Some text on the piece that I wrote for the collector who bought it:
Growing up in the 80‘s I was mesmerised by the breakfast cereal commercials advertising a “surprise toy” in the bottom of the box. I generally would dig through the cereal and find the hidden treasure immediately after opening it. Also, treasure chests were a recurring theme through out my entire childhood: the cardboard one filled with party favors and candy in the classroom(one could select something upon getting an “A” on a test), in movies and stories about pirates, in cartoons. There were also other kinds of magical containers: the “Ark of the Covenant”, the ghost traps from “Ghostbusters”, Christmas gifts, a baby in a womb, the genie in the lamp, the story of “Pandora’s Box”, Jimmy Hoffa’s safe, King Tut’s sarcophagus…the list goes on.
On a symbolic level these images have become intertwined in my mind. The idea of hidden vessels containing mythic, unknown relics, magical powers and strange beings excites me. As I have gotten older and more aware of the true state of things, I have come to realize that these “treasure chests” do not always contain what we hope for and that some are best left undiscovered and unopened. In spite of that, the thrill of discovery is a very human state.
I think about kids of today and the surprises of the world they live in and how they compare to my experience. In this information age, an awareness of war and instability has become ever present. The toys of a child can vary greatly depending on where they grow up and their particular culture. A fascination with the unknown and forbidden things can make us covet dangerous objects and symbols as we grow older. That being said, this is not a political work but instead a childish arrangement of shapes and colors that suggests a state of weightlessness. It’s a pondering not a conclusion. It is open to serious interpretation or to simple amusement.
Some thoughts on the painting… a ghost bursts forth from a chest like a soul leaving a body at death or coming through a portal after reincarnation. He could also be a bottled-up emotion coming out in a cathartic release. A cloud made of the vaccum of space is also revealed; a void of awareness where all mythologies and opposing symbols can have relative significances. A variety of objects seem to float around this hip-hop spirit. On his mind are fixations about secret societies, power and magic. The “ring-pop” is a reflection on a moment of simple childhood pleasures mixed with the adult awareness of human obsession with signifiers of wealth and status. The Dungeons and Dragons dice can represent the escapism of imaginative fantasy and the cold truth of chance in our real lives. A silver coin is luck, wealth and something we put in vending machines(another type of treasure chest). Bats and doves are good and evil, love and fear(not to mention holiday decorations)! The glowing vampire teeth is a strong symbol to me that partly reminds me of the fun of Halloween and also makes me think of parasites and consumerism. Lastly I think it relates to the “instinctive fear symbol” of a predatory animal’s jaws from prehistoric times when we were hunted. Of course there is a heart in the midst of this seeming chaos. It is filled with love and innocence and is sensitive to the damage of the melee but always regenerates itself. The grenade contains anxiety and things out of our control. It reminds me of war and carelessness. I hear it ticking but am not sure when it will explode. Masonic symbols have always fascinated me because of my family history and because of Masonry’s iconic, mythical status in hip hop culture. I enjoy symbols that represent secret things, the fact that they are mysterious is what gives them power. We can also create our own meanings and associations about them. Finally, no treasure is complete without a lock and key.
Maybe the greatest treasure chest is our own mind. We are simultaneously hiding things and unlocking things about ourselves that even we can’t always control or understand. It’s not finding the treasures of life but looking for them that often seems most rewarding. We are wondering what’s hidden inside and if lucky, discovering something revelatory and beautiful that breaks the monotony of survival.