Today is quite a day,
Happy to see it,
Wish he could too.
This museum-quality print was created from a 60” x 40” acrylic on canvas commissioned by my dear friend Jay, to honor his gone-too-soon brother, Stevie, a lover of Chicago, City Hall, and Jay’s six faithful labs, specifically painted for the walls at the Ronald McDonald House in Los Angeles.
For those of you familiar with Chicago, you probably recognize most of the landmarks within, including the centerpiece of the painting, The Picasso sculpture prominently situated in the middle of Daley Plaza, where City Hall is located. As a kid born and reared in Chicago (we soon moved to Colorado when I was 6), one of my first memories is of playing on Picasso’s giant sculpture.
I dreamily recall being enamored with not just its seemingly familiar alieness, but also its massive slide, which made that spectacular form awesomely functional as well. As such, it was a welcoming early entry into the world of art that I now try to spend most of my time in. Hopefully that spirit of whimsical accessibility is conveyed in my own homage; certainly the labs surrounding the statue are filled with amused enchantment.
Granted, I couldn’t figure out how to extend a functional slide out of the painting, but hopefully it will help to extend a little moment of joy to anyone staying at the Ronald McDonald House in L.A., a brief respite from the most difficult of fights. To be sure, it’s a small respite, but it’s something, and that’s something. And with every print sold, that something grows. So head to adpock.shop to help spread a little joy, and hopefully receive some too!
The piece above was made with love and healing vibes for the kids and families that stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Los Angeles, so they can have something joyful to look at, and hopefully be inspired to believe that if pigs can fly, then they can get better.
As a middle aged man, I wouldn’t want to jinx my future self by saying the painting this print is based on is my masterpiece, but it’s certainly the best I’ve done yet. Granted, with all the time, energy, and love I put into it, I’d be pretty upset if it wasn’t.
The funny thing is, the painting wasn’t even my idea in the first place. My dear friend Kerri was talking with her rad Uncle Jay about what to do for his amazing wife Melanie’s big birthday, and they came up with the idea to create some art for the newly remodeled Ronald McDonald House, which Jay and Melanie hugely support. And since there wasn’t enough art on the walls, that seemed like a good place to start.
Not sure if I’m Kerri’s only artist friend, but I’m definitely her oldest, so she convinced Jay I was the man for the job. Now she just had to convince me I was capable of taking all the animals I’d been creating separately and putting them together into one big piece.
Which now seems like a great idea -- with sea creatures, land creatures, and sky creatures (including one soaring pig) all taking their proper places in the 6’ x 6’ triptych -- but at first I was quite daunted by the prospect. See, I’m not a trained painter, and had never worked on anything so big. Heck, I still feel like I’m flying by the seat of my pants everytime I start a project (though I do have some weird innate confidence in the fanciness of said pants).
So flying was apparently always a theme. And I have drawn a lot of birds in my life. And pigs flying are on the first and last page of my MFA thesis script (which has since morphed into a novella, if you’re interested in publishing it). So perhaps this piece was waiting for me to paint it all along?
However it unfolded, I’m extraordinarily grateful for the opportunity, and for the faith that Kerri and Jay had in me to see it through, especially since I had so many doubts myself. In the end though, it was thinking of those kids that forced me to overcome those doubts. Every step of the way I was motivated by them, fighting for their lives, while hoping that my spirit could help in the smallest way to aid them in that fight. That’s why I’m sure it’s the best thing I’ve done yet, because I didn’t do it alone.
With Kerri and Jay's prodding and help, I had a run of 20 beautiful prints made from the piece, the first professional prints made from my work (which was a whole ‘nother learning curve). If you'd like one, you could also aid in that fight, as a portion of each print sold at adpock.shop goes to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Would that he could, but Alan could not. The world just felt too heavy to move. An anchor. A man of the world, perhaps once, now sunken by it.
Would that he could get up, but Alan had enough of rising. Enough fighting. Enough difficulty. And now the path of least resistance led nowhere.
Was it just laziness? To believe nowhere and everywhere are the same place?
If he couldn’t positively imagine himself rising from the couch, how could he put such an optimistic spin on his current, nowhere yet everywhere state? Who did he think he was? Buddha?
Even Buddha created his own happiness, his own rationalizations. Nirvana is but a state of mind after all.
But how practical is nirvana, given his current state of blasé? He really just wants to have fun. Which can only be done if everyone around him is having fun. Can fun even be if no one's around to have it?
Not like that. Would that Alan could live in that moment…
But it doesn’t last. It never has. A necessary law of nature?
Alan supposed nirvana superseded that law.
So maybe that’s what he’s really seeking after all?
But to find as much, he’s probably going to have to rise.