I would first like to disclose that I have been working on this painting off and on since the fall of 2006. Over the years its meaning has loosely evolved several times, but ultimately it has transcended into a depiction of what my life could have been. Let me explain:
Earl indirectly represents a crossroads that took place around the most troubled and difficult period of my life. When I entered the military in 2001 I was a lost soul. I was only twenty one years old and really had no idea where my life was heading. At the time I had just withdrawn from classes at a community college, was financially inept, had recently broken up with a long time girlfriend, and was experiencing a rocky relationship with my father (who I was living with at the time). I was desperately trying to discover who I was and ultimately what I wanted to be. This is when a NAVY recruiter discovered me at the right place and the right time. Upon hearing his sales pitch, I was convinced the military was a way for me to escape the life I knew with a clean slate. Unfortunately, my desired transformation didn’t happen immediately upon signing my enlistment papers.
Although I was given this opportunity to essentially become a man, I still made decisions like a boy. After graduating from boot camp for the first time in my life I had money in my pocket, a fast car, and an overwhelming hunger for reckless behavior. This is when my son’s biological mother entered my life. My relationship with her happened as quickly as it ended, but ultimately changed my life forever. After a very rocky road and the most importantly the birth of my son, I eventually found my way. Ashton gave me a reason to be better.
So after all this, you must be wondering…Who is Earl?! Well, Earl is actually me…an alternate version of me. He is what I would have become if I would have stayed the course towards the insane lifestyle that would have eventually broken me down.
To be honest, this work has taken me so long to complete because I have been too scared to touch it. This work is so personal that I want to make sure that it is done right. Currently, Earl is hanging in my living room (unfinished) and I constantly find myself starring at him and his surroundings trying to visualize the finished product. Unfortunately, this painting is not or never will be for sale. Earl will be the heirloom that will be passed onto my son in appreciation for altering my history.