My Spooky Heart (Kid's Version)
Scale of Work
My spooky heart was started 2 weeks after my son was born. It was a rough time for my wife and me as he had to spend days in the NICU for complications surrounding his birth. In many ways, this painting helped me sort out my feelings while I paid homage to the little man. There are 2 places I directly referenced him. The first place shows my son Aiden as a round green headed boy near the main figure while the second is above the spiral rock in the lower left corner--you can just make out the A in his blanket. I can't tell you how tough it was to see him struggle in those first days but he eventually came through and, after many surgeries, is now a very active and healthy 3 year old. He is a fighter and in many ways the heroic qualities of My Spooky Heart are a reflection of him.
The painting also served another purpose. It was originally commissioned by a charity called Artrageous in New York City that raises money for foster kids. I started the painting at their annual festival in March of 2007. This festival is part charity part circus, pairing artists with foster children to create original works of art sold at auction. At the beginning of the event, I threw down a 6 foot canvas on the floor and set up Sharpies and tempera paint nearby. About 6 kids helped out but John and David Cook were the kids most glued to the canvas and were responsible for most of the drawings--many thanks guys! After the day was done, I rolled the canvas up (wet) and went home and unrolled it in late April to finish. I, then added the large figure--a drawing by my cousin Chelsea DeLiberto--to give the piece a central focal point. In May 2007, the piece titled "My Spooky Heart" sold at auction at Cipriani's in Manhattan and raised some cash for Artrageous.
I really love this piece and wish to do larger commissions in the future but for now this is my one big painting. Personally, I look forward to the day when my son is old enough to see the piece and know how much he inspired his dad.