Shown here are 19 of my creative efforts of 2019

that are memorable to me in one way or another... 

2019 was the year I truly stepped up my antics, hurtling headfirst towards the dream I’ve nurtured all my life. It’s a miracle I’ve accomplished even half of what I had set out to do. I’ve had a shaky start, miserably mismanaged finances, terrible people-skills, while bearing nowhere near the talent or skill set as some others in the field. Most of all, in trying to disprove the cliché that starts with the words “Jack of all trades…” I’ve foolishly ventured outside my comfort zone to, well, a hundred different areas, each of which should reasonably take a human a lifetime to master, I’m quite aware how remotely distant I am to mastering even a single field of expertise. Yet, there’s not a 2.0 version of my life, and my point had never been to master them all, or even one. It has been only to chase all my messy passions, warts and all, however imperfect they may be, in a way that’s good enough to inspire a single soul. 

 

To that extent, I prayerful submit, I have been somewhat successful.

Perhaps as a poignant reminder of my own mortality, the year 2019 also brought with it a gloomy day that opened the door to a particularly fashionable number for all those decimal-loving numerologists out there: 50. It signified my years of existence on this planet. However, I chose to think about it somewhat differently: hexadecimally, I only attained 32, and in the binary scale, I stepped into the ripe age of 110010. (How I wish we hadn’t evolved as a species with 10 fingers on our hands and toes, a number that surely played a role in preferentially choosing the decimal number system, but that’s probably left for another discussion.)

Fortunate to travel the world at all, this year I had the privilege to visit 7 new countries in 5 continents, including 2 trips to Europe, and 3 separate ones to South and Central America, subsequently holding 12 art exhibitions with moderately good sales, a few commissioned works, and with some earnest help from my better half, launched a brand new website. I climbed volcanoes in searing humidity, lugged my camera gear through dense favelas, walked the dangerous streets of Port-au-Prince, and tried hard to comprehend the incomprehensibility of Auschwitz, all the while struggling to bear some semblance of lecturing and teaching classes, and also simultaneously wading through the joys and tribulations that a family life brings.

 

Here's to hoping 2020 would be even more fruitful, whatever that signifies. I have grand plans for the year, like visiting such far-flung places as Greenland, the Galapagos Islands, Faroe Islands, Lake Baikal, the salt flats of Djibouti, the expansive vistas by Lake Chad, and spending time in a Masai village. Above all, I’m most interested to ramp up my efforts to increase awareness of critically endangered species and their disappearing habitats, perhaps pet the last Javan rhinoceros, observe the mating rituals of a plump kakapo, and peer into the eyes of a silverback gorilla, and then represent some of their human attributes in my paintings.

 

I'd like to profusely thank the folks who’ve contributed to my wanderlust, the many Facebook and Instagram “likes” and critical comments that made me think a little harder. I hope to challenge myself each day to become a better artist and human, and hope that you’ll accompany me, both metaphorically and in real life, in my quest to travel the world.

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