The Community Well in 5D


The collection I created along my RSA journey reflects my evolving spiritual and artistic expressions rooted in asset-based community development (ABCD), which sees the world as a place of abundance instead of scarcity. As a community, we shine a light on the gifts & talents of our neighbors, invest in those talents, create economy and mutual delight. Artistically during this journey, I let go of rigid beliefs about photography and began to discover my inner digital artist. My base work starts with one or more photographs – but has evolved into conceptual digital art with layering, abstraction and other dimensions! Welcome to my magical journey!

In a world of scarcity, there is only competition – Sharks. In a world of abundance, there is only collaboration – Dolphins. I choose to swim with the dolphins, having great faith in humanity. Since I first opened my studio in 2012, I’ve always been looking for ways to collaborate with other artists, using my art and storytelling to shine a light on their amazing gifts and talents. I routinely use Creative Commons licensing in my projects, which enables collaboration, growth, and generosity. It’s ABCD-based licensing for multi-media creations, designed for dolphins!

Water From The Rock Exhibition

Please join us at the
Exhibition Opening on April 1, 2022 at
The Harrison Center from 6p-9pm ET.

Coming out of this journey, I am bringing forward several pieces of work as The Community Well in 5D as part of the The Religion, Spirituality, and the Arts (RSA) program of the IUPUI Arts and Humanities.

This year’s them looks at texts from Exodus and Numbers:

In the religious imagination, water quenches both physical and spiritual thirst. In the most unexpected places wells and rocks become the bearers of story. Focusing on the Exodus narrative of Moses’ striking the rock, which reveals an aquifer, we will consider the power of water as sustenance, healing, and renewal. The seminar will explore how seemingly inanimate entities such as water and rocks might also be alive and help us rethink our relationship to the earth.

2021-22 RSA Syllabus

My RSA Journey: 1D to 5D Art 

My journey through the RSA experience is part of a larger artistic & spiritual sabbatical during which I’ve been challenging rigid beliefs I hold about photography and religion. I’ve also been using art as therapy, uncovering and healing instances of trauma, abuse, loss & grief – a common theme especially since entering long-term harm reduction in 2010 from a ChemSex addiction to crystal meth.

I started this journey as a traditional photographer, limited to the world I saw through my camera lens – very one dimensional or 1D. While I had already started exploring conceptual digital art with layering and abstraction, I was still stuck in a 2D paradigm.

Seeing how artists from other disciplines in our RSA cohort could interpret the same text in so many different mediums was mind-blowing. It gave me permission to experiment with other art forms. In particular, our study on soundscapes freed me to explore video and sound scapes of my artistic and spiritual journey. I recorded background audio during my landscape or street shoots. I captured time-lapse videos of my studio work. I created a playlist during the RSA experience, adding songs that expressed the emotions, growth, insights, intentions I was experiencing. I shifted into a 3D artistic worldview – images, video, sound.

In one our first RSA exercise, we were introduced to Midrash – a concept I had never encountered before. Midrash gave me permission to see biblical text as stories, which could be explored and expanded to narrate untold parts of these stories, or other perspectives, or alternative realities. For me, this mirrors or validates the concept of space-time and quantum physics. Like the TV show Quantum Leap, we can literally – and artistically – create an alternate version of reality. I accepted more profoundly a 4D worldview, where my choices and intentions manifest my reality. 

During my artistic and spiritual  sabbatical. I’ve stepped away from my commercial work for a year to study and create art. I had never taken a landscape photography class and was given the opportunity to study under two amazing artists for a week in Maine (Thom Rouse and Al DaValle). During our week, I was able to experiment and create in the 2D and 3D worlds I was discovering through RSA. On Day 1, Al coached me about how he has learned to approach his landscape work. Before he takes a single shot, he pauses – and experiences the moment. He wanted me to feel the space around me, so I could convey that through my digital art. He asked, “how do you want your image to make people feel?” Seemed really hokey at first. As a left-brained engineer, I had never fully embraced the emotional aspects of my art. With Al’s question, he struck a chord in my heart. By the end of the week, I was experiencing art in 5D – images, video, sound, time, and emotion. 

The other profound spiritual element during my RSA journey came up during our panel on cultural perspectives. Uranchimeg Tsultem made a comment that resonated deeply with a spiritual journey I’ve been on since turning 50. I started to challenge my traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs. As a gay man, I suffered at the hands of religious bigots who shepherded me through conversion therapy and the ex-gay movement. After 30 years of reliving that trauma, I had finally let go of my identity as a “Christian,” and began to explore Eastern spirituality. But I never understood the fundamental difference until Professor Tsultem’s lecture. Western religions are outward facing, looking to a God outside of us for redemption. Easter spirituality is inward facing, empowering us to accept our own divinity and Source. 

Broadway Culinary, Arts & Healing Space

I would be remiss in not talking about my studio. It is located inside a magical space that is home to 18 cooks, artists, & healers in the education wing of a church. There are also three congregations who share space with us. This building is known to the world as Broadway United Methodist Church. It’s known to our neighborhood as the Broadway Culinary, Arts & Healing Community. It is ABCD, lived out in our community with ridiculous love, faith and grace. 

Thanks for listening. Keep Tellin’ the Story.

Sawubona, 

C. Todd Fuqua, CPP
Community Artivist, Connector & Reflector
Pronouns: He/Him/His

What have I learned?


Reminds me of a story one of my friends loves to tell about a night behind stage at a drag show back in the 1980’s. It’s catty, edgy, back-stabbing humor. Older GWM at our best.

And our worst.

They do call it a stereotype for a reason, girlfriend. (HT to JT for that one. That and a couple other racist remarks lands your firm with a class-action lawsuit. Then the Club Owners collude to keep YOU happy so you don’t pop the Rainbow bubble they’ve helped build. That’s right, GIRLFRIEND!).

TICK TICK BOOM!

So I’ll spare you the off-color humor. (Hmmm. Did you notice that?)

Is it really off-color, or have we all become too sensitive?

Too sensitive I guess. That is what they told ME as a little boy wonder, shaming the feelings out of my broken, little boy heart.

But really…

I’m sad when I hear some cis White male queer peers from my generation or one older as we talk quietly over a coffee or a cocktail. We are careful not to say too much, lest we lose our spotlight. We self-righteously cling to our gay lineage, our homosexual agenda – not realizing the lesson we were just served by Mr. Floyd’s legacy is: the very world we cling to is steeped in White supremacy, fueled by our own unresolved Velvet Rage.

As GWM “of a certain age,” we fear losing the very things “we” fought for (really? just us? hmmm…). What power and fear we hold over other human beings, many of whom actually earned our saggy White asses that very seat at the bar. At the Sportsman. In rural Indiana.

That’s what I’ve learned in the oak-lined Boardrooms of our capitalist healthcare industry – corporate, non-profit, religious – same cloth, different kilt. The people, yes – they care. Tremendously. And work for shit. All of them. They are NOT the enemy.

That’s why I’ve learned

But, the institutions themselves.

Capitalist, cis-male White Lockerooms and Jock Clubs. A legacy of wealth and disregard for those different than us.

But I digress.

What IS the punch line?

Who doesn’t find that funny.

What does that tell us about why we find that funny?

The power of a question.

That’s what I’ve learned.

Time to move on.

Tell Me Why

Yes, I worked a Bronski Beat reference into this story. Every movie has a soundtrack, every one of my 2D5D C4ABCD blogs do.

Why?

Because in this case, I say so.

Sermons aren’t inherently bad. It’s easier to think of them as just stories.

And Jesus is just a prophet. Like the rest of them. Even the comedians. ESPECIALLY the comedians.

So why do I think you ask? That’s a good question. That’s a very good question, as my friend Mike Mather once said it in a sermon that changed my life.

Damn Christians.

See that biting humor? It hides the pain. Just saying.

Don’t get your knickers in a twist. I’m getting to the answer.

Because we like to tear other people down.

It’s the dark side of our humanity.

Scarcity. Ego. Competition. Small dicks.

But, I’ve also learned we need the shadows to bring out the light.

Here’s the sad thing.

We do it to our own people.

Even ones in our own community.

The tail end of the spectrum.

The suffix.

The TQIA+

You know who.

The ones we don’t understand.

Of course, when WE were young, they told us we had a preference instead of an orientation. It was a choice, not a gift.

And yet here we are again.

Allowing our elected officials to legislate people to pick a side.

Maybe They MEANT for us to be on a spectrum? Or spectra? (What IS the plural? Spectrums?)

I digress.

Lessons from Inside a Pandemic

Some of us have been here before. Like Alice Langford. Some of us joined lately. Some of us are watching us from beyond. But we’ve been here before.

This ain’t our first virus.

Lest ye forget.

We forgive you if you did. Admitting you did is the first step. (HT to Pastor Aaron for leading with that truth for reconciliation).

And no Carol, you can’t get HIV from sharing the damn communion cup.

Really?

Yep. She said that too.

I think the part she couldn’t accept most is I was an no longer reborn like her. I lost my way. I was an ex-gay.

Thankfully, Groh and Blanche set her straight. Can’t wait to visit them all in Hatboro. I never got that closure because of her legacy. Her brother. Their hate).

Reborn. Again.

And THAT’S how I got the working title of my piece! Come see it in April. I’m terribly excited.

As my readers probably recall, I have been living out my artistical sabbatical since June of last year, give or take a spell.

This choice led me along a spiritual journey and through some painful parts of my story. It’s a privileged White boy’s story, as my warrior friend Harold taught me.

Some times I feel you make yourself difficult to be told something you don’t know. 

And he was right.

That’s why I included “Lord” in my title. I own my whole story, and my father’s story, and my mother’s story, and so on, and so on.

But it doesn’t have to define how I show up today. Unless I choose to let it.

Easier said than done.

And, judging from my old journals I took down off the shelf during our honeymoon, I’ve been here before too! (spoiler alert: do NOT take your childhood journals on your honeymoon. It’s not a therapy retreat. Consummate deary, consummate )

Compartmentalize. There IS a time for that masculine trait. When it’s time to show up.

That’s what I’ve learned.

Confused in love. Telling myself I have to make a choice.

Really? How’s that worked out before?

Right.

20/20 Hindsight. 2020 Hindsight.

I’ve learned the power of 20/20 hindsight again and again. And like that Steve Jobs quote about moments in life, I can see a pattern. Three data points make a trend. We can’t improve what we don’t observe.

It does not make it True but it doesn’t make it go away.

That, as they say, is where the rubber hits the road. (It’s ok – I’m not skinning any salient beings. Or is that sentient? I always mix those up. Like committment. I can never spell it correctly. Maybe that should have been my first clue. Hmm. Data point. But it doesn’t have to be a trend. Just saying).

And here we are.

Left and right side co-existing, all the voices in stereophonic 5D.

Back to that lesson.

With COVID, we’ve all shared the same stigma, shame, fear, loss, loneliness, confusion, scarcity, sadness. Every human being on this planet. Every sentient being. Every soul. Every spirit. Every source. Every alien.

When we look at it from THAT telescope (Hubbel or Hubbel 2.0), our collective EQ as a planet just got a shot in the arm.

Think of this latest vaccine as a booster of collective Empathy Quotient for Earth. A reboot. (Yes, another movie reference. Borrowed the concept, so HT to whoever you find on page 1 of your Google search. Attribute always. Good-ishly.)

Magic and Miracle: Two Sides of the Same Coin

There is magic unfolding here, elevating our global connectedness.

Call it the Rapture if that works for you.

Or Snowpocalypse.

Or Zombie Worlds.

Or Battlestar Galactica.

As my friend Stewart Huff likes to remind us, Mother Nature can be a bitch!

Whoops. Family show.

Oh wait, this isn’t a family show. This is my show.

All politics is local, so hear me out. I hope you’ll stick around. If something I say offends you, come talk with me. Let me ask you some questions. Ask me some questions. I bet you we aren’t THAT far off. Really.

But, if nudity offends you or sexuality makes you uncomfortable, you are forewarned. But, I would recommend staying out of churches in Europe. Just saying. (HT to Thom Rouse for that nugget of Living the Artistic Life). #BigMagic

Did I mention I think I’m on the spectrum? Thanks for that nugget of insight Jasper, and for my walk with Susan who helped me accept that Truth.

But hold that thought for now.

Or as we say, stick a pin it.

Religion, Spirituality and the Arts – Oh my!

So along this magical path, I was invited to be part of community art intervention called Religion, Spirituality & the Arts. Our cohort first met last Summer-ish. And I’ve only seen them all on Zoom. Ah, the stories for our grandpups…

As we are coming to the conclusion of the project, I’m in reflecting mode. Trying to capture my thoughts, feelings, lessons learned from this experience.

Book ends.

Soul Print Moment

This is one of those Soul Print moments. (HT to my friend Terry Bateman and his gift of Buddha and the Bad Ass).

What HAVE I learned?

Shame and stigma are hard to tell apart. Some might say they are two sides of the same coin. Others may flip that coin. Others will take that coin.

Make it sacred.

Trust everyone.

Trust, but verify.

Swim with the dolphins.
Stay with your penguin.
Love your koala bear.

Everyone deserves a second chance. And a second second chance.

Three data points make a trend. But people can change. Even with a trend.

Be humble and kind.

Breathe.

Show grace.

Be more, do less.

Have more romance in friendships, and more friendships in marriage.

Talk about sex.

Get a couple’s therapist now. At the start, not the end.

Start with three questions:

What are we?
What do we want to be?
Is this healthy?

Tony Law, creator of The Paper Crane Diaries

Being single is ok.

Get a dog. Or a plant.

Breathe.

It’s hard in a mask. I know. Frontline workers and healthcares know.

God grant them the wisdom to trust science, the courage to love another.

Soundscapes

That’s one lesson from my romantical RSA journey, somewhere between session 1 and 5.

Sound.

Music.

Performance.

It’s all art.

I’m an artist. A performing artist.

And I already knew that. Sang that. Danced that. Lived that.

Loving my unstoried self

Layer of skin shed, I’m able to see a new blob on the artistical and spiritiaul horizon. Art is my therapy. Music and playlists are the score. Life is the stage.

Carpe Diem. Dead Poet’s Society. Culture Club.

It’s all the same hymn, the same pain, the same joy, the same love, the same loss.

5D Artivism is Born

The idea of paying attention to the sound around me while I’m creating changed the entire way I experience and create art. With all of my senses.

Like this. At Roben’s studio (cue hyperlink).

A new pair of glasses.

Another cliché, but that’s what happens when your stone is
Rolled away
Struck
Lifted

In closing, I’m learning to ask:

How can I or my network solve your biggest problem?

Attributed to Bryan Walsh

Try me out. Ask me.

I don’t bite. Unless we have consent.

I’ll add the playlist later. I’m tired. And it’s 4:20pm.

No, I’m not stoned.

No Grass Today.

Attributed to AJR

Thanks for listening,

Keep Tellin’ the Story,

Sawubona,

The Right Reverend Lord Christopher Todd Peacock III

Note: My words for the year are Be, Feel, Create, Learn, Grow. I will make mistakes, find better ways to share my Truth, pick myself up and move on. For now, I’m in this moment. I’ve arrived home. Again.

What they got wrong in treatment


Being addicted to [insert my drug of choice] is like chasing a dragon. You’re constantly seeking that first high, but what’s gonna happen if you actually catch it?

Conventional wisdom, as described in “Chasing the Dragon” at https://www.fbi.gov/video-repository/newss-trailer-chasing-the-dragon/view

That’s a lie designed to keep me trapped in a cage.

On my good-ish days in long-term recovery, I feel joy, hope, freedom. On my better days, I’m 13 on a scale of naught to ten.

And that feeling trumps any high I ever chased.

Even that first high, dancing naked with B.S. in his fabulous loft condo in Raleigh N.C. I remember like it was yesterday.

I haven’t always believed that catch phrase from the rooms of recovery.
Or been able to feel anything close to that tbh.

Today, I do.

I chased my dragon, and found my koala bear.
She was inside all this time.

Hold on.

You’re not alone.

Thanks for listening,

Keep tellin’ the story.

The Right Reverend Lord Christopher Todd Peacock III
embracing the artivist buried in stone