I saw a picture of Kurt Cobain, as a child, in the New York Times Sunday newspaper one morning. He looked so happy. He was smiling and full of joy. Maybe they told him to smile. Or maybe the photographer did something to make him laugh, like make a face or a funny noise or hold up a doll. They do that sometimes. Or maybe his parents did something. Then I got very sad when I thought about what happened to Kurt. His painful, tragic ending. And then I thought, what if he knew way back then, as a child, what was going to happen to him. And then he did a school project called "When I Grow Up", where you had to write what you wanted to be when you grew up and used that picture. I found old school paper. I tried to make it happy and sad at the same time. Then I did other people; not all tragic, taking a long time to figure out what they would write and how they would write it as a child. I have shown these to very few people. I probably would not hang any of these in my home. They disturb me. They are supposed to be disturbing. That was my intent. There are two that are almost unbearably sad to me. I showed them to an artist friend, the real deal, who has art at MOMA and other big famous museums and makes his living as an artist. He said he had a number of friends who've died this way and it hit him in a really personal way. He thought it was easy to stand outside of these realities and pass judgement on these people and was worried it would give license to people with less compassion to leer at those in pain. I don't want anyone to leer. I want them to be sad and touched and moved and maybe get angry and think about why and how these things happened. I am not passing judgement. That was not the intent, but I could see how one would feel that way. I can't control how people will react to them. I don't think I want to. Other people, including professional artists, have liked them. Maybe "liked" isn't the right word. I've done 36 of them so far. Not all are sad. Not all are tragic. One serious collector wants to buy them all. For now I want to keep them together and exhibit them. I would never hang these in my house. They would be too painful to look at everyday. And maybe I'm wrong about everything.
When I Grow Up KC Acrylic and crayon on paper and canvas. 11 x 14. 2017.