Book of Love
The Book of Love
9 1/2 x 6 1/2 in
Acrylic, ink, and collage on journal book
The Book of Love, the first of a trilogy (that includes The Book of Names and The Book of Numbers), is an artist’s study of love rooted from a particular point of view and personalized experience. Since childhood, the artist had known only separation, conflicts, and violence stemmed from war and family conflict. Parental love and attachment were severed from the artist early on in his life. A gay man, the artist struggles to find true love and romantic love as it is told in a fairytale.
Here, Chath fills 180 pages of a visual diary he often painted in low light, in his quiet room, sometimes while traveling, early morning or late into the night, love is seen in multiple lenses.
One man is an anchor. He’s far out there in the US while he’s traveling, taking on lovers on other shores, even falling in love and in a few months to a year-long relationship. However, he keeps returning to his anchorman. The average guy, the farmer. He isn’t an intellectual. He isn’t a businessman. He isn’t a famous artist. He is just there to love unconditionally and to welcome him back into his life whenever he so chooses.
In his youth and throughout his adulthood, Chath experimented with love and attachment. He explored physical spaces, desire, and lust. He divorces himself from possessive relationships. He ran from the battlefields of indifferences and disloyal kinds of love —- the unfaithful kind. A man is always looking for another. He’s constantly on the hunt for a better feast. There’s always a certain degree of manipulation and trickery. The fault promises of a marriage or material wealth. The song of love is taken by the sweet breath and scent of lovers everywhere. Monogamy isn’t a thing. He got to cruise, looking for strangers to tender his night, thinking by some miraculous fate, love would reveal itself —- true love that is.
The more he searches, the more he realizes that the anchorman is all he needs, without the sex, but the promised security, the companionship, stability, and the physical intimacy that reaches higher at another stage.
He’s better off masturbating than being out there with strangers for one passionate night, feeling shame and cheated. The days of flesh hunting are over. Conform to the safety of true love deeper than the holy ground. The nectar of love nourishes the book through many corridors. Sex isn’t the only entrance to happiness. It’s also the exit to a calamitous kind of love, the wrong kind of man —- the selfish, self-absorbed man, the man full of secrets and lies, the conniving, con-artist who takes honey without saying thank you to the bees.
He had them all —- the world, big or small, immediate or arduous, every man isn’t made of gold. He has different destructive impulses. He’s insecure, he’s too self-righteous, too brave, or too vain.
In these men, there are elements of himself. The only way to learn and avoid repeating the past, Chath documents through words and visuals. This book is how he lets go, moves on to higher ground after his heart had been flooded with his own tears. He had been crucified with greater pain than Christ had endured. There was an addiction of a kind to find a man who could love him better than he could himself.
Such a man does not exist in the world of all his travels, but it does in the anchorman, safe from physical and verbal violence, the farmer’s arms and warm heart are all he needs.
The discoveries had not been easy. A few battles fought with heartaches and despair. Chath is grateful to be the artist who can use words and visuals to heal himself from it all and to give himself permission to accept life as it comes.
Enter The Book of Love. The fantasy is over. It’s time to face reality.