Heard Without Permission
This painting took me seven years to complete. Really! It’s a paint-over of a piece I originally did for the Last Bookstore. My friend Eric, who used to manage bookstore events, did a Halloween art/literature show one year, and he assigned each participating artist a piece of literature to interpret. I was assigned a short story written in the late 1800s about a detective who hunts down a mad scientist who is murdering people by injecting them with a killer virus.
I painted the exact moment that the mad scientist was about to jab somebody with his deadly needle. It was a great painting, but whenever I looked at it I felt like I was being a little bit electrocuted. Like a tiny, zippy zappy, thin electrical jolt. Not liking this feeling, and also not liking the feeling that I was avoiding my own painting, I decided to paint it over.
Right around the time I was finishing the paint-over, the leaders of Los Angeles decided it was o.k. for people to shop again without wearing a mask. I had a bunch of unused masks laying around my studio, so not wanting to be wasteful, and wanting to memorialize our great Los Angeles achievement, I repurposed one of those leftover masks into the piece. While I doing this, I was listening to recorded works and commentary about the ideas of Carl Jung and Friedrich Nietzsche and simultaneously pondering what this particular artwork was about. Then I heard this quote:
“Our highest insights must – and should – sound like follies and sometimes like crimes when they are heard without permission by those who are not predisposed and predestined for them” – Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil, or Jenseits von Gut und Böse, written in 1886)
I had been unable to come up with a name for this painting because all I could see in it was this beaten up person who can’t fight back with that right arm being all puny and weak, and being all defensive in the face of the other one who is judging and so disappointed. All my draft titles seemed too long or too trite. So thanks to Nietzsche, I finally gave it a name and signed it.
“Heard without Permission” is 24 x 24 x 1.5″ acrylic on canvas. It’s for sale in my studio. Watch for prints in the Art section of the website.