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.