Into the night. 17 ½ x 23 1/4
You have to go to the storytellers to hear the stories. John Hwang does just that. He takes off into the night into the streets of Skid Row and befriends the storytellers. They are not telling stories for his or our amusement they are merely sharing their lives with the one person who will listen. I’ve talked to John. The way he listens and asks questions and jokes…the encounter was like a rare treasure. His gentle sincerity is like a balm. I can only imagine the joy left in the hearts of those whose stories were listened to, that were told, in the night.
‘Into the night’ was a class project where we had to play with scale. I saw two different pictures on Johns FB page and I immediately thought to merge them into one. I thought it looked cool. The more I study the composition, and look at the painting the more I realize it was successful at capturing a portrait of John. Yes, I think it looks cool, but the success is a moment of John, and his camera, going. And that’s what he does. He goes. The hands focusing the camera in on a small faceless person. The skater-John, his relaxed demur, just skating. Skating into the night to make new friends, hear stories.
This painting was the first painting I did with a squirrel hair mop brush. I haven’t quit using them since. I loved the way I could lay the color washes down and how the color blended together so easily.
Where it is now:
When I messaged John and asked if I could paint I knew that if it came out I would give the painting to him. I have a framed Giclee hanging in my studio that I cherish. It is a reminder to me in my painting to loosen up, and to not stay holed up here- but to get out and be that person who will listen and ask good questions and joke with people. We need more of that in the world.
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All proceeds will go to support Skid Row Stories.
©Julia Hayashi 2015