original painting by Brooke Harker
This painting relates to honoring the friendships that come into our lives, the chance meetings, and also honoring when it’s time for each friend to walk away and explore something new. This painting features my friend Kevin on a day he’d gone with me downtown to take photos. The week I decided to paint this he called to tell me about his future move to the east coast. It seemed serendipity that I planned a painting with him walking away at the same time he planned a move.
The beginning of our friendship began with synchronicity too. As I sketched a busy street downtown LA, I wondered how I’d make an artist video. Within 20 minutes a man with a video camera walked up and asked if he could make a video of me sketching for his Vimeo channel. A video was edited and on-line by that evening. That was my introduction to Kevin. We then collaborated on a three minute art video about my art. When I met him, the thought of taking action on some of my ideas terrified me. I preferred to think about many projects and plan how I might do them someday. Working with Kevin pushed me out of my comfort zone. He sees the big picture, starts a project, completes a project and starts a new one. Kevin is the type of person who will have drafted an outline to save the planet and enlisted sponsors for his cause in the amount of time it takes me to color code my closet. I think I drove him crazy with details when we first started working together and I couldn’t understand how he didn’t see the details that seemed so glaring to me. We eventually concluded that our opposite ways of thinking complimented each other. I stopped expecting him to get caught on every little detail and he knew that he’d have to focus fox me in order to keep me on track. He then started to hire me to help on his other film projects for my attention to detail perspective.
Throughout the process of working on this piece, I reconnected with several friends who I hadn’t been in contact with in over a decade, some who had been estranged because of our differences. Each friendship had a unique way we met, followed by whatever occurred that lead us on our own ways. There have been many times in my life that I’ve been resistant to accepting that it’s not possible to be in close contact with all friends through every stage in life. For me it takes time to see the big picture and recognize how certain circumstances are for the best. My approach to this painting honored what Kevin brought into my life, an appreciation of people who naturally see the big picture and who don’t wait for every little detail to be perfect to take action. As a tribute, I attempted to work on this piece by looking at the structure differently. Normally I paint the ink from the top down. With the Kevin approach, I painted indications of the biggest structures first and filled in the details later.
The world takes all kinds of people and ultimately developing and honoring friendships requires that we accept others as they are and accept ourselves. This makes it easier to watch friends walk away on their paths with a smile, instead of kicking and screaming like a child having a tantrum in a grocery store over wanting candy. I have a had a tendency to do both in my life.