One Sunday night, I lay in bed, eyes closed. A stream of images came to me. I have this experience from time to time. Thousands of images flip by my mind’s eye for no particular reason, in no particular order, with no particular content. Usually, I just enjoy the show. The image in this painting, however, wouldn’t let me go. I don’t know why, it’s not a particularly great image or weighted with deep meaning. But there you have it.
I have been spending a lot of time looking at the paintings and drawings of Ben Shahn in books I ordered for my birthday in January. This comes after having visited the Keith Haring exhibit at the de Young back in December. I don’t know what the connection is between Keith Haring and Ben Shahn, but there it is. Some mysterious connection between the two artists that may exist only in my mind. Probably.
This image that I saw on that Sunday refused to leave me alone. It haunted me. The ghosts of Ben Shahn and Keith Haring urging me on. So I painted it. I’m not sure their spirits are fully satisfied. “I’ve done what I can,” I say to them, “This isn’t a Charles Dickens’ novel, after all, so please don’t rattle your chains and tell me mankind should be my business.”