My wife and I have lost 3 younger brothers to drugs and alcohol. Addiction has almost taken my father many times – and it almost got me twice in my life. We’ve definitely got the gene… addiction isn’t just a nuisance, it kills people in my family. So it is better to receive drug addiction treatment programs
When my dear friend, joe polish, first shared his vision for AFA, of using art as a force for good to not only help people who have developed addiction problems but also to increase understanding about what addiction actually is, where it comes from and how to truly heal it… I was all in from the very beginning. I felt called to paint the first art piece for AFA. And I’ve never used those words before in my life…
It’s funny how one seemingly small decision can completely change the trajectory of your life forever.
In the winter of 2016, we decided to live in Bali. We’ve been to more than half the world’s countries and I’ll tell you, there’s no place like Bali… the energy there is like nowhere else on earth – it’s frenetic, intense, and absolutely palpable. The island is literally hot with energy. Creative energy. And destructive energy too. Because with lots of life comes lots of death.
The human culture that grew up in that environment is one of the most unique in all the world – gentle and loving, but tough as nails. They’ve repelled the dutch, the muslims, the japanese… this little island has its own unique religion, their own unique architecture, their own unique music…so, I thought bali would be the perfect place to create this painting.
I thought it would be fitting to do a tribute to the great artists we’ve lost to addiction… there have been so many brilliant people who were with us for a relatively short time – who blessed us with their amazing art, their style, their sense of life… And then addiction silenced their voices forever.
The most important balinese holiday was coming up in a couple weeks – nyepi, their new year’s day, which is called “the day of silence ”. That was the perfect day to finish this painting, so I completely blocked out my schedule that day.
I asked my research assistant to start compiling information on artists we’ve lost to addiction… musicians, painters, writers, actors… and start sending my biographies, video and audio links, portraits, and photos…the first day I received about 50… the next day I got about 50 more…than another 50…and another.