Light Pilots is a series of paintings that deal with grief and the loss of a parent. When one parent dies it can feel like both are lost. The other parent has to step up and fill both roles often leaving the children alone to accomplish the basic needs. Grief is not something this society allows space for, most people quietly have to figure it out on their own. In my case, it was a taught to be a sign of weakness, something you didn’t do. This body of work addresses the feeling of emotionally drifting in the void, unable to process reality, while being alone. Light is the guiding force throughout the series and through this light, positive directions/practices are shown.
My father was KIA (killed in action) as a Navy pilot when I was 11 months old. My Mother did her best to fill in the gaps, but her time was pulled away leaving us alone for long periods of time. During which I tried to teach myself lessons from both sides of the masculine/feminine hemispheres to try to complete the duality of being a human. I have been trying my best to figure out what it means to be a man ever since. With no positive male roll models I turned to the media, but that just created confusion & isolation. Not being able to deal with the loss of my Father my family chose not to talk about him, in essence wiping the memories away like he never existed. This further cut my connection with a half that could make me whole. My grandfather was also a Navy pilot & the expectations were for me to continue the legacy & become a 3rd generation pilot. As I grew up I realized I would never be able to fill these shoes. The closest thing I would ever become is a paper airplane pilot. Emotionally this is where the paintings take place.
Within the series a number of symbols are used: The pilot is a trifecta; it represents my father, myself, and the viewer or anyone who has dealt with grief & isolation. For that reason the pilot’s identity, gender, race, are left intently vague, like the space in which it floats.
I use the paper airplane as a symbol of innocent dreams & aspirations. They represent aspirations that we send out, hoping the dreams will take flight. Most have made and played with a paper airplane, it is a nostalgic representation of youth. It can also be a symbol of escape and imagination.
The graphics and numbers that surround the pilots are inspired from an A4 Skyhawk’s (my Dad’s plane) Altitude Indicator. (Like a compass this instrument is one of the most important, letting the pilot know where the ground is. If correct the arrows should point down like a W. If not it means the plane is upside down, a dangerous position to be in.) The numbers correspond with specific life moments, dates, or ages. The graphics symbolize people’s attempts to map out help in times of grief & isolation. They are symbols of directions through the ether, and help guide me in life.
The light represents hope and growth. Sometimes the answers you are looking for illuminate you, maybe for just a brief moment. Then there are the times they fill you with the warmth of an epiphany. Other times the answers are bursting from within you, shining for everyone to see. In all cases the light the becomes the pulling force. It is up to you to choose what to do with it.
Plunge 18x31 charcoal, acrylic, & aerosol on canvas. 2021
Descend 18x31 charcoal, acrylic, & aerosol on canvas. 2020
Thrown 31x18 charcoal, acrylic, & aerosol on canvas. 2020
Vortex 31x18 charcoal, acrylic, & aerosol on canvas. 2021
Trinity 18x30 charcoal, acrylic, & aerosol on canvas. 2021
Relinquish 18x30 charcoal, acrylic, & aerosol on canvas. 2021
Declination 18x30 charcoal, acrylic, & aerosol on canvas. 2021