Below are some writings that I have linked to my visual art.
My Artist’s Life (presented with "Suddenly I Realized" - 2007)
Well, I wanted to be a poet you know,
Writing lines so stark and clean
With nothing but my Montblanc pen
And a mimeograph machine.
But when I got the words all down,
They wouldn’t glow or shine.
They didn’t speak my feelings
They fit together like Frankenstein.
So I took my paints and smeared them
And I really made a mess
It costs me too much money
But that’s the thing that I do best.
Now I call myself an artist
I’m searching night and day
To find an image true enough
To show what I want to say.
David Fitzgerald – June, 2007
Statement for "The Artist's Life" exhibit - 2007
It’s surprising how many people identify themselves as artists and allow art to consume their lives beyond the level of a hobby or pastime. It’s surprising because in many ways making art is a frustrating and unrewarding thing to do. It tends to be lonely and it’s hard to feel appreciated. To many people, calling yourself an artist can seem at once presumptuous and a bit disreputable. So why do we do it?
The artist’s public or family or friends miss a lot of what’s involved. They might see the art work as its being made. They will see the results. But that’s the tip of the iceberg. There’s a lot going on out of sight, and much of it is struggle; wrestling with doubt and anxiety; with the desire to be “good” or to feel “successful” and the fear that you will never be satisfied. You want to feel you are a “real artist” but you are not even sure what that really means.
You wonder, should I make my work more like somebody who is “big” or should I be totally myself. How much of my inner joy and fear should I allow to show? Should I be cool and sophisticated or raw and emotional? What is really important to me? What can I say that hasn’t been said over and over? Do I have any original ideas at all?
An artist’s life needs to be full of hope, because most of the time hope is all you have to keep you going. You are making an extraordinary leap, trying to communicate at levels and in ways that most people don’t. And you do this knowing that you will almost always, one way or another, be disappointed!
You are trying to delve deeply into your imagination and spirit and dredge up some kind of unique image that you hope to share with others; an image that’s somehow meaningful or (you always hope) maybe even profound, but at least honest. And you feel sure that it will happen today, even though time after time it doesn’t work the way you want it to.
It’s a challenge and adventure. It’s about trying to get beyond the limits of the mundane and discover what is special about you. And there is something noble or courageous about that. Instead of sticking to the safe path, you are going where the wild things live.
And, once in a while, you look at the piece you’ve been struggling with for so long and finally see just what it needs to bring it to life, or an inspired idea hits you and you feel like you could never have just thought that up, that it’s a gift from somewhere beyond. There’s a feeling of true revelation. There’s a feeling that you have connected to something deeper, or higher than your ordinary self. And that makes it all worthwhile.
D.F. - June, 2007
Palingenesis (presented with Palingenesis exhibit, GearBox Gallery, 10/16
When men first walked in the world
A dire place it was, and cursed,
A battleground between two great forces, like gods they were,
Each the other's antithesis,
Existing eternally, without mercy, compassion or care
But for each to extend the power of its own essence over all existence.
One realm flowed and burned like fire; unstable and ever changing.
In all that place, in all of time, the same thing never happened twice.
The other was a place of frozen rigidity, hard and crystalline,
Where changes spiraled back to their own beginnings, endlessly repeating.
The suffering of the people was great, racked between titanic tides,
But among them, one man, a great hero, gave them hope
Defending the people with strength and determination.
For an eon he waged great battles, winning them all,
But each victory seemed to be the genesis of a new conflagration;
Every triumph served only to throw fuel on the greater conflict.
Understanding that he must find a new way to help his people
Hero girded his loins and set off on three great quests,
Epic journeys below the earth, through the seas and finally beyond the sky itself,
Seeking wisdom deep enough to finally end the strife.
At the end of his final quest Hero achieved an overwhelming realization,
That as terrible as it was, the conflict of the gods was the natural state of the world,
Treating it as a war he could fight but never win made the suffering worse.
Liberated now and embracing the truth, he rose into the vast dark void between the gods,
And shouting loudly to the opposing forces he offered the sacrifice of his own life
To whichever god would withdraw and leave the people in peace.
Hero was such an irresistible offering that each god blazed forth in furious lust,
Reaching out with full unrestrained power to claim him.
But their power, combining and building on itself, was so great that the universe exploded,
Ripped to splinters, and the gods were thrown into dark places beyond, never to return.
Annihilated, the world spun in darkness, without form,
Until a single spark of light appeared, the spark of Hero's spirit,
And it spread until it filled all of the remaining time and space.
And the shards of the universe coalesced around the light,
Transforming into a new world; a world in balance.
And the people began their lives again.
David Fitzgerald 10/2016
Tom's Story (presented with Blood Net - 2004)
Forty years ago this summer, this month, I was seventeen, and on a group bicycle tour in Europe. A couple of weeks into the trip, when we were in Oslo, Norway, five of us were riding along a city street toward the train station. Tom, who was riding behind me, fell off his bike into the path of a bus. It ran over him and he was killed instantly.
An ambulance came very quickly and took poor Tom away. The rest of us were told to wait at the scene until the police investigator could come to take our statements, so we stood there on the sidewalk silently, each left to his own thoughts. I was seventeen and had never experienced anything like this before. I had no idea what to do except wait for what came next.
It was a dark, damp morning. It had been raining earlier and the sky was still heavily overcast; the color of lead. Grey light shown grimly on the old grey buildings all around us. The street was made of little square granite paving stones with flat irregular tops. The day felt as dismal as my mood. The only spot of color and brightness amoung all this drepressing grey was a big pool of blood spread out across the street; all that was left of our friend Tom.
I never imagined how much blood would come from one body; it covered an area the size of Tom’s whole body. The pool was solid red in the center but out on the edges it began to follow the squared off contours of the paving stones. It filled into the lower stones but flowed around the higher ones, making a checkerboard design. In some places it followed the cracks between the stones creating thin zigzagging lines leading from square to square.
I was amazed how fresh and vibrant the blood looked; shiny and slick. Its color was deep and intense and of course the cool grey tones all around highlighted it beautifully, making it seem brighter and richer. I kept expecting it to congeal and turn more of a brown but it didn’t. I could see it was thickening a bit because the breeze, blowing now and then across the surface of the blood, built turgid little waves that flattened out very slowly.
I stood and stared at that pool of blood for a long time, fascinated. I remember thinking that I would never in my life forget its sheer visual impact; its color, its shiny surface, the pattern it made there among the stones. I was sure that someday I would capture that scene in some kind of art, though I had never really done any real art at that point in my life. I wondered how I would do it.
After a while a workman came and spread sand on the blood. He shoveled the sand into a wheelbarrel and took it away, as they had with the rest of Tom. The police came and asked their questions. They didn’t speak much English so it was sort of an interesting challenge to talk to them. It didn’t seem right for the group to go on, but there was nothing else we could do. That evening we left on a train for Sweden. I’ve haven’t been back to Oslo since.
On Seeing Red Dave Fitzgerald July 1, 2004
Suddenly I Realized - 2004 Acrylic on paper, 7' x 8'
Blood Net - 2006
Rope, canvas, paint
approx 7' high (varies)
Fire - 2006
Acrylic on paper, 7' x 3'
Journey (triptych) - 2016
Acrylic on canvas, 88" x 30"'