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Both Sides Now

by mana on December 23rd, 2013

Vincent Dugast‘s series Balloons captures both the dangers and the ecstasy of the traveler in the clouds. The swirl of the wind and waves around the black disk of the balloon create a dramatic feeling of density and vibration.

"Ballon dans la Tempête III," 2013, pigments, China ink on paper, 35 cm x 56 cm

Vincent Dugast, “Ballon dans la Tempête III,” 2013, pigments, China ink on paper, 35 cm x 56 cm

To me this series is particularly powerful because I have been fascinated with simple flying objects ever since I was a child.
I imagined myself a weightless balloon flying over the world, my colors reflecting the scenes that passed beneath me. Whenever I saw a balloon rising in the sky, I would be transported in my dreams. There were times when the balloon would get caught in a storm, and like the doomed men in Turner‘s Shipwreck of the Minotaur, my dreams were overwhelmed by chaotic and powerful forces.

Despite life’s storms, I think with satisfaction of the exciting places to which my balloons took me, where I observed new worlds through my long binoculars. My inner being was shaped by the people that I met and the new experiences that I went through. Even today, I continue to dream.

J.M.W. Turner, " The shipwreck of the Minotaur," , circa 1810 oil on canvas

J.M.W. Turner, ” The shipwreck of the Minotaur,” , circa 1810, oil on canvas

The Iranian-British painter, Kourosh Salehi left Iran in the late seventies for the UK. During his early teens, he lived in the seaside town of Margate. It was a challenging time for the young boy. When he recently found a photo from that time, he felt an affinity with the characters, representing hope, fear and innocence. “Misspent Youth” is his look back at the yearnings of his younger days.

Kourosh Salehi, " Misspent Youth," 2013, digital collage on paper, 60 cm  x 75 cm

Kourosh Salehi, ” Misspent Youth,” 2013, digital collage on paper, 60 cm x 75 cm

One of my best balloon journeys was over the mountains and rivers of Colorado, where my dad came to visit me when my first child was born. The air was fresh and cold. Proud to be a grandfather, and at ease in his element, my father had a gorgeous smile on his face.

Vincent Dugast, "Ballons," 2013, natural pigments, chinese ink and coffee on paper, 18 cm x 35 cm

Vincent Dugast, “Ballons,” 2013, natural pigments, Chinese ink and coffee on paper, 18 cm x 35 cm

As we hiked through the streams and rocks, he started talking about his love of geology and his fascination with nature. Although we had hiked many times in the mountains together, he had never opened up like that. He talked about his youth, his studies in geology, and the composition of the rocks around us. He enjoyed the air, the freedom in the nature and his connection to me and my son.

This season, as we gather with family members, we remember those who left a legacy behind. Together like the two balloons, those who have affected us travel with us through the air, the tempest, and the calm times. Their love guides us on our journey.

As we celebrate the holidays, let us remember to fly kindly next to those around us, those who are less fortunate, those who are struggling with envy, those who are sad and finally those who have nobody around. Let us go forward with a quest for the unknown, and keep our innocence although mixed with fears.

From → Musings

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