from Vikki in Australia
Good even'n mr Steven sir. My names Vikki and I'm in year 12 and close to finishing my TEE which i'm struggling greatly with. Anyway I found your site while pouring through meaningless drivel that search engines provide. Anyway I was wondering If it would be possible for you to give me a bit of insight into your art and your views about Christianity as I've selected you as one of my art influences. In particular could you please refer to your image Lost Love? This would be a great help to me as I would like to know if my theories and evaluations are correct.

Vikki - Lost Love was a framed poster/print i bought at a rummage sale next door at Zion Church - think it cost me 50 cents.

i like to buy 'tacky' or 'kitschy' or 'too-sweet greeting card" type of scenes and alter them.

Lost Love was special because it was a pretty decent image to begin with, but it just didn't quite work. too much white space left the strong eyes unbalanced. so i painted the plastic gold frame an iridescent blue and covered it with torn dress patterns - which is one of the best collage tricks because depending how you glue them down can be transparent or opaque, + you can glue them face down so the words showing are backwards + you can glue them down quickly and sloppily to create a textured background.

next i turned Lost Love face down and poured a few of my mixtures of water-based paints - in this case iridescent and fluorescent - over the back of the piece so they would ooze thru and stain the front. this is a very dangerous technique because it's more chance than control, and you can easily ruin it. i've been incredibly lucky.

in the original print, the red and yellow around the eyes, the red lips, the non-wavy red blush on the cheek, and the black of the eyes was the only color . . . all the wavy, uneven stuff is mine.

the piece has absolutely nothing to do with christianity or religion or the soul - it's a comment on the pain love causes, or the pain we cause but blame on love. it's also a sly comment on the vacuity of our sentimental greeting card world and the shallowness of folk who buy pretty art in colors and sizes to match their living room furniture. it is also simply a very beautiful and haunting image which dozens of folk have tried to buy and i finally gave it away for $100 to a gentle special lady co-worker who hung it in her bedroom so it's the first thing she sees on awaking.

as for christianity - my father who was a christian scientist told me when i was 11 that while he didn't believe in it, i had to start attending our small country church so i could make up my own mind. here's an excerpt from the Mark Weber interview (you should read the interview, the cover story, and my mutant bio if you want to know about me):

What religion were you brought up with? Are you spiritual?

Walked a mile to little 2 room wooden protestant church. Preacher was weekday carpenter and his wife and 3 children made up 15 percent of the congregation. He let me lead the singing. I'd have them sing Xmas songs in summer, Easter songs at Xmas. Always searching I became Buddhist in San Francisco in '66.... still say my Nam Myoho Renge Kyo chant every day but waffle on belief. Tried the psilicybin, mescaline, LSD, MDA, DMT road to much avail. Believe all is illusion: one can walk on water with right mindset.

i've read most of the bible, maybe even all of it. i read extensively all types of spiritual literature such as Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, the Upanishads, the role of the Trickster in American Indian lore, world myths, etc. what i no longer do is read anything by any group who say only they are the way, only they have the answer - this completely lets out any organized religion, all of whom seem to have ossified into innumerable yet inseparable and insufferable pockets of dogmatic stupidity.

anyway back to the country church. at one point i got on my knees and accepted christ. still felt small, alone and guilty - i guess god didn't feel like answering yet. later in high school i read Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" and her 90 page tirade against the concept of the church and original sin convinced me i was an atheist. in san fransisco in 1966 i signed on as a buddhist and pretty much have been saying my "nam myoho renge kyo" chant every day since . . . i use it as a 'thank you' to reality, as a reminder to walk a higher path, as a way to calm down. even later in the late 1960s and my hippie days which i've never quite abandoned, i started reading the Carlos Castenada Don Juan series which greatly influenced me for a short while.

basically i'm seeking inner light AND ESPECIALLY inner peace. getting better at it but ain't nowhere near there yet. i try not to spread hate and anger, try to smile and say thank you because it really does make people feel better both inside and out. like water ripples - whatever you seed, you spread and recoup.

bottom line - my life is an on-going mutually respectful playful collaboration with reality - and whatever reality is, it is pliable, aware, and has one hell of a great sense of humor.

anyway, thank you for asking. good luck.

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