the old guitarist - finn's original gravitarToday was a bittersweet day for me.

When I started playing around with Social Media tools, I used Picasso’s Old Guitarist as my gravatar – a filler till I decided whether or not I liked these tools.

But as with many things in my life, I got attached to the picture.

Then again, I’ve almost always been attached to the painting.

Growing up, my mama’s mama played the maternal role in me and my sister’s life. My mama played the paternal role as she worked and went to school, and my father “joined the merchant marines.”

Fought a lot with my mama’s mama. She wanted to make sure I never took my dad’s path. I wanted to make sure I never made my dad’s choices. We often disagreed on what that meant. Within our lack of understanding, our disagreements fostered a similar environment to what my father grew up in. And from that, I became just like my father in regards to our fear of domestication-related responsibilities:  he ran because domestication overwhelmed him when he hit a rough patch. I run from domestication out of fear of it overwhelming me – at least til I’m more secure in my career. Sad state of the economy at this time played is a mitigating factor.

One way or another, we become like our parents.

My mama’s mama was a painter, writer, sculptor. Even dabbled in stained glass. Ogden Gardens Community Church is still grateful. Whereas my Mecca sits on Clark and Addison, my mama’s mama’s mecca sits along Michigan avenue, guarded buy a couple lions.

It was 8:21 am, 4 minutes before I was about to brave the 6 inches of plains-blown snow which brightened the dulled facades of Denom U campus and head to the first class of my second semester. Weighed down my anxiety and Pleasant Valley misery, I was sliding on sandals when my mother called.

“Hi. I need to tell you something, but it’s alright.”

I felt it before I heard the news.

My sister came home the night before to find my mama’s mama suffering from a heart attack and stroke. Before I could adjust to the shock, my mom said to finish the school week out and then come home. Then whisked off the phone so I could class.

There are days when I wake up and still think I’m stuck in that 60-hour period between the time I got the call and the time I finally got to the hospital and at least see her presence.

Poetically, a month later my Fine Arts class, the class I was stumbling to when my mother called with the news, was taking a field trip to my mama’s mama’s Mecca.

The teachers gave us this sheet of things we had to find in the 3 hours we were there. So, me being me, I took the sheet to the information desk and had the lady there tell me where they all were at. Then me and a couple others had the next 2 hours and 50 minutes to do whatever. For book of blues references – this day marked the first of many adventures with one of the friends who inspired the character “Xavier.”

But in the short time we actually stayed in the Art Museum before sneaking out to gonzo along Michigan Ave, I had to go find Picasso’s Old Guitarist. I just learned about it a week or so before, and like so many before, I identified with it instantly. Since that day I used it for screen savers, pictures, logos. It was my endpoint. It reminds of that day on the phone. And it reminds me of what my mama’s mama tried to do with her life, of what she wanted both me and my sister to do: make everything beautiful.

In my room there hangs 5 of my mama’s mama’s paintings.

They’re my security blanket.

Like Picasso’s Old Guitarist.

The time was coming when my own social media presence was going to have to be used. So like with so many things in my life, I combined them. Sorta like when Picasso started over on the old guitarist and it looks like there’s a person hidden in the background…

Below is a sketch of my Twitter background. It is where my new gravatar derives. It is also the baseline for the site which is in redesign. Note the heavy amounts of blue.

I’m taking Picasso’s Old Guitarist wherever I go.

The theme, designed by Ryan Wake, is derived of 3 inspirations

  1. Picasso’s “Old Guitarist” – “El Guitarrista Viejo”
  2. Ft. Myers, Margaritaville

finn's twitter background - soon to be site design

And as for the third inspiration, well that’s for tomorrow.

Here’s a hint:  the site is a great place to be “sittin’ here, restin’ my bones,”

(Image of Picasso’s Old Guitarist is copyright of the Picasso estate You can find “La Guitarista Vieja” on display at the Modern Wing of the Art Institue of Chicago. Third floor. I probably still have sandal prints there from all the time I’ve stood in front of it. You can find a poster of it hanging in my bedroom and a little picture of it on my mother’s Picasso blue mantlepiece.)

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