A moment of youth and rock stars

I had a conversation with Mariela recently about what has changed in our lives as we’ve gotten older. More specifically, how we see ourselves as we’ve gone from being in our early 20’s to our late 20’s now. I told her that biggest difference for me was in my taste in music. Now that I’ve had a little bit of time to reflect on it, the real difference I think is that I don’t have as many rock stars to worship as I once did.

As a teenager my idol was Eddie Vedder, I wanted to be him when I grew up and every word he sang was gospel to me. Before that, I was obsessed with comic book artist Jim Lee. It was always really easy for me to really latch onto someone or something and be very passionate about it when I was younger. As I’m now approaching the age of 29 my fanatic tendencies have subsided and turned into casual admirations of my heroes.

Despite this decline there is still one true rock star in my universe, Nikki S. Lee. I’ve been following her work since 1998 like a teenage girl follows the films of Zac Efron. Her Project series has had a profound influence on my identity as an artist and my work (especially on the performance videos I made at Calarts with Marie Hernandez). To me, she is a living super-hero.

Reading Parts

Reading Parts

When I signed up for a facebook page I did a search for Nikki S. Lee on the site and came across a legit profile for her. On a lark I sent her a friend request which went months without approval. Recently my friend request to her was approved and I felt ecstatic to see her name and image appear in my friends list. When her birthday popped up in my homepage notifications I left her a comment wishing her a happy birthday. To my shock and amazement she replied with a simple comment seen below.

Words can’t describe my excitement at this brief acknowledgement. I did an endzone dance followed by the Harlem Shake in celebration of her comment. I felt like busting out with a Wayne’s World “We’re not worthy” bow. Suffice to say, that childhood excitement returned to me for a day, one that I will not soon forget.

A little younger,

Rio

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