Many years ago I lived in Puerto Rico. I left the island as a little girl but returned several times throughout my life to visit family. On one of those visits, my cousin and I headed to the beach. On our journey there, somehow we got lost and ended up in "La Perla" known as the slums behind the old fort wall.
I remember the incredible fear I felt because of the stories I had heard about the place. The fear almost took over my senses. Funny thing is, I guess all my senses were on high alert and I took in many details of my surroundings as we drove through it...textures, smells, tin roofs, weird, illogical stacking of dwellings and scary looking dudes (which thankfully I don't recall their faces!), which actually fascinated me and kind of helped me focus and not loose it. It was a vivid, sensorial experience I never forgot. Somehow, we figured out our way out of it and came out unharmed.
That particular journey has specifically sparked 2 paintings. One I no longer have and this one being the other. Not sure why this experience came to mind this past week but it certainly had me on a delightful journey for many hours!
As I have grown, traveled and been around "the block" a few times, I have learned to really try to be sure to look "inside" everything before forming an opinion, labeling it and stowing it away without further thought.
I have not gone to La Perla since, but did experience the slums in Bogota, as my school had an after school program that would take us into the slums a few times to play and teach children how to read. Some of the greatest smiles and sincere actions have stayed with me through life, I guess because they were such an antithesis to the surroundings they lived in and which I had judged and feared. I also experienced them visually as slums were and still are interwoven throughout the city, so it was inevitable to not see/feel what one would initially say is just total misery, and quite noticeable anytime you drove a few miles from home...a very privileged home in contrast.
I have found myself pressed to find and experience that vibrancy and sincere, total presence in my own privileged life. It is a daily goal and often, it is where I "go" in my paintings, that I experience this.
The colors and architectural elements in this piece are inspired by the vibrancy and positive takeaways from experiences like I had in La Perla, slums of Bogota, etc.
The textures, as always, are very personal and tell my story of living life with Marfan syndrome.
The title "Reconciling" seems to be the word that brings together all that I am coming to terms with while creating this particular piece. Though, most of my artwork, in a sense, is always reconciling with something.
If old walls could speak and tell us all they have seen and heard, we'd probably go crazy from info overload (a familiar feeling!) so I keep "my' old walls in my images with only a few sneak peaks (if any) to serve as your reminder to look past the surface of things to find real truth.
Enjoy your in depth journeys!
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Tina's Art Beat