medicine man

Fate, Greg

Fate, Greg

Greg’s self-portrait is titled Fate.  In the upper right corner is what appears to be a thought form. He explains it is a child’s medical file. A child he crossed paths with early on in his career. Does the title suggest the child’s fate? Greg’s?  Both. The title of a work helps to inform the viewer.
On portrait day, Greg sat down, with his pad and marker in hand to draw, easily and quietly. Too quietly, I thought.  He appeared so focused that I walked past him several times hoping to not disturb him. 

plaster mold

plastered Greg

Greg is a lively person. His laughter is full, and his face is very animated. You can see in the image to the right, even with the plaster on his face, he smiles…this is Greg. The quiet, absorbed Greg in my studio took me by surprise. And a month later, when he lay down to get his mask made, he surprised me again. He became quickly still. 

processingg greg

processingg greg


Everyone completed a statement.  They answered questions. Who Am I?  What am I? What is this world?  What is my relationship to it?  I start to gather materials for Greg’s mask, as soon as I begin to read his words. Greg understood he could answer the questions in numerous ways. He begins literal and ends metaphorical.






I am an Hispanic (Mexican/Latino) male raised in a very strict Catholic Tradition with a huge emphasis on religion, heritage and education.  I visualize copper, and I begin to foresee the upper area of his head  filled with English and Spanish text…cerebral representations. He continues…As a youngster I viewed myself as athletic and smart.  I always new I would be a physician but also thought I could play major league baseball. Thank God I succeeded at the former. Greg is a family care physician. The next sentence sets up the initial symmetrical layout; I have always had a thirst for the sciences and religious studies/philosophy. 

Over the years my faith has been challenged and I am still not certain where I will end up. Honest. Connection.  I guess this goes back to making sure I live an “examined life.” I have never been a real good follower anyway. At the  Uof A I was fortunate to meet Fr. Robert who was/is a Dominican Priest and good friend of mine. I learned that Catholics have not cornered the market on “Truth.” They haven’t? I’ll have to talk to Father John, who believes they have. I have been exposed to some great minds including leading reformation scholars and theologians of our time. Enter into design, a labyrinth, center right, at the cheek bone. It seemed a most appropriate symbol.



My profession does not define me although it does help me from spending too much time concerned about what I need or want. I really try to rise above my animal instincts and genetic shortcomings and work at being “awake” so as to become as good a person as humanly possible.  A high aspiration…if we could all be so composed. Enter, the eyes, wide and alert on the right upper area of the mask. Specific text on the left, examinador, a play of words, they connect to what he says, and they connect to how I see a doctor.  You know…one who examines…a patient. 

If there is any truth to Quantum entanglement, then a physician who considers the various aspects of himself appeals to me.  Health is after all a combination of body, mind and spirit. 
Some days I believe in Mankind other days I don’t. Bless the days when he does. I don’t necessarily believe I am what I think, do or look like. I guess I am ethereal or always in a state of flux somewhat like our crazy universe. This sentence colors the right side of the face, I think of actual flux. I am becoming increasingly more cognisant of how short our stay on this planet is. So much to do and so little time as they say.




The masks I design are story telling objects… 3 dimensional portraits. In art, 2 dimensional work has to do with creating illusion.  3 dimensional work is actual object. There is a front and back (top, bottom, sides). The viewer can move around it.  

In this particular case, because Greg appears to have a strong internal life, the inside of the mask is as important as the outside. 
He has a collection of Mimbres pottery. Pottery holds spirit. The interior design is a black and white labyrinth image, borrowed from one of the actual pieces in his collection.

He closes by saying Good luck finishing my mask!  Clear and solid directing thought (and perhaps a little bit of luck) inform and materialize this work.

Muy bien,  Gregorio.



1 thought on “medicine man

  1. Pingback: good, and a little bad…cont. « Monica Aissa Martinez

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