Jan 4, 2011
Ta Prohm is a temple at Angkor Wat. It is by far the single most amazing visual to see in Cambodia or in the world for that matter. The great thing about drawing is that it forces me to sit quietly and just observe something beautiful for very long stretches of time. I must study every inch in order to make my paintings have all the rich detail in them. Funny enough, I've become like a Buddhist monk communing with nature before me and clearing my mind of all other thoughts. By being here a few hours there were moments when there was quite a few tourists but there were also moments when I was all alone. The only human sitting in front of this incredible structure. By coincidence I did a television commercial for the World Monument Fund a bunch of years ago. The director gave me a print by famed photographer Kenro Izu. It happened to be a print of Ta Prohm. I've had it hanging in my apartment for many years so I was very familiar with this site. Now here I was sitting there. A dream come true. As I was drawing a bunch of Cambodian high school students came by. They were very interested in my show. In the midst of the kids I heard a dude speaking with an Irish brogue. I introduced myself to him. His name was Cormac and and it turned out his friend runs a school in Cambodia. Every year he comes to visit and tours around the country with the high school kids. He told me they were all orphans. Each was so elegant, well behaved and beautiful. They spoke perfect English. So sad that such impressive young adults never found a home. Cormac told me one girl in particular, Maria, was herself a great artist. I showed them all my work. It's fantastic that there are folks like Cormac and his friend in the world trying to make a difference. I shouldn't say trying. They are making a difference.