I met Carmen Einfinger in New York in the summer of 1996. Carmen is a wild painter, a genius of color. That summer I spent many afternoons in the small East Village apartment Carmen shared with her filmmaker boyfriend while Carmen painted my portrait. In the end, I became yellow, red, green and orange and very tall.
In between posing, Carmen and I went to art shows and ate great food. Carmen told me about séances she’d attended as a child in Brazil. We talked a lot about painting. We listened to John Moran’s “The Manson Family: An Opera.”
In short, we had a blast.
Recently, Carmen took a trip to Tahiti, which inspired some amazing work. When I saw her ink and paper piece, “The Man Who Loved Looking at Sharks and Then Became One,” I knew I had to share it here. I loved the drawing, and the title sounded like the invention of a new myth. Carmen wrote to me about her creative process:
These images I do in my daily sketchbook come from a place of “this child” in me.
When I was young, my father was gone.
My mother was not around.
I was a child, but not this child.
This child now creates images from that lost place.
However, as much as these drawings are an expression of my lost child, they also are an expression of a lifetime of cultural and artistic development.
I believe that we have our own personal and a collective history. We keep imprints in our bodies from all our existences.
In the collective unconscious, these emotions express themselves as universal symbols creating then the universality of human emotions.
My image “The Man Who Loved Looking at Sharks and then Became One….” is a symbol for what we fear, expressed through the child in its purest primal unconscious state. The man who loves looking at sharks is aware of the danger: the shark could eat him up emotionally or physically. In order to avoid this, he must become a shark, so that he can eat the shark instead of being eaten. The child here speaks of the darker side of the shark, the one he fears.
If we are lucky and are able to live our lives without becoming fragmented, we can connect with this primal existence as many times as we wish.
I discovered this through my creativity.