People are strange is when you're a stranger. About 6-7 years ago, I discovered a truly unique soul mentioned in an magazine article, and I was deeply intrigued by his description. Gave him a call, left him a weirdo message asking to pick his brain about something, and he invited me over to his magical house on Mulberry Street for tea. Since then, Frank Andrews has been a dear friend, astounding teacher, and personal mentor. Far away from a stranger. During my NYU years, I would visit him weekly and he would give me a lesson in esoteric symbolism, tarot cards, and eventually palmistry, just because. I filled up quite a sketchbook of information! Essentially, these hours were an other-worldly experience and such a treasure. Frankie is the man - what a fucking life he has led (and lives!) Even now when we go out to grab food around Little Italy, he's like a local celeb. From Andy Warhol to John Lennon & Yoko, Frank was the psychic of the scene. His international stories of spontaneous serendipity are endless. Long story short, he has gifted me a bountiful amount heirloom books and special moments while influencing my work. Dare to explore. And as Frankie's door says, "Pretending to be a normal person day after day is exhausting."
esoteric poem & paintings
I am pretty savvy with reading tarot cards, not really based on standard definitions but my truly reading a person from many emotional angles. It's not a trend for me but something I've had embedded for a long time. The cards have visually translated for me and writing poetry to match their meanings was a transcendent way to become even more familiar. Here are some examples of poems and painting pairings attached to select card names. Absurdism and surrealism were my childhood loves -- it's all full circle. I've been talking about designing my own deck for some time now, but that really is such a huge endeavor requiring intense dedication. I'm not one to do something half-assed. So perhaps, a lifelong passion and pastime to say the least.
Before typing out and matching with paintings, I originally wrote out the poems by hand with illustrated designs. It's a more organic connection. Incredible how technology can strip the intimate experience of handwriting from us. It's almost as though writing longhand at times is like a meeting with a stranger. Up until college, longhand writing (and cursive!) was mandatory and prioritized - thankful for that. These drawings spawned stronger themes. When I read tarot or even look at a palm, you'd be amazed how symbols are repeated and intertwined. Every person is different, but really we all fall into similar categories.
The roots of themes for painted apparel often comes from synchronicity. What's going on in my head intellectually trickles out in my art. Even for a simple fucking tee, I love when meaning takes the lead. I do not give a shit if the person buying or wearing the clothing actually cares about the meaning. Ideally, it's cool to, but do you know how many people wear an ACDC t-shirt and can't name a song title...parallel picture here.
Growing my abilities in illustrative story-telling, the knowledge I've learned so far from esoteric symbols, palmistry, tarot, etc. has given my unconscious a great jumping off point. The more I organically flow and paint, the more it seems to translate with ink and paper. Looking forward to more story-telling pieces in 2020. I don't always like to plan my art as it becomes contrived FAST. So the more I feed my brain, the more my work elevates.