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  • 365 faces - 143, 144

    I have to work. To make a living, but more so, to use my gifts, and to pay them forward.

    Since I was a little kid, art was all I planned to do: first as a fine artist, then a fashion designer, then… it turned into theatre, costumes, illustrations and paintings… and just doing whatever I can to leave my world more beautiful than I found it.

    I ended up being a themepark designer for the very top companies in the world. Trying to describe my job has been complicated: it takes several paragraphs to say all I do. But it fits me well.

    I like being Jack of many, master of some. I like meeting a wildly broad range of people, solving problems, dreaming up new stuff that hasn’t been done before. I like the intertwined puzzle of technology, design, and people. I like the hard work of making fun for others. What an amazing adventure. I see most of my career as my graduate school where I was paid well to learn!

    Still – while theme park design hits close to my heart, it misses bull’s eye. Themeparks bring joy for those who can afford it. Not everyone can. They are very expensive, canned fantasies; escapes from the real world that I find so much more interesting through the real people and surprises in it.

    And so on October 26, 2011 I came up with my Labor of Love: The 365 Faces Series that brings my life’s work back to my fine art origins. It came from desperation: by going freelance I lost my tribe and wondered in loneliness, was getting swallowed by technology – hours in front of my screen, and was disillusioned with too many design projects failing through due to our economic crash.

    Like so many, I was virtually in touch with more people than ever, but physically more and more isolated. I had to find my way back, and did it through unraveling the geography of human face. The paintings became my maps of expressions that help me read my fellow travelers and connect with them – in body and in spirit.

    And so, my labor of love tied me back to my community: new stories, new inspirations, new friends. By putting on a show of faces from my hometown that actually changed our world (artists, scientists, activists and artists) – I finally met my lifelong neighbors and made new friends.

    By inviting them into my art, I got some amazing new muses into my life: Leslie, Thao, Erik, Jorge, Milton, James and many others which have become our extended family. By looking, finally really looking around me I noticed so much good in people I thought I knew well, and even more in the ones I missed out on completely.

    I am so lucky! No matter how much, or little is in my bank account, I am in love with my work, because it helps me pay it back, and pay it forward to my family, friends and neighbors through my labor of love. And it is FUUUUN!

    Lucky indeed.

    P.S. The portrait above are my two Joyous J’s: My lifelong best friend Jane, and my new dear friend Jorge. We all share the same college. Jane & I met there a couple of decades ago and have been soul-sisters since. Jorge is a freshman, just starting out. Art-work brought them both into my life, making it so much richer.
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