Sunday, March 7, 2010

Houston group show, being touched, making people cry, Twitter excitement

Folks, thanks so much for all your support and patience with me this past year. I can say that I'm officially back from hell. Hell was fun. lol All I know is, after you come out of the fog, mostly everything seems unbelievably clear though some things still seem muddy.

My show at New Gallery in Houston ends on March 20th. Go check it out if you are in the area ( So a few weeks ago, after my show opened, I called the gallery to see if we'd sold anything. Nearly a year or so ago, this sweet lady who was battling ovarian cancer (she was already in her 70's) bought a porn flower diptych. I spoke to her briefly shortly after she bought the diptych to thank her, and told her what the flowers meant to me - that they stood for hope and healing, serving as a good omen against adversity. Unfortunately, I didn't keep up with her to see how she was doing. When I called the gallery, Thom my gallerist told me one of her friends had come by to deliver the message that she wasn't doing well, that she was in her last days. I was sad and just hoped she wasn't in a lot of pain. When a patient has cancer, they are usually in a lot of pain. I hope she was comfortable, that she was surrounded by loved ones.

But here's what really tore me up: she made sure to have the diptych by her side, so she could be near it in her last few days. I can't imagine being in your last days, knowing you're going to die, that you can't take anything with you, yet being surrounded by your loved ones and all the material things you've ever loved. When are you ok to release it all and let go? How do you blink your eyes one more time to see the life you've lived only to close them finally, and forever? I cried a lot that day when I found out. I cried that I'd never had the pleasure of meeting her in person, or took the time to say more comforting words to her. I suppose I'm happy with the comfort and peace the flowers were able to provide for her. Just never thought a stranger I've never met, could be moved so much by something I made. The whole incident made me realize in one quick second, what life was about. It was as if time slowed down, and all I felt was this overwhelming clarity. Whatever anger I had with the art world, whatever frustrations I had with people that screwed me, my bills, my concern for my parents, all fell into the background. Nothing else mattered. This mattered. Just this.

I was happy that I made an impact. That was what made me cry the most. For once I didn't have regret, or doubt- I felt I had done the right thing by telling her that the flowers are flowers of strength, hope, and healing. That something beautiful will come out of this situation that seems so ugly and unappealing. Just like how most people would view pornography as exploitative and vulgar, yet once transformed into flowers they blossom with new meaning. Just like how I was labeled a whore for choosing not to sleep with men for money, yet exactly like how I stayed true to myself and got out, only to triumph as a professional artist. I know my collector understood. Perhaps that's what she was reminded of whenever she looked at the diptych. Perhaps every time she looked at my art, it strengthened her that something good was going to come out of this seemingly bad situation....I hope so. I was so touched to hear this, making me realize that this same feeling perhaps, is how she felt when she acquired the flowers. Perhaps she was moved by my art, just as much as I was moved by her strength, optimism, eccentricity, and spunk. I mean, she's gotta be pretty cool to be in her 70's and buy flower paintings made of porn, you know? lol

I remember sitting down with one of my attorney mentors (shotout to Arai "Mitch" Mitchell) and he said, "Yun, I want you to make great art that will make people cry". I've heard of people fainting and falling down the stairs and even breaking a leg when they saw the Nike of Samothrace aka "The Winged Victory" at the Louvre, but to make people cry when they saw my art? To make them speechless? How do you do that, exactly? That's what I gotta figure out. How do you communicate all that, at once? And we're not talking shock value either. lol That's easy to do. But to "make great art that will make people cry"? Maybe Mitch was referring to how I felt when I heard how my work affected my collector, or how she felt every time she looked at the diptych. An intense, overwhelming feeling of all things good - all that you feel when you cry tears of joy. I should try to bring forth those emotions through my paintings? I mean, I was there. I felt it. It's been such a long while since I've had that elated feeling. Maybe that's what I have to convey through my art. Pure elation, and all that goes with it. Yea.

Speaking of being elated, this Twitter thing has been pretty interesting. I only have 92 followers so far since I just started my Twitter account not too long ago, but it's awfully humbling to have all those followers, really. I mean, these people actually think my art, what I'm doing, and what I'm saying is unique. It's really inspiring to have Busta Rhymes, Swizz Beatz, and Kid Cudi be into what you're doing. Hee hee, it was really motivating! I remember when I was back in ATL and went to Emory to go see Busta perform. It was a free concert and being the broke stripper college kid that I was, I couldn't miss this show. I know, not such a big deal to some folks, but I was just glad that people are starting to be aware that I exist. I've always known that the reason I'm not where I want to be is because the world doesn't know that I exist. But it really put a bunny smile on my face that I'm doing something right with this art thing, that little baby steps like having people follow you on Twitter does make a difference. All those little baby steps will eventually grow into big giant leaps of momentum, and hopefully, it will be able to run on its' own.

Yup, pure elation, and all that goes with it...just like what Martin Lawrence says about life: "Ride this motherfucker til the wheels fall off!"

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