The name of this piece comes from the chorus of the song “Savior” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. When I first heard the song about fifteen years ago, I thought of my father. As I sang along, I felt that I was singing the song to my father—letting him know that I still love him and that he was my favorite. Sadly, I lost my father to suicide in 1990 when I was 11 years old.
I started creating these pastel paintings on sheetrock in November of 2014, when I was 35 years old. Shortly after I started doing these paintings, I started to have this vision of my father riding in my car with me. He would be sitting in the passenger seat of my car wearing the blue Irish hat and a blue down vest, which he would wear sometimes when he was alive. I felt that he was riding with me and helping me to move forward in my life. I would ask him to ride with me and he would. This is the vision that would become the painting, which I completed in November of 2016.
On the right side of the painting, the viewer sees a profile of my father with the Irish hat on, which is my view of looking over at my father while he is riding with me in my car. When I was halfway through the right side, I started on the left side. I didn’t have any vision of how the left side would look at all. The colors came to me at that moment, and I just started going with the pastel. When I finished working on the left side, I stepped back and had a look at what I had just painted and said aloud to myself, “Holy Shit.” I saw this red-orange face staring back at the profile of my father and at that moment I realized that I was painting the parallel of me and my father. The right side was both me and my father, and the left side represented our creativity, our freedom. I got this surge of energy. We were headed right for our own creativity. I started seeing a poem after I noticed this, and I eventually wrote the poem on the back of the painting:
All that I can honestly
and humbly say is that
I GOT GUTS
And you are not coming
I am coming for you
What this means is, with my father’s help and my courage, I am learning to trust my true creativity, allowing me to move toward a life of freedom. My father wasn’t able to believe in himself and his creativity to lift himself out of a clouded mind and be free in his life. And although he tried, he just couldn’t do it anymore, so he felt that he had to leave. Since my father’s death, I have always felt a responsibility to create this life of freedom. Because I am free, my father is also free. This painting is evidence of my father being there for his son, and it is also evidence of another turn in my evolution as a human being. Thank you Dad.