Bruce Zeines
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • United States
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Artists Statement

WHY DO I DRAW?

“All great art contains at its center contemplation, a dynamic contemplation.”
—Susan Sontag

This question is not one I think of often. In truth, thinking and drawing do not fit together for me. It is possible, like Ms Sontag also suggests, “the life of the creative man is lead, directed and controlled by boredom.” Beyond that, it is just a mystery.

It is possible that I draw to discover. The act is always met with excited anticipation because in truth, I have no idea what is about to happen. There is no grand plan. There is this hope of being lead in a direction which will show me something that may make sense at another time. For now, it is just intrigue that leads me on.

On the contemplative side, the process I engage in is an attempt to relate inner discoveries that have no verbal equivalent. Drawing is a language. A form of writing. But the message will be seen differently by every viewer. But only if the viewer takes the time to look. Then something happens. I know this only because when I look at these drawings, this collection, I am seeing them as someone who had no part in creating them. My mind and hands were the tools. The feeling helped to guide the process, but in all honesty, I often find myself lost and have to work my way back to some coherent sensibility within the context of the art. After all, it is not madness or confusion I am trying to express, but a perpetual search for truth. A truth that lies beyond the mind or the feeling. It is a truth that is larger, and more mysterious than anything I know. It is the great unknown.

How does one express the unknown? That is a “koan” to say the least. It is not something for just the mind. It requires a search for a presence that is larger. It includes all of my centers and the breath and still that is not enough. It requires that I accept my place in the Infinitesimal. And the struggle to relinquish the ego, whose main role seems to be to delude my self importance in the midst of this cosmic drama we call life.

So in fact, I fail to answer the question. I draw because I like to. I enjoy it. As an artist walking the fine line between cartoon and fine art, it is hard to stay only on a serious note. The process of drawing, this particular series, that I have now been engaged with for 5 years, manages to hold in balance humor and seriousness. And for those who have the patience to spend a little time with them, my drawings can be entertaining. They will make you laugh, question, wonder or respond with anguish. In looking, you may not even know why. It is the same feeling I have while working on them.

As I get older, I am less concerned with beauty. The story is more interesting to me. Telling a story, even if I do not know what that story might be, is what compels me. Maybe I have finally answered my own question. But hopefully, that will soon be followed by another question.    

—Bruce Zeines, February 2015

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