The Remarkable Influence of Others

I woke up this morning to the sound of the rain pelting the bank of skylight windows above my bed. A few leaves have begun to fall and dapple the window. There is a cold dampness that fills my room and I know fall is suddenly upon me. It was one of those mornings I just didn’t want to get out of bed, to just lie in the softness of my soft sheets, snuggled beneath the warmth of my down comforter. There is something about mornings like this where you suddenly become keenly aware of everything that surrounds you and you want to just wrap yourself in the moment and savor it. This has been the year of sudden season change, two days ago it was hot and in the eighties. I also see that the sudden change not only has applied to the weather this year, but to myself as well. As I lay in bed I thought what another remarkable year I have had. I never dreamed past 30, nor past 40 and now, to find myself again at this age when I thought for sure I had lost my way. I am beginning to see there are mysterious internal forces that guide us toward some sort of salvation. I am not a religious person and don’t believe in a redemption in the hereafter. My grandmother used to say, that hell is what we create for ourselves here on earth and I suppose in some cosmic way I have inherited her idealism for living in the moment, but the booze got the best of her and she killed herself at 42 in 1963. From the stories I have heard she was a woman far ahead of her time who had reached the prime of her existence and could no longer confront the passing of her youth. Better to die young and leave a beautiful corpse sort of thing, so much good that does her now. I, somehow always thought I would follow in her footsteps. Perhaps it has made me an over achiever to make up for what she had lost.

The other night I was looking through some of the books that I have collected over the years of male erotic art. I was showing Thor some of the artist who inspired me and as he opened them up, he would say, “Here is one of your images, here’s another, and another, and another.” Though I did not copy the images their impressions were unmistakable in the foundation and influence of my own collection. I had not looked at many of these image for quite some time, but I definitely saw the influence of so many great artists I admired and adored in these images and I realize how much their influence had somehow seeped into my subconscious and guided me toward my own process of creation. And as we read the text and bios, Thor remarked, This almost describes you to a T.” It suddenly dawned on me that I have become the master of what I dreamed so long ago. That I now stood with all the artists I so admired, adored. I spent hours looking through their images; “The Male Nude” drawings of Paul Cadmus, the photographic complexity of Minor White, the extraordinary light of Fred Holland Day and Caravaggio, the unabashed boldness of Robert Mapplethorpe, the theatricality of George Platt Lynn and the remarkable mythic beauty of Anthony Gayton. I suddenly see this year I have realized a dream and that others now look to my images for their sorts of inspiration. Julian Cameron writes in her book “The Artist Way” about how an artist must always be filling their creative well, collecting inspiration that can feed them. My entire life has been about filling that well, apparently to the point of overflow, because it keeps spilling out all over most of you. So though the seasons have changed and the rain is still pelting my darkened windows the studio is full of a warm glow of what I have achieved and become and a life I thought was once over has only begun.

“Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a dark forest
For the straightforward path had been lost”

The opening Canto in Dante’s Divine Comedy: The Inferno, as translated by Henry W. Longfellow

One thought on “The Remarkable Influence of Others

  1. BDSpellman

    >what a wonderful moment of epiphany for you. And it's true–your work has become as inspirational as that of the masters you studied before.

    Well done, my friend.

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