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Memoria muscular
(Muscle Memory)
Jul 2023
Sorrento Valley, California

Most people would agree that time flies and yet I seem to forget this basic concept on a daily basis. In the past I have been described often as prolific, dynamic, energetic and a few more more words like these. And yet, I found myself about to take on this project with extreme feelings of negativity. I had suddenly realized that I had not painted in large scale in four years and in fact I had barely set a pen or pencil to paper at all for most of that time.
I felt myself struggling with everything and it triggered an absolute lack of motivation. I remember that when it came time to preparing my tools, I spent more than one work day because I was not confident with my list. In the past I was like the dude in that old cartoon, Around the World in Eighty Days. I would just randomly throw things in the van in a matter of minutes before going to a never before visited site and somehow these were exactly the right tools and materials needed for the job.
This experience was shaping up to be the complete opposite! There had been zoom meetings upon zoom meetings with agents and clients. I had to explain what I did and how I did it and to prove my vision I had to make mock ups which lead to more mock ups. They discussed color palettes and considered every available option while I presented the best virtual smile in my catalog.
This process went on for weeks and the excitement of adding corporate  mural projects to my business plan was running out of steam. I seem to be wired inversely proportional to those that work in this industry. I seem to thrive in the unknown or in the simple reality that I don't know anything. This time I had been forced to consider everything and yet I was in a state of complete self doubt!
The combination of these two factors, my lack of activity over the past few years and allowing my process to become some sort of team sport, had me stomped!
Nonetheless, the starting date arrived and I showed up to the site only to find out that the space was not ready for me and that my certificate of insurance had been filled out incorrectly. My time in limbo had just been extended by 3 days.
When I was finally cleared to start I arrived at the site over caffeinated and I struggled for hours putting together my scaffolding systems. Masking and other preparations became stressful because the space was already in finished form. I was about to paint over new carpet and with perfectly painted walls on both sides. And now for the first time I was about to paint a clean solid background in large format.
The discomfort was adding up to hellish conditions to me and I wanted it to stop. The scaffolding was shaky because I was not able to build it properly due to the lighting fixtures in the space, the background color was not perfectly even like a professional painter would do, the air conditioning was freezing because it was set too high, I was constantly reminded to not make a mess on the brand new carpet by every employee that came to see the cranky artist in the new gym, how is it going? the agent would text, do you need anything? the client would ask and on top of it all I was forced to listen to pop music all day long. It was under this level of torture that I tried to smile and roll on a bright orange background for two days the best I could.
On the third day, there I was staring at a far from evenly painted wall stirring the paint that had been chosen and deemed acceptable many moons ago for me to draw and paint what I have many times described as my doodles, my garabatos, the extension of my soul, the balance of my conscious and subconscious, the portal to my innermost being, my so called everything.
A deep calm arrived and muscle memory took over... it was all in my head.
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