I had the most memorable dinner with a charming and lovely acquaintance. He is a friend of a friend who was visiting Toronto for two days and I had only met him once before, a few months ago in Miami. Lucky for me, I had just arrived back in Toronto the night before and he had chosen to spend a few hours out of his 36 hours stay with me over dinner. As essentially strangers, I do find this to be a privilege because a) he could have come into town and chosen to ignore my presence here, b) he chose to have dinner with me because, I am assuming, our initial meeting was interesting enough to carry on further conversation. The latter reason is what I think fascinates me, as our dinner and conversation went on for 3.5 hours, of continuous talking, often veering into tangent topics and necessary interruptions from our servers. This particular dinner companion, however, really got me thinking, or rather, there was a lot of self reflection throughout the evening and well past. So much, that I wanted to write about the experience.
What was different about my new friend? He is blind. Which, in itself, shouldn't be anything to remark about or focus on. But there were some slight adjustments, on my part, that made me become mindful of things that really should be carried out through life, and not just in the company of a blind person. I do have to be honest and admit one thing.... I put on full makeup and dressed nicely for the dinner....for a blind person. How silly is that, considering the only thing he is going to be able to see is my sparkly personality (haha....half joking)! It did make me think about how much we rely on our physical appearance to make ourselves appealing to others, should personality and charisma fail. How much do we hide behind a mask, a facade, consciously or unconsciously? I was intimidated. I was worried about not being able to carry my half of the conversation through dinner. Not that I rely on my looks, but there was a sense of being “naked” in front of a person who can see character stripped from the distraction of a body, face, and clothes. The essence of a soul is revealed, and if there is any sense of doubt or insecurity or facade, there is no hiding.
I also noticed how much we use body language to communicate. I found myself focusing my attention and looking at his face, as though, he would notice. But, I realized it's a respect to the person you are speaking with, regardless. Attentiveness is respectful. Facial expressions also say a lot, or at least, I noticed I use a lot of facial expressions when I talk! It's a natural instinct as I observed my friend also made gestures with his face in reaction to my words.
We parted ways after dinner, he and his service dog in a taxi to his hotel and me, walking to my car. I had a smile of my face. I had a lot of fun. I sincerely enjoyed the company of my dinner companion. And that got me thinking about the art that I create. I would like people to do the same every time they spend some time looking at my work and then part ways. I would like people to leave having had an enjoyable experience. Perhaps, people see something about themselves in my art. Maybe there's a moment of contemplation. Maybe there's self reflection. Maybe it inspires. I hope what I create makes people smile because there's a conversation between the viewer and the art every time they interact.
I hope people leave my art feeling happy.
"Seymour I" and "Seymour II" from the Pangere Collection , 48in. x 42in. each. Acrylic on canvas.