My favorite encounter of Romare Bearden's work is the series of watercolors that together become the opening sequence in John Cassavettes' film "Gloria." I am in awe of Bearden's multivalent infiltration of American visual culture from the folkloric to the avant garde. I can't help but think that one reason for this, besides his genius, is that his career was long and hard won and impacted by life. It developed out of years of devotion to his practice as opposed to mimicry of the branding of a corporation. For my contribution to The Bearden Project, I would like to quote another artist who has greatly influenced my work, Gwendolyn Brooks, and her poem that to me describes the arc of an artists' life.
My Dreams, My Works, Must Wait Till After Hell
I hold my honey and I store my bread
In little jars and cabinets of my will.
I label clearly, and each latch and lid
I bid, Be firm till I return from hell.
I am very hungry. I am incomplete.
And none can give me any word but Wait,
The puny light. I keep my eyes pointed in;
Hoping that, when the devil days of my hurt
Drag out to their last dregs and I resume
On such legs as are left me, in such heart
As I can manage, remember to go home,
My taste will not have turned insensitive
To honey and bread old purity could love.