Reaching for the Stars to Find Inspiration

A collector emailed me yesterday and asked about the inspiration behind my work, specifically the piece “I Can Almost Reach.”

I realize now that the inspiration behind my work isn’t something I’ve publicly spoken at length about, which is honestly a grievous error on my part. So much of art is inherently personal, every painting I create is, in a way, a reflection of myself.

Aesthetic preferences, or the things we enjoy looking at and are attracted to, are also inherently personal, and some might argue reflective of some deeper thing within ourselves.

So, what inspires me? Why do I create the work that I do? Here’s a revised and extended version of what I told my collector, Ann:

Based on my likely flawed and biased understanding, the Drake equation is this equation that attempts to calculate the potential alien “civilizations” that could exist in the universe. Civilizations roughly meaning, in this case, some advanced species similar to mankind in intelligence and development. There are an almost incomprehensible number of galaxies. Within those galaxies there are even more stars, and orbiting around those stars are planets. Some of these planets are likely capable of sustaining life, and some of the planets capable of sustaining life might indeed have life.

Some complicated math stuff says that there is a high mathematical probability of other life being somewhere out there, basically.

Some of that life might be sentient, and here’s where the “civilizations” come back in. Based on the Drake equation, which is highly contested and some might argue fatally flawed, we can estimate a certain amount of intelligent civilizations that likely exist in the universe.

They’re probably out there.

Take a minute to let it sink in that millions of light years from earth, there might be intelligent life. Like something you could theoretically have a conversation with. Maybe discuss philosophy together.

But the thing is, we’re probably never going to find other sentient life out there in our lifetime. We’re just not technologically developed enough, and that life, if it exists, is likely very far away and difficult to contact.  

So we’re stuck in this place of knowing, or maybe hoping, that other advanced life might be out there, and we just aren’t advanced (or perhaps dedicated, if you consider NASA’s budget?) enough to find out. So we’re stuck, but we know the problem and the general steps we can take to reach a solution.

We can almost reach the answer.For me, specifically, there’s almost nothing in the world I’d like to do more than to explore the stars.

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