Inspired by Director Danny Boyle’s latest film “127 Hours” this painting was a labor of love created in the days following my initial viewing of this fantastic Oscar contender. Those unfamiliar with the story, 127 Hours is based on the book written by Aron Ralston, a young engineer who in the spring of 2003 found himself stranded in the caves of Utah’s Canyonland.
I apologize if I skip over the small details of the story, but all you really need to know is that Aron became entrapped in the desert for 127 Hours (a little over five days, put your calculators down) and was faced with a decision that most would likely scoff at or simply say “that sucks”. I know that’s how I felt. Hell the night I saw the movie, I was torn between this and “The Mechanic” the latest mindless action film from Jason Statham. Yet, when I sat down to witness what Aron went through, I was floored.
A film hasn’t hit me like this in years.
It’s difficult to express the litany of emotions the final 30 minutes put me through, so I sat down to do a bit of self examination…and I wound up with a painting that was not planned, just a spontaneous deluge of inspiration coming from a strange place. Most of the movies I watch, last about 3 hours, an hour of which is spent on reflection – and that’s for the ones that are worth a shit – most are not. So the fact that this small scale true story about a guy hugging a boulder for a week – talking to himself – was so violently seared into my brain for an entire weekend, I had to document it.
Life is a funny thing, we wade through our daily lives – focused on the tasks at hand – partnered with that inherent worry about the future, all affected by our infinitely varied pasts. Yet when all is accounted for, your world is flowing perfectly with your wildest hopes and dreams, there is always that nagging fear of the one absolute in life, death.
People structure their entire lives around death, every time you tell yourself not to do something, the reason in the back of your mind is death. Since the dawn of man the butterfly wings of chance have proven time and again to be a force of unpredictable destruction. So we keep things close to the chest, we risk assess, we analyze, we govern with arbitrary laws, we hide in the domestic cave known as life, all in the name of survival.
Somewhere along the way though, the concept of survival was lost in translation.
Keeping ourselves alive is slowly killing us all. Nihilism is running rampant, our safety induced coma is threatening our physiological well-being, and yet we fight to survive by such means. This is how I view the world. You may not, but I see this everyday and for me it is a disheartening truth. This is why we see events like the one unfolding in Egypt. The build up of monotony, coupled with an ever present vice grip on freedom – all in the name of freedom – is driving people out of their coma’s. They are waking up.
Only when we are faced with death, in any of it’s many faces, can we truly change.
This is a powerful message, one that Aron Ralston was blessed to give to those who would listen. Aron is not a person that lives the way we (as a populace) do, Aron is an adventurer, a free spirit, and also a flawed figure. We all have moments that haunt us, yet thanks to a world of distractions, only our subconscious need deal with it. Unless of course you are stuck in a hole for 5 days with nothing but your thoughts and a small utility knife…
Hallucinations plagued and entertained Aron throughout those infamous 127 hours, allowing for a painful real-time version of his life flashing before his eyes. Visions that have haunted him are were now his only friends, while memories of pleasure and love seemed almost like a cruel joke. This introspection is what left me in awe of his story. Everyone has a version of “What I Would Do” for nearly every situation, yet it is such a superficial notion when dealing in hypotheticals. Here we have an actual human being, facing down death, and depicted so close to reality that it’s almost as if you are there with Aron. This is why my reaction was so profound. Simply hearing or reading about a story like this will only allow for a modicum of understanding, where seeing and almost feeling all of this first hand, can stick with you forever.
These hallucinations of what was, what is, and what could be, were Aron’s driving force for choosing life – despite it being the more difficult road. The things he saw, were things that any man can relate to, or…cling to.
All Work is a Copyright © of JesseRand G.D. 2012 All Rights Reserved.