Reflections On The Corner
It's cold, light breeze, almost home. Been walking the streets all day, from Jersey City, to Manhattan, to Queens and back. I am in good spirits. Always love to have a plan for the day, and successfully work my plan, but the long walks plus the heavy backpack of supplies were wearing me down. As I come out of the subway I look up to the night sky. The last hint of sunlight was fleeing to the west, leaving the sky a cool blueish purple hue with orange streaks radiating from sun giving the clouds a warm rosy gleam. For a moment i was awestruck by the beauty. Then (((Woop Woop))). Quickly, I snap back to my environment. Sirens, traffic, police, people moving all around, as I come out from beneath the ground, into a sea of activity. I see a plaza full comers and goers, buyers and sellers.
Time to take a break, I walk down the block to the corner where there are benches waiting. There is one bench free, the other is occupied by a homeless man, laying flat on his back, already passed out for the night. The homeless man is familiar, he has been begging in front of the same convenience store for years. When he is awake he talks a lot, but I can never understand him. Now the day has given way to the night, I sit back and rest my feet. Things are quieter on the corner.
Thinking back on the day I am reminded of the women on the train that stopped me as I was getting off. She asked me "What are you?" I think to myself wow that is a deep philosophical question that you want me to answer in five seconds as I get off the train. I ask back "What am I?" she says "Yeah, where are you from?" I think, Oh you want my ethnic background. I answer back, "I am Black." Still not satisfied, she says "yeah, I know that, but what else?" I shrug my shoulders, as the door closes between us. I am thinking "I don't know what else to tell you lady." with one second remaining.
Later, the question "What are you?" lingered in my mind. That question has led me to ponder on the mysteries of life and my own humility in the face of the unknown. Who am I? It is a good question, not just my ancestors ethnic background but who am i as a human being. It is something I continue to explore, and research. The question inspires me to read about the nature of atoms and quantum physics, research the scriptures and study the philosophies. My truth, my experience as a spiritual being, living a physical life. This is what I attempt to express through the visuals I create. Art is my work. A talent should not be buried, but shared. And I am thankful, I love what I do.
My mind now back on art, I pull one of my new postcards out of my pocket to admire the good print job. Moving it slightly to watch the colors vibrate in the streetlight. Then suddenly a sound of a man being muffled "mphff, mphff, mphff." It is the homeless man, he has awakened from his slumber. With his hand stretched out to me, It is clear he is asking for change. I think "why not", and give him the change in my pocket. He nods is head in thanks and moves on. And it is time for me to move on too, get back home to my studio. I have work to do.
Nathan Jalani Taylor
Art project postcard