This is my first post for my new blog Boondocks Babylon. As readers of Babylon Baroque are aware of I have moved from Los Angeles to a backwater outpost of San Diego , El Cajon ( I had thought San Diego provincial enough, I hadn’t a clue how cowboy East County was). El Cajon I believe translates to mean the box or something like that. Aptly named as one can certainly feel boxed in. As is true of much of our fine country many folks are unhappy and broke, it appears El Cajon is the epicenter of angry white folks, quite annoyed with lots of brown people sucking the life out of our nation-or so goes the rhetoric. Obviously this was not the sort of environment that was familiar when we lived in the westside of LA, I used to bitch and moan about the vapid conversations, the banal consumption of luxury goods and of course the well known shallowness.
Goodness I miss all that. Instead of lovely boys and girls flashing ridiculously perfect smiles I encounter the most dreary angry folks around, greying, becoming increasingly doughy and all around pissed off ; they have turned Crunch gym ( YES there is a Crunch in El Cajon, who would have imagined!) into a red-necked biker bar. It is all terribly dis-spiriting at times.
We wouldn’t have made such a drastic move if it wasn’t necessary, my mother-in-law is increasingly in need of attention, financially and emotionally, after experimenting with other options this has turned out to be the most viable solution. The husband still has his practice in Beverly Hills and he schlepps “home” to our little gated community on the weekend, a cul -de- sac with pretensions of Orange county grandeur. So that is the back story, the upside is I have been given tremendous liberty to paint, after 20 years of servile commissioned work for interior decorators, I am tickled to finally have this opportunity. As much as I may gripe about my situation, when I am in the Little Hermitage ( my studio and the name of my first house which is another story), with hummingbirds visiting my garden and snoring pugs at my feet it is quite heavenly. That is when I must feel gratitude and believe I am in the right place at the right time.
I am increasingly close to the half century mark, as an artist I have very little to show for it. As I mentioned I have worked for designers who have essentially used my abilities to suit their needs and their “vision”, I was quite literally a tool- a paintbrush with arms and legs. It wasn’t at all a pleasant experience, one that has left me a bit resentful but more specifically sad that I have wasted so much time. I am trying to race against time and create a body of work that I can feel proud about, one that reflects my interests and exploits my limited skills. I am self taught, still learning, often struggling.
This new blog will be my attempt to record this period, my Second Half. Here in suburbia, most frequently isolated save for pups and the mother-in-law, trying to put in studio time and make something of myself.
Please wish me luck.
Until next time,
Above mentioned pugs, mid snore, Viola on left, Rose on right.