When an artist paints a tree or a flower, we are not painting individual leaves or pedals, floating aimlessly in the universe of our painting. They are attached; they are connected to something larger. They are dependent on the tree or the flower, that is planted in the Earth. As an artist, I cannot take these connections, these inter-dependencies for granted. I believe it is my job to find and celebrate these connections in my work. Interestingly, they lead to a myriad of unexpected connections, like to the connection between a father and a daughter, in the case of the painting shown here. I am looking for connections between things, which at first glance may not seem to be connected. I paint groups of things, rather than individual things and interpret them as unique shapes. No two shapes are alike (just as no two leaves are alike). But I also combine ideas which may not otherwise be connected. This too is my job, seeing the leaves through the trees.
That’s why it is not a leap for me to extend this idea to living. I often see art as a metaphor of life. I like to think of humanity as individual pedals of a Rose or the leaves of a tree. We are here on this Earth, ever so briefly. We come and go, each in our own time on Earth, and we overlap the time and space of others who are here as well. Leaves come and go but the tree stands. The Earth stands. We are connected in seemingly unlikely ways. We form groups, connections, which seem to oppose one another and yet we are connected through our common roots.
This simple awareness was crucial in the formulation of my faith and my politics. The simple idea that we are the same, though unique, is not just some idea that makes me feel good. It is a call to action. Coming together and finding commonalities is not just something I do when I paint, or when I go to church. It is a way of being.