Richard Ozanne c. 2006
I moved from Phoenix in 2003 to White Lake Michigan. I initially traveled the country in the summer of 2003 as part of an art tour and made it all the way up to Michigan to visit before deciding on a permanent residence there.
I left Phoenix on the initial trip to do some exhibits in galleries across the country, making a stream of contacts before I left. It was a two and a half week tour that started in Phoenix and went to:
Santa Fe NM
St Louis Mo
Ft Wayne In
Ann Arbor Mi
I would like to say this initial tour was not too successful. Many of the galleries and art dealers whom I had contact with were having difficulties..but the show went on as they say. I left work behind in hopes of sales, and to be a part of several -rather small exhibits- this time around. Yes, the economy seemed to be slowing and it was all the reason to anchor down so to speak at this point. Phoenix was growing slower since I could remember it. There was not too much being offered in the valley although the prices kept going up and up without say as to exactly why. 2003 was seemingly the time to get involved in real estate. I could remember the boastings of a 100K house selling for 300K and even greater reminders of a monstrous spire of possibilities that seemed unrealistic...but not then, and not to most. I could have guessed that the great pylon was going to tumble down, exactly when was anyones guess...but people boasted more and more dreams, values of real estate growing higher and higher as well as reaching Everest proportions. As am investor I knew something was wrong with this...sudden shifts and sudden profits tend to have an equal and opposite effect somewhere along the line. I didn't want to get involved. It seemed this way clear across the country however. More and more people were boasting being millionaire from simple properties...and it seemed almost daunting. Above all, one could see that people were anxious to sell on terms of almost "free" collateral....a simple loan which, without detailed papers, would make the properties so easy to walk into! But something was wrong.
I spent the greater part of a summer traveling across the country. Exhibits and meetings for possible future ambitious projects. Unfortunately these were getting a bit lean in funding, but I sank into every possibility for exhibition that was feasible. Little did I know it would be only several years later that I would travel these same roads and watch a relative implosion of many issues of the "boom" of 2003.
Since Phoenix was lean...more lean than I had seen it...the only other option I could think of is Michigan where there "seemed" to be a better rationalization of economics as well as a few openings and relative possibilities for teaching. It was a chance. Artists can be gamblers if pushed into the right formula. I made the choice of moving to Michigan with a new relationship that had possibilities. I remember the words..."in less than 5 months after your arrival in Michigan we are going to Italy" and I thought this was an excellent chance to return to Europe, and especially Italy where the arts were, and had traditionally blossomed.
On my return trip:
Little Rock Ak
Santa Fe NM
After this exhausting trip..I had a long look at my roster of possible for the future. I prepared all my materials for action forward. It took almost a month in Phoenix to organize and photograph all 2000 of my artworks...get others sold off and to pack my belongings for the long road trip across.
It was a long trip with a very very large payload of more than 2000 of my paintings-drawings and other very personal work. Of course I was warned by some unknown entity, call it a premonition, that there were going to be problems somewhere along the way. The cost was horrendous for the trip including a large semi and my van...gas and rental. It all started with a dream of trying to get back to Europe...and a girl friend named (Marni) who ended up later called "Grief". It was never meant to happen, but some how inspired I was setting myself up, so to speak with someone who just didn't care enough to see it through....but that is hindsight, and it rings 20-20.
We left Phoenix in January and the trip took a rough week across the country. There were rainstorms and snow storms to cross through that year on the road across. One incident I fully remember was a stop on the road in Texas. It was a sleepless night. There was a beautiful and cloudless night that brought me forward to question "what I was doing". At one point I almost called it off (the trip to Michigan, and returned to Arizona)..but thinking this was the "right" thing once again, (and having someone that was making promises right and left, it did seem to be the right thing...or was it some very concealed plot? This I did not know..I just followed my heart and hoped that this was indeed the right thing. After..."Love" is supposed to be the right thing...isn't it? I doubted my still calm voice, which had saved me on numerous occasions, one part of this still calm voice was very impatient, and said..thus and such would be the "outcome", a human sense of logic took over and said: "Of course not" Marni was telling me that indeed she wanted to spend the rest of her life with me
...and we were to become engaged, love each other, and be with each other for time in memorium. It seemed hopeless to have any question about this, and I certainly took for granted analogous signals that gave me faith in this matter...thinking for once that there was another special soul in the same boat, and that this was true!
When I finally reached Michigan I was seemingly in a reprieve for 'running the road' some 5000 miles the previous year....all in somewhat desperate attempts to pull things together after a "divorce" between my ex wife in Prague.
That was a difficult process. You see I loved this young lady and didn't really want a divorce. But she was young...really too young to be called a wife. And even if I was just to make "a call" on the matter...this was the "right" thing.
The time forward was to be involved in an antiques business and to try to set up exhibits in the Detroit area, getting involved with several organizations to facilitate this. I kept up work on some videos that I was trying to release from Prague of my art. This was to consume many hours of my time..as well as other projects that would evolve building websites and keeping my organization together...the IAAC Institute for the Advancement of Arts Culture, that unfortunately had a bit of a drift since Prague..but I started making up for it. It too had been time consuming, and with additional websites and galleries, I was asked if it was possible to go ahead with an online learning platform in association with the organization of the idea, which after had take a number of years since 1994.
The first few months in White Lake didn't seem to be that difficult, but it was the fourth month where things did seem to shift. The economy started to buckle and I found myself trying to get some teaching in Michigan to little effect. I joined some organizations to help push this forward and by spring was readily facilitating exhibits of my work in the Detroit area. Teaching, being a juror at exhibits and doing an antiques business..I was running long cycles between things. The antiques business took up a great deal of time, but was effective in some ways for Marni, who made 5 figures in sales partially due to my internet savvy...but I was spared a commission. There were sparks of trouble and misunderstandings between Deardress (Marni's mother) and others in the household. They were not artists and could not always understand the difficulties and the projects that would consume my time. Literally hundreds of letters were written out in both of Marnis and my behalf. But not understanding that "art" is not necessarily a 9-5 job was an issue that burned within the eyes of Deardress, and some difficulties occurred.
As my bio suggests, and as reality is, I am a musician as well as a visual artist and I needed studio time and to practice too. Of course I did begin to practice and put together a portfolio of pieces that I wished to learn. Their piano was old and out of tune. It was the most difficult instrument to play upon or even practice, and often....too often I was "shunned" from that piano because it was out of tune...not by myself, as I could play on nearly anything, but by Deardress. (Somehow Marni understood...well I think so...at least) With a profit from some artwork I went in to purchase a very expensive recording keyboard from Technics for the purpose of playing and perhaps having live engagements. It seemed a wonderful jump from that old beaten and rough piano. I do remember trying to play Prokoffiev upon it and finding myself being dismissed by Deardress in a very abrupt way. I could only get in less than 1/2 hour per day of practice..maybe with the keyboard at night I could get in an hour or two. But no...thiswas almost not a possibility...and soon, very soon indeed I was not allowed studio time to produce art.
The conditions became very difficult. How was an artist supposed to create works, or give a performance when in his very midst the family which he was banking upon as being understanding was beginning to plow him under with very well crafted insults? There began to be standoffs....
There became a time when I wanted to move away!
Marni and I came to the conclusion that Italy was indeed far enough from Deardress and this "energy" to set up what was needed...and the plans began to unfold for a trip and residence in Italy.
The fact I was not being able to practice at least 3-4 hours a day was beginning to shake me. (I did so even in Prague when I was there) The fact that I had little or no studio time was a rough shake to me, and that I had to balance my time and energy to all other things than production of my artwork was another glitch. I would need at least 8 hours a day to get back what I had when I was in Prague for practicing....though no concerts were on the agenda, I had to practice...and as an artist I had to do art! During my summer months I began to feel rather resentful and hurt by the consequence of not being allowed my time and had to be put to work doing everything else that...mattered. I was rather shaken. As it happened before in Prague I had a private incident that pretty well said...slow down a bit. I was being rushed for everything. That I didn't have "work" was held over my head, that I wasnt making enough money...according to them...was a shaking argument. Marni seemed understanding and wanted to make the reprieve to Italy as she was having the same thing happen to her. Deardress and her partner came out with some very discouraging words, and hurtful events followed. A second thought came through...one of worry and hurt.
I worked hours and hours trying to prepare new material when I could be away from the swirrling and often chaotic distress of Deardress. She would look at me writing on the computer and wonder what could I possibly be doing. Sometimes my work would go on until 2AM in the morning, starting at 7AM! Kid you not, it was a singular enterprise to try to keep everything going-business seperate and mind intact for persuits than to answer and addressing "why's". Clearly this was a blue collar houshold and what I could do was to stop self persuits and go and attain a basic job..even stopping my career at this point for Marni, or Deardress intention. It was always about money. Even though everything was paid, it was still about money. I guess some people concentrate their entire lives on these issues. Well I was working, for whatever output was given in, there should surely be a reward. Of course the economy was getting slower, and of course my best option was to try to get to Europe, for I had lived there, and things were more level when it came to perceptions and expectations. First and finally I am an artist..not a mower of lawns nor hacker of logs..but often times I would find myself doing this just to keep things up..feeling nervous as to the intentions behind it.
I had a degree. In fact I have 4 degrees, and a great deal of experience...in boxes that were stacked. But no one was interested. Silence seemed present if I was to show a video or two of my work at exhibits, asking why there were not more...as if I had the funding to fulfill this...there would be, out of a box of 5o....100. (But I had difficulty in showing these) If I spoke of my experiences and some successes I had....I would be cut absolutely short. It was a rude kind of shortness, as if a scientist trying to speak above coal miners. I was starting to have my doubts and in this case I knew the possible consequences. I just kept Italy in my head. If Italy worked out this would be wonderful...I did not want to think that if Italy didnt work out....I would be up "shit creek" in a very very dangerous consequence of being on the road suddently. (and I roughly planned for a contingency but did not want to call that there was even a possibility, as this would be called some kind of Disaster)
Now I am an amiable sort of fellow. I dislike conflict. In the days and weeks before Italy there were many conflicts of the type that were unexplainable, those conflicts that are purely psycological and ego driven. Deardress was a professional at being an "Alpha" and had many people convinced of this. People did fear her...and she had that edge of being both nice and as nasty as they come, in two breaths. He story was long..as to why she became like this. Many people intimidate and make wind of people now in disguised motives. Of course I believe our culture has changed in that way.We dont live in a world of success as it used to be earned..rather it is sheer money that makes one successful, be Al Capone or the local street gangster. Our culture sees this as successful because money means protection and it is inextricably part of our culture, as big homes and cars speak of licence to manipulate. Success, a personal success is cut short by many...if its not money or wealth oriented it is seen as secondary. In my belief success is a personal matter and not always tied into wallets, pursestrings or how many stocks and bonds one could gamble for six and seven figures behind the place marker. A person earns success by doing..not by the sign that is on the company door, nor the way we laude each other over purchases..in that vacuous word "congratulations" upon the purchase of a house way too big for us or the credit card without limits. Personal success is another matter totally. But facing 'general publics' idea of what success is can be a psycological mine field of "different strokes for different folks."
I remember hearing about Ghandi, Mother Theresa as well as the great masters of art, all who gave their lives to their professions...not all were successful in the way we measure success..as a matter of fact very few were successful from this point. I think if one looked at the bank accounts of Beethoven or Bach one might find them modest by any comparison. I do not think that Jesus of Nazereth had a bank account....or the rest of the apostles! Nor a credit card. But they were successful. Success is alway one of those aportioned words.
Well I had to always bury my own, seemingly...whether they were exhibitions or the turning of some award. It was not politically correct to even mention ones success! Marni could speak of hers, and Deardress would cut in to speak of hers...polite was I to take the last seat, and in reserve humble, but I do know that some of my successes were rather extrodinary. Then again I was not into measurement, as I suppose there have been a great number who have had many more, and better successes (but then again who was I to speak as I almost felt the invisible threat, a beet red face of anger, of a back-hand if I mentioned anything..) A cruel environment? No...very dangerous and bitter.
There were several times when I almost left but it was Marni who caught my heart...we were engaged...and with that note, a responsibility.....right
And so it was off to a dream of living in Italy! Caution to the wind!
The Final Return...
Two Years Later..I couldnt rest until I was out of there. Every day and every night once I was off that plane after the incidents in Italy ...I just wanted to be on the road. Marni
and those antics finally showed themselves. It was a horrible return to a horrible experience...Deardress on one side (Marni) and Marni in the greasy hands of that Italian Farmer with whom she had a several month affair..What was my anger level (total abatement) My love level for Marni? (Totally absolved from any and every form of love)