about Quest Barely
"If you imagine someone who is brave enough to withdraw all his projections, then you get an individual who is conscious of a pretty thick shadow. Such a man has saddled himself with new problems and conflicts … Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own shadow he has done something real for the world. He has succeeded in shouldering at least an infinitesimal part of the gigantic, unsolved social problems of our day."
"To confront a person with his shadow is to show him his own light."
~ two quotes by Carl Jung
And now a little word from me ...
Look, the body should not be a big deal, right? But in this upside-down world, it is. I mean, people regularly watch movies and TV shows about murder and death while their kids play "classic" board games like Clue where the fun lies in figuring out "Who killed who with what, in what room?" ... Whee!
And yet the human body is the problem. Sure, OK.
We need to face facts: The human body is natural - period, end of sentence. (It's all the horrible stuff that we do to our environment and to each other that is unnatural.) So my work is designed to help us remember this one thing, being OK about our bodies and ourselves. Because - as I recently said somewhere - we are our bodies. This whole thing about our body only being a vehicle for our soul is exactly the kind of rhetorical ridiculousness that continues to separate us from our natural selves. Our body is our self.
But of course we are our inner spirit, too. So it's both of these things, together, that make use who we are. And yet this is a message that is almost never heard.
When I started this work around 2012 or '13 my idea was simple, to give the body a voice. This was so curious to me: why for thousands of years we've seen artistic nudes, and yet to this very day we are are still stuck in black-and-white thinking about our own humanity. What I mean by this is that we either view the naked body as a sensualized / sexualized object, with no voice whatsoever, as if there is no humanity inside the human form ... or we do allow ourselves to hear intellectual ideas from someone, but only if they are "not a body," only when they are "properly clothed."
But this either/or version of humanity (that a person can only be a body or a mind - that we don't want to hear ideas from porn stars, and we don't want to see our intellectuals naked) only perpetuates this separation. The separation of "the church of intellect vs. our natural state of being," if you will. Yet keeping these two things separate keeps us from seeing who we really are. We go through life like someone with multiple-personalities, constantly changing identities depending on where we are and what we are doing, like being at work, visiting a nude beach, praying in a synagogue, playing sports or having sex. ("Now I am my brain ... Wait, now I am my body ... Oh! Now I am my spirit ... Oh no, wait, now I am my body again!")
Our art reflects this schism, too. We objectify the human form, revering its exterior, yet still denying that there is an actual person inside. Tell me, why is the human form in a museum considered beautiful ... but a naked person in a museum - conscious and friendly, speaking their mind, not harming a soul - considered vulgar or obscene or inappropriate? (This is just a rhetorical supposition - I am not saying to do this.) But my artwork does do this, and I think that is why my images both jolt and inspire. My work gives voice to a body we are all taught should be mute. And, conversely, my work reveals the human body behind an intellectual/philosophical voice. The two get to be one.
So anyway, after creating this work for a while, I eventually compiled the best of these images into a body-positive / personal-inspiration book, which ended up being not just about the photo art images I created, but was expanded to included many essays I had written, too. This actually makes perfect sense: the impact of my book comes not just from my body, but from my ideas as well.
Two years after my book came out, I finally decided to move to the West Coast - from the East - which is something I've always wanted to do. But while it was very exciting and unbelievable to finally to live in California, it was also highly disruptive. It took a lot effort to rebuild my life from scratch in a brand new place. A lot. But now that I've been here a few years and have gotten my basic needs in place, I have recently started feeling the old stirring to return to this work. So I looked to my inner-self once again and asked, "I'm sorry, what exactly was it you were trying to say?"
The answer to that question is my new website and Twitter feed, under the umbrella of "Quest Barely." Why this name?Well, I always feel I am on a quest ... and the quest is to try to bare, to bring to light, everything about being human that I possibly can.
So Quest Barely is the latest version of the thing I'm still being called to share, these 8 or so years later. It's the continuation of my original quest to show the inner self and the outer self as one, to remove shame from the body, to combine fun and philosophy, to remind us that we are all here on a journey of self-acceptance, and - lastly - to say to everyone that this is a quest: that it's OK to not be all the way there yet, that it's even OK to be lost. That's what happens on quests, we get lost. Quests are never perfect. And besides, it's in the wrong turns that we find our greatest lessons.
So just remember: We are all walking the same path together, whether we know it or not. We're all in this together.
So enjoy the journey, have some coffee, love yourself, love your body, look out for your neighbor, help each other out a bit ... and help each other stay awake. We all need it.
Oh, yeah. And be you ... exactly as you are.
Ok, I think that's more than enough for now,
~ Quest Barely, everyone!