by C. Ikpoh
Sure, the notoriety was intriguing. You want to know why I really became an artista though? It is not the fact I want to kill people. An artista never creates out of hate. What I truly enjoy - what is sexy to me - is the PROCESS of killing people. Ooo, how FANTASTIC the experiences are. In their demise lies the crux of my creative process. I don't want them to die. If I could keep them alive, I would. Fact of the matter is, though, the things that turn on my muse - what satisfies my desire to create - just so happens to be the torture methods which inevitably result in death. Can I have draw out the moment in some tantric, sensual exploitative way? Maybe. But art is not monogamous. It cannot be. The connections last only so long before they run their course. It would be foolish for an artista to marry themselves to any one thing, especially for a casanova of muses like myself. I have too much love to share. It wouldn't be right to keep that between myself and one other, for all those that are to become a part of my creative process or exposed to my work, are ensured to receive better love as I improve my methods with every single piece.
As a young artista, penetrating my victim's skin with cold steel instruments, feeling the elasticity finally give way to puncture was, indeed, a fetish like no other. The entry may even be more pleasurable than an actual moment of climax. Inserting my inquisitive fingers and tongue into newly created orifices was the carnal highlight of my life, without question. I thought no one can truly appreciate sex until they are intimate with the unveiled insides of one's sexual organs, or the inside of their body for that matter. How simple-minded and foolish I was. Erotica, sensuality, animalistic sensation, they are all primitive muses. The real artista, the true professional, does not create to appease lusts. No. They create because they love. And though I must admit, a part of me does love the killing, my end game was never solely to murder. It was to bring love to the lives of people through art never before experienced.
I was 11, watching the Spice Channel after sneaking downstairs while my parents slept. The picture was blurred by lines and static. Yet, every once in a while, some nudity would materialize onto the screen. I learned about this from my friend across the street. Alas, it did nothing for me. I thought maybe it was due to the poor viewing experience. It was then, however, that I discovered something.
The floor creaked and I swiftly grabbed the remote, changing the channel. My heart beat rapidly in fear of being found. When I realized it was just the typical groan of our old house, I began to calm. Reaching for the remote, I glanced at the TV to see what I had unwittingly turned on instead of the blurry pornography. It was a nature show, chronicling the hunting prowess of lions. The alpha male had just raised its head out of a zebra carcass. Blood dropped from its mandible as it masticated on fresh meat. The narrator spoke with admiration for the beast, honoring its place as the mighty king of the jungle. My eyes were glued to this sight. The blood and carnage laced all over the lion's jaws caused a reaction I remember hearing my friend talk about while they watched the Spice Channel. I became filled with sexual excitement, so much so, I was in pain from the throbbing. This wild animal, this natural born killer, one of Mother Nature's finest murders, enlightened me sexually. My pleasure did not lie in naked humans engaging in recreational procreation. It lied in gore, blood, and penetration of open wounds and dying flesh begging for life. And as I realized this, just before I myself was allowed to satisfy my desires as the lion had his, my parents spoke to me from the stairs. "You are lucky you are nerd and got caught watching nature shows and not porn. Now shut that off and go to bed."
But I WAS watching porn, my porn, and their intrusion preventing my climax, unbeknownst to them, birthed the pilot light that would fuel my fiery blood lust for the years that followed.
Every artista goes through it: that period of absent creativity where their work is less than they would ever expect from themselves. The muse can be fleeting to even the greatest of us, and I am no different. I call those my dark years. Yes, I said it. YEARS. I remain surprised those years did not see me incarcerated. My work was sloppy, uninspired. Each canvas is a blessing from the gods. To disgrace it with paltry work is unforgivable, and what I produced during those years deserves no mercy.
Everybody is cultivated by an overwhelming unique experience. They each house the spirit of immortality. To have treated so many with causal purpose is shameful. Cindy Wright is a perfect example. She was, without question, the most gorgeous specimen this planet had ever seen. I envied her proportions, her DNA blueprint. I HAD to have Cindy, and it took months to acquire her, for rarely was she alone or not expecting company. Being extremely social and beloved was her existence. But when I derived the perfect plan, I executed it flawlessly. She became mine by way of capture within a 10 minute window between when her boyfriend left to go to the store and usually came back, in a home with a security system to rival the Pentagon. A master thief would have given my performance a standing ovation. Yet, when I possessed this glorious piece of human genetics, I drew an absolute blank.
For days I stared at her, lying there staring back at me with tremors in her skin and tears in her eyes. I desperately searched for something special to mark this occasion because I could not use my traditional methods with Cindy. She deserved so much more. Her procedure was to be legendary. Nevertheless, I pondered to no avail. For DAYS, I contemplated ways to honor her life with a glorious exit. I prayed to the muse for inspiration, begged it repeatedly. I received no word in return. No ideas were to be delivered. There I was, squandering months of preparation and planning. I was in a very dark place. What type of artista was I supposed to be? What typed of lover was I to be so absent?
Eventually, my better mind took control. I had a schedule to keep. A timetable was in place to prevent my capture from sloppy mistakes and oversights. I needed ample time and freedom to dispose of Cindy's remains. Thus, I was forced into mediocre improvisation. I infused her with bleach. I drew impressions on her skin with my scalpel instruments. I sliced layers of her skin with patterns to different depths in an attempt to create the appearance that her flesh was like that of carved wood. I was a log house artist producing lumberjack pieces. My technique and inspiration was of the most kitch variety. To this day, I do not recognize who that blundering idiot was in those times.
Finally, amidst my ineptitude, Cindy Wright was no more. I lost ownership of her soul. It had passed through judgment and read her life's story to whomever received it, no doubt detailing the horrific performance I delivered releasing her immortal spirit to its final destination. I failed Cindy... miserably. Yes, those years were the darkest, and forever I tortured myself wondering why I was left alone to squander my opportunity to produce a classic in the likes of Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Monet. Eventually, though, the purpose behind those years came to me. I needed to fail in order to achieve my defining moment, and the greater the prodigy, the greater their failures must be in order to provide them the momentum to rise to the apex of the artista world. Before this realization, I wholeheartedly believed my crown jewel to be a thing of luck. Now, I KNOW I earned the masterpiece which exists in my catalogue of work. Now, I know the blood-based painting created on perfectly preserved human flesh hanging in the halls of The Louvre truly belongs where it is housed.
I'm an egomaniac. A sociopath. The things I think, the actions I take, the manipulations I employ, all are second nature. Your state of psychosis is my sense of normalcy. I told this to my psychiatrist after I completed my first killing. She told me a truly insane person does not recognize their own insanity. My reply? "By your definition, if I'm not insane since I see this about myself, then I'm must be evil." Of course God has no place in the office of one which prescribes medication to correct chemical imbalances within the brain. So naturally, I was not evil to her either. She continued to deny me identity besides a definition within the books sitting on her shelves. She was dead four months later and tormented with extreme prejudice.
I loathed that woman. Partially because of her ineptitude. She was my doctor for years before I first killed. Little did she do to prevent the progression of my mental instabilities into methodical, murderous activity. But I mostly loathed her because of her inflated sense of self. She confined me to a box. There was absolutely no credence to my own self-image because she said so, because she knew it all with her subpar doctorate degree from a state university known more for the blind eye turned toward the ineligibility of their athletic students than anything else. No. There existed no universe where this woman medically treating an individual of my intelligence was righteous or just. The spark behind her flame of life needed to be extinguished. That is neither here nor there though. I digress.
I write now to profess a simple fact to myself: my psychosis is very well-placed. It is very well-mannered. It is very well-managed. The evil inside me, however, is not. It is ill-placed, for coupling it with my insanity has not helped the greater safety of society. It is ill-behaved. Every innate sense of morality and virtue is overridden by it. And it most certainly is ill-managed. Not all suffering from psychosis kill as I do, let alone with such proficiency. The marriage between my deranged state of mind and wickedness on a spiritual level is an unholy matrimony of the most twisted kind. Yet, that marriage bears the fruit of a beautiful purpose. I am an arista. I am gifted at what I do: producing works that shall last a lifetime from the death of others. I make immortal creations from mortality. I am divine in that sense. One may even say, I am next to God because of this.
Hmm... what is my favorite audience? That's a difficult inquiry. I've had all types: parents, kids, grandparents, friends, lovers. All demographics have witnessed my creative process, and all have provided phenomenal moments of anguish and despair. They were all moments I reveled in. Parents and grandparents beg and plead for the lives of their children or grandchildren. Kids and lovers beg to not be left alone. Friends beg to keep their companionship. All very worthy pleadings, deserving of much consideration, and being the civilized individual I am, I am always willing to give the audience their platform to open discourse. In each instance, I explain my utmost respect for their words, and if they can convince me to cease with my creating, then I will stop. Furthermore, I tell them I will surrender myself to them to do with as they please. I believe if an individual can form such a persuasive argument that completely detours me from my muse, preventing my artistic process from occurring, then their muse is much more powerful than mine, and I must bow to the strength of their inspirations. Alas, no person has yet to accomplish such a feat. However, as for whether or not I have ever abandoned a creative project, well, that is another story.
It's always the family dog that wins the hearts of the audience, isn't it? Bones was his name. Bones, that captivating animal, such a wonder. His master was cold, comatose, and utterly helpless on the table before me. Normally, no force in this universe can break my attentions from a fresh blank canvas. Nevertheless, on this brisk winter night, Bones had done just that.
He laid there, bound and muzzled, whimpering, staring at my victim. The whimpering was insignificant though. It was the look that pierced my conscience. Those black eyes, that facial expression; Bones was staring at his master as if I were not present. He was completely lost in the moment. Nothing else mattered. The only thing Bones cared to do was absorb as much of the "moment" possible. He was accepting of things, engaging his mind in remembering all the memories he shared with his master. Bones' gaze was mesmerizing. It was a love that transcended the line between species. It went well beyond provider and beneficiary. The bond those two shared was written throughout the air between them. Bones' only muse in life was his master, and that, by far, outweighed my muse on that particular evening. That was how he saved his master's life.
The victim never saw me, never heard my voice, never picked up a scent from me, and no one knew anything about his status as a victim. Such is the case with all my art projects. It is as much for my artistic integrity as it is for preventing my capture. If I engage with the individual verbally or physically, there is a great chance that experience or those experiences will influence my process. Thus, I was not in danger of being discovered by granting Bones his victory. I unbound the victim and removed the gag from their mouth. They would awaken in a few hours with no recollection of what happened due to the nature of the narcotic I injected them with initially. Saying goodbye to Bones, as I cannot surrender myself to an animal for judgment, I left their abode to never return.
Through it all, one fact remains: death is my creative outlet. It, at times, also serves as an outlet for other things as well though. Often, you will hear athletes say practicing their sport can be therapeutic. You will hear artistas express the same sentiments. True artistas anyway. Our craft is a part of our soul. It is written in the ownership manual of our person. It is the part of who we are we cannot escape. The art is our translator, taking inaudible, foreign language and filtering it into something overwhelming in its message and beauty. And no, this is not a relative consideration. It is a uniform declaration of recognition amongst true artistas. There is no denying the genius of ingenuity; no denying the bold and their relentless fortitude. You cannot critique that which defines the experience of an artista because it does not lend itself to such trivial scrutiny or opinions. Who we are, what we create, why we create what we do, it all has a higher place in the lexicon of human production. The mind's invention of an artistic reality through imaginative manifestation at the hands of a sentient being is divine. It is next to godliness, for no other act is as closely related to that of our supernatural beginnings. No other existence taunts the sins of the first fallen, invoking pride in massive, overbearing quantities. The fingertip of an artista surely has reached out through the heavens to touch that of God as Michaelangelo depicted. And as he - who almost sacrificed his sight, something so dear to us all - to paint the Sistine, I sacrifice something so dear to us all: freedom. Each canvas obtained does not come without a cost. Much is given by others to allow the highest form of expression to be facilitated. Perhaps one day, the same will be required of me. Would that not be fitting though? Would it not please fate to see the life of one artista such as myself be taken in the finality of a twilight spanning ages of pure creation through the release of spirits in multitudes by thine hands? I beg these questions to all who dare prose lethal queries to their own self. Their minds are kindred to mine. We house the appreciation for the genius, the bold, and for the production of sacred art. My death will be my outlet, as so it will be the outlet for my creations. It will release a production to the world unlike any other. My death shall surpass the unveilings of Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet and the rest. It will usher in a new age of vision. It will grant appreciation for the frailty of us all that has yet to be truly realized. My death shall bring life to those who have died in my wake. My eternal muses shall live forever, and I will garner the love that all artista strive to receive. The end will only be my beginning.
The process is everything. If an arista cannot define their process, well, they are not an arista. Even madness equates to a process, as it is the engine which drives the creative action, though chaotic, to inspirational completion by way of a uniquely personal, systematic method. The process grounds the muse and makes it tangible; keeps it from being fleeting and infinitely porous, for what is a person with ideas that cannot see them through to a reality? They are not an arista. They lack the skill and discipline to execute those ideas. They are just think tanks no more worthy of the title than a beast. They are truly that: animals in comparison to an arista. This is why I obsess over my process.
For instance, my selection process is meticulous. A person's spirit must match the muse. Their aura must collect light as well as give it. Their essence must be cyclical in that way, for when the darkness descends upon it, it must be able to continue absorption and emanation of light. This is what makes my creations glow. It provides depth and life to what would otherwise be shallow and morbid. This is why I take weeks, sometimes months, to vet my candidates. It is imperative their lives emulate the inspiration for the piece. Only the perfect individual will do. Numerous candidates have seen me eliminate them from selection after much vetting has been completed. A singular confliction to the muse can taint the entire process. I respect my craft too much to settle for anyone less than perfect. This highly scrutinous method has not failed me yet, and I do not anticipate it ever will.
Am artista immerses their entire process in the same pool of care and thoroughness. The depths at which the artista can swim depends on their own individual abilities to tread the waters. Sadly, I must admit the collective lack the skill and discipline to ever graduate to deeper waters. Very few have my respect as peers. But this is part of why I forge on with such determination and intensity. It's been ages since the world was given the map to an artista's soul through their work. The moment I reveal my collection, that day will return, and the world will never be the same.
There is a certain peace that exists inside the mind of an artista. It is a peace that comes from its unique nature. The mind of an artista is not relatable, and normally is not appreciated until far after it is gone. This fact forces it to be lonely. Yet, that loneliness is the essence of the peace which exists. There is no other voice to break the silence. No other presence is there to disturb the still comfort. And it is in this peace creation thrives. When I expressed this sentiment to my psychiatrist before I turned her into a canvas, I was told my antisocial behavior was indicative of an unwillingness to subject my psyche to situations which forced me to process normal interactions learned through socialization - a socialization she claimed I never received as a child. She called my rationale "indicative of psychosis". I wholeheartedly disagree, because it was socialization as a child which drove me to revel in solitude. The painful reality plaguing mankind is that the overwhelming majority of people in this world are dispensable, and that occurred to me at a very young age. So, I withdrew. I retreated to the only place which still proved to be worthy of my attentions: my own mind. There, I was never dulled. There, I was never judged. There, I was always challenged and intrigued. In my mind was the only place I felt the normality of interaction. I rebuked her declaration, for she mistook my genius for insanity. Such is a thing too common these days.
The world would say the use of living flesh as a canvas is, indeed, psychotic. Yet, they fail to look past the "normalcy" of their society to see the genius which lies in my method. Through my process, I expose the subject to my mind, which is my sanctum. This place, for an artista, is a very, very personal space. It is there creation thrives, and as I sketch on and mold the living canvas, I receive all the emotion and detail needed for when I finally paint my masterpiece. I can then transfer all those things with authentic fluidity, producing a work that cannot be denied empathy, even from the most uncultured, coldest of hearts. The essence of my subject is never lost. Their blood, the liquid life which fueled their existence, is seeped into the fibers woven to absorb my vision. This injects spirit - a spirit from the highest being on this planet that was born, lived and died - into an inadament object. There is no more powerful birth than that of giving life to something that could never live on its own in its natural state. Every incision, every tear, every poke, prod and prick, every strip of skin, muscle and tissue weaved, every etch in every bone, all of it serves that purpose.
So, you see, my psychiatrist was wrong. She wanted to take my peace from me. She wanted to invade my sanctum. She slandered my existence as psychotic because the place I found solace and inspiration was foreign to her and the rest of society. She could not understand the faith I embraced, generated from my choice of loneliness, was not indicative of clinical psychosis. It meant I believed in what I found inside my own head: peace. I live amidst a quiet storm raged by a goddess that is my muse. What inspires me, what excites me, I am able to find a true purpose for those things and use them to give back to the world that made me. My peace has kept me from scarring when I was shunned, rejected and ostracized by society. It kept me from bleeding when the world that made me ripped my heart when it insisted I be aborted. Peace has kept me alive and well. That is why my mind is my favorite place. I can go there and indulge in all my genius. It is where this artista was born, and when that peace disappears, it will be where this artista will die.
The thing people do not understand about an artista is that there is no cure for the creative insanity we suffer. It is an utter obsession. The slightest thing can trigger a full blast of inspiration. It is as if your mind becomes bedded by an insatiable muse. All the artista can think about is creating. Whether it is pen to paper, hands to clay, chisel to stone, or brush to canvas, all hands itch to hold their tool of choice. Their surroundings begin seeping through their porous exterior, saturating their vision with influence. It is an overwhelming experience. An artista must possess incredible control and discipline in order to process the experience and transform it into a productive force. This allows for divine manipulation. An artista allows themselves to be used as a vessel to create something much greater than their own personal ambitions. The results are magic.
Whenever I feel this sensation, when I become obsessed with creation, a murderous rage filters through my body. It is not a hatred though. It is a certain calm that let's me know God lives within me. I have the light of angels in my fingertips. Whatever I touch will be magnificent because it is written in the heavens. Each body I dissect with my steel instruments is the foundation for a masterpiece as individual as the seconds which pass during the creation process. Each crimson drop mixed into the paint bleeds with divinity. Gabriel blares the trumpet, serenading the victims as they return home while their bodies supply me with all the raw materials I need. I want to create so eagerly that it aches. I yearn for nothing but the art. I am consumed with inspiration and desire. So much so, my insanity flares beyond control. I become enveloped by madness. Yet, I would never want to be cured, for that would eliminate my creativity. It would dissolve my drive and massacre my muse. Sanity is for the masses. The place an artista lives in has no room for it though. I relish in my creative insanity. One day, the world will as well.
Every artista has one: the piece they never saw themselves creating, but, for some reason, they were moved to and it became a masterpiece. I am not exempt from such an occurrence, and it is arguably the most memorable of all my work; one that I will never forget.
I have utilized a plethora of different muses through my journey. Vast levels of emotion always fueled my creative fire with the exception of one: anger. Yet, when it did, it inspired a classic among classics, for it was not any normal anger. It was not an anger that dissolved with time. It was one that simmered until rage was brewing, giving off a wrathful trail of steam hot enough to burn the devil himself. Never had I felt so alive as I was in that moment when my anger became registered in the lexicon of emotions which have inspired my collection.
My antagonist was retrieved with extreme prejudice. I handled him without care. The aggressive striking inflicted on his flesh created the most beautiful display of colors. His blood seeped slowly from his body like a crimson molasses. I did not particularly plan the design either. I let my fury guide the instruments. My precision surgical tools parted his skin with ease. Then, amidst dissection, my wrath became contemplative.
I realized I was wasting an opportunity for artistic greatness. So, with his skin open, I began examining the nuances of his insides. Tweezers and forceps poked and prodded vulnerabilities. They begged to be plucked like strings on a guitar. Most happy to oblige, I played Jimi's finest moments on the victim's exposed nerves. I enthusiastically shredded them to the tune of "Voodoo Child". My eyes relayed the sheer agony he was experiencing. Never had anyone witnessed such beautiful dread and pain.
The visions were all registered, processed, and when I was satisfied with my preparation, I transferred the new visuals to the blank canvas. Listening to the man's moans of unbearable pain while wishing for death served very well. It became the soundtrack for one of the greatest moments in art history. The brush flowed like a rain drop does on the trunk of a tree: effortlessly down the fine crevices detailing its texture, eventually becoming one with it. And when the final stroke was swept, I knew the rain had nourished the roots. A defining moment in my legacy had transpired.
Upon completion, I marveled in the creative genius of anger. Never before had it been a part of my process. I almost frowned at the notion of ever allowing it in. Little did I know the magnitude of its power, the depth of its essence, or the gravity of its aftermath. Absorbing all of the wrathful glory permeating through the room on that very special night, I retired to a small wooden folding chair in the corner. The soundtrack still played, and as it did, I drifted into bliss as the vinyl record in the man's voice box spun underneath the needle.
The most powerful thing about an artista is not their confidence in the midst of criticism and opinion. No, not by a long shot. The most powerful thing about us is our need to create. An artista needs to create more than they need to breathe. We need to release our inspiration in order to achieve sanity. Bottling up the emotion which accompanies creativity can be suicidal. For an artista, a pent up imagination is comparable to a swarm of bees trapped inside your helmet whilst wearing it. We must let it flow freely from our minds to whatever medium translates our language for us: canvas, paper, boulder, instrument, voice, et cetera. Woe is the arista who is ignorant to, or tries to ignore, such reality. Woe are they indeed. I, myself, know this pain greater than most. Why, you ask? Well, it is because I have tried to divorce my muse many a time. Needless to say, I never was able to break our bond.
My particular art form requires more than just sacrifice of the personal variety. It requires a true sacrifice in the traditional, biblical sense of the word. When I first began navigating my genesis as an artista, this fact gnawed at my greater sense of moral obligation and responsibility. Every fiber in my being wanted to kill as much as it wanted to create. Yet, my conscience could not accept the price needed to pay for such fulfillment. I could not fathom giving away my soul for artistic expression. The blood which would inevitably stain my hands was too thick. I did not embrace the necessity of traditional sacrifice. For years, I mentally clawed my way through agonizing bouts of temptation. My muse relentlessly seduced my mind with visions of homicidal grandeur and artistic release. At first, these visions were able to be quenched by pleasuring myself to their recital in my head. Eventually though, no matter how aggressive my act of self-gratification became, I always felt unsatisfied. I yearned for more than powerful ejaculations. I wanted completion. My visions were being wasted, and playing hard-to-get with destiny is a painful reminder of how small we are in the universe, for you cannot resist such an omnipresent force forever. The calling to be what you were born to be is always prevalent in our lives. Whether or not we choose a life of completion or a life of torment solely depends on if we answer that call or not. This is never more true than with an artista. It is a lesson I learned the hard way starting out and whenever my lesser, more sanctified personalities would emerge to visit my true mind. The relapses of morality and the regret they brought also fueled the pain of separating from my creative calling. It was not long, however, before I learned to forever suppress these. It is a miracle what fully embracing your purpose in life can do for your sanity. The great mystery of why we are here finally becomes nothing more than a child's riddle. When I welcomed who I am and what I not only was placed on this plane of existence for, but wanted to do to satisfy all of my carnal lusts and desires, the world fit into the palms of my blood-thickened hands.
Now, in these times, each sacrifice is eagerly collected and offered. Every aspect of my creative process is truly a joy to experience. My muse is my greatest love. Eternally shall we dance together while Death's song plays around us. My need to create will forever be sated. There is the sense of pride and accomplishment with each finished canvas. There are the memories of all the nights I have spent indulging in what God conceived me for. Nevertheless, the driving force behind why I remain well versed in releasing my creative need is because I know it is the most imperative responsibility I have as an artista in order to bless the world with my gift, as well as maintain my sanity.
Every full moon, I observe an evening of appreciation. No work is done, as the urge to satisfy my muse is suppressed. This is necessary because it allows me to recharge and reflect on things. Every artista needs moments like these in their creative cycles. All the work you have done, every single moment as an artista up to that point, is displayed before you in your mind. It is imperative to appreciate the journey and what has been produced along the way. Not just because you need the self-indulgence. But the break will also either reinforce your current vision and direction, or open the door to quality critiques which may have not emerged amidst the process of creating. And on this full moon, I believe there is much to appreciate, for out of all the memories of times passed, tonight on this night, under this moon and these stars, one particular achievement beams brighter than the rest.
There was no blood. There was no contribution of fluid from my collaborator. No ingredients were provided by the person chosen to inspire this particular piece. Their mere presence was enough. The sun dried skin was hardened by years of disappointment and survival. There was a beauty in this though. Their leather was as smooth and soft as the finest, most deeply conditioned and moisturized skin. Yet, it had the character of timeless platinum covered with patina hieroglyphs. The minute crevices told linear stories of parallel universes all converging to a singular judgment day. I remember losing myself in thought as each fingertip of mine traveled over their paths. My collaborator quivered with fear while securely restrained to the table, giving their skin a vibration which lulled the sensation of touch. Nevertheless, I indulged in my pleasure, gently sliding my hands around each joint. The story of a life abandoned by favor sang through their flesh into my palms. At that moment, I could only know their story. Nothing else in the world existed to me. I ceased being in the presence of such mortal divinity. No one person mattered to the gods ruling over that space in time except for my collaborator. It was apparent my role as creator, as an artista, was irrelevant to the pages of history unfolding before us both. It was the first time I was used as a vessel. I became an instrument of my muse.
The look in their eyes slid rapidly from fear to hope. My collaborator knew their fate was at hand. Unbeknownst to myself, their fate was EXACTLY what they had been praying for; a release from the world and life which offered no quarter and persecuted them with prejudice. I was their savior. Oh, to be loved is a glorious feeling! And I was loved on that night. They LOVED me with a passion for the freedom and liberation I offered them. It was this love which left their crimson life force concealed. I did not need to extract inspiration. No additions to the canvas or paint needed to be obtained. The raw presence of acceptance, thankfulness and unadulterated purpose shared between us was magnetic. It immediately connected to the canvas, slapping its colorful emotion ubiquitously across the dimensions. All that was needed was for me to use the brushes as instructed by the whims of our muse to trace the portrait already drawn on the face of my collaborator. The secret behind the details revealed themselves to me through their eyes. It was, without question, the most magnificent feeling I have ever experienced. Greater than any orgasm, greater than any joy was the feeling of being one with my collaborator on that night with the favor of the gods ruling those moments. My brush strokes were as effortless as breaths taken during a peaceful night's rest. Their execution was fluid and flawless.
Before long, the portrait was complete. It was of an unassuming person walking through an understated gate towards their modest home. Simple enough in description, yes. However, the portrait displayed immense depth. The character of the canvas infused with my collaborator's essence seeped into the paint. The colors were a collection of harmonies. The textures were a family in unison. You could almost hear the footsteps of the person sounding off the sidewalk as the hinges from the gate gave a subtle creak. My collaborator smiled while shedding a tear of joy upon seeing our completed work. The life they always dreamed of but had been denied by the cruelty of reality was there in front of them. They were going home. Finally, my collaborator was going home. And when they were ready, I sent them on their way. Through the pillow fixated firmly on their face, I gave them a long kiss goodbye. There was no struggle. There was no suffering. My collaborator walked out of our world with a grace and dignity rarely seen in these times. A momentous occasion it was indeed.
That grace and dignity is in the face of the full moon staring at me tonight. My love for that collaborator and the work we created together grows stronger by the day. Many a time did I try to recreate that night with others who wished to be released from their bond with this world. Alas, that particular magic was never captured again. There was something innate about that one collaborator and that one night which just made the entire experience special beyond belief. No one can ever know exactly what it was I guess. I just know whether it was natural or mystical, that it is extremely rare to feel the way I did on that night. Truth be told, the portrait we created is the only one I have ever kept. It is the only one I know I will love every single time I lay my eyes on it. I have been offered obscene amounts of money for it. Yet, no matter how lofty a sum I am offered, I already know the answer before they even finish their proposition: an unequivocal no. The more they offer, the more my love for the painting grows. Forever, I will have it. If every creation I complete is an utter failure from this day forth, I can go home a fulfilled artista knowing I sent my collaborator home first.
There comes a time in every artista's life when they are faced with a particular conundrum. It is a very peculiar time for them. The artista never anticipates the arrival of such a season. Thus, they never know how to deal with it when it is upon them. I, for one, certainly held no signs of preparation for this time in my journey of creation. This is how it should be though, for any ability to forsee such events would inhibit the learning process surrounding the greatest realization an artista will ever make: us and our work will most likely never be fully appreciated until we have departed this world.
For the greats, posthumous recognition is almost certain. It is so because to be truly great, one must be beyond progressive. They must be transcendent. The greatest of artistas will bridge the gap between the future and the present with their work. They will usher in the next generation of creation before the world is ready to make the transition. In doing so, they sacrifice their need for acknowledgment and acceptance in order to lay the necessary groundwork for future artistas. This can cause the sacrificial artista to go insane with inquiries about whether or not they are wasting their time, or if the muse they follow is empty and lost. Such maddening thoughts, amongst many similar ones, can only be weathered by one thing: confidence in one's love for creation.
The artista must love every part of their process in order to swim the waters of doubt and loathing; a loathing of the society that seemingly shuns them and their art. They must believe that what they are creating is not for this generation but the next. Sounds simple enough, yes. But when you have a passion for creating the intangibles of life we all experience - emotions, thoughts, intuitions, desires - through your work, it is innate to yearn for validation because it is the need to be related with that spurned art in the very beginning. Those intangibles are not always able to be expressed, or are not always best expressed, through normal interaction. This is why the first artista began to create. They did so because a picture, a sculpture, a song or a melody can reach a part of the human spirit that conversation cannot. It is life extended from the mind of another, inspired by the bond shared between two or more individuals. That connection is unparalleled when harnessed into creativity. So imagine those bonded to you by the universe being unable or refusing to accept the love you created for them. In this denial lies devastation, and to endure devastation time and time again is truly maddening, especially when your purpose is to create for the very ones who deny and refuse you. This is why an artista must be confident in their love for creation.
Many days I will be sitting, watching my collaborator live their life before I acquire their services. I query my muse constantly, asking if this is really the proper creative path to follow. I need to know if my art is destined to be. The confidence must be there to support the love. Otherwise, I will fail in transcending time to bridge the next phase of artistic evolution with the period I exist in currently. Any hack can paint, sculpt, sing or play an instrument with love for what they are doing. It is the greats, however, that believe their talents are meant for a higher purpose and execute the necessary skill to match their conviction.
We are angels. This level of artista I speak of is divine. I write not to discredit the artistas who excel and are adored in their time. Those are the bearers of expectations I cannot begin to imagine, suspending a weight on their shoulders I could never. No, the legends of now ensure their will be a future for creation. I write this because I am of the other variety. I am unknown genius. I am an unappreciated gift. My work and my life will be of no consequence until I am gone. But when I am, my destiny will continue to unfold as I am buried away. My creations will illuminate a path carved in the earth for those brave enough to take up the torch. My art will inspire and instruct the new generation of artistas. That in itself is victory, which is why this unexpected conundrum surrounding my doubts and loathing shall be weathered. I believe in my love for creation.
My most recent collaborator has sparked quite the uproar in the media lately. Their disappearance seems to have left an impression of social awareness for public safety. The detective in charge of the investigation said, and I quote, "We are not ruling out murder as a possibility at this time." Murder... the word is an insult unlike any other. They know NOTHING of what I have done, NOTHING of what I have achieved. The mere mention of the term in relation to ANY part of my process is the highest form of disrespect. They dare to shame my honor and greatness by labeling it a capital offense? They have the gall to equate my genius with denominational inequity? Unforgivable!
Murder, by definition, is stated as "the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another". Let us dwell on that for a moment. The key word in the latter definition is "unlawful". Hold on to that. We will come back to it later.
Art, by definition, is stated as "the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power." I beseech you. Please absorb that definition as well, for in it lies the blatant truth highlighting precisely how egregious the detective's ignorance truly is. Allow me to explain.
I am an artista. Yet, the detective described an integral part of my creative process as "murder". This could not be further from reality. As an artista, my purpose in this world is to exist to produce art. Why? So it can be appreciated for its beauty and emotional power. What I do - what I create - has value. It is not only for pleasure, but also for the ability to serve mankind. Art is therapeutic. It is transformative. It is educational. It is transcendent. Art is a timeless treasure. It is also a lucrative business. Art serves the better good of all in this world. Thus, it is logical to conclude that an artista, especially one of my particular genius who lives every waking moment to specialize in creating a product which serves the greater good, could only implement a sound process void of any factors allowing itself to be correlated with something as common and petty as murder. My process is divine. It brings the spirit of my collaborator to life through an artistic medium. No other artista has ever seen the ability in themself to do what I can! It is unique in a way only time can understand. The translation of my brilliance lies in the unveiling of a future understanding. My process creates unparalleled beauty only before achieved by the universe itself, and invokes emotional power to new, uncharted heights. Thus, it is because of these facts about my process and the monuments it produces that makes every single thing I do in the name of creation as an artista LAWFUL. To call any of the aforementioned the contrary is blasphemy in both the secular and divine courts of man and God!
I vehemently denounce the detective's inept description. What transpired with my collaborator was not unlawful. It was not murder. It was a thing of beauty which inspired emotional power. My collaborator was art in its purest form. That is a lawful purpose above most others. Nevertheless, I shall not let the ignorant detour me from my path. Perhaps I should enlighten this detective with a firsthand look at how my muse operates. Inspiration lives inside all things, including a badge.
There he stood. Calmly, he prowled the platform, patiently strolling behind me. Never once did he growl or snarl. He never showed his teeth. Not once did he run or pounce. Slowly, he patrolled the footsteps I left behind. However, his presence was felt to the deepest corners of my soul. I trembled with a fear never known in this life. At any moment, I felt he could devour me with his pacifist-tempered killer nature. The dark wolf haunted my dream last night, and I have a feeling I will see him again soon.
Contrary to what may be popular belief, visions through dreaming do not inspire me. I am an artista with a conscious muse. My visions come through open eyes. I see them in real time and space. Thus, I do not need dreams for creative inspiration. An artista as in touch with their muse as I can describe the relationship as pure, synchronous love. We both inhale the moment and exhale a memory. Our intuitive operation exists in the full motion of the present. We are, my muse and I, enthralled in the now. THAT is how an artista such as myself stays alert and alive in my work. We engulf the moment at hand and seize the opportunity to produce creative genius with what is immediately in front of us. This is a part of my selection process for collaborators; it is how I choose. It is also how I begin once in front of the canvas. My muse injects me with creative urgency, pouring purpose into my spirit to produce genius. None of this can be done by analyzing and interpreting dreams. Please do not mistake my words for being contemptuous towards those who draw inspiration from the visions they experience whilst they slumber. MANY a great work has been birthed from the dreams of masterful men and women. I simply mean to share that dreams are not the well I draw from. Nevertheless, this wolf stalks my mind.
He never left my shadow. Every step I took, he matched with a stride of his own. It was as if he were there to befriend me. But why, then, the fear? It consumed me. Even though I managed to keep my composure, I suspect a supreme hunter like the wolf sensed my utter dread. Maybe, then, its calm, gentle demeanor was to ensure I was not alarmed. He wanted me not to be afraid but to embrace him possibly. Or, he employed cunning sympathy as he feigned friendship to invite me closer, making his kill easier. I could not distinguish anything outside of my own fear though. Then, the dream ended with me systematically leaving a trail of food behind for the wolf to eat, distracting him from my getaway as I slipped up the stairs into the train station, eluding him after passing through the narrow, staggered turnstile doors.
Though I do not draw inspiration from them, I now cannot deny that a dream can mean something to us. The interpretation of a wolf dream can mean multiple things, but one passage of what I read did strike a chord with me. The interpretation said:
"To see a wolf in your dream symbolizes survival, beauty, solitude, mystery, self-confidence and pride. You are able to keep your composure in a variety of social circumstances and blend into any situation with ease and grace. You are also a loner by choice. Negatively, the wolf represents hostility, aggression, or sneakiness. It may reflect an uncontrollable situation or an all-consuming force in your life. This could point to an obsession, an addiction or something that is beyond your control."
Just when an artista is confronted with unwarranted criticism and ignorance, the universe provides them with justification for their work! You see, ever since the detective slandered me in the media calling my creation "murder", my feathers have been ruffled. Normally, the cries of mere sheep have never effected this lion. Nevertheless, we are all human, and I must admit, those words perturbed me. I lost sleep over them. They held power over my existence, which infuriated me to the bone. And just as I felt like doing something as out of character as choosing to collaborate with that detective, the wolf came to pay me a visit. He strolled out from underneath his lunar abode to accompany me for a walk. He explained to me that in order to survive, I needed to preserve the beauty of my solitude and mystery. He reinforced my self-confidence and pride. The wolf reminded me that I can keep my composure in many social circumstances and blend into any situation with ease and grace. However, I am a loner. This is true. But I must be, and the wolf knows this. He knows I can harbor hostility, aggression or sneakiness. Again, though, it is a must I do so because, as the wolf states, I am the reflection of an all-consuming force in my life. I am an artista that creates with the power of a sacred muse. There is no denying its life force within me. I am obsessed, addicted even, to the feeling of my muse's blood coursing through my veins after I am injected with their purpose. My genius is beyond my control. I cannot stop creating. I know this, you know this, as does the wolf.
Alas, what I needed was to dream. It was imperative the wolf reveal himself to me at this time of loathing and anger. He centered me again. I am the phenom artista once more like I always have been. My eyes are clear and my heart is pure. I may not draw inspiration from dreams, but I will certainly welcome the wolf to come visit me anytime. He is my savior.
There are worlds which existed before the one we cling to for our existence. Sometimes, those worlds speak to us through immortals who have survived the demise of these times. Their logos is beyond the terrestrial planes we currently comprehend. Their ways appear as magick to us. Nothing about them is able to assimilate into our world. To the vast majority, the immortals are heretics, sacrilegious and wicked. To an artista, the immortals are time travelers who have navigated the sands of the universe's hourglass to arrive at the doorstep of the next immortal whom shall carry on the legacy of the greatest people never known. Well, in my case, I arrived at their doorstep.
The process was the same as all the rest. Months of scouting and planning had commenced. I was dedicated to a specific collaborator. This woman was magnetic. She harbored the passion of 1,000 spirits within her. I could feel destiny's intensity perspire from her skin. Karma lingered in her eyes as a lioness does her den. My entire muse was enthralled by her being. This goddess of my artistic desires fueled inspiration beyond belief. The joints in my hands ached to hold her flesh beneath my grip. I anticipated a collaboration producing nothing short of perfection. We were fated to become creative lovers intertwined in the birthing of a child culminating from fatal romance. The anticipation grew unbearable each moment I stalked her, leaving my inhalation shallow and staggered. In my junior years, I would pleasure myself to ease the anxiety. I must admit, the urge has never left me. The eroticism of the first few creative moments when beginning a work of art is undeniable. However, experience and wisdom has led me beyond the usage of carnal indulgence to achieve inner peace. My existing form of consciousness is adept in meditation and focusing inward to achieve expulsion of all inhibitions and performance flaws. I am an artista of the highest enlightenment. As such, when she arrived at her home in the outskirts of town, I was able to calm my nerves. The moment of her taking was at hand and I knew my success relied upon my stability, clarity and focus.
I maneuvered to the window of her home on the opposite side where I knew she would settle upon entering. It was always unlocked. Candles were placed throughout the interior, illuminating all with flickering movement. I slowly raised the wooden frame from the sill, offering no sound to alert of my presence. That is when the unexplainable occurred. A timeless breeze caressed my face with familiarity. The woman's home knew me. It was expecting me. Every fiber of my being told me to leave at that very instant. Yet, my hands remained firmly on the window. I could not let go. The woman's home would not let me. I was being seduced by it. Gently, it coaxed me through the opening. Upon my feet silently touching the grayish, brittle wooden planks which made up the floor, I closed the window. Tribal masks, ancient figurines, engraved mahogany boxes and foreign jewelry surrounded me. I was being absorbed into the home. It was seeping through my pores, leeching off of my presence. I knew at that moment I did not choose this woman, but the woman chose me.
Underneath the soles of my shoes were the finest grains of sand. It was spread across the floor in spiral formations leading to a path exiting the room. Cautiously, I followed the sand through a maze of red candles dripping wax. The path led me to her. She was kneeling in front of an altar with an empty chair behind it. The flames of the candles danced without being prompted as I entered her space. They rejoiced in my arrival. I cleared the corners with my eyes ensuring we were alone, and as I did so, she spoke to me in a thick Latino accent. "We welcome you."
Again, I glanced at my surroundings. There were no others present. I replied, "Who is it that welcomes me?"
"We, the immortals. We have been expecting you."
I was confounded. Never before had any collaborator anticipated my taking of them. I was masterful in my methodical process of research and procurement. Furthermore, I was not privy to that of which she spoke. I retorted, "I know nothing of any immortals."
"Yet, we know of you," she replied with a smile captivating enough to swallow the heart of any man.
"How did you know I was coming for you?"
"Death comes for us all. Does it not? Even us immortals."
Again, I stood before her perplexed. The woman's words ate away at my ability to reason and comprehend. I was lost in a world I knew nothing about but felt a part of, and the woman saw it. Discouragement was painted across my face. "I-I am at a loss. I feel as if this, all of this, has transpired before. Yet, I cannot recognize a single moment as they pass."
The woman rose from her knees. As she turned to face me, her eyes matched the color of her long, wavy hair: they were black as a raven's. Her full, perfectly angled lips separated to reveal the pearly white teeth embedded inside her mouth. They reflected the flames all around us which shone like tiny beacons in the sea of time and space. A few steps by her brought us face-to-face. The woman smelled of jasmine and her skin was flawless. She possessed a beauty beyond this universe. Then, amidst my admiration of her, the woman spoke again. "We come from another world - a world existing long before this one. Through time we have traveled, existing inconspicuously. The knowledge of the ages has soaked our souls, enrichening us with supreme understanding. I have learned all I can in this form though. I must be released from it."
"What is it you have brought me here for exactly?"
"You are the artista - one who rules death in this world. Your divine creations have reached out to my spirit. Such boldness is rare in these times. I have drawn you to me because of that boldness. I seek transcendence. Immortalize me so I may enter the plane of existence beyond this world. Unite me with the other immortals."
"You wish to die? Is that what you are telling me?"
"No. I wish to live forever."
"And how can I give you that?"
The woman took my hand and led me to the altar. There, she disrobed and laid on her back. Still holding onto me, she replied, "By imprinting my likeness onto that chair using my blood. Portray me as your eyes have translated my appearance to your spirit. Encapsulate my essence as only an artista as yourself can."
Her words were the symphony of my heart. I knew not of the majestic world she spoke of. I did not know her knowledge. Yet, I understood her request. In that moment, I realized my purpose was woven with the cyclical infinity of time. My spirit as an artista was destined to join the supernatural realm of immortals, and this act would be my initiation into their ancient world. Whether or not I comprehended the gravity of the ritual was irrelevant. The woman was greater than any muse, any inspiration, or any collaborator I ever experienced. She was magickal, and that in itself gave me the highest, purest forms of purpose, focus and clarity an artista could ever obtain.
The more blood I drained from her body, the more defined my painting of her became in that chair. Each dab of my fingertip into her open flesh coated the tips with crimson ink. Never had a painting done in such a fashion produced so high level of quality. Her likeliness was coming alive in the blood painted portrait. I was enthralled with my progress, not noticing the woman I was taking life from anymore. Then, her sweet jasmine scent faded from the room. I snapped out of my trance as the candles all lost their flames. The woman was dead. A tear rolled down my cheek suddenly. I felt a gaping hole in my chest while the air in the house became thin. I was suffocating briefly before noticing something astounding.
The chair suddenly began to glow. I gulped deep breaths of jasmine perfume as my lungs opened again. The stars riddled the ceiling while forming the bodies of men and women; the immortals were finally visible to me. Then, I witnessed her transcendence. The woman's spirit emerged before me in the chair. Softly, she said, "Thank you for fulfilling my request, and giving me immortality through your gift, artista. We shall be watching you from eternity, admiring all of your genius." Finally, her spirit ascended to the stars, joining the others before the candles were ignited once more and the house returned to normal. That is when I knew my destiny was divine. Immortality not only awaited my work, but me as well.
It was titled "The Musician". Without a shadow of a doubt, one of my favorite pieces I ever created. The texture was incredibly unique. It was not due to any ingenuity on my part, however. No, it was due to a simple lack of concentration. You see, I failed to look at the canvas throughout most of the painting. My attention was enthralled by the performance of my collaborator. There is something about the innate rhythmic pattern of the internal organs that is visually stunning. Its pattern of movement is hypnotic, and such was the sight while "The Musician" came to be.
The nature and procurement of my collaborator for this painting was ordinary. They were of no musical lineage, nor were there any special circumstances surrounded their capture. I merely chose this collaborator after a week of experiencing their obnoxious and loud behavior on a city train I rode downtown each day to debut another painting of mine at the art museum. The tone of their voice, the facial expressions, the spewing of incorrect information to anyone that happened to fall prey to their attention, the refusal to control the volume of their speech, it all drove me towards sanity. Yes, I said sanity, for I was not able to dwell in my head space of tranquil lunacy in their presence. This person forced me to draw inward and self-impose restraint while utilizing mental control. I damned them for pushing me into normalcy. And it was at that breaking point I vowed if this individual was present at an opportune time, I would procure them for an exercise of art under extreme prejudice. Long story short, they ended up on my table stapled to it by their palms and feet, bound by rope around their waist and neck, enabling me to commence retributory creation.
After a quick implementation of torture during which I recited the reasons behind their capture and imminent demise, I sedated them and began flowing with my muse. Their silence and lack of movement filled me with a sense of prideful justice. No longer would anyone be tormented by this person's ignorance or annoying presence. My artistic endeavor served a public service. I felt exonerated of all my past transgressions for freeing the world of that wretched individual. Finally, whilst contemplating this, I used my heavy cutlery to open their torso wide. I expected to find a rotten mess reflecting the collaborator's essence. What I discovered, however, was just the opposite.
The person's insides were still active due to the employment of correct anesthesia and surgical practices. It was then the movement of the organs and body parts caught my attention. Each part beat and vibrated with purpose and precision. The collective danced like a ballroom filled with professional choreographers; each a master in their own right working together to perform the most vital of ceremonies. My muse began running frantic with direction and vision. I rapidly dabbed my brush in the pools of blood before me, rubbing the excess off on the drying organs. Then, mixing it with paint, I threw my brush across the canvas. However, my eyes were fixated on the insides of my collaborator. With infrequent glances towards my work, I carried on this way for about an hour with a raging fervor. Tirelessly, I maneuvered my tools of creation to sharpen each detail and nuance. Then, just as fast I began, I finished. My muse fled to escape an overly scrutinous effort. I retired my collaborator, washed my hands, poured myself some tea, and sat in my chair to observe my work.
I gazed upon the canvas for an impression, for I am certainly my harshest critic. Realizing the texture of the painting and running of dark colors, I mumbled how I mistakenly used more blood than normal. My initial reaction was negative. I berated myself for not focusing on the mixture of paints and quality of strokes. Amidst my self-loathing, though, I understood what transpired. Just as the conductor does not wish to contain the music from his orchestra, I did not contain the art pouring from my muse. My collaborator gave me an impeccable solo performance, and I directed that magnificence without filtration onto the canvas. Alas, the painting finally made sense. The rhythm of the organ orchestra pulsated into a masterpiece. In the unusual texture and colors was indeed a musician giving the most soulful, heart-filled performance of their life. The painting was extraordinary.
Eventually, I boarded the same train to the art museum. This time, it was to donate "The Musician". Through the nature of past conditioning, I tensed in anticipation of hearing a loud, obnoxious soliloquy entailing fallacious statements as I moved about looking for a seat. Yet, the sound did not come, and I remembered how I was carrying the culprit in my hands firmly secured in a casing. Finally, my mind rolled into serenity as I basked in knowing we were safe. I drifted into my own private insanity as the train began its course, accepting all things happen for a reason, and it is fortuitous for an artista to embrace any type of inspiration.
A dream of cyclical proportions will inevitably bleed into your conscious moments while awake. There is no escaping it. You experience the same happenings repeatedly to a most familiar tune. And unlike every other dream you have, this one does not fade away with passing minutes. In fact, it becomes more vivid and real the less you ponder it. Your mind accepts this dream as a surreal fact. It is grander than deja vu. The events in the dream could not be more real if you enacted them repetitively day in and day out. You have long come to terms with it through no choice of your own. Nevertheless, there exists the need for your brain to broadcast replays of this mental cinematic feature any chance it gets. I have noticed this occurs for an artista when they ignore a direct appointment from their muse. Regardless of what triggers the inspiration, if ignored, the muse will plant the appointment deep within the subconscious of the artista until it blossoms into mental chaos. The only cure is to uproot the appointment and see that it be given the necessary attention it deserves, following through to complete execution of the vision created. Needless to say, this is why I am writing this entry.
Every slumber for about a week's time, the same vision stalked my mind. There was a woman - the definition of autonomy - and her presence filled the room. She engulfed all that was near. I witnessed the woman amidst a crowd of consumers at the local market. By all rights, she owned space and time, as it bent to her movements, only proceeding if she was in motion. The moment she stopped, so did the world cease spinning. I marveled at her mastery of the universe and all things in it. Whilst my admiration, the woman picked up an apple. She bit into it slowly, releasing blood from the core to drizzle down her chin. It was then she would turn to smile in my direction with teeth as crimson as the skin from the red delicious apple she masticated. Flashes would burst between us displaying her bound to my table with my attention focused on a blank canvas. Finally, I would awaken.
The message of my muse could not be more clear: she was to be my next collaborator. It was evident I wanted to be her - a master of her own world. I wanted to have her as a part of my collection as well. Yet, many plans laid in waiting ahead of her. My stubbornness only prolonged the syndicated dream, as I refused to accelerate any project because of a subconscious infatuation. I hate when the universe slaps me in the face and prevents me from enacting my own plans. May my self-awareness be damned.
Thus, it came to be my preferences for creative projects were tabled in order to appease my muse. Honestly, my sleep cycles were becoming terribly ineffective. I could remember turning more than actually sleeping each night that passed, and an artista can ill afford too many nights without proper rest. Not even the blind should be burdened with being near a painting done by a disgruntled artista suffering from sleep deprivation. Nevertheless, I digress. After meticulous planning, preparation and procurement, the woman was present in my studio, bound to the table and ready to collaborate just as my muse had shown me.
In a defiant manner, I accelerated the process of her passing as to bypass any ceremony or extra theatrics. I wanted to complete the painting as quickly as possible and move on to the projects I was forced to postpone. In my haste, however, I noticed something. Instead of appreciating a blueprint for success virtually handed to me by my muse, I was acting with complete disregard in the manner of a petulant child. I stared at the canvas, ashamed of how I had carried myself. An artista can be temperamental, yes, but my sort of actions were in no way welcome as a part of my creative process. I removed the negative mindset of impatience and disapproval, replacing it with thought and care. It was then I felt an overwhelming sensation of creativity. I mixed the woman's blood with my paints and began painting feverishly. My dream unfolded before me on the canvas. The woman's scent, her facial features, her everything, they all provided inspiration. Without a second thought, I moved the canvas next to the table and laid upon my collaborator's body while completing the painting. Our physical connection elevated my brush strokes. The feeling of her blood soaking into my attire sparked a relentless creative motivation to complete my dream. I became one with my muse and my collaborator to finish pure art. It was a perfect formula for freeing my slumber from the clutches of the dream.
I am an artista, and as such, I walk in my purpose. Destiny smiles upon me with recognition as each breath I take makes it out to be the utmost truth sayer of all things. Yet, complacency still lurks around every corner, peering at me with its eroding glare. Thus, I am outfitted with an unsettling sense of unworthiness and emptiness no amount of success or arrogance can suppress. I am rarely satisfied for more than a moment before I begin feeling as if I have not achieved anything in recent memory valued above a dissipating mention. This is what I have instilled in my brain. It is what you call drive. My art, while magnificent, is never good enough. My creations consistently fall short of the mark regardless of how much praise they or I acquire. Nevertheless, it must be this way.
Most people feel as if they are meant for much more than what they have accomplished or how they are living. They see greatness inside the small, rare experiences in which they excel. Now, I know you would expect me to insert commentary here in the nature of my superiority. I must disappoint you, though, for I do believe we all are created to achieve some level of unique greatness. Some more than others, naturally, and some in higher regard. Yet, all are designed to obtain a portion of divine manifestation in their lives. Indeed, the son of a carpenter was meant to be the lord and savior Jesus Christ. Our society, the human race, is made to produce the most from the least. Cite evolution if you disagree. For all you creationists, continue to adopt the Jesus analogy. In either case, my logic is sound upon an inkling of belief as I strive to make this point: we are all vessels for things of wonder. That feeling of time passing you by is actually time passing you by. Complacency is a killer. It will hold your fate of glory ransom and execute it without hesitation. Greatness is yours to cease, so do so.
Yes, I know the temptation to draw comparisons between complacency as mentioned in the latter and myself is incredible, but spare us the simple humor if you will for I am not a killer. As I previously wrote, my purpose negates such a definition to become attached to my existence or my art. As an artista in the highest form living the exemplary existence of destiny personified, I am divine in my craft. Those who are chosen by my muse are afforded the same greatness in fulfilling their destiny as I am. Their collaborative sacrifice is what they were born to do. It is what they were ordained for by the higher power. I am not one to debate the universe's plan and neither are you. Obedience is essential to obtain greatness, and it is in here that lies the biggest road block for most people. They resist change and relinquishing control. Well, allow me to be the first to tell you the level of control you believe you have, you do not.
We all are able to help ourselves. However, on your life line, there exists a point A and a point Z. In between, are numerous major points destined to become reality. And in between those major points, are minor events that help fill the voids of time as it progresses from one major point to the next. Depending on the choices we make, those minor events can either build greatness, remain blank or define defeat. Obey the master plan and you will be guided on a straight path intersecting with wonder and awe. History has provided a litany of examples displaying this. From science to religion, enlightenment has come to those obedient to a higher power. Da Vinci, Dore, Van Gogh, Michaelangelo, Picasso, all are evidence the philosophy is sound amongst artistas. I am the next anointed one in this line. Trust in my words, for I am living proof the philosophy is sound as well. I emplore you to join us, for how magnificent the world would be with every person's potential realized!
The people would call me insane. But is it not insane to conform in this cruel world to achieve what has been deemed normalcy? I am who I am, who I was meant to be. I am an artista living in a world of ignorance. I create beauty to combat the ugly face of society. No, it is not I who is insane. It is all of those who adopt the unrighteous ways of our existence because wickedness through complacency and apathy is commonplace. I strive for greatness because of a burning love for creation which I choose to endure. Is this not how life is supposed to be?
"The norm" is a flexible standard by which society forms a pseudo democratic fact based on popular opinion. Am I the only one who sees the grave danger in such a flawed system? It marginalizes greatness born from unconventional methodology. This system is the reason for posthumous recognition as well. Humans have achieved a perfect track record when exercising hindsight. One of my favorite writers and fellow artista, Christopher E. Ikpoh, once wrote in his personal journal titled "A Collection of Thoughts":
"Facing posthumous recognition, but not necessarily death. And when that day comes, I will ensure the world is dead to me, leaving only my angels to walk alongside me on the clouds."
I marvel at the boldness of such a statement, and yearn to be one of those angels at his side with angels of my own, marching to a harmonious beat. He, like myself and many other artistas, suffer from the scrutiny of popular opinion. The mob is swayed by the ignorant majority, neglecting the diamonds underneath shells of inflicted carbon layered through label after label of misunderstanding and a lack of vision into what true greatness is at its inception within an artista.
Christopher defied their robotic apathy towards his work and placed it forcefully into the lexicon of legendary art, refusing their posthumous recognition by only permitting those who shared his vision and appreciation for his literary and poetic genius when it truly mattered - amidst the doubt and pain of popular rejection - to walk with him. I too shall take such a stance.
My paintings have gained recognition, this is true. The world accepts my creations as their own form of pop culture in the arts. Yet, only because I have presented it in a form acceptable to the mob. They know nothing of the art form which I have perfected, nor the depths of my artistic genius, for if they did, I surely would be shunned. Thus, as I write this, my mind passes judgment on myself. Have I abandoned my brothers and sisters suffering in the struggle to practice what they love in order to share their gifts as artistas? Yes, I too once viewed life through the window of desire to be accepted and appreciated. Yet, I question if the years of welcoming my art has received is a product of selling my soul to the mob for their approval. Have I become the rock star who has abandoned drugs in a selfish gesture to preserve my health over embracing my narcotic muse which is destined to consume me prematurely? Those musical artistas who have accepted their fate normally extinguish their candle early through overdose, but the art which they create during their lifetime sees their candle burn far brighter than the rest. Am I extinguishing my candle by confirming my genius to a conventional appearance? Or have I simply mastered the Machiavellian way to raise my genius to prominence in a world that would otherwise denounce me and my art if they knew the truth? A query for the ages possibly, and one I may never find an answer to.
What is it about the mob which creates my utter distaste to associate with it? I pondered this tonight while dining in a quaint trattoria. I sat outside along the sidewalk amidst the flow of inadequacy and ineptitude otherwise known as society. Their apparent disdain for anything which makes them think critically or analytically oozed from their simple, feeble minds. I had to force myself to cease observing them in order to stomach the carpaccio I ordered. The mere sight of them disgusted me. My only solace in the moment was the barbaresco in my glass. Yet, even the mob was capable of stealing a minute fraction of that joy as well. Oh, how it pained me to waste even a sip of it. Quite simply put, they ruined my dining experience.
I write these words not as an elitist, but as an artista. Class or status sways me neither direction in relation to a person. It is their spirit which determines their acceptance. I have conversed with some of the most sincere, authentic human beings in an underpass and alley ways. The homeless, when not inebriated or demented, are quite experienced individuals. Their daily hardship and suffering is the karmic balance to the abundant existence of privileged and undeserving wealthy. A man or woman conscious of this fact will display the utmost respect for the truth governing us all: love is a growing luxury during these times we live in. I strive to contribute to the mission of expressing love through my works. The collaborations I engage in ensure the love is always genuine in every painting, for there exists no greater love than that of the raw emotion exuded when the reason for your existence is manifested. Regardless of who my collaborator is, the love injected into the canvas is unparalleled.
Why is it, though, that it must take a collaboration to extract this love from the mob? Without me, they flounder about their materialism and apathy, drowning in their self-absorption. It is not until they are face-to-face with Death upon my table that a member of the mob releases true love. Yes, an artista is made to inspire and evoke emotion, which is why I work tirelessly at my craft. Alas, I am exhausted though. My genius wishes to depart on sabbatical with my muse, and the longer I am without them, the more unruly I become, and the more oppressive the mob becomes.
I yearn to dismantle the hierarchy of ignorance indoctrinated into the moral fiber and ethical values of the world today. The mob has taken such things as academia, artistic culture, philosophy, faith, plus many more inherently beautiful and powerful things, and classified them as insignificant. The masses no longer serve reason or seek knowledge. They mob together to obtain instant gratification and the seasonal prize. My art sets out to change that. An artista with clarity of vision and a solid sense of purpose can not only change themself, but they can change the world. And if the new collaborator I discovered this evening can produce as much love as mob mentality that they displayed while I watched them from the trattoria, well, my next step towards changing the world will be quite a large one, for my scalpel, forceps and paint brush have been begging for a new lover.
For me, the perplexity of loneliness lies in the moments after a collaboration is finished. As I write this, the thick air filled with excitement, purpose and mastery begins to thin. The aftermath of creation tends to produce that effect, as the high of any greatly anticipated occurrence typically is in the moments leading up to the event, leaving the minutes after to mount together, separating your present from the fulfilled past and forming a barricade between you and the memory of your joyous experience. Thus, why I sit in my chair amidst the newly departed and the fruit of our collaboration once the process has been completed. I yearn to hang on to those waning moments of artistic excellence which flowed through me just minutes before whilst the brushes resided in my hands, the metal instruments clanked harmoniously together, and the blood pooled in and around the collaborator as they serenely lay while appreciating my craft with reverence. The only way I can do so, though, is to immerse myself in the environment which the process has created, and absorb as much of the rich, thick air as I can before it becomes diluted by the passing time. And maybe it is my selfishness, but in those moments akin to the one I experience now, I rejoice silently that I do not have to share the air with anyone else.
Yes, the desire burning in my core to gain communion which allows me to express my genius and quell my incessant need to create is massive. Nevertheless, I do not harbour the slightest wish to behold the presence of another whence my creation has arrived in its totality. I have explicitly said before how my collaborators are never solely a means to an end, yet, the definition of an elusive destiny we all can only dream of obtaining; each and every person that has allowed me to progress as an artista was, and forever will be, the essential creation which birthed a piece of the untainted truth to be bestowed upon mankind in artistic form. Yet, in this moment of solace and appreciation, I would loathe their company.
The chair rocks against the floor, creaking a rhythm into my ears only fit for my song. The reflection of the painting is tailored only for my vision. The scent of a recently departed spirit mixed with a drying canvas is made to adorn only my nostrils, and the taste of blood-based paints created by the scent in the air can only be appreciated by my palate. The air is only to caress my skin with the electricity of a fading master class. This is not because I am the only soul worthy of such an immersion into the senses, but because ultimately, an artista can only understand that which is meant for an artista, and this moment which I write about now, it is pure in its existence because it is for me: the artista who created it. Neither the corpse nor their living memory are meant to experience this. Neither the heavens nor hell are invited. Those of the supernatural kind justified to have any inclusion with this moment must remain spectators from afar. Right now, this is meant for just me.
Alas, eventually an artista's true nature well arise. The imperfections of the creation begin magnifying. The human nature of the creator is exposed through prolonged visual scrutiny. Admiration eventually gives way to momentary indifference. What was once the apple of my eye appears to no longer be artistically fruitful. The empty shell on the table poorly imitating the collaborator who gave everything to me becomes a nuisance. I despise the uneven drying of the canvas, leading me to criticize my own technical flaws within the brush strokes. The rhythmic creaking stops. The air is thin and empty. The scent is gone, as is the taste of completion. I no longer see a reflection. Yes, my sense of achievement has become loneliness once more, and only the perplexity of such an evolution remains. Behold, the cyclical existence of an artista's necessity for companionship.
It will forever be my favorite. The moment the melody hits my ears, I cannot help but feel a warmth settle in my heart.
"Silver bells. Silver bells. It's Christmas time in the city."
Bing Crosby's version with Carole Richards is my favorite. Nothing against Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell, but there's just something about the chemistry between Bing and Carole that jumps off the vinyl and grabs me. Maybe it is the true feeling of the holidays their voices instill. To me, the winter season is particularly interesting. The guise of giving is layered over a dense purpose of self-serving motivations. The mob gives because it is what the market tells the them to do as consumers. Thus, they buy beyond their financial means in order to feed the ideal of pseudo generosity perpetuated by those who stand to become rich during this time. Of course, no gift would be complete without the expectation of receiving one in return. This selfish mindset helps establish a deep-seeded need for the recipient of the gift to not appear as if they are not thoughtful themselves, consequently ensuring they too shall come bearing gifts, enforcing the cyclical act of transactions across the world. Yes, I guess this is why Bing and Carole speak to me about the holidays ever so lovingly.
"Ring-a-ling. Hear them ring. Soon it will be Christmas Day."
Their chemistry is gripping, making their rendition of the record a perfect musical backdrop to my most recent collaborator. His hair was white as snow. His face was aged with a serene and jolly essence. The man's eyes were crystal blue, and when I first saw him, they sparkled under the lights of the tree in front of him through his wire-framed spectacles. Indeed, it is quite low-brow of me to select an individual so closely resembling Kris Kringle during the holiday season. However, I simply could not resist. It was as if the universe's karmic nature was revealing its lighter side by displaying a sense of humor. Who am I to not embrace cosmic vulnerability?
"City sidewalks, busy sidewalks. Dressed in holiday style. In the air, there's a feeling of Christmas."
The man's skin became frosty quicker than any other collaborator I have encountered. Fitting I guess, though it made it difficult to use his liquid life-force as the base for my paints. I suppose I should not have taken a break after splitting his torso with my scalpel, hammering away at his ribs to the tune of "Silver Bells", and clamping open his rib cage. Alas, I cannot help but get carried away by the song. My lips have a mind of their own as they mouth every lyric effortlessly. If only my voice were as smooth as Bing's.
"Children laughing. People passing. Meeting smile after smile. And on every street corner you'll hear."
My collaborator was the holiday season personified, but in the proper sense of the ideal. He was extremely giving and expected nothing in return. His contributions to the creative process of my winter time masterpiece were pure in their selflessness. Yes, he gifted me everything he was, going well beyond his means. However, his actions embody the true essence of Christmas: to give a gift one deserves and that they will cherish without an empty hand extended waiting for your present in return. If only society were like my collaborator. The world would be a much better place.
"Silver bells. Silver bells. It's Christmas time in the city."
His blood provided the perfect mixture of lavender and pink to coat the top of the snowfall which reflected the sunrise in my painting. The colors my collaborator gave my paints was phenomenal. I ponder if the delay in mixing the blood with my paint, and the fact he was colder than my typical collaborator, has anything to do with that. I prefer to think the unique nature of my north pole collaborator was the cause. It makes the painting more magical. The blending of hues within the soul of what is represented shall forever remain as pure as the driven snow, and no one could have assisted me in creating this work but my collaborator this evening. He is the spirit of Christmas; the true spirit of giving and good will amongst men. I marvel at how I still see his face in the painting whenever I glance upon it. Though his skin was peeled and the inside scraped to add texture for my paint mixtures to bring the canvas to life, I do not see an exposed corpse inside my masterpiece. I see the man smiling with his eyes filled by the glow of decorative lights and metallic colored tinsel strewn about the evergreen needles of a marvelous tree. And just as Bing and Carole were in perfect harmony, so was I with my collaborator in creating a holiday moment to never forget.
"Ring-a-ling. Hear them ring. Soon it will be Christmas Day."
Indeed, it has been awhile since my musings have adorned these pages. My pen was pleading with me, however, begging to ravage the space allotted here for words of contemplation since my mind has been absent of its own need for expression. Why has that been so? Well, experiences of a certain nature have dominated my stream of consciousness. It is a very peculiar theme, yet, one absolutely filled with intrigue, as for some time I have been observing my own work from afar, living in a constant state of reflection because of it.
For some time, a streak of inspired works garnered me a consensus of praise, which dulled my naturally analytical and critical self. Therefore, my calculating nature was set aside. I did not trouble my mind with intricacies, for my sense of accomplishment left me with the belief no details needed to be scrutinized. The art was perfect, and consequently my creativity was safely locked deep inside my mind, away from the unavoidable critiques that were bound to arise. I could not risk my muse becoming tainted by the disapproval of this world. Alas, the moment of venomous critique never came though. Only more adoration was heaped upon me. Unbeknownst to me, however, it is from the praise in which one particular review began me down this path involving the chain of events I spoke of in the beginning of this manifesto; the events of a particular nature. Allow me to recite the happenings.
A man - a prominent and greatly respected member of the global art community - commented on my body of work stating, "They are paintings of another world, another time. It is as if The Artista is possessed. The work is devilishly captivating." Such high praise is rare to come by in this age of self-indulgence, let alone in the artistic community. I was appreciative of it. I was most certainly surprised as well. Not only does this man insist on being utterly harsh with his critiques, it is as if he drives pleasure from writing scathing words regarding a person's beloved creations. Nevertheless, he admired my work, and receiving an endorsement from the likes of him has merit. I must say, though, the notion of being possessed seems to be a reoccurring theme in these times; a theme I would rather do without, for the other day, I had quite the disturbing encounter with a homeless woman.
This incident is the second in the chain events. The homeless woman spotted me walking along the street, perusing building addresses as I searched for my destination. As she watched me from afar, she pointed, shouting, "In him lies forces of darkness! He's evil!" I was so enthralled with my search I did not notice at first. Then, her voice struck a chord in me, making me realize I was the target at the end of her finger's direction. It was of no matter to anyone else though, as they continued to ignore the homeless woman's existence. I, however, could not do the same. Her piercing voice cracked my mental fortitude, destroying the barrier of sanity I have layered over my inner thoughts reserved only for my mind. She had my full attention. Yet, as I stood staring at her in discontent, she suddenly quieted. Next, her expression turned morbid as if she gazed upon her own demise. Quickly, the homeless woman scurried off, frantically looking over her shoulder to see if I was pursuing her. "Evil," I thought to myself, "is the cowardice of accusation without confrontation." Perturbed, I moved on. Nonetheless, the theme was not yet done with me.
As bizarre as the experience was with the homeless woman, it is not the last of note. Frequently, I continue to arise from my slumber at 3 a.m. every other morning with an unsettling feeling; the witching hour or the inverted hour depending on your liking. It is said it's the time evil spirits are most active. Whether you consider yourself a believer in such things or not, the likeliness of such an occurrence happening frequently is beyond coincidence.
The critique, the homeless woman, the arising near the inverse hour, all seemingly connected to one theme: the devil. As one can imagine, this has heavily played on my conscience. Am I under attack? Should I be heeding a warning? Is my former self - the younger me riddled with delusions of wrong doing - emerging to stifle my work by implanting a false sense of guilt? These are the questions I have been pondering, and they are poisonous no doubt. They are volatile. They are the things which drive one mad. In hindsight, it is a blessing in disguise my creativity was locked away; God kept me from creating art or self-expression until now. It was imperative I resolve these lingering diseases infesting my brain, and I have.
I bribed not the citric. I have no quarrel with the homeless, nor do I have a sleeping disorder. I am truly under attack by forces beyond this world which seek to eliminate my form of expression. My God-given talent threatens the wicked things in this universe. The fact I am able to continuously find my collaborators who were placed on this earth to serve their part in divine creation through my creative process, means I am getting closer to obtaining the level of nirvana only a few beloved chosen have experienced since the dawn of time. Each session, each collaborator, each drop of blood and sweat, each canvas, each paint, they all bring me closer to achieving perfection. It is only natural the devil - the evil, wicked energy and entities of this karmic world and the next - would want to extinguish my flame. I shall not allow them though. I will release my creativity from sanctuary. My muse shall become a savage, devouring all doubt, delusions and interference with unrelenting tenacity. I will elevate my collaborators to unparalleled heights, driving their destined purposes to a grander status. I will not be oppressed by those who seek to do just that.
So, to the gentleman who wrote the critique about my work, I say to you: you have not seen anything yet. To the homeless woman, I say to you: thank you for collaborating with me to provide a special mixture of ink for this entry. And to the entity awakening me at 3 a.m., I quote Mick Jagger: time is on my side. Yes it is.
Regardless of one's experiences in their life, one true constant remains about them: their eyes. A person can change their appearance - temporarily through haircuts, wardrobe, makeup, etc., or even permanently with surgery - but their eyes can never be altered. Who they are and what they have lived is embedded in them. It is a fact revealed to me each time I work with a collaborator. Their eyes tell me the tales of the journey which has led them to our moment together, and I have heard such harrowing stories. They have told me of love, suffering, hate, all the things comprising the human condition. Often, the eyes of my collaborator will dictate the mood of the piece we create together. So many memorable works have been produced through those eyes, an innumerable amount. However, one pair stands far above and beyond the rest.
From my research, I determined the woman was not who she displayed to the world. She constantly represented her life and self in a manner which she believed favorable to her family and social circle. Her feelings were often portrayed in a way not true to herself. I believe it is fair to say not many truly knew this woman. Those she depended on were regularly left unnoticed or cast aside when not needed, when she was happy or in a place of content. Alas, knowing many people of this nature made my selection of her as a collaborator all the more enjoyable. Nevertheless, with all I knew, she remained a mystery to me. Something about this woman was enigmatic. I guess this is what drew me to her, as I am confident it is what drew most people in her life to her. She interested me. She made me want to get close with her. The irony is I knew she was incapable of doing so with anyone. Thus, around and around it went. She was no exception to this rule, but her waltz was far more intriguing than the rest at the ball, which is why it is her eyes that have stayed with me.
The woman's hair was the color of night. Her skin was soft and smooth like that of cream. Lord knows I could elaborate on her beauty for days, but of all her glorious features, it was her eyes that captivated the most. They were a sharp, piercing blue-green. I have never seen anything like their color, and as I cleansed her naked body on the table with my wet cloth, I contemplated their appearance. Her eyes were hypnotizing. Even as a corpse, they drew me in and held me tight. It was no wonder people yearned to be in her life. They most likely lost their better sense around her. It was not until I made my first incision in her body, though, that an unexpected realization struck me.
They are not of this world. Could it be the reason this woman never revealed her true self - never expressed her sincere emotions or conveyed the reality of her life - was because of what her eyes held? Could it be this woman of falsehood that used those around her was misguided out of a sense of needing to protect those near from a maleficence inside them? Her blood coursing over my fingers still slightly warm, I rebuttled my own mind as to not give her abhorrent actions while alive any defense. Alas, her eyes continued to stare into the room, captivating me ever more. I did not feel safe. I felt vulnerable. I felt exposed. I did not feel in control. Surely, something not of this world remained in her eyes even after her passing.
I collected her blood and added shavings of her bones to it for texture. This mixture needed to be purified, so I boiled a pot of it. I took no chances in having any wicked energy pollute my canvas. As I waited for it to cool, I returned to my collaborator's side. Once again we locked eyes. The color danced before me under the candlelight. They shimmered and twinkled with majesty. Was this thing inhabiting her eyes royalty? A spirit queen perhaps? A demon queen? The magnitude of her gaze was monumental, even in death. I pondered their greater purpose. Was I doing God's work, balancing the universe by sending this woman's spirit to the afterlife? Such thoughts led me to believe I may be belittling the enormity of the collaboration though. Then, the buzzer went off. My pot of blood was chilled. I slowly stood, her eyes seemingly tracking my movements, and went to prepare my paints.
Before the canvas, the discontent I held for my collaborator dominated my ideas on how to complete my portrait. The friends and family she offended with her cavalier approach to loyalty, to appreciation for those who gave her their time, energy, advice, consideration, emotion, wisdom - all the things most yearn for from others but are forced to live with in short supply - they screamed to me from afar to detest her memory. They demanded my brush show the fruits of our collaboration no quarter. I was to lambaste this woman artistically and immortalize her in shame. Yet, as I painted, her eyes gave me course in an unexpected direction. My creative process was on autopilot. I let the muse navigate, and when I was finished, before me was a sight to see.
It was a mask, porcelain in its make, with a neutral expression. The eyes were absent, naturally, vacated and awaiting the one pair fitting to be housed there. Yet, they never would be. My painting denied her eyes the life they sought after my collaborator's demise. No longer would they draw people in, holding them hostage. No longer would they influence a person to give them what they desired. The woman was to rest in anonymity. Her body lost forever. Her eyes absent of our collaboration; the perfect fate for a taker and abuser of life and good will. The mask would forever bond her to her forgotten resting place, its power lying in the deceitful homage to our collaboration. And as I sat in my chair listening to a vinyl of Luciano Pavarotti serenade us with "Nessun Dorma", I sipped my wine and reveled in the serenity of justice permeating throughout the room from the canvas. The woman's eyes were now shut, and art reigned supreme over the inequity of one woman's soul.
My favorite author once said:
"As I write, I feel. I see and hear it all in my head. When I finished this piece, I felt as if I was not alone, as if something was behind me, breathing on me, encroaching on my space. It forced me to pray. That's when I knew I wrote something worth sharing."
He was discussing a haiku he wrote about witchcraft, and I understood him completely. When I paint, when I create art through collaboration, I feel. I see and I hear it all. Every one of my senses is firing like a piston. The experience is pure jubilation. It is exhilarating. From the selection process, to procurement of my collaborator, to the first incision made into their flesh, the feeling my creation process gives me is almost orgasmic. I do not share the same proclivity to praying as the author does. However, we are akin to another in the sense that we both are taken to a supernatural place when we create. A version of existence only us true artista will ever know.
It is common to hear many writers, painters, sculptors, musicians, ect., express similar thoughts to myself and this author. I beg of you to please discern between us and them though, for they live in a sense of exaggerated aptitude. Most artists do not create. No. They recreate. Their ability lacks originality. It lacks the unique brilliance a true artista must have. Any dimwitted person with half a skill-set can expound on what the giants who came before us produced. To merely build on that genius which was not born of your own mind, heart and soul, is thievery. Unless, of course, we are discussing the natural sciences, for building and improving on the progress made before you by your predecessors and colleagues is the very nature of discovery. It is not the nature of creation though, which is why I believe it is fair to say even scientists would agree the ones among them who make discoveries based on their own theories derived completely against the grain, or outside the box of popular scientific understanding, are their greats. Such is the case in art.
I truly feel I would be doing my collaborators an injustice if I were to not create from a unique place. Who wants to live in the next life knowing your purpose in this plane of existence was to be the muse for an artistic replication? It is my responsibility to ensure each second they lived, each breath they took, each tear they shed, each drop off blood they shared, that it all contributed to something much greater than themselves. Their life has to have meant more than the mere routines they followed every day and the variations of them which occurred occasionally. This duty falls in my hands, and I hold that duty in the utmost regard. Nothing for an artista, or any individual for that matter, is more important. Preserving the legacy of our fellow man is paramount, for all we leave behind are the memories from those singular worlds we ruled called our lives. If no one were to keep those memories vibrant, all would be lost.
This is why I must create from an original place. It is why it is so important to feel when art is concerned. We must honor our predecessors, ourselves, our peers, our collaborators, and those who appreciate our work. They have to see and hear the spirit of that creation. It is what art is all about. Seeing colors through hearing music or words, feeling something inside your body from viewing, or seeing something in your mind from reading, that is the essence of art. That is the nature of being an artista. My favorite author knew this, as do I.
It is crimson oil. Once the scalpel breaks open the elastic cover that is the skin, the blood bursts through ever so slightly like when you first strike a pocket of Texas tea. Consequently, and as an enthusiast of the cinematic work "Jurassic Park", I always play a game with myself to try and guess which way the red liquid will flow once it hits the surface. I invoke my inner Dr. Malcolm and pretend I am speaking to Dr. Sattler about the imperfections in the skin - micro-variations causing the blood to follow a course that would not have been anticipated. It adds joy to my process. However, the joy I experience is derived not from the game, but from the uniqueness of the first incision. It is painstakingly exciting at times. That moment begins to dictate the collaboration between myself and the chosen person. If there is an abundance of inspiration at hand as well, that moment is all the more exhilarating. Whether the flesh is supple and soft, or mangy and rough, the first incision sets the foundation for the entire creative process.
Imagine, if you are able, the first moment you realized you were in love with your soul mate. Perhaps there was a fluttering of your heart, or a trembling of your fingertips. Maybe your skin perspired slightly, or your mouth went dry. Whatever this particular memory brings to mind, imagine those physical manifestations multiplied many times over, coupled with a creative elation. There is no better feeling for an artista than embodying the life force of their muse. It elevates us to the moon and beyond. Bottle the moment you realized you were in love with the person the universe placed on this planet solely for you, and you have my experience of the first incision: unadulterated excitement. Now, I do not hop in place and giggle like a school girl. No, this moment is handled with the utmost dignity and poise. Nevertheless, I believe you are now able to fathom the magnitude of the moment.
Perhaps in cosmic fashion, each of my most memorable creations just happened to occur after I was able to correctly guess the flow of the collaborator's blood prior to cutting them open. This brings me to the point that there is no substitute for synchronicity amongst partners. Whether they be lovers, colleagues, or even combatants, if the two individuals are of the same mind, body, and/or spirit, what is produced is normally nothing short of greatness. It is as if their dual energies become singular, flowing through one another in a continuous stream of consciousness. When I connect with a collaborator, my muse sings ballads of splendor. Lord knows it has seen me struggle to become in tune with some. Yes, not memorable moments to say the least. Thus, when I sync with a collaborator, my creative process becomes akin to the gentle bubbling of a brook over smoothly eroded rocks on the calmest of days. We exude fluidity. Each incision, extraction, mixture, brush stroke, they all transpire without effort. The creation is allowed to be born organically. What takes place, simply put, is magical.
The first incision: it is the hallmark moment of every collaboration. Whether the blood flows left, right, or stays the middle course, I know everything that is to follow will inspire art. It begins the next chapter in the life long pursuit of creative perfection for an artista. The extensive line splitting open their flesh draws forth a river of time counting down towards the birth of a new revelation. The warmth that exits the body soothes the cold air of death filling the room, and it brings me one step closer towards discovering myself slightly more, as all artista do not know who they truly are until they have satisfied their calling and can look back on a completed lifetime of their creations. In each work of art is a piece of that artista's soul, and I have many divisions of myself spread throughout the world. I would not have it any other way though, as such is my destiny. I guess it is fair to say the first incision is the doorway I pass through to my future. Oh, how I love walking beyond that threshold.
There was a time I believed the Angel of Death to be the worst of all God's incarnations. Life was a cruel joke. Every waking moment was excruciating. I yearned for more sleep daily to pass the hours breath still inhabited my body, praying the Angel would kiss me whilst I slumbered and steal my spirit from this world. Alas, that moment never came. I awoke to the same dark room, the same vinyl spinning because my record player was broken and no longer stopped on its own, and the same oppression of a world that did not understand me crushing my entire being. Perhaps the most unbearable of all, however, is the fact my art suffered deplorable consequences from my feeble state of mind and torn rationale surrounding my existence. Nevertheless, all great artista endure such a period. The more devastating the reality, the more rich and powerful the art. Thus, here, on my birthday, I felt it was fitting to revisit this dark time of my life and cherish the triumph I know today as my reality.
Unbeknownst to most, I keep a copy of every work I have completed. The earlier pieces I did solely for myself and the love of art before the world gained notice of my vision are the original creations. After I began exploring the observations of society, any piece not created strictly to be kept for my personal collection were all copied digitally and are stored in my gallery. I print the renditions in their original sizes and keep them stored in individual sliding panels for easy viewing and access. So, with Luciano Pavarotti serenading me in the background, and a glass of Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 that a collaborator of mine purchased at an auction for $500,000, I perused my old works. Oh, the memories they invoked.
It took me a long time to reconcile with the gloom I traversed in those times. For years after I emerged from under the dark side of the universe, I still battled the demons of remembrance. Though I was moving forward into spectacular artistry, I had not yet come to terms with fully accepting the phase of life I just crawled out of. It took many more years for this to occur, for me to look back on those times and not cringe in disgust. Granted, I still recall those empty black rooms and how I eerily never felt alone. I remember the days without food or water, and the feeling of my insides churning away with my stomach digesting itself in a fit of self-inflicted cannibalism. I can still feel the heaving of my chest as I purposefully attempted to render myself unconscious from self-induced hyperventilation. However, those memories inspire me now. Though I may become slightly agitated by my art works of that time, it is mostly because of the lack of quality as opposed to remembering the times in which they were produced, and I feel invigorated in my quest for artistic mastery. I kick myself in thinking what wondrous creations I could have produced, though, if only I harnessed my misery and pain efficiently in the moment. Oh well. C'est la vie.
Nevertheless, it did me well to take a trip down memory lane. I found joy in laughing at the catalogue of my amateurish self and decisively picking which paintings needed less heavy brush strokes, which needed more depth, and which were just God awful regardless of what could have been done different. All of the paintings reminded me of one thing though: the paramount importance of my collaborators.
These paintings were birthed during a time when I was operating completely solo. I would barely leave my bed long enough to use the bathroom, let alone procure a collaborator. Consequently, there was no muse to drive the chaos that was my world onto the canvas. I internalized every agonizing emotion and thought. It was not until I was taken from my home by fate back into the world that I discovered no matter how misunderstood I am in this life, this world is my muse. It is my fuel, my inspiration. Without the fruit it bears, I cannot create as an artista should. Alas, having realized this truth once more - one collaborator and one painting at a time - I have climbed from the depths of Hell towards paradise. And here I am, sipping an incredible wine with an inner-core of sweet, creamy, highly extracted blackcurrant/cassis fruit in my temperature and light-exposure controlled gallery, listening to the greatest voice of its time and counting my blessings that the Angel of Death did not kiss me whilst I slept. I am forever grateful the Angel watched me suffer and writhe in torturous pain as opposed to showing mercy. Once thought to be the cruelest of God's creations, it became my savior. Perhaps this is why the painting I created from my recent collaboration with Cardinal Bassinni for a birthday present to myself has quickly become my favorite. It is of the Angel of Death, and I have titled it "Until We Meet Again". It hangs along the wall in my gallery, and as I sit and write this, sipping my wine while Pavarotti's voice melts into my ears, I am awed by how the cardinal's blood radiates from the dark hues engulfing the Angel's luminescent aura. Nevertheless, amidst my awe struck state, my mind continues to journey toward one particular thought... happy birthday to me. Happy birthday, Artista. Happy birthday to me indeed.
"The jackal has married the wolf and the snake, revealing time is a man made notion." - Christopher E. Ikpoh, "The Night"
Often the experience of life remains lost amongst the shallow and those lacking the ability to be introspective. For them, each day passes by as nothing more than a disappointment for not being given the things they wholeheartedly believe they want more than anything. So grand is this belief that they damn the day as they pledge their undying love for tomorrow, assuming that tomorrow is promised while holding dear the notion that their fleeting, whimsical desires are of dire importance. These people fail to realize the lineal march they follow to progress their lives, and the things they place along that one dimensional line of fate, are not only of no consequence, but they do not exist. All that is real is each current moment we live in. This very second is what matters, for it is the experience of now and how we process it that makes our lives what they are. No man can tell the future. Therefore, they moved to define it by creating the concept of time. What is tomorrow? How do you define something that does not exist? How does one define something that is unknown? You cannot. Thus, the great fallacy of man.
Nevertheless, time remains a construct by which the masses blindly abide, producing the likes of the jackal, the wolf and the snake. Alas, they were the figures in my most recent creation, and this particular piece is the first of its kind. I drew from three sources of inspiration; three collaborators were obtained for one painting, and I must say the experience was absolutely exhilarating.
Two men. One woman. The jackal, the snake and the wolf respectively. The jackal was a man of resourcefulness. Scavaging his surroundings, he took that which was not his, employing cunning to obtain his desires by the way of others. Each day his mind, heart and soul were clouded with the sensation to satisfy his own wants at the expense of the unsuspecting. Next to him was the snake. This man was deceitful, injecting venom into his victims after lying in wait to spring his trap. His mind, heart and soul was clouded by the need to lure victims to their demise for his own personal gain. Finally, the wolf. She worshiped the moon, devouring all those underneath it susceptible to her enchantment of the night. She was the deadliest of the three. She took more than the men, for she was indeed more than them. She was an apex predator whose mind, heart and soul were clouded by a slumber which blocked out the light, leaving her only with the dark. They were a scintillating trio, and most certainly some of my greatest collaborators.
Witnessing the blind being able to see for the first time is awe inspiring. Such was the case for my collaborators. Their minds, hearts and souls were no longer clouded. Their binds, my utensils and the unfamiliar surroundings of my art studio baffled their brains as they attempted to make sense of their current predicament and how it all was connected to a blank canvas. It was not long, though, before they realized exactly what was transpiring, and it was this realization which opened them up to the true meaning behind living life. Their tomorrow was not promised, and they knew it. Those things which they had coveted each moment more than anything were not that important. The lineal march had ceased, and the man-made construct of time crumbled as their futures dwindled into nothingness. Finally, they came to know that the now is all that matters. My three collaborators were more present in the moment than they had ever been. They were truly living life for the first time.
The jackal contributed. Energy exuded from him as the crimson from his veins welcomed all of us in the room to his inner most self. The sharp tip of my scalpel easily divided his skin and muscles, parting them as Moses did the Red Sea. My hammer and saw divided his skull, revealing the center of his cunning nature, which my blade finely sliced as before I placed it next to my brushes. His essence was greatly received, as was the snakes, whose scales were softened back into that of human flesh as he witnessed my collaboration with the jackal. Thus, by the time we began to create together, his body embraced my instruments with overwhelming acceptance. The metallic syringe gently forced the snake's venom glands to indent before giving way. I extracted the venom and added it to his blood along with the blood of the jackal. This left the wolf, whose contribution of not only blood but tears made for a magical mixture.
With all of their essences combined, I slowly blended the new concoction with my paints. The texture was phenomenal. The colors were vivid and gripping. I let my muses control my strokes, gracefully filling in the shading using slices of the jackal's brain dipped in my paints instead of a brush. The process was organic and true, and whilst I painted my collaborators watched as the passing minutes engulfed them. They were captivated at our creation. The jackal, the wolf and the snake were married as never before, coming to life within the canvas, allowing my collaborators to witness their rebirth in death.
The paints are thick and rich with life. The canvas sings hymns of triumph as I admire the work my collaborator and I accomplished together many years ago. The vision before me, still to this day, is heavenly. It is, honestly, one of the most unique pieces I have ever created. My muse was in rare form, guiding me to uncharted, creative waters never before sailed by me, and today is the 11th anniversary of its creation.
Selecting a person I know as a collaborator places me on the precipice of destruction. Anonymity and supreme caution are always at the forefront of the selection process. There can be no leads to me or my work. I take the greatest care throughout the entire procurement procedure. For years, I have operated completely undetected by the outside world. Well, with the exception of the gypsy woman. Mystical powers make that situation exempt though. Nevertheless, I refused for so long to collaborate with anyone I know personally. That was until Lauren came into my life.
She was an avid lover of art: paintings, sculptures, music, sketches, installations. You name the art work, she adored it. Thus, why we bonded. The two of us spent hours discussing these things. Innumerable bottles of wine were consumed into the early hours of the morning conversing about personal favorites and debating the wave of contemporary art as compared to work of classical times. Naturally, a romance bloomed from this. Like a rose, it flourished in scent and beauty with each drop of love watered onto the soil it called home. Lauren and I were destined lovers, as was evident by the synergy we wielded in our most intimate moments. Despite what the religious might say, our bodies seemingly were designed by God for one another and could not be kept apart. We were kindred spirits whose hearts etched claim to the other with permanency on our souls. She was the only one deemed worthy by the universe to experience the bare existence of this artista, which is why I allowed her access to my private archives. She understood my collection, maybe better than I do. Her appreciation was embodied in every fiber of her being. She was the personification of true love. That is why I collaborated with her.
Alas, such a statement without context is hardly worthy to describe the fate I shared with Lauren. She was no ordinary collaborator. I did not methodically select her, procure her, and create a new work of art. No. Lauren had terminal cancer. The doctors had given her a few months to live just before I met her. In typical Lauren fashion, she refused to spend those last few months in a hospital bed withering away though. Instead, she sold all of her belongings, left her friends and family to travel the world, and returned in secret with just enough money to live out of a hotel until she built the courage to extinguish her own light. Fate had other plans however.
Lauren and I met in an art gallery and instantly gravitated towards one another. Then, without warning we were in love. She could have simply thanked me for filling her last days with joy in a suicide note and executed her plan. However, Lauren decided to see her life through to the end regardless of the pain and suffering she would endure because of the soul kinship we developed. It is because of this unwavering love I had to immortalize Lauren.
People question whether or not real love can blossom over the matter of months. I would say it is not a matter of time though. It is a matter of destiny, for when you discover the mirror of your spirit in another, time is irrelevant. That is what I shared with Lauren. Nevertheless, after outlasting her doctors' prognosis by 9 months, she eventually told me she could no longer bear the weight of living anymore. That is when I revealed my artistic process. It was a risk, yes. But any love worth having is, and if I was not certain we shared the greatest of bonds before, her reply to my revelation confirmed it. Her resounding joy to collaborate with me was incredible. So, next to her death bed, I settled in with my materials. We kissed and said our long goodbyes. Then, I helped Lauren end her life peacefully. My eyes welled with tears as I made each incision, uncovering the crimson heaven housed in her veins. I extracted the most magical parts of her and used them to create the paints for the artistic manifestation of our love. For days I mourned her after cremating her body down in my cellar. It is all I wanted to do. Then, when I was able to gather myself enough to resume our work, I mixed her ashes in with the black and gray paints. The finished work is a masterpiece, with colors that live in your eyes and imagery that brands itself into your brain. I have hung it in my chambers where I spend endless hours staring at it each night. The painting hypnotizes me. Such is the result of the one collaboration in which I broke my own rules, a decision I am glad I made. It is a decision I shall never make again though. Fate has afforded me one unconditional wish. I dare not tempt ill consequence because of greed. Besides, Lauren was my first and shall always be my only love. No other collaborator, or person for that matter, shall ever be held in the same vein.