COVID's Gift is an allegorical piece exploring a number of personal and political issues significantly impacting Americans during the COVD-19 Pandemic of 2020.
A surrealistic painting, COVID's Gift is riddled with symbols and hidden messages. It's the fusion of seemingly unrelated pictures woven together to tell a story of faith, hope, and gratitude. For the first time in my career as an artist, I had finally given voice to my otherwise quiet creations.
COVID's Gift took 16 months to complete. It is the largest painting I've ever attempted (48" x 60"). I clocked thousands of hours staring, painting, readjusting, and staring yet again at the same image (rinse and repeat). Thankfully I was too naïve and inexperienced to have any notion as to the magnitude of such a seemingly insurmountable undertaking.
It was mid March (3/11/20) when the WHO announced a global pandemic and eight days later, California issued its first lockdown order. One evening, while surfing for news-free channels, I came across a commercial advertising insurance. At the end, the company’s logo flashed across the screen: Statue of Liberty. It was at that very moment that COVID’s Gift was conceived. The visual of Liberty's hand holding that iconic torch stayed with me. Ruminating about freedom and its true meaning, for days I couldn’t get the image out of my mind. After all, what impact would a mandated self-quarantine ensue? The whole situation set my mind into overdrive. As quickly as I found myself sanctioned physically, I became overactive mentally. In hindsight, I believe that was my psyche, rebelling against the feeling of being imprisoned. Little did I know, these specific circumstances would later become the compelling force behind painting a piece representative of events at that time.
I created COVID’s Gift with the intent of generating open supportive dialogue. It serves as a reminder that we hold the power of our own personal freedom. Despite feeling alone and disjointed, we are connected. We’ve all been impacted by the pandemic and it’s fallout. We can all help one another heal. Much in the same way that diamonds are formed from the process of undergoing high stress and pressure, humans have been gifted with the capability to take a seemingly destructive situation and turn it into something good.
"See yourself as the light that will truly light the world. Declare yourself to be so. Announce it to your heart, and then, through your heart, to everyone. Let your actions be your announcement. Fill your world with love" Neale Donald Walsch.
Now let’s go find our diamond!!