:: Article

Fig Meant #1

“It is the year of fear. Good fear and facing it.

I have been afraid but not like this. This is a tingling sense of fear; the fear that comes when you are ready to step out of your comfort zone and tackle the world in all its uncontrolled and unknown glory. It is a time of courage and cutting the strings of everything familiar and safe. It’s time for practicing the fact that life is the greatest form of art and it’s been fermenting for a long while.

Not the “fuck everything and run” fear; the “feel the fear and do it anyway slash leap and the net will appear fear.”

I don’t have to understand things and I am ready to play with fire, walk across it strong and unyielding. It doesn’t matter if the cards are stacked against you on paper or in logic, as long as you feel the inherent itch to fling yourself, you must. After a long time of securing the soul, you know you can, and you can gracefully.

I am embarking on a new sense of life after being a mom for 18 years and sticking to my geographic circle where days became years towards fortifying my daughter’s core. I have been like Michelangelo in his wooden box with his piece of marble, day after day, making sure my creation had the proper nutrients while I stayed single mindedly focused on that outcome. During this time I wrote and made art and had two long-term relationships but it wasn’t until the last few years that I wholeheartedly became myself. I learned that life is the greatest form of art; thus my new venture into documenting this new era of flight. I am free and the world is my oyster.

1. Do not buy anything except for reading materials, art supplies, clothing, food and drink, and travel expenses.
2. Dance whenever I get the chance.
3. Stay home more.
4. Cook.
5. Mind my words. Only say and do what I mean and intend. Nothing else.
6. Work out daily to cultivate a strong presence on this earth.
7. Only enter into relationships whether casual or serious with people who can communicate and are healthy and maintain a passionate respect for life, wasting not a single minute on platitudes for others but a brash and ballsy swan dive towards authentic reality.

Seems pretty simple.

I find an accidental lover and it is nice. It is new. It is different than anything I am used to but it’s more real than not. It is now and that is what I focus on, enjoying the experience without needing to know of an outcome. Like art, it is spontaneous and genuine but also completely unbounded by prior knowledge.

San Francisco is full of light. Louis Vuitton stores are three hours late with their Dan Flavin-esque tubes of color in the window displays and the neon is opaque rather than ethereal but they are trying and the unquestionable influence of the art world is the notion that sticks pleasantly. James Turrell is communing with the sun in the Southwest and fashion is still playing with the crayons. I buy a cinder block surrounded by a three dimensional square of neon light by Nathaniel Rackowe from a friend who is the owner of the most progressive gallery in town.

The first piece of art that I found stunningly beautiful until I ventured beneath the story (only to find it poignantly beautiful) were the images of Ana Mendieta’s that lined a wall in Chicago’s DCA Museum during a photography show that I felt privileged to catch. All of my favorites, some new, and my introductory vision of Ana’s nature/spirit collision photographs. Each separate piece was of a beach scene where a body shape was hollowed into the damp mud near shoreline. But it wasn’t your typical chalk crime scene form; it was as if a person had plopped face and belly first into the land. Death and life enveloped each other in the eerie powdered pigments of deep red, earthen ochre, and cadmium yellow that peppered the concave-ness.

The form enveloping an insinuant story was the basis of my lust for Sherin Guirguis’ work as well. Egyptian-born, her work involves cutting the traditional Middle Eastern patterns of mesh and scroll and tradition into wood and/or paper to create beautiful veils within an overall work that is connotative of various bomb clouds: the H, the atom, etc. The cut out sections are reminiscent of the veil the women in these areas wear covering their personalities; too scary in their potential domination towards love and good will and education. The work portrays a subconscious fear that is born of knowing and consistency; one that numbs to the background yet forever looms clear in the outpourings of the artist’s psyche.

All of us walking around with certain undertones: a.k.a. the fruits of the ideological ego wars of existence.

What we become as a result of that is important.

My friend Steve and I did a car exchange recently so he could cart art with my square box on wheels and I felt incredibly sexy driving home in his sleek, silver BMW with his wife’s high heels discarded on the passenger seat floor along with a script she’d been practicing, her parts highlighted in yellow. It was a notice of experience and the various kinds that exist when one doesn’t look for—one just yields to and enjoys—the flow of existence opening up like a lotus blossom.

On the way home from San Francisco at the tail end of gay pride, (both David Byrne AND Wilco gave credence to the historical weekend in Greek ampitheatre shows) I noticed two lesbians sitting in a bar at a high table, playing cards while waiting for the same plane as me. As I sipped my merlot, feeling ready for bed, I felt comforted in the fact that they had their game to fall into between them.

Sitting outside my center is the basis of the fear year. After finally finding that grounded middle, I am ready to add to it’s perimeter, to mushroom out the circle towards a more global integrity.”


Kimberly Nichols is a writer/artist living in the California desert. Her column Diary of a Californicator was a long-running 3A.M. original and she’s the author of a book of literary fiction titled Mad Anatomy. She writes on art/politics/culture for publications around the world, is consistently at work on her perpetual conceptual art project Hundred Proof Bordello and dances every chance she gets.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Wednesday, July 1st, 2009.