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Easter Island

I just finished.  I was so excited to have crossed the finish line on this one that I almost misspelled my name when I went to sign it.  I hope that there is some voo-doo connection with the completion of this piece that will trigger that completion of global mayhem that has caused so much suffering and destruction during the course of its creation.  It is a naive hope.  I know that there have been many times in human history when people believed that the world was going to end, but it seems these days that there is more evidence stacking up to support these fears.  This drawing saw the Tunisian people light a fire in the Middle East and Northern Africa that still burns.  It saw the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and subsequent nuclear disaster.  It has overseen the spread of cholera in devastated Haiti and now the launching of American missiles into Libya.  So is this it?  Is this the big one?  Is this where oil dries up, the temperature of earth rises those crucial three degrees, disease spreads and our teetering economic infrastructure crumbles leaving our exponentially expanding populations scrambling for kernels of genetically modified corn and irradiated rice?

Easter Island saw this type of collapse, when deforestation lead to radical population decline.  The trees were being used to move those giant heads from place to place, and the cultural obsession with these monuments blinded them to the consequences.  Their world did come to an end.  As the drawing progressed it began calling for this title, the parallels added up and the title "Easter Island" started dictating some of my decisions.  My original intention was to focus on a depiction of the pattern I have been witnessing on the surface of my skin, but in accurate perspective.  I set up a horizon line and two vanishing points to make my drawing in two-point perspective.  As a result the head started looking rather block like.  The size of the head is the largest I've drawn, six and a half feet from beard to hair line.  My resistance to color, due to the somber gray mood of global death tolls, had me watching this huge stone-colored head come out of the darkness of my studio.  It started looking like an Easter Island head before the metaphor of collapse came on board and started steering the ship.

I made a promise to a politically active friend to stay "informed" this year.  I sense that I have acted narrowly to this imperative.  I have been a bit inundated by the news these days and while it has increased my compassion and knowledge about what is going on outside the studio walls, it has also started clogging my drains with fear balls.  I do believe that our insular world view is to blame for much of the maladies that take place globally and that if we were all "informed" about the connections between our lifestyle and those atrocities we would change, but apparently the dosage of  information about this must be regulated to maximize efficacy.  I think this piece is a reflection of  my  limited definition of "informed."   I intend to remain vigilantly aware and I know now that this means staying in tune with the seasons and the migrating birds as much as current events.  My aunt offered these words as salve to this particular ailment:

"There's a neat dial on my sewing machine, it's called "the tension" or sometimes "tension control" and the sync between the two spools of thread that perfectly unite inside the machine makes up one line of beautiful smooth stitching but not if the tension is dialed to the wrong milemetre.  Fortunately, it's a dial so it's operable and adjustable. There's wisdom in those spools."