Archives for posts with tag: being

Though we all go our separate ways, we all still lean on one another for balance… All of us, finding strength and weakness in each other, at some point, are perfect compliments and our own contradictions, all born into this same union, this vast sentience that resembles a single body in turmoil, a tumultuous dream, and a frenzied dance within time and space where the push and pull of Life are always at odds, yet simultaneous, congruent, and a continuous ebb and flow, sometimes giving and other times receiving, until one at a time our cups are full and we recede into the light, the long enduring shadow still in view, shoved into the margins of our consciousness, but never quite forgotten, and never quite a memory, because all that is buried remains a seed.

Ballet Austin

Copyright 2005, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved


I am simultaneously excited and wearied to be releasing a print of one of my most popular paintings, exploring new ways of sharing my work with a broader audience and learning to become more accommodating without compromising integrity. So it should be a joyous occasion, right? Except, I still have to promote and sell it. (Ugh!)

Regardless of my experience as a salesperson, I don’t think I’ll ever develop a comfort with the idea of selling myself. I absolutely loathe having to reverse the lens. It’s not that I don’t think I’m a bad@ss, but that I’ve never sought the limelight nor cared for the attention. I don’t even have to be liked. I simply want to be received for what I am, as an expression of a restless spirit that doesn’t know where it belongs. (There, I’ve said it.)

I know I play the proud and confident role well. And people generally like seeing others pursue a passion, because it’s not easy. But I almost don’t even think it was ever a choice for me. I’ve just always believed that we should have the right and freedom to express what nature has divined in us individually (for better or for worse). So I simply can’t help but embody what I am.

Yet, at the end of the day, like it or not, we still have to pay to play, no matter one’s path in Life. There is no escaping having to do what we have to do (to make money), so that we can do what we “want” to do (to comfortably be). And so… here I am, in my own clumsy manner, doing my part to keep the lights on, a roof over my head, and food on the table.

“The career I have chosen is full of opportunity. But it is also fraught with heartbreak and despair. And the bodies of those who have failed, if they were piled one atop another, would cast its shadow down upon all the pyramids of the earth.” ~ Og Mandino

That’s a lot of pressure, and a daunting image to overcome at times. And so I breathe… and find myself in the wake of dashed hope, only to leap again without wings… summoning wind and water; summoning the ache of fire, and all the things that exist without form… yearning to learn their secrets as I dissolve in a panic. “Is that mountain only a molehill?”¬†I ask and then retreat, losing myself in the tangle of a myriad Being where nothing makes sense and nothing matters; except, that it does… which brings me back full-circle to the topic at hand.

Self-Promotion… (sigh)

Perhaps the most difficult part of promoting one’s self, specifically as an artist, is learning to find a healthy compromise between the creative side of the brain (who wants to experience and express) and the voice of reason (who wants to maintain the illusion of control). It’s a balancing act that seems self-defeating when we are conscious of all our different needs, not just as physical beings, but as a species that has discovered an intellect and spirituality. Indulging in one almost necessarily subdues the others, as it seeks to be defined. It is a conflict that resonates throughout all of history, when those very same ¬†forces (which are both complimentary and contradictory) become personified and polarized outside the self, like a projected awareness that is looking back at us. The whole world takes on different meaning that way. And at this moment, I feel caught in that back-and-forth, like a pendulum that is never at rest, though I long to comprehend it’s sweeping movement, hoping to someday adopt its tranquil and hypnotic rhythm.

I’m not there yet. So my clumsy efforts will have to suffice, on my way to learning how to grace the stage without being noticed.

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“The Gemini In Me” copyright 2011, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

I came home last night to the inviting fragrance of freshly bathed flowers in full-bloom. And I couldn’t help but smile, both inwardly and out. Every year, spring permeates the air with its perfume as a reminder of this world’s unfailing tenderness, despite the harsh realities that accompany the consciously living. Springtime is Earth’s velvet touch, like a lover who ignites all the senses, which in turn stimulates the spirit. She is a fervent beating heart that feeds all our extremes and everything in-between. Or at least that’s the way I came to see her at such a late hour, when the city was drunk and drenched. I paused in gratitude to ingest another deep breath, eyes shut so that I could see the same tranquil view of everything my heart sees, a gentle panorama of life below the surface, where a constant and brutal awakening settles into calm decisive action.

Was it a dream? I don’t know. But, I slept soundly. And I remember it well.

I love this time of year, this transition out of winter when the cold subsides and new life springs. But there is another sound that grows, like palpitations, as the season peaks into form; one steal at a time, one fast break… one dunk. The NBA playoffs are quickly approaching and all the top teams are scrambling for position in the post-season, while the rest of the league licks its wounds, playing for pride or simply building toward a bigger, better, next year.

As an artist, I spend a lot of time on my own, in deep contemplation or behind the canvas. I haven’t owned a T.V. in many, many years (by choice). But, since 2002, I became a fan of the game (basketball, that is), it’s quick pace, it’s competitive nature, and the displays of athleticism that are oftentimes awe inspiring. It’s one of the few things in my life that make me feel normal (as I relate to the rest of the world). And it’s a welcome reprieve from the constant grinding. Alas! A time out from myself.

For those of you who keep up, tonight’s matchup between the Spurs and the Cavaliers should be exciting, and perhaps a preview of what’s to come as the season picks its champion. But for now… I’m just looking forward to a few hours away (from reality).

~ Cheers

During these last long days, amid the whirlwind of internal change, my consciousness has finally alighted upon the moment, a precarious position I created out of uncharacteristic impulsiveness, indulging in what I often deny myself. All the while, the oppressive cold of winter prevails as a reflection, prolonging its stay while intermingling with rain, which pervades and saturates my escape. Wherefore I remain. Within.

But in that great distance, tucked away in my own unfathomable depth, where I am perched in silence, I meditate and pray. Though I also listen, not only to the heart’s beat, which is only proof of life, but again, to the rhythm I am to become, the cadence of a continuous flow. And I am almost there. I can feel the reverberation as I once did in the womb. I recognize the life force just as I could perceive my mother’s voice, not as a sound, but as a frequency that traveled through me. She was at one time all I knew of nature, before I embodied my own, and now, before I am able to express a greater whole (of which I am only a part).

I had to go back home, to the beginning. I had to subdue the growing cacophony, feeling worn and threadbare, feeling pinned beneath the weight I never had to learn to lift on my own; for I am propelled by Love, eternally aware that I am also saved the selfsame way, with nothing truly at risk except, perhaps, remaining the same… Only dreaming of tomorrow, safely, from my cradle of Love.

If you previously missed the opportunity, here is the Matisse interview I’m referencing now for the second time.

I had to touch on the subject of “Suffering” that was discussed in part two of the interview, because I share Matisse’s sentiments and combative attitude toward a generally accepted view of what art is. But more important, despite the overwhelming risk and sacrifices involved and the stigmas associated with pursuing a career in art, I am quite grateful that a filtering process of privation and perseverance exists, to sift through and separate the “Sunday painters,” as Matisse calls them, from practiced craftsmen who are inherently driven to create, oftentimes by a force or Will not entirely their own. That’s not to say that the “Sunday painter” is incapable of creating great art, but simply, that dabbling doesn’t make one an artist.

My predilection, as an example, is a love/hate relationship that I ultimately had to come to terms with, accept, and consciously embrace as an intrinsic attribute that has shaped my life. It is as necessary as eating and sleeping for me, not necessarily a passion as many would like to believe. We are inseparable, my brushes and I. So it can seem unfair when popular opinion permits anyone who wields a brush or pencil or who models a piece of clay to be considered “an Artist”, whether such urges are entertained on a whim, out of boredom, or serious interest. That sort of general acceptance erodes the arena of fine art by cluttering and confusing the marketplace in a way that no other profession really has to indulge. It’s the equivalent of saying that just because I wrote mommy a letter, I’m now a writer, or, because I have an opinion about the state of our economy, I’m suddenly an expert economist, or that nursing my own minor injuries qualifies me as a doctor; so on, and so forth. In no other field do such unsubstantial efforts constitute “authority”, except in art. So I agree with Matisse wholeheartedly when, concerning art students, he says, “They should be given a volley of blows with a stick and led back home,” because then we’d know with absolute certainty which of them have any real conviction.

But my stance on the subject is entirely a passive aggressive one, purely steam (as we come full-circle), because the truth of the matter is that without a muddled art-scene… the struggle that informs and fuels my creative energy may also not exist. “It is necessary that there be a straining. It is necessary that life be hard…” Matisse declares. And one may have to be an artist to truly appreciate what that means.

I’ve experienced, first hand, the subduing effects of being well fed, and it’s not as productive as one would think. In fact, my hunger (both literally and figuratively) is the very source of my contradiction in this discussion, but also, what allows me to brush off the mild annoyances without insult or injury. Although I won’t go so far as to say that starving is necessary to create, a stimulus of some kind is, and starving just happens to be mine. It is a driving force, to EARN my place (among the stars – because if I must dream, I dream big), perhaps even an aspect of my ingrained work ethic that is defined by the desire to be exceptional at whatever I do (so as to make the task worth doing). As a consequence, however, I tend to experience an oppressive heaviness, a stifling lethargy when satiated, almost as if contentment extinguishes my desire to strive for “more.” Maybe that’s a healthy attitude. And maybe it’s not. It’s an eccentricity I barely understand and can only attempt to explain as a conflict between a physical Self, my human element, and the Spirit, which seeks transcendence, inasmuch as the conflict has become a recurring theme in my work. Despite the fact that the body houses the Spirit, there is no denying that these dueling aspects require contrasting stimuli in order to function, flourish, and mature. And the very question of which to indulge has become a decision I face almost every day. I have to ask myself, “Do I want to feed my body, or feed my Spirit?”

More often than not… I willingly choose the Spirit.

As I begin to understand my own journey through the wilderness of Life, presently seeing steps and passageways instead of obstacles, I’m also discovering how to breathe. And because I want to experience, I walk through my day, taking time, not only to smell the roses, but also, to consume its flesh with every faculty I possess, to perceive and preserve its essence, intact. We become an ingested whole in that encounter, its meaning revealed in our shared intonation when, in that very moment, I become its velvet petals, expressing Life’s own lust and longing to be devoured… so it can bloom again.

I traverse each day as if it were an unending dream, undaunted now by the threat of disappointment. And I inhabit a Will that wants to savor the myriad nuance of feeling, infinite in interpretation and portrayal, assuming the vast implication offered in every second seized, where a message is conveyed and stretched across relentless fathoms both deep and dark; expressing light; expressing Life, which is The Light. It says, “We are free, and self-determining.”

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