24x30 Actylic/ Resin/ Glitter on canvas.
It is beyond flattering and validating when people that have positively and profoundly influenced my perception of art in the world and what that means to commission a piece of my art.
How could I ever come up with something good enough for a person that has dedicated so much of his life and time to writing performance art for a kid like me?
Because of his art I learned how to have things in common with people that are all working really hard towards something. I learned to cake my face in glitter. The legacy is endless, and this painting is a gateway to what that legacy, even if for an instant, would look like, contained in a space when you feel it.
1987 was the year specifically that he performed and won a medal. But the 30-year legacy and thousands of people taught and impacted in that process is the real win.
I have always wondered if people that write music realize the extent that their art is immortalized. How if for that one song they created they can possibly contain the scope of the millions of life instances and memories that each individual listener experiences.
I wonder the same for you.
I wonder if some seasons stick out more than others. If you have a favorite show or a signature aspect you did in every show. I wonder if it stayed fun and what kept you going all of those years. I was just sitting here imagining what it must have been like to work full time, go to school full time, and coach a winterguard full time. The level of passion and commitment that must have taken.
In my mind when I think back to those years I can still smell the chlorine in the gyms we practiced in. Hear the unwrapping of a sandwich from 711. I can feel the glitter caked on my face and how tight the little butterfly clips pinched the cornrows we put in our hair. Late nights of practice, early mornings of practice. Half assing the pilates in the band room. Listening to Des’ree doing across the floors. The feeling and smell of my gloves, the exact slope of the ramp in Dayton. I still remember trying to learn how to do a drop spin, thinking I would never get it. I can still remember vividly sleeping in very old classrooms in schools in Wisconsin, and certain splices of run-throughs before shows that are so vivid and concise they almost knock me over.
We had matching gray fleece zip hoodies (woobies) and the 24 footed pastel colored stuffed worms that laughed. I went to a guard competition in Vegas a few years ago. It struck me that 1. I was old enough to be their parents and 2. You just get to a certain age and you don’t get to have matching things with a big group of people anymore. There are so many things that have taught me in life, and then when I get older and look back it’s like it all teaches me again, from a different perspective.
Thank you for teaching me how to create art under pressure by showing me that people do it every day, and for decades for that matter. Even when it isn’t all about them. I didn’t go to my first art museum until I was 28. I still don’t know anything about art - I only know how to make it - and when it gets difficult, and I feel completely blank - I remember people like you. You gave so much and your legacy that exists in the memories of thousands is something that you created based on what was given to you. You are a legend. Not just because of the talent and delivery of your craft - but just like music - it’s in the memories that you facilitated for so many.
Not just the members of your organization but their connections to their families. It is beyond any prelims score, finals win, medal of any color. Giving people the structure to perform, and to connect over something that is positive.
Life is life and that can be brutal. But a few times in a lifetime someone shows you a gateway - that if you walk through and get involved with it - the illumination of movement, circumstance and being a part of becomes some of the best memories in life.
Specifically, I wanted this painting to be really graceful, because the very first time I ever saw you you were dancing. I had never seen someone move like you could. It literally stopped me, and I mean that. Secondly - I never felt special growing up. Like wah it doesn’t matter but I didn’t. I will never ever ever ever forget the day we were all at some mall in a city. We had all split up, and when we met back up you gave me a gift.
It was a blue astroturf purse with a pink and green butterfly on it from hot topic. “It is perfectly you. It looks like something you would really love.”
It is one of the nicest gifts I have ever been given, and it has always stayed with me. It was such a random act of kindness that brought us both so much excitement. So I wanted to use a similar color palette. Because there is so much you have given to so many beyond performance art. It’s the way that you made people feel a part of and included. So thank you for asking me to bring the grace, movement, shape, and color to your powerful and important legacy to life in a piece of art. I am honored.
When you see this painting - every time she catches your eye - please be reminded of the gateway into a brighter and more glimmering world that you created for all of those years, for so many people. Everything shifts, changes, and sparkles in her space - seemingly at random - just not when you step back and really feel the bigger picture.
I always hope that within my best work, you know your best work. I hope you always know that you did the most you could have possibly done, and it made all the difference. 1987 was the year you performed and won it all, but looking back at the bigger picture - at the legacy, you have created well. That is the real win, the real medal. Everything you gave is the real win because if we’re lucky we live long enough to really embody the knowledge that it is in the giving that we receive.
Thank you for trusting me to custom create something I am so proud of based on where individual parts of our life experiences intersected. Thank you for inspiring this work with your talent, giant heart, structure, and the kind of gate into sight of what it looks like when giving and creating is winning.