What Will People Think

What Will People Think 18 X 48

There is a huge difference between who we are, and who we think we are.

We are all familiar with the tired movie plot about the oddball that is rejected by the group, only to prove to be the salvation of the group during a crisis at the end of the movie.  The quirky kid that has a lot to offer but nevertheless is ostracized from the “cool table” in the high school cafeteria.  The goth girl with mad dancing skills that is rejected by the cheerleaders, until a cheerleader falls ill before the “big competition”. They then reluctantly let the oddball join the team and she wins it all for the team that rejected her.  The quiet guy that is ignored by the coach until the “big game”, then in an act of surrender or desperation the coach puts him in and he reveals previously overlooked superstar skills that bring victory for the team.

When watching a movie, you can easily see the toxic nature of the tribal nature of our society.  It is easy for you to kid yourself into thinking you are better than that, that you would not be so rude as to turn your back on someone that chooses a slightly different path.

The truth is quite different.  Shunning and ostracizing those that are different is alive and well in our modern society, and in our schools and neighborhoods. For group membership to have value there have to be those that are excluded from the group, and the exclusions have to be enforced by the group members.

And that exclusion is ugly.

There are two components to this social bullying.  First, the tribe ignores and belittles the positive qualities of those that are deemed not fit to join the group. The second, and more damning aspect of this behavior, is turning a blind eye to the misdeeds and bad behavior of those in the group.

The title,” What Will People Think”, has no question mark because it is not a question, it is a challenge. The resident of the house does not care what people think, rather the house was uniquely painted to make people think.

The painting is intended to make people think about the disconnect between who they are and who they think they are.  When watching a movie, you sympathize with the outsider and clearly see the group behavior is toxic.  Yet, day to day, do you see it as clearly? Which table are you sitting at?

Image and Text © 2017 James Golaszewski

Rock Star

Rock Star 6 X 41

In the daytime, when the bright sky casts a protective canopy over the landscape, it is easy to forget that we are living on a planet hurtling through space in a universe occupied by an uncountable number of stars, planets, asteroids, comets… and who knows what.

On a clear night, the big blue curtain is cast aside and the reality is revealed, it becomes apparent that we are not alone and we are part of the infinite. I find the effect to be both calming and unsettling at the same time.

It often makes me wonder if there is life somewhere out there. There are two options. Life exists only on earth, in which case the fact that earth dwellers are the only living things in such a vast universe makes me wonder what we are supposed to be doing with such a special gift. Or, there is life out there somewhere, which makes me wonder what the other life forms are like, what are they doing, and are there artists among them?

I do not quite understand the science behind it, but the moon always seems larger than life when it first rises above the horizon. It always makes me feel as if Mother Nature is putting on a show just for me, and it is what inspired this painting.

I almost titled this painting “The Light Side of the Moon”, in reference to the classic Pink Floyd Album, “The Dark Side of the Moon”. After tossing it around in my head for a while (there is plenty of room in there…), I decided to go with the title that was in my mind as I painted this piece, “Rock Star”. The title, “Rock Star”, is a play on words. In a literal sense, the moon is a big rock, yet it shines in the night sky brighter than any star. Taken another way, the title is intended as a reference to the way the moon dominates the sky. Like a true “Rock Star”, the moon knows how to make an entrance.

Image and Text © 2017 James Golaszewski

No Worries

No WorriesNo Worries

Many of the “happiness gurus” tell us that the secret to happiness and contentment is to live our lives “in the moment”.  We are told that worrying about the uncertainty of the future is a waste of time, and agonizing over mistakes and missteps in our past is a waste of energy.  They preach that true happiness lies in the here and now.

If you think about it, you quickly realize that the only thing that is real is this moment, right now.  Everything else is an illusion, a memory, or a mirage of what may me in the future.  The concept is easy to grasp, but how do you put it into practice?  I have been seeking the answer to this question for quite some time.

I was exploring an old barn on a beautiful July morning.  Even though exploring old barns is one of my favorite things to do, my mind kept wandering off in miscellaneous directions, rehashing old mistakes, and anticipating future problems.  Then I saw the cat.  The cat was serene and content.

In that moment I realized the cat had it all figured out.

The cat did not care what event in the past caused the window to be broken, nor did the cat worry that the broken window will allow foul weather to enter the barn at some time in the future.  The cats’ only concern was that, here and now, at that exact moment, everything was fine.  The broken window provided a cooling breeze, while at the same time the broken opening in the dirty glass created a good vantage point from which to observe the world.

The cat had “No Worries” as he waits on the windowsill, waiting for the Universe to deliver something amusing.

There is a Zen saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears”.  I had found my teacher.


Image and text © 2017 James Golaszewski