Sunday, January 30th, 2011, and I am finalizing my pack up for the excursion to the ranch. Simultaneously I am feeling much like the new book I'm reading, given to me by the foreman of the Slaughter, called "Brutal Journey", written by Paul Schneider, detailing the first crossing of North America by Narvaez and Cabeza de Vaca. Roughly the trip from Lockney, in the Texas Panhandle, to the Slaughter Ranch, southwest of Sanderson, is a shade over 400 miles, the last thirty of which are through dirt roads and rural pasture lands, cliffs, creeks, and desert mountain vistas. And much like Narvaez, my ship is in poor condition and I am overloaded, as always, with the expectation that motivation will meet precisely in time with opportunity and that art will be produced. This, however, is always an idea of hope in the mind of a broke, over invested artist much as it was the same for the conquistadors of the 1500's. I, like them, must believe in the unbelievable and insist this is God's plan for glory and success in my career, although Narvaez never returned and Cabeza de Vaca was only one of four survivors out of more than six hundred who ever made it back to Spain. That's encouragement.
Even so, I carry supplies to an area of Texas that is certainly the most rural of outposts, even Redford had a town just 15 miles away. But under the circumstances of my capabilities there are only a few choices I can make: 1.Take this job ranching and hold the potential for art making 2. Apply for master's schooling with art making coupled with treacherous financial deficit and deficiency 3. Return to the highway and trucking with no promise of art or life and little money (not too short of prison). Sometimes I'd trade the struggle for the ladder, but the conquistador inside me just won't settle for it. I'd press on into the mouth of unknown oblivion chest up, head high, looking to the Almighty to make the way before me although it likely leads me to intensified struggle and ultimately death, much like it did Narvaez. My only hope is that once the layers of time have been peeled away, my art will find it's way alive, out of the void like the record keeping of Cabeza de Vaca, and live on to tell the story.
There are a lot of similarities between the artist and the conquistador, a lot of similarities in the journey, like mice feeding on supplies below deck. Include me in your petitions to the Lord, I will need them. Thank you.
Links to my artwork
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