook on some of Allen’s childhood terrors. We took a deep, collective breath and Allen began painting and narrating with clairvoyant intricacy.
He started, with brush in hand, picking spots on the canvas. This piece had less to do with sexual abuse and more to do with the visceral and cunning nature of one of Allen’s abusers. He began with heavy strokes and a heavy heart. He was painting with such an intelligent fury. I was taken aback by his courage. He arranged those involved in this memory on the canvas, by strong brush, and with vivid color. My breathing grew heavy. I felt as though i was Allen as a little boy in this horrible place.
Allen continued channeling through paint and brush, maneuvering through his memory. The darkness of the experience became more magnified. While Allen continued painting, I caught a glimpse of his feet through his sandals. He has scars on them from a surgery he had as a child. He once told me about them, and how terrible the pain was. I fell into a moment of profundity as Allen continued on the canvas. I saw him progressing through the stages of his life. I felt his spirit growing with strength. From that young boy who was tortured and victimized by the most grotesque of people, into the man, the father, the husband, the friend he is today. A man of character.
A moment came, in which I though Allen had finished painting, but, he had other ideas. Allen took control of the space, the painting, and himself. Mr. Morgan, Allen’s most prolific abuser, took Allen’s left hand and put it in a pool of blood, when Allen was child, and told Allen’s childhood self – “This blood is on your hands”. This is when my perception of this experience took a powerful turn. Either consciously or sub-consciously, Allen was aware at how damaging that particular moment with Mr. Morgan had been, and put his hand in the red paint I spilled earlier and left his hand print on the painting. I watched the boy who was so brutally tortured, declare to himself, and the world, he has taken back his power.

Than in frantic and creative pace, he put his left hand in the remaining pant and began moving through the canvas. By this point Allen was no longer speaking, but, we could hear each other’s thoughts or at least feel each other’s presence. Allen’s breathing intensified, and he began attacking the shape of Mr. Morgan with his left hand, with an indomitable conviction. After the paint had finished, Allen through down his supplies and stormed out of the room. I could feel the emotional anguish the painting caused him. We had a brief conversation afterwards, an Allen looked ill again. As if he was coming down with the flu. Allen pulled courage from his well of inspiration, and in kind, borrowed me some of his plentiful resource. I remember, very vividly, Allen saying “No child should ever have to experience this.”

Chicago Contemporary Artist Allen Vandever paints his memories from child abuse 
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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Working on Second Childhood Fractured Painting.

Working on Memories from Child abuse 
Allen Vandever Chicago Contemporary artist chicago art greatest painters

Sunday, August 21, 2016

My First Time Writing On My Childhood Sexual Abuse

Through my rigorous, and on-going study, in academia and of my own volition, of literary technique, literary theory as it relates to post-structuralism and Derrida’s Deconstruction, of which my knowledge is limited, The New Critics, The New York intellectuals, De man, and many others, of which my knowledge is also limited, and the ephemeral quality of the text in relation to the reader and the author, and to be more succinct, what language’s relationship is to human existence, has resulted in my growth as a human being and as a writer. I have made the sovereign decision to dedicate my life to arranging words and in the process I hope to arrange myself. And in that sentiment, I have found an agonizing and horrific irony. I am nurturing my ability to craft pieces of fiction for the enjoyment of others yet I am possessed of the inability to write directly about being sexually abused as a child.

Through years of repressing the fact that I was sexually abused, an agonizing chasm has formed, in my memory, that has been left for me to trudge. How can this be? How can a person who has dedicated their life to the word be eluded by them all? This post was very painful. Having to arrange words, cognizant that they are being arranged in order to re-create or convey my sexual abuse, is one of the most agonizing experiences of my life. And I know that these streams of convoluted emotions are temporary and the essence of myself, that I am attempting to capture in this moment, will miss the mark, is in itself, painful. But, I am obligated to myself, to provide the following; my best attempt at a brief narration of a moment in my childhood where I was sexually abused. The following three paragraphs is my first time writing about my sexual abuse in detail. Here goes nothing.

It must have been late September or early October. Of course, I cannot be certain, however, when I delve into the corridors of my memory, I see those autumn leaves; those beautiful autumn leaves, colored anywhere between red and orange. It was morning and I had just awoken to the girl whispering in my ear. She always seemed to be a playful and curious spirit. I opened one eye than the other. Her freckled face and blue eyes were staring right at me. I can’t recall saying much. I can’t recall ever saying much, I can only recall lying there. There was commotion coming from outside of our shared bedroom. It was my mother and the man, I believe she was dating. And this girl was the man’s daughter. Bear in mind I was 7 and the girl was at least 12. While this yelling stole my attention, the girl hopped into my bed, as she usually did. And began undressing and playing with genitals. I do not remember resisting. I only remember feeling a sense of prolonged estrangement.

This must have gone on for about ten minutes, when my mother burst into the room to prepare me for school. She saw us there, together, in my bunk, which was the top bunk of our bunk bed. She proceeded to scream. I am not sure who the frustration was directed at, but knowing my mother, she wanted nothing more than to protect me. My mother separated us, got me dressed, and yelled up a storm at everyone. For those of who have mothers, I am sure you know how intimidating it is to hear your mother yell when you are a child. Especially if you think the yelling is directed at you. In retrospect, I know she was yelling at the girl and her father. She finished preparing me and we were on the way. All the while I felt as though I had betrayed my mother, the girl, or crossed some moral or ethical boundary, but I didn’t. I was just a boy.

On the car ride to school, I remember sitting there, listening to my other talk to me. I didn’t know what she was saying but she seemed concerned. This girl had been abusing me for nearly 2 years and I think she was beginning to put the pieces together. My mother dropped me off at school, gave me a kiss on the cheek, told me how special I was, and was on her way. That school day had somber overtones. I kept replaying the events of that morning, in an attempt see where I had gone wrong. And again in hindsight, I know I did nothing wrong, but the moral implications of events, either implicit or explicit in them, are difficult to discern as a child. After this day, my memory goes grey for some time. I do know, my mother moved us from where we were living, and I feel as though I never saw the girl again.

I know this isn’t the most horrific or gut-wrenching of sexual abuse stories. And is nothing compared to what many people, including my friend Allen, have lived through. But, this doesn’t make my experience invalid and if you experienced anything terrible, it does not make your experience invalid either. For me, it is difficult to gauge what impact this particular experience has had one my emotional and mental growth. I had two other abusers in my life. And I am not yet ready to write about them, but in time, and through the strength I draw from this project, I know I will feel compelled too. I wrote this in shame but the sun is shining today. I feel stronger. I know this post will be lost with time, tucked away in some corner of the internet, maybe seen by a few or many, I am not sure, but, I do know that I wrote it. I do know that I was sexually abused, and I am beginning to understand that I am okay with that.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

First painting of Childhood Fractured project painting number 9 The Devil

So I have painted the first painting of my Memories from Childhood Sexual Abuse here are some photos of the process 

This has been a very emotional process I hope putting my self threw this will help others.
Allen Vandever contemporary Chicago Artist Chicago art great art

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Moment of Inspiration painting number 9 The Devil

I am writing this on August 12th, 2016. It is nearing 5:00 pm. I have been looking out of the window of this cafe at the rather dreary sights of city. A grey has overcome it all. The homeless people in the park are fleeing for cover from a tremendous downpour. So are the pigeons. After rummaging through, what I perceive as, the rigid complexities of my mind, I have only just mustered the courage to elucidate on my experience this morning. As some of you may know, Allen and myself, began “Childhood Fractured” almost two weeks ago. Since the projects inception, Allen and myself have started a blog for the project, compiled research on childhood sexual abuse, created a Facebook page, and discussed, at length, Allen’s life story. Discussing Allen’s life story has provided me with invaluable insight into who Allen is, how he thinks etc. And will allow me to craft more precise stories for this project. In the process, we have bonded by exploring the atrocities of sexual abuse we experienced as children and how those atrocities have manifested themselves in our respective adult persons.
Until this morning, we hadn’t started the artwork itself. I had no idea how emotionally charged and daunting this work would truly be. To look another person in the eyes and share with them your most horrifying experiences, with no guarantee as to how they will receive it, takes a certain amount of courage in itself. To create artwork based on those horrifying experiences, to be put on display for everyone’s eyes to see, judge, critique, and analyze, I dare say, takes an entire different category of courage. This morning I gained the slightest glimpse into that courage. I must admit, on the way over to Allen’s house, I was full of nervous excitement. I had no idea what to expect, what emotions would arise. Prior to this day, we agreed, for the sake of the art, that we would attempt to combine our creative process. The agreement was Allen would be painting while narrating the subject matter of the painting; something that he has never done before. And I would take notes and absorb the experience and begin crafting the story. We did just that.
We began with Allen introducing himself to the camera that was filming us. And after a brief introduction, Allen began imprinting his memory of a particular experience onto the canvas as I took rigorous notes while absorbing as much as possible. I was astounded by the grotesque nature of the subject matter. I was even more astounded by Allen’s courage. It took some serious courage to conceive a project such as this, nonetheless do it. He continued painting with strokes of bravery. The emotional tension of the space grew. With each stroke of his brush and with each heavy word, the painting began to take on a life of its own. And in this moment, I gained insight into what we are truly doing. Allen continued on, forging and speaking. Spilling out his soul in a way I have never seen a person do. He started painting faster and with more fury. And then, without notice, moments before the awesomeness of this experience reached new heights, a shriek of thunder and lightning could be heard tremoring the earth. It broke our collective moment. This was followed by immense rainfall. It was as if the gods were weeping. The basement began flooding and we scurried move Allen’s belongings to prevent damage.

Afterwards, we briefly discussed some things and I was on my way. I could see in Allen the emotional toll painting this experience had taken. He looked weak and lightheaded. As if he had come down with an illness. I commended him even more for his bravery afterwards. Today, I truly felt as though what I am doing, what we are doing, is a good thing. If the proceeding moments of creation are at all similar, you will have some stellar artwork fashioned from the souls of two men. As I finish writing this, I look outside. The sun peaked out its head briefly and then disappeared back behind the grey. I know the Sun is there. It will come out soon enough. Mother Nature back at it with the symbolism.  

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Bloody Sunday

 This is a work that I made for "BRIDGE TO THE FUTURE" A Benefit for AMELIA BOYNTON ROBINSON, the oldest surviving civil rights leader. this is one of the works that was inspired by the life of Amelia. Amelia passed away last year 106. Amelia is one of the people being beaten in this image she was in a coma for a week from this incident. Amelia Boynton Robinson is perhaps best known as the woman at the front of the march who was gassed, beaten, and left for dead on Edmund Pettus Bridge, during the “Bloody Sunday” march on March 7, 1965 to Montgomery, Alabama, which quickly led to the mushrooming of the civil rights movement into an international mass movement.

Bloody Sunday 5ft by 3ft Historic photos manipulated in Photoshop with optical patterns drawn over them then epoxy, pigments,glitter, acrylic, and metallic car paint applied over top of thatAmelia Boynton Robinson (born August 18, 1911) is an American woman who was a figure in the American Civil Rights Movement. She was one of the leaders of the “Bloody Sunday” march on March 7, 1965 that led to the right to vote for black people. Chicago artist great art chicago Allen Vandever Alan Vandever.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Please Take a Minute and Like Our New Facebook Page

We would greatly appreciate it if you went to our Facebook page and hit the like button and share it. Thank you for helping us grow our audience. You are making a difference and are helping us do the same. We thank you for the support and allowing us to break the silence for our childhood sexual abuse. We can make a difference.

Here is a link to our Facebook Page

Monday, August 8, 2016

A Look Back

When I was twelve and chopping wood, I remember fantasizing about killing Mr. Morgan and his wife. They were my neighbors. They were my abusers. I broke down in tears of confusion and horror. I didn’t know why I was having these thoughts. I was still in denial about my abuse. Shortly after this experience, I discovered alcohol. Alcohol made me feel better. Alcohol made me forget. It worked for a while. Around the same, I discovered working out and playing football also helped. After high school, I went to college to play football. While playing football, I sustained a spinal injury. Afterwards I got in trouble for drinking and had to go to alcohol classes were they suggested I start counseling. This was the best thing that ever happened to me. Within in a few sessions the abuse started to surface. My counselor suggested that I start seeing another consoler who specialized in child abuse. I saw this new consoler for almost four years on a weekly bases. During this time I read every book I could find on human sexuality, sexual abuse, religion, and philosophy.  I also became very involved in a campus organization called “Choices”. This was a group that helped educate students to live healthy life styles. There were two things I did that I felt were very important to me and others. One was starting “Varaw” Violence Acquaints Rape Awareness Week, which is still active at my university. The second was a series of painting with short stories that was shown in the main gallery. Threw all of this I went from a victim to a survivor.

Opening Up

In the spirit of disclosure, I was fucking nauseous writing the following post. I delved into the one of darkest crevices of my being, and will continue to do so, in the spirit of this project. I only ask you to keep this mind as you follow this project.

I was sexually abused as a child. I am utterly astounded in having just put that sentence on the page and the individual progress that it implies. I know this post will be seen, in whatever capacity, on the blog and social media. As this project continues to gain traction, I know strangers, friends, and family will know, I, Derek Hopkins, was sexually abused as a child. To me it is rather profound to have manifested the courage to admit this fact. And I reiterate a sentiment a shared several days ago; this project has had a liberating effect on me.

I was inclined to keep my childhood sexual abuse a secret for the majority of my life. It was as if I had struck a baleful pact with those who have victimized me to never speak on what they did to me. It was as though I wanted to protect them in the most perverted of manners. I was indirectly providing them with anonymity, allowing them to continue on with their lives unscathed, and potentially victimizing more children.

As an adult, as a person who is constantly growing emotionally and spiritually, I am cognizant that sharing my experiences as act of righteous or pious vengeance, as a proverbial witch-hunt to bring shame on those who victimized me, will only be internecine. I want to grow as a person and as an artist. I want to learn from my experiences. I even want to forgive my abusers in my own way and in my own time which I figure to be a lifelong process. But even in that, it represents progress.

I am doing this project to bring awareness to childhood sexual abuse. It is impossible to gauge what impact will come from Allen and I opening ourselves up. As this project moves along, I will tell the stories of my sexual abuse and allow access to my most intimate thoughts in relation to sexual abuse. How I have carried and will continue to carry this allegorical pain, and what I have to do on a daily basis to prevent those demons of time from consuming me.  

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Sunday, August 7, 2016

Allen Vandever's Early Art Work. 2008

To paint ones dreams was my goal for most of my artistic courier. In 2008 I finally reached a level in painting that I was able to paint what I saw in my dreams. 

This is one of my first successful dream paintings. I feel as though it accurately captures the essence of the woman who inhabits all my dreams, present since pre-pubescence. Her persona is amorphous. She is a confidant, friend, and ever-different but always recognizable lover. She knows and is every woman I have ever loved, so perhaps, the only woman I have ever loved. This painting is my attempt to express her divinity to the realm of the world without dreams. Often, I find her there, standing beside me, her face similar to mine, filled with the glow of every color.
Sono io in the feminine form, Beatrice herself, and I, Virgil. A self-portrait of a kind, an understanding finally grasped after further introspection and analysis. My dreams move me to paint; painting urges me to reflect through the pen. To write about such things is to lose one’s self in the silence of exploring the mind, exploring what it means to be a human being living somewhere within the expansive range of self and humanity. This sequence of events illustrates the importance of the process of self-analysis, also teaching us that knowledge is boundless. Chicago art Chicago artist Contemporary artist great art new art live art

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Friday, August 5, 2016

Resources and References

General Information:

Child Abuse/Sexual Abuse:

  • National Child Abuse Hotline: They can provide local referrals for services. A centralized call center provides the caller with the option of talking to a counselor. They are also connected to a language line that can provide service in over 140 languages. Hotline: 800.4.A.CHILD (422.2253)
  • Darkness to Light: They provide crisis intervention and referral services to children or people affected by sexual abuse of children. Hotline calls are automatically routed to a local center. Helpline: 866.FOR.LIGHT (367.5444)
  • Cyber Tipline: This Tipline is operated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Can be used to communicate information to the authorities about child pornography or child sex trafficking. Hotline: 800.THE.LOST (843.5678)
  • National Children’s Alliance: This organization represents the national network of Child Advocacy Centers (CAC). CACs are a multidisciplinary team of law enforcement, mental and physical health practitioners who investigate instances of child physical and sexual abuse. Their website explains the process and has a directory according to geographic location.
  • Stop It Now: Provides information to victims and parents/relatives/friends of child sexual abuse. The site also has resources for offender treatment as well as information on recognizing the signs of child sexual abuse. Hotline: 888-PREVENT (773.8368)
  • Justice for Children: Provides a full range of advocacy services for abused and neglected children.
  • Resources for Male Survivors of Sexual Assault:

  • 1in6 (for men sexually abused as children): Provides educational information and resources for men, family and friends, and professionals. Also provides access to the online hotline.
  • This site has articles that discuss the effects of child sexual abuse on adult men and their loved ones.
  • This site has information and a therapist search for male survivors of sexual violence.

    • Men Can Stop Rape: Men Can Stop Rape seeks to mobilize men to use their strength for creating cultures free from violence, especially men’s violence against women.
    • Cyber Bullying Research Center: A clearinghouse for information regarding cyberbullying.
    For International Resources, please click here.
    For statistics on Sexual Assault, please click here.