It all started with a 60s era LIQUORS sign in Ayer, Ma. For several years I have been weaving the letters (LIQUORS) in and out of yoga poses and tile patterns in my prints and multimedia pieces. In March I made my first gelatin printed LIQUORS sign, 8 feet tall and 14 inches wide. And then I made another. It was interesting that just as I was committing to make prints that I could sell, the first things I actually made were more or less unsaleable prints.
The 7 letters of the LIQUORS sign line up neatly with the 7 chakras, an esoteric system of thinking about the energetic body that emerged in India centuries ago and was imported to the West along with yoga in the 19th century. The chakras and their associated colors, meanings, and locations continue to evolve in the West.
Chakras are thought to be spinning orbs of energy at various locations in the body. This concept is useful to yoga practitioners who use them as focal points, a means of concentrating ones mind on the practice.
The LIQUORS sign points to the ubiquity of alcohol in our culture. Despite the fact that a percentage of the population is always in recovery, our culture values the convenience having alcohol in grocery stores. Imagine for a moment that you are recovering from opioid or alcohol addiction, and yet simply to purchase bread, milk, and eggs, you are obliged to walk past an aisle full of beer and wine. For most people in recovery, it’s not just one substance, it’s any mind altering substance they can’t have, because one is never enough.
This is the mock up of the sign. The final version will be fashioned of silkscreen on acetate, laser cut plexiglass, marbled and hand printed papers. Inside the letters are allusions to places in the body the chakras represent and potential pathways for healing. There are x-rays, neurons, words, brain imagery, yoga poses, heroin molecules, and more. The imagery here is evolving as I study the chakras and learn how to heal from grief. A good friend told me that I would have to learn how to incorporate this loss into a new version of myself. The one thing that’s missing in this sign is my sister- I’m still figuring out how to add her in.
Here it is in my studio, twirling: