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When the bullet left the chamber and started to travel toward her, I zoomed out of her body, back to where I was before. I saw her fall to the ground. Her knees buckled, and she fell in slow motion in front of me. I woke up in tears feeling the sorrow of the world for losing her.

Stepping Into The Future is art moving through time. It’s a future iteration of a painting I made fifteen years prior that was destroyed never to be seen again. So to understand this painting, you must know the story that came before.

Daeu introduces you to her acrylic painting Stepping Into The Future, talks about moving art through time, and shares intimate details on why the story of this painting makes her cry on the I Paint Ideas Podcast. Listen here in full or wherever you get your podcasts.

The Origin Story

I had a dream. And in this dream, I went to visit a friend. The friend is a real friend in real life with a real gift for mediumship. In my dream, I go to her house. And she tells me, “I have something to show you.”  In the dream, she guides me through her home…we go through her kitchen, go through the dining room, and then get to the living room. Now I’m looking at this room. It’s her room, her house. And then suddenly, the floor of that room changes. It turns like a turntable, and a new scene emerges,  a period piece, probably from 100 years ago, maybe 200 years ago.

It was beautifully decorated, beautiful furniture, not a thing out of place. I saw a woman standing in the middle of the room. She was facing the door across the room. I was standing behind her, facing the door as well, so I could see her back. Once I saw her, I zoomed into her body. I could see the world through her eyes. I was still me, and she was still her. We were not the same, but I could see the world as she saw it. Then, the door in front of us opened. A very well-dressed man, wearing this hat with a large brim, walks in. I couldn’t see his face. As soon as he stepped in, he pulled a gun and shot her from point-blank range.

When the bullet left the chamber and started to travel toward her, I zoomed out of her body, back to where I was before. I saw her fall to the ground. Her knees buckled, and she fell in slow motion in front of me. I woke up in tears feeling the sorrow of the world for losing her.

That was the inspiration for the original, untitled painting. It showed her falling to the ground –  similar to Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase Number Two. You could see her fall in slow motion frame by frame by frame. You could also see the brim of his hat.

A couple of years later, that painting was violently destroyed on purpose beyond repair. I tried to salvage a little piece of it. I cut a little square out of the canvas so that I could keep that. But that, too,  disappeared as if by magic, never to be seen again.

Rewriting The Story

I debated with myself if I should redo it because I liked the painting. It was important to me. I thought it was probably the best one I did up to that point. I liked the colors. I liked the technique. I liked the composition. I liked everything about it. Of course, the subject matter was essential to me because it was such an emotional experience. The dream… the creation…the destruction. That debate kept going on…

Decades later, I decided that I would redo it. But this time, I was going to resurrect her. Instead of her falling to the ground, I was going to make her step into the future. Instead of her dying in front of me, I was going to make her get bigger and bigger than she ever thought possible she could be. And so that’s what I did.

I put the original on the art continuum and moved it through time… into the future. I made Stepping Into The future 8 feet tall so she can be taller and more significant than anyone.

She’s an inspiration to me.

Stepping Into The Future, an original oil painting by Daeu Angert
Daeu Angert. Stepping Into The Future. Diary Collection. 2019. Acrylic on canvas. NFS.

Stepping Into The Future is made up of four different canvases. Each of the canvases is approximately the same size as the original was, which symbolizes the repair.  I’m not only repairing the past but also creating a bigger future for her to step into.

The base layer of the painting, which you cannot see, is a rainbow representing her light body using the colors associated with an aura.  On top of it is a layer of gesso, which runs down and drips to make it look like tears are coming down—the tears for losing her. If you look closely, you’ll be able to see it. The tears connect the two chapters, repairing what was broken, and then the emotion that makes me cry every time I tell the story.

I also wanted to capture her in the movement as she goes further into the future. I played with a  notion of perspective. As you know, if things get further away, they look smaller. I turned that on its head. As she gets further away, she becomes more prominent and more significant as time goes on until the canvas cannot contain her anymore.

The second thing that I incorporated is the notion of going from left to right to symbolize going into the future, at least in our part of the world where we write left to right. I turned that on its head as well. I made her go from right to left, rewinding and repairing what happened in the past in the original and a nod to the original because she fell to the left in the dream and the original painting. I kept that exact parallel there. I left it like that for a while.

When I knew It was done

I left Stepping Into The Future unsigned for a few months. I felt it wasn’t quite finished. Then, I talked about it with my dear friend Label, who is a writer. We often talk about screenwriting and storytelling, art, physics, and indulge in philosophizing. We had a great discussion about this painting, and Label played back for me what he got out of it. Listening to his experience with it, I knew it was done, and I signed it.

The feeling I had that the painting is not done and still feels that way to me adds to the story because there is a lot of future written for her.  I use the Stepping Into The Future painting as a bookend in the catalogs and exhibits. She’s in every art show on the last page because she’s there as a reminder that there is always a more significant future to step into.

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