In an odd sort of a way, I owe you some heart-felt thanks. So thank you, Sofía. Cleaning up and patinaing this little bronze apple for you started me thinking. I literally shoved these apples away and have kept them virtually hidden these past five or six years.
It is a long story and one you may have heard in part before, so I'll just hit the highlights. In 1985 I had a massive heart attack that left my heart with a scar about the size of a man's palm. Luckily it was on two ventricles otherwise I probably would not have survived. Six years later, while I was casting some of these partially dried vaginal shaped apples for a show on the seductiveness of knowledge; I had another heart attack that resulted in open-heart surgery. Suddenly I had over $42,000 in medical bills with no insurance. The apples provided a means for me to repay that debt. It took years to make and sell 365 bronze apples. It would have been much faster to make a mold and make them all the same, but the sameness would have taken away from the uniqueness of the experience.
Eventually the hospital wrote-off the last few thousand dollars, before I finished making the series. That embarrassed me. Over the years lots of people had bought the apples knowing they were helping me.
After the original heart attack in '85 I had taken what was in effect a vow of poverty. Before then I had struggled as a commercial photographer. The career was doing well, but the ad world was a miserable environment. So my vow was as much one of changing direction to try, through Art, to make a better world as it was accepting the poverty. To me the two went hand in hand and I have been stuck with that mental image ever since.
Most of the people who bought these apples chose the big round ones. I was never sure if it was sexual character of these more dried ones or just Texan's tendency towards big hair and cars, but I was left with around twenty or so of these beautiful little ones that people didn't like. They were the ones I loved the most. Although the shape is certainly sensual and sexual, it also draws a more direct correlation to the scar on my heart. And in a less direct way a long lasting scar on my financial stability.
Sorry I've rattled on so much about my stuff. It's just that I know what you are going through is not easy. It's damned hard. At times it will look like you have it whipped. And at other times you'll feel like it's more than you can possibly bear. There will be times years from now when you look back at it (like I'm doing now) and learn something new from it. Whatever it takes to get through this ordeal.
Like the symbolic character of these apples this is your unique experience. It offers you the opportunity to see everything a little deeper and a lot richer.
Victoria and I wish you the very best!