Archives for category: Meditations

Whether you believe in Intelligent Design or not, I oftentimes feel “entrusted” with my journey; and never more resolutely than when the chips are down, knowing that I have the emotional constitution to weather the heaviest of storms, and the cognitive wherewithal to navigate the windiest of roads. And I feel blessed, especially at my lowest points, to have been endowed with a Spiritual Being that is nourished by both darkness and light (as perfect compliments).

I’ve strayed into a bit of a rough patch lately (professionally speaking). But, after a self-prescribed regimen of isolation, which can certainly induce episodes of intense internal dialogue (lol), I finally recognize myself again, and have finally shed the illusion of being invincible.

I sometimes forget that I’m human, and imperfect. And I sometimes impose such high standards and expectations, on myself, that failing is inevitable.

But, alas. I can see (once again) where I have been, and what I’ve accomplished. And I realize, as the path ahead of me continues forward, that instead of trying to compare myself to some final grand vision (of myself), I need to recognize where I am now, in comparison to where I was before. Because, that perspective changes everything.

Sometimes, it’s necessary to look back… so that we can move forward.

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A continuation of the previous entry: “Flashback to Now”

After a brief moment of panic, purely induced by the expectations set upon myself, meditation and sustained mindful breathing has finally restored me to my natural rhythm, which seems aware of itself (once again) as it converges with the subtle energy around me. And, all at once, I am reminded that I am still present and fully immersed in the flow.

Even now, as the steady palpitation that powers this body mingles with the cadence of these typed and whispered words, I am grateful for the knowledge that I am human, after all, and still a work in progress, despite oftentimes driving myself like a machine that was designed for the assembly line. I am multitudinous, and complicated. But I am also just a person, who hungers and bleeds like any other. And I have to remind myself to take a step back from time to time, for perspective. Because, even life itself is variable, as the world around us progresses from day to day.

So, as I continue laying the pieces of my current puzzle across active consciousness, evaluating what is worth salvaging and in what sequence, each fragment of empty or occupied space appears unrelated and incomprehensible at first. But, like stray notes of a chord, when assembled in the proper order creates music, life too is but a living mosaic, to which I have now returned to work.

I woke up on the floor this morning and, while staring at the ceiling, realized…

“D@mn! I’m still here!”

For more than half my life now, officially, I have slept on the floor, sacrificing basic creature comforts, like a bed and chairs, for the sake of my art; to preserve necessary space in which to meditate and work. I sometimes only feel like the hint of a person. And, the reality is… that may never change.

I moved to Austin (TX) with only my clothes, my music, and a stockpile of art supplies. And by March of this year, 2018, I was supposed to be more comfortably situated, within the market, so that I could finally upgrade my living situation, to include an actual life. But, alas… very little seems to work out as planned. And, as I’ve just renewed my lease once more, I can’t help but feel as if I’m back at square one again, despite having made significant strides in learning the business and creating new work. I just forgot to adapt along the way, assuming that whatever previous success I enjoyed would always be.

Fortunately for me, I have to count my blessings as well, and give credit where credit is due, because I have an amazing supporting cast that has kept me fed, inspired and in the game (as I continue to evaluate and improve upon my position). Otherwise, I’d either be on a monster fast (competing for the world’s hungriest artist) or headed home to mom and dad with a ready plate and a larger belt.

So, don’t worry. I could easily justify feeling disheartened or defeated. But, I’m not. Sure, I’ve been punched in the guts. And, d@mn, that hurts! But, that also just pisses me off. And the next round will be mine! You’ll see.

~ to be continued

P.S. Wanna experience the complete flashback? Check out my very first entry, from 2012, here: The Entrance Door

ContinuumSometimes… I get lost in the tangle. I get lost in the confusion of space and time, which carries me through the quietude, an encompassing silence that shares its mass and weight with me until I am no longer discernible from the vastness I’m attempting to fill; not to substantiate it, but to mitigate my own burden, which is comprised entirely of gravity, evidence of the stillness that flourishes at the center of everything.

From the surface, the pattern may appear only to perpetuate the repetitions. But the extremes of that structure have become so abundant and so intricately woven that the accumulation now seems like ornament, from a distance, like a dense cluster of meticulously carved impressions that were purposefully arranged within the enormity, which has no rhyme or reason on its own or within the immediate. Though, we may find ourselves at any time within that same instance.

In silence and solitude, where our conversation with the universe takes place, I lose myself, hoping to return with more than what I carried into that vastness, more than the substance I encompass and its portrayal, which is projected into the aether until a mutual exchange blends consciousness with the mysteries of existence in a single breath, inhaled and exhaled, and carried in a vibration, where I am both a part of and severed from the tangle of life and it’s myriad impression… always a memory (with each passing second), a memory that is integrated within the Self who is also consumed and discarded before the next draw of breath. And in that flow, both giving and receiving, everything that is conceivable, and its antithesis, are unified, though each expression becomes a different interpretation of the same encounter, a different point of view that is not in opposition, but in perfect harmony within the same focused confusion that created the world and all of its compliments and contradictions.

Transmutation

In February of last year, I began excavating the subconscious in search of my own story; the triggers, motivations and intended purpose of my work (if any). I wanted to discover my meaning, as the person behind the expression. Though, before anyone asked or wanted to know about it… I hardly cared. (read Who is Michael Torres? for the backstory)

A year later, the simple process of Commitment (to the search), and the not-so-simple process of observation (recognizing stimuli and tendencies), analysis (of early work), experimentation (with promotion and presentation), formulating a hypothesis (about how I fit into the puzzle), testing it (in the market), and modifying suppositions (to begin the cycle again),  has unearthed more than I could have imagined. But, because the full scope of these findings is too extensive to be properly addressed in one long entry, let us begin with the basics first, instead: The what, when, and why (continued below)

Excavation

When did I realize I was an artist?

Well… the honest answer is that I think I’ve always “known” (instinctually) that I was an artist. Since childhood, in fact, already practicing my signature, I was somehow imbued with a sense of that calling. And, although not fully developed or fully recognized at an early age, destiny has guided me through a slow transformation that has ultimately become an awakening.

Why do I paint?

It would also be easy to say that I simply paint out of necessity. Because, it is true. But I never would have understood the full extent of the “Why” if I hadn’t revisited my early work. Because, as I proposed in a previous entry (Who is Michael Torres?), I don’t know if it’s possible for any of us to fully comprehend our own motivations (though we may act on them) when we are still at the heart of those experiences, immersed in them, moment to moment.

The journey backward, on the other hand, has proven immensely useful, because it forced me to step out of my own shoes to investigate the root of my own intentions as a tourist who has been removed from the center of the past by the passage of time. And that journey has substantiated a fundamental truth about the nature of my work; That the creative process is my way of filtering my life experience; not purely for its own sake, but to allow the exploration of my own condition to serve as a key in deciphering and understanding the shared phenomenon of our sentience (as conscious beings).

Artistic expression is the only way I know how to make sense of the world around me, as well as the world within; my own emotions and proclivities. But, at times, painting is also purely cathartic… a necessary release that simply enables me to continue through the wilderness of this lifetime unencumbered by the past or by the weight of current circumstances, even if those burdens are only momentarily lifted (by deflection). The act of release and its ensuing reprieve still purchase stamina, an emotional steadiness, and a sense of composure that allows me to scrutinize the event of Life on more secure footing.

What my paintings are about

Although my own encounter with life is the source… the primary subject in my work is the Human Experience (in general), which overlaps on common grounds and is shared. My approach has always been “to understand” this encounter, whether hit or missed through the work itself. I seek essence and vitality. And I seek to express what it simply means to be human, through a visual interpretation of the senses, where the imagery is the language. Though, whether the work speaks to you or not… I can only hope.

Either way, the lexicon grows. And, although spoken silently (through shapes, colors, and textures), through refinement and repetition, it is also given meaning. But more important than what the work hypothetically represents, it’s true significance rests in the fact that when the image has enough gravity to draw you in, it truly becomes your own internal dialogue and a shared experience whose meaning is purely subjective. The work becomes your story to tell, just as rightfully as it is mine, because you recognize the expression (even if only vaguely) and are now part of that conversation.

Conflicted_Forms

 

From the outside looking in, as a traveler revisiting forgotten relics, I have finally seen the patterns and have heard a voice emerge from the repetitions, saying “At long last… you’ve arrived.”

Those words…

More of an imprint than a sound, buried themselves without preamble. Though its intonation unearthed its roots and anchored itself firmly into my walls, sprouting  like a seed that springs without need or nurture, all at once becoming divined and purely nature, the implications climbing and spreading like branches from a spark who rejoices at the promise of fire.

I found a reflection of myself in that moment, underneath the accumulation and in-between the here and there, as if stretched like an echo that knows it will be remembered, long before it is even dead.

through-the-wreckage

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