“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” ― John Lennon
I walked past the Dakota building while in New York this past December and bought an Imagine necklace - a replica of the honorary placque to Lennon in Central Park. It had been six years since I had walked the historical path with my then 15 year-old teenaged son Dylan, who had two concerns: Would it snow? Where would he go to art college?
It did snow and he was accepted and entered the college of his choice, Art Center College of Design in 2011. The only college he applied to when everyone around him kept telling him to try other places, Dylan firmly said no. It's that place or no place. Dylan decided that there would be no plan B. How did that boy become a man of such conviction at 19?
The energy of the park I took in every morning walking the park's paths and outter rim during my stay. I had been told about a new museum there that peaked my interest, M.O.M. - the Museum of Motherhood. I walked, skipped and danced (much as I do the canyons here) over to 401 E. 84th St. on Manhattan's Upper East Side and removed my tunes when I entered to meet the Founding Director, Joy Rose. Her brother - David Rose - a local Los Angeles award winning theatre director - had told me about his sister.
I love new things, changes, challenges and art in all forms. Joy informed me that she had a screen and would love to showcase short films. My recent 12-minute film Shorty & Morty will play there during the weekend of May 18 when they have a Women's Conference and festival. She spoke of her need for the museum to grow quickly. I left her with Dylan's art site and heard from her the next week. Joy loved his art and wanted him to do a show in March and also a permanent mural by summer's end.
Dylan - now in finals at Art Center during his third term - had some pieces that Rose loved and he offered to make a few more that thematically would round out the show and put a spotlight on the famous to the unknown to his own mother. Joy loved the ideas and gave him the March 5 opening date as opposed to the May date that I thought we were talking about. Oops, I inadvertently added stress onto his already heavy schedule.
The show A Mother's Nature came together by blending some older pieces along with the new and one borrowed. Maria Shriver loaned her Lady of California stencil that normally hangs in her Brentwood office. Shriver's piece embodies the woman herself and her fight for Alzheimer's research and cures, the Minerva Award and more.
Elizabeth & Aileen shows the love and bond between mother and daughter-in-law as two beautiful and equally impressive women who lived for the causes they represented. Taylor was among the first giant celebrities to stand up and fight for AIDS awareness, medicines and education. Getty founded GettLove in 2005 to transition her neighbors - the homeless - off the streets of Hollywood and into their own places. These two women, petite in stature yet magnificent in their strength. Dylan's love for Aileen is apparent in the interview he gave about her (see attached YouTube video).
In Counting Fingers, Dylan pays tribute to "my own grandmother of ‘color’ who has made a difference in my own life and countless critically ill pediatric patients at Radiological Associates of Sacramento located in the Sutter Cancer Center for over 15 years." Jean Friedrick started her own Grant-A-Wish for the kids undergoing radiation therapy.
Lost Mother - Found Child - a homeless woman feeding a child, three women in various transitions - is a sensually and colorful image along with the charcoal and illustratives he did for a few local moms and one in Manhattan. This made his friends Ronnie and James Caan smile, as well as Jim Stillwell of Pasadena's Impact House.
Flying that art there was one of the most difficult things to do financially and I will worry about it coming back when the time comes. What's important to the museum are the many causes embraced as a visitor looks from each face of the women presented with commonality. Stardom aside, these women share the same playing field with children, causes, hopes, aspirations and equally are celebrated for their life's journeys.
With a lump in my throat, I present a young man that I am so proud to call family. We have hiked many mountains in this lifetime together and Dylan Bocanegra has been roping off on his own side of the cliffs for some time. The nine piece show is a theme for this particular museum and his work at school is a completely different set of design skills that he is studying.
Dylan now has a piece in Washington D.C. with his Martin Luther King, Jr. and Harvey Milk - showing that change is yet to come. His mural paying tribute to the Indiana Jones series has hung at Atlantic Aviation's private pilot terminal in Santa Monica for two years - he would love a new home at Universal for it to be shown to people from around the world - especially kids. That piece is the one he did BIG as a last effort before he would drop out of art and it was in doing that Dylan found his love again.
Fly high my son - soar beyond the thermal pockets where eagles dare to fly! You have been my blessing and will be to others. To the boy who once told me, "You can't give up! You're my hero! You can do anything, mommy!" I reply: "Never give in, up or lose hope. Your gifts you were born to impart. You have become my hero, young man and one day you'll have children who will look to you and ask, Daddy...what does life mean?" To be happy with who you are and what you do. Believe it. Dare to be you.
Early morning on March 5, it snowed in NYC. The show is up for the entire month of March. If you know of anyone who'd like to visit - please say we sent them with love.
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