Originally, I thought of titling this painting as “They Twisted My Words.” This was to convey a message from the man Christian history calls Jesus. When I painted this painting, I hadn’t read too many different perspectives and histories about the western bible, but I had a suspicion that many of the messages written in the bible were actually twisted and distorted so as to serve the purposes of holding power over people from the centralized religion of Christianity.
I had struggled with some of the teachings contained in the bible years ago, and sometimes I still do. This painting is supposed to represent what Jesus actually taught as opposed to what many twisted souls teach within the corrupted edifices of the Christian religion.
It’s not my intent, again, to try to proselytize anything with this piece. I really don’t have any insecurities concerning what religion anyone practices.
The human face central to this piece is the face of Jesus, and the mask inferiorly superimposed over the posterior side of his face is a continuation on the theme of my Masks of Human Emotion motif. So Jesus represents the true self symbolically, and the mask represents the societally crafted mask that those in various capacities of power have helped to create for everyone through education and religion.
The pills off to the left represent the anti-depressant drug called Prozac. This is what is called an SSRI, or selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor. This is just a fancy way of saying the chemical serotonin in your brain, which is a chemical that makes you relax, gets inhibited from passing through your neurotransmitters, thereby creating an overload of release of serotonin and causing you to feel better about things in general. Well, that was one of the intents of this medicine anyway.
What we have now in our culture, however, is many depressed, and psychotic people, who take this drug, or a derivative of it, and get even more imbalanced. Most of the cases involved in the shooting rampages in the last few years included this kind of drug in the prescriptions of the characters who carried out the atrocities. But of course the media won’t report on that because they are mega-corporations who have agreements with Eli Lily, which is a big pharmaceutical corporation. In other words, profits are more important than morals or ethics to the centralized entities running America’s economy today.
The targets, and the arrow going through one of them, symbolize what sin actually means. Sin really means “missing the mark,” or being in error with respect to perception and judgement. Much of what we interpret in our world is erroneous, and based on false beliefs about ourselves and others. Hence, sin becomes a whole interdependent world in which we all have to work it out with each other.
The multiple fish-hooks on the right symbolize the passage in the bible in which Jesus tells his disciples “I’ll make you fishers of men.” I didn’t fully understand that passage until later in my life when I learned more about marketing and psychology.
The stairways descending upward into the upper background of this painting obviously denote a “stairway to heaven.” I think I was listening to a lot of Led Zeppelin when I was working on this piece back in 1996.