“This journey has been like a roller coaster.”
During the last week, I completed the draft of my latest novel, DUST. I also finished a new painting. Amazing authors Marya Hornbacher and Darin Strauss recommended me for a Guggenheim in fiction. My agent gave me some encouraging news, and I had lunch with a VP/Associate Publisher of an A-list publishing company. On the same day, I got a call about a Senior Director position in the pharmaceutical industry.
It sounds thrilling, doesn’t it?
I’m on the ascending arch of a gigantic coaster. The anticipation is electrifying. I’m wondering if I should prepare to hold both arms up in the air and scream my guts out. I try not to focus on the inevitable drop ahead. It always comes in some form or fashion. Down, down, down, I go, and it’s terrifying. I’ve learned over time that the drop is easier to take if I scream bloody murder, if I let myself experience the absolute, pure emotion of it, the life. Doing so enables me to recover more quickly, and dig up the strength to embark upon the next ascent.
That crazy ride keeps me focused in an odd way. It’s delicately controlled. It’s an outlet. I’m in a seat with safety devices surrounding me. There’s a system, a balance, and a design. Before I mustered the bravery to get on that ride nearly twenty years ago, I was all over the place, spinning in a crazy, unsafe, circuitous world of emotion, ideas, and frustration. I didn’t know what to do with myself; I was getting nowhere.
My guest today, artist Dario Posada, says that painting keeps him sane. No matter what happens in his life, he must paint. It’s his big, beautiful coaster.
This week, as I drove toward the Trenton train station, heading to Manhattan to meet with my friend, the Associate Publisher, I asked myself, “What do I really want?”
See, during the course of that busy morning, I realized how much I miss my commute to work. I miss reaching over to take my travel mug out of the cup holder to the beat of my favorite tunes. I miss seeing interesting people day to day, and having a shared vision and mission. I miss being part of a team, and leading teams. I came to the conclusion that, at some point, I want all that back again, but wished I could find it within the publishing industry. Then I realized that if and when I do find it within a publishing house, it still won’t be a daily gig.
I’m a writer; I will always be alone in that role. And I also want to be alone. I need to be alone, submerged in my own internal world, with my words and the clicking sound of the keyboard. I need to reach for my coffee cup while feeling the ecstasy of a perfect sentence.
Below Dario talks about how he realized that painting is about more than just brush strokes and color. This week, I remembered that being a novelist is about more than a computer and words. It’s about expressing the experience of life and its exquisite complexity. The personal coaster I ride somehow illuminates humanity for me. It cracks open and teases apart layers and layers of preconceived notions and self-limiting ideas. It gives me something to chew on, and quenches my never-ending thirst.
Who knows what will happen next? But no matter what, I will keep writing. It keeps me sane. In the end, it’s the big, beautiful coaster I ride. It doesn’t need to look like yours.
What’s your story (in a nutshell)?
My first mural was done at the age 12. I painted Che Guevara. I didn’t even know who he was, but I liked his image. I was born in a poor country that was engaged in war (Colombia). I studied fine arts and environmental engineering. It took four years to convince myself that I should only be painting.
This journey has been like a roller coaster: Colombia, Germany, Spain, Italy, USA, Kenya. I’ve been in each of those countries, both legally and illegally. My paintings have always taken me further than I expected. She’s (the art/talent) stronger than me.
With regard to your current creative focus, was there an “ah-ha” moment you can tell us about?
In 1998, as I was leaving my house to take a painting to an exhibition that I had that same evening, one of my paintings fell out of the truck that was transporting it to the gallery. The canvas split in half. I didn’t know what I was going to do. The show was just minutes away. So I decided to sew it and put oil on top to cover the holes that could be seen from the sewing. That’s when I understood that the painting was more than just brush strokes and colors.
For you, is art more about creation or expression?
I believe art is an expression that has its on language.
How would you describe the life of a true artist?
A true artist is always sensitive and sincere to himself and everyone else.
Do you believe some of the various attributes related to being highly creative have caused you aberrations in life, helped you deal with life’s aberrations, or both?
By nature I’m a very aggressive person, Painting helps me channel my strength onto the canvas.
During difficult or challenging times in your life, does painting sooth or inspire you? Is it therapeutic in any way?
Going through tough times has never changed what I am painting–just the way that I paint. Something is happening, coming out onto the canvas.
I think people understand when they see the success. The best test that you can give them and yourself is by exhibiting your painting at an art gallery. People will see it differently than the way the see it at your studio.
Have you developed a specific creative process that enables you to meet your artistic goals? Where do most of your ideas come from?
No, I don’t have a process. I don’t know which painting will be the next one created or sold. My ideas come from everywhere.
What do you believe places an artist apart from his or her peers? An artist needs to be alone with his painting in order to create it. So many are highly talented, but what makes one stand out as truly gifted?
Discipline–meaning constantly working.
What is your primary motto or mantra in life? Why is this important to you?
Paint no matter what happens. It’s what keeps me sane.
Dario’s work is currently being shown at the Area 23 Gallery in Miami.