First off, say hello to my fresh new cut by Derek Piekarski. He has been a great teacher to me over the years and it is always an honor to get a cut from him. Secondly, onto what this post is about, which is a difficult thing for me to summarize so I am just going to dive right into the middle.
Clients often ask me if I still paint, knowing that I studied art in college. Funny they always assume that I like to paint. I really never was much of a painter, unless you count the rough splashes of color (like above) that I incorporate into my word art, or the once-a-year, seven-hour-straight session where I lean over a canvas in some ungodly position until I have something that resembles enough of something. I was more into found art, using real materials, never representations. It is amazing I never ended up with any diseases from all the crap I dug out of hillsides and dumpsters. My work was always difficult to explain and frankly I found it exhausting and irritating to explain most of the time. Because if I wanted to explain it in words, I would have just wrote a poem. I could enjoy talking about my art if someone else could start a conversation with some indications that they understood or were trying to understand, but I don’t believe art should be “easy” necessarily and I don’t think I should ever have to sweat through an uncomfortable explanation for someone to just raise their eyebrows, say “Oh,” and walk away shrugging.
I write this post after just recently finishing a piece that I had started last summer. It was a word art piece, which is shown partially above. I began the piece when I was having a lot of negative feelings (and a bad attitude!) and was considering a lot of life changes. It also incorporated my current haircut at that point in time. It was a rough portrait with poetic rants filling large spaces with tiny writing. I thought I would never finish it, but I did just this past week.
I cannot look at it without feeling anger and disappointment.
The paint is dry. The ink is dry. I cannot change it. My words are stuck. Those feelings are stuck. It is static and unnerving. The overall silhouette is too blocky and odd. I wish I could start over. I try to tell myself it is just a portrait of a time and that it does not represent me anymore, but after so much work, how can I not feel any positive connection to it?
I look at the piece and think, I hope I never feel this way about my career. I hope I never take a step back and say, Whoa, where did I lose myself?
Art like this is too static. Therefore it can never be a pure form of self expression. The best it can show is a piece of a person, and often times it is so zoomed in that it becomes distorted. We are not statues, we waver, we fluctuate, we dissolve and then regroup. We change, we grow, we move.
Our hair says a lot about us. A good cut can reflect many different moods depending on subtle differences in styling and no one can deny how much a drastic change in a cut can push along change in a person’s life. Hair is remarkable because it can always be current and in line with a person’s feelings or attitudes during a particular time in their life.
When I cut hair, it is all about being in the present with the individual in my chair. It is freeing to know that they are not stuck with one style forever. And whatever style I give them will change form on its own. Hair is one of the most fascinating mediums because it does have such a life of its own. It moves its own way, curls its own way, there are always unique and different considerations. On some people, my job is more a game of compromising my desires with the desires of the hair.
It is exhilarating to be able to create a full piece of art in under an hour. And to know that that exact same head of hair will transform and grow in a month. There will be something new to work with, something new to create. The person will be in a different place in their life, even if the change is subtle. It is art that can move in the wind, art that can go swimming, skydiving, motorcycling, anything. It can interact with the world and the world can interact with it. Not like my lousy portrait that gives the same cold stare no matter what is thrown its way. No, hair is different, and it has the potential to be the best possible expression of a person’s life. Because it has life.