Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Step Ten: Magician's Head and other challenges...

Dear Fi,

Guess what time it is? 9:58!!! I know... nothing new. However, what is new is the fact that the Magician’s Head was actually ready last week. I painted it in a few hours last Wednesday (it was the deadline for this project - yes, it is true that I’m a “last minute woman”).

So, today the head was ready, the pictures were ready, but I wasn’t ;)

I wanted something more from this head. I knew what I wanted but to be honest I am so exhausted by all the challenges I took in the last couple of weeks, that even though I had really cool ideas I just wasn’t able to do them today. So instead of making a decoupage teacup with a cute plate and my Magician’s Head glued to them with meaningful quotation added I decided to draw one as an example. I didn’t bother with drawing a T-shirt, or printing a postcards, or stationery either. I cut out the head from the picture and then I added a few quotations in photoshop but it is not how I wanted them to look. I probably won’t work on this head anymore, but I know that I could do a few cool designs by using this head and fonts. Anyway, it’s late and the only thing I want to do right now is to go to bed.

There is a great story “attached” to this head, and I wish I was in better shape to tell the story tonight. I will try to do my best, but I also want to keep it short and vague. So I don’t guarantee that you will understand what I am talking about ha, ha ;)

Whose head is this, and why did I choose it for this post? Isn’t this question bothering you a little Dear Fi?

This head is from Bosch’s painting, and I actually didn’t paint it for this post. A few weeks ago I was approached by a charismatic person and asked to be a part of a project he was putting together in his community. I had known this person for about 30 minutes, from a speech he gave during our class. We had a little talk and I learned that he spent five years in Warsaw while he found out that I finished art school. He told me about this project and at first I was very skeptical. He wanted me to choose one of the heads from Bosch’s painting and copy it. There were other artists who were supposed to do the same, so that all the heads from Bosch’s painting would be done. The final project was to be a three dimensional piece hung in the community church. I promised him that I will check Bosch’s painting at home and if I found a head I like I would paint it. The only head I wanted to paint was the one I actually painted. First of all, I liked the hat. Because of the hat I started to call my piece a “Magician’s Head”. However, I also liked his facial expression, even though it is hard to see it, I had the feeling he was probably the only compassionate person (except Jesus and the woman with the closed eyes) in the entire painting.

I agreed to paint his head even though I suspected that it would be a disaster. I agreed to paint it even though I wasn’t sure if I liked the whole idea of recreating the painting in three dimension and hanging it in a church. And I agreed even though I don’t go to church anymore. I agreed because I wanted to be a part of this project, and to do something for this community. The person who approached me is a very passionate man and this is a value I really admire in people. I like to be close to the people who live their lives with passion and wholeheartedly, so for sure it weighted heavily on my decision that he asked me to join the project.

However, there was another, more personal, reason why I said “yes”. I wanted to challenge myself artistically. I knew that if he asked me fifteen years ago he would get a much better painting from me, because fifteen years ago was probably the last time I painted a man, a face, a body or a still life. Since then I mostly do “crazy” things and for some people it even doesn’t look like art. So, my goal was to challenge myself and to try paint this damn head as good as I could.

To be honest, I am content with the end effect, even though I know that there are many people who would paint this head at least ten times better. But it wasn’t a contest, and the only person I was competing with was myself. I wanted to show myself that if I want to I can. I am not interested in painting faces, landscapes, still life etc. I have my own world to paint but it was a really valuable experience for me Dear Fi. It was an empowering experience, because not only did I paint the head and was not ashamed to bring it back to the community, but I was also asked, as the rest of the artists who participated in this project, to speak about my experience in front of many people. It was the first time in my life when I was actually more excited than scared about public speaking.

So this Magician’s Head is for me a great symbol, and has nothing to do with Bosch’s painting, a community project, and a charismatic leader anymore. It has to do with the amazing feeling of challenging myself and doing things I had never planned to do. It has to do a lot with the feeling of being empowered, and feeling alive, and learning about myself. This is why I decided to play with the head and the quotes. I wanted to use this head as a symbol, my private symbol which would remind me that challenges bring great lessons and great discovery especially if they are approached with excitement.

I want to believe that as George Santayana said, and I’m not sure if you can read it easily in the first picture, “It takes a wonderful brain and exquisite senses to produce a few stupid ideas”. ha, ha ;)



I’ve noticed that the more challenges I am taking the more excited I become, and it doesn’t matter what area I am challenged in. I am sure that the whole Magician’s Head experience helped me to boost my self-esteem for the interview I had yesterday. I wouldn't expect this but it was a really positive blast. So it looks like I don’t need to worry about my practicum placement anymore ;)

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