by David Feingold and Michael Quaintance
“Bruise” is the second in the collaboration series “Teeth is Tears,” created by artists David Feingold and Michael Quaintance. Michael writes poetry in response to David’s images. As Michael says in his bio, “Feingold’s images act as doorways, as pathways to those avenues of thought and feeling that have been sequestered in the corners of my efforts to belong and be seen… as.” Both artists’ works are informed by their lived experience of disability.
Not because I fit
But because I’ve learned to hide
Allowing only select orifices to seep and bleed
Select thoughts to register
On a face well hidden
Beneath a face well-rehearsed.
Versed in verse
It’s all a matter of cadence not content
How rather than what
When rather than why,
Maintained for audience
My absence of authenticity
And I am given name, place and a seat
At the table of bones.
I have loved
An agent provoking myself
Waiting for the moment when the mask will slip
And the effluvia of my other self seeps out
Onto her—never our sheets,
While the stench of my incarceration
Softly enters her pores
suffocating, debilitating all of the dreams shared
when my role was believed and played
That time is gone
So many twists
So many turns
Breaking bones, stretching muscles beyond points
It’s only the bleeding that oils the engine of my continuance
It’s only the bleeding that softens the impact of each step
In an effort to belong.
The question I ask myself is why
After all these years
Knowing that I seep when I sleep
That my voice is vacant
That the blindness of my left eye will one day
Be overtaken by the insight of my right,
Why do I
Play in a field of children afraid of monsters
When I am and have always been
The monster they and I were taught to fear?
Comfortable in dark rooms
Caressed by the arms and eyes of shadow
Despite the absence of a name
Distressed and bruised
A decayed semblance of the first step taken
I am story and truth
Without the need
Beyond the mandate
To lie to myself for the sake of everyone
I have no need for lock or key
As no one wants
To come here
My laughter—my tears
A commentary that no one wants to hear.
So why then do I bother
To be, simply not to be
To be seen, knowing that I am never seen
When I know that every entrance returns me
David Feingold was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1951. Feingold works in the medium of digital art. Much of his art is used in conjunction with his anti-stigma awareness campaigns to the lay public as well as professionals and academicians.
Feingold has a varied education and professional background, which along with his personal experience with bipolar disorder, influence much of his art: Bachelors in Art Education; Masters in Visual Design; Masters in Social Work; and a Doctorate in Disability Studies.
His work has been represented both nationally and internationally in both brick and mortar and online galleries. His ultimate purpose in creating “bipolar art” is to present the inner struggles of those with psychiatric disorders and through understanding and acceptance, reduce the stigma and prejudice associated with all mental illness.
Feingold worked for 15 years as a visual designer and 15 years as a school social worker, when he had to take early retirement, due to advancing cognitive impairments stemming from a closed head injury from a hit-and-run accident in his teens. The closed head injury was the genesis of Feingold’s temporal lobe epilepsy and bipolar disorder. He resides in rural Michigan in a simple, one room dwelling, complete with a wood burning stove and a pond in the back yard. Feingold states that his home provides a perfect environment in which to produce his artwork as well as a harmonious balance and stability in light of the unpredictable challenges associated with his diagnoses of bipolar and seizure disorders.
This is Feingold’s second art collaboration. His first collaboration was with a musician/composer, whose music was informed by his own seizure activity as well as Feingold’s art imagery.
How long has “depression” been a central part of your life experience? Before answering, I need to respond to the assumptions and preconceptions that haven’t be voiced, but have proven to be inherent in this kind of question. “Depression” (for me) is a region of sight and insight that exists outside of the constraints of belonging and the constructs of being used to set the terms and conditions of normalcy. I also need to add that I use the term “depression” for the sake of convenience, so that you and I can begin our conversation from a shared point, even though our interpretations will differ at the outset.
So, what is depression… for you? Depression is not—depression does not—depression will not. Is, does and will, belong to form, formality and functionality; the need to assert, discern and determine. What you call depression, I call imposition and the limitation of the unique by mandates of compliance that have little to no tolerance for difference, or that which cannot/will not be defined.
My work, my writing is motivated by this unfinished—recently began—lifelong discussion. Feingold’s images act as doorways, as pathways to those avenues of thought and feeling that have been sequestered in the corners of my efforts to belong and be seen… as. The gift of isolation and aloneness over the past few years, has opened doorways and pathways that I’ve only begun to discover; and in word, design.
Ex-Dancer—Actor, Bachelors in Philosophy and Performing Arts, Masters in Education, presently completing a Doctorate in Disability Studies