The Method Makers

Jonathan By Akira Beard March 30 2016

“I’m not just talking about my wife, I’m talking about my life. I can’t seem to get that through to you. I’m not just talking about one person, I’m talking about everybody, I’m talking about form, I’m talking about content, I’m talking about interrelationships. I’m talking about God, the devil, hell, heaven.

There are a number of things that I love about drawing, but what i’ve grown to love most is it’s simplicity. How it can be done anytime, anywhere. I don’t even have to bring my own materials because wherever I find myself, there is likely to be paper and pen or pencil. Beyond that, all that is required is an interest to draw.

I’ve done it from nearly the very beginning. Drawing pictures before I learned to write the alphabet. And between then and now, regardless of every circumstance I found myself in I never abandoned it for once. I feel lucky thinking about it sometimes. Because there were so many situations where I was on the edge of leaving this practice of creativity. Expression. Falling into those external experiences that took me to places which felt far outside to myself… both high and low. The polarity of ecstasy such as falling in love, and hardship where I’ve almost died. Both easily could distract anyone, understandably, from such things as making pictures. But not I. I honestly can’t tell you why, but I made pictures of those experiences also. While they were occurring. We all go through our lives going through any number of changes with time. Throughout it all, we are vulnerable to a cycle of gain and loss. I’m no exception to anyone when looking back on life, and reminiscing on what any that once was. I’ve lost plenty, and will lose more. Its just the way reality is. Yet one thing that has remained throughout is the act of creativity.  Its a blessing in the face of that bleak reality that I come to hear from others in their confidentiality so too often. That is, if you took away the daily obligation of making a living, there isn’t much more meaning in waking each day and going out into the world other than wanting to feel stimulated in whatever vice tickles one’s fancy. But with the creative practice of drawing alone, do I experience an absolute autonomy. I don’t need anyone’s approval for the motivation to make marks on paper. Love for the act alone is the guiding force. If I were in prison, or in absolute solitude in some desert, I know with unshaken certainty I would be doing just the same as it is being done now.. putting pen to paper.

I struggle with motion sickness wether in car, on boat, or in an airplane. I recently went from coast to coast by train however, and found myself writing and drawing from necessity that comes in moments of insight and inspiration that I dare not waste. Even if it means feeling a bit nauseated. This wasn’t the case however. After almost fifty hours, I was hours away from reaching my destination in California when just on the Nevada border a small group of young men in matching grey sweatsuits, yellow envelopes, and small garbage bags entered the train. It was obvious if not by their uniformity, that by their energy they were of an accessional type. They were freshly released ex convicts. Just before this, an attractive young woman was on her cell phone talking loud enough where I could hear her talking to a friend on the phone how she felt so alone on this trip. Then 2 of these felons occupied the seat in front of her, and her voice lowered completely. It was overtaken by these 2 men, having an entertaining conversation which the whole coach could here. One of them was a gang member based on the contents of his speech. Although physically intimidating, I felt scared in the slightest for the impression I received from them was a joyous one. They appeared happier than anyone on this trip on our coach car, exuberant maybe with their new found freedom. If I had some alcohol in me, I could see myself overcoming any intimidation and joining them. But I kept sober in my seat, and began to draw. Although drawing, the focus was on what one of the convicts was saying aloud on a cell phone that one of the passengers was kind enough to offer. I also thought about the poor girl that sat behind them, quiet suddenly and hiding until her stop was to come. Although not a photograph by far, playing with the moment produced a drawing from it.