Naked Dave
Amor Alien
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Dave Stevens  
Dave Stevens - July 29 1955 - March 11 2008
My Naked Dave series has been a way for me to work out the anger, grief, and loss that my unfortunate relationship with Dave Stevens brought me. I was only 18 when I met him. I was not too much older than that when he fathered my child in 1978. The way he tried to bully me into getting an abortion during my pregnancy was nearly unforgivable. When I lost my baby through a miscarriage, the emotional pain I went through was so intense that I tried to block it out for several years afterward. But the psychic injury would not heal. I have been dealing with the effects this loss has had on me all my adult life. The whole situation made me despondent and depressed for many years. Dave helped me through none of this. Just knowing this person almost killed me.

In 1990, Dave began seeking me out again. He held out the possibility to me that we could reconcile and "carry on in a more positive light", as he put it. Seems we were at cross purposes. He attempted to apologize for trying to avoid his responsibilities in making me pregnant, but I wanted him to apologize for telling lies about me after it happened, the greater transgression in my eyes. Neither apology was accomplished. Instead of acknowledging the past and putting things right, he withdrew once the damage was done. Cast off the opportunity for forgiveness and reconciliation because I did not perceive that a brief embrace between us was supposed to serve for the entire apology and I was not supposed to press him for more than this. It wasn't what happened in 1978 that inspired the series. We were young and stupid and that can be forgiven. No, it was the failed "reconciliation" of 1991 that lit the fire. I had been betrayed for the second time and I had to do something to save myself. I couldn't walk the earth with murderous rage in my bosom and let it destroy everything around me. Naked Dave originally began as a way I could cathartically extract the poison this man brought into my life with his cowardice. Projecting his own unbearable guilt onto me and dismissing my existence by perpetrating a calumnious myth he invented that I am some kind of dangerous psychopath (like his dear friend, Bettie Page). These paintings became an entire genre of my life's work, one that has brought me recognition. (Though, not the only recognized thing I've ever done with my creativity, that's for sure...) The publication of my project brought a healing flow of empathy from others, but also vilification from comic book geeks and others too emotionally shallow to understand why I had the need to make this art and disseminate it on the web. Many missed the irony and took "The Angriest Woman in the World" dead literal as a personal vendetta as if there wasn't enough to be angry about, just having to live as a woman in this screwed-up world. One woman's revenge is another's individual justice.

For many years I assumed that Dave was merely annoyed by my paintings of him but I was wrong. In recent years I discovered that he was deeply affected by what I had done. The only friend we still had in common beseeched me in an email to forgive him, but I found it impossible to do so without face to face reconciliation. In 2005, when I offered an olive branch to Dave through a go-between, he refused. True to his real nature, he claimed himself as the sole victim of this tragedy. As if my justified resentment sprang unmitigated by anything he had done, and that he bore no blame. Now that he is dead, face to face reconciliation and forgiveness between us is not possible. I have to live with this reality and find the way to forgiveness without the reconciliation that I knew long ago I would never see.

My motives for this project have been the same since I started. To heal from the injury inflicted and diffuse my anger by having fun with my past pain. The issues this unfortunate relationship brought to my life, and my ability to process them through my art, still inspire me. When that changes, I will be done with this series. To aspire to make great art one must know truth, beauty, and love. My muse, as unwilling a subject as he may have been, was a muse nonetheless. The English Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti had a muse, Elizabeth Siddal. A recent book about her life has the following quotation from John Ruskin which took my breath away with it's truth: "And yet Elizabeth had been loved tenderly, loved by the man and by the artist, which is to be loved twice, because painters have a tenderness for the creature that suddenly realizes for them, in an exquisite and living form, a long cherished dream, and lavish upon her a gaze that is more thoughtful, more intuitive and, to put it plainly, more charged with love than is possible for other men."

Below is a study for the last painting of the Naked Dave series. I have known since February of 2005 that Dave was ill with cancer. I was sworn to secrecy and struggled with continuing the series, but the heart sees what the conscious mind can't bear to know. I placed the monarchs in the painting because the Aztecs believed they carried the souls of the dead. I started this latest painting in July 2005. I will continue to paint Dave until I am done and I can bring peace to myself.

 
December 29, 2008
 
The Unforgiven by Laura Molina

Wikipedia entry about "Naked Dave"


In the last 15 years a lot of people who have come to this web site and even some who have only seen the actual

paintings have had emotional responses to Naked Dave.


Naked Dave

At the end of 1999, I was contacted by Laura E. Perez. Assistant professor of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley, who used slides of my paintings (including Naked Dave) in a course she was teaching on "The uses of blood, spirituality and the human heart in art".

 

Some comments on this web site from the Professor:

"I thought that "Naked Dave, a Woman's Obsession" Is positively insane in a way that I can understand. (but) I do not literally think that Naked Dave is insane but I did want to communicate that I think it works. It is "insane" in the sense that "normal" people are supposed to let bygones be bygones etc. What I think is terrific about the site is that it refuses to do this, to pretend that past relationships, past pain should go quietly into the night. As a viewer, and particularly as a woman, I see Naked Dave as a kind of exposé, and I feel emotional vindication and an identification with the will to not let the past drop "politely," given that it is these ideas of propriety that are actually psychologically abnormal. The Greek statue and block of his printed name feel like a tombstone to me, and the whole site like a grief ritual. The insanity of your site is socially on target. It works especially well as art , in my view. Naked Dave is original, I've never seen anything like it".


"The 'Naked Dave' suite (it should be a symphony or something) transcends gender, race or planetary considerations. It's the big-ass cry of sentient beings"

Aviation Artist Robert Karr - October 2001


 

NAKED DAVE
Lyrics by Beth Preistler-Schmidt ©2003
inspired by the artwork of Laura Molina

 

"Did I catch you at a bad time" ... Dave-Dave-Dave

No one can save you No one can save you
No one can save you can save you Naked Dave
Forever posed without your clothes
Surrender you're EXPOSED
Naked in shame Blame it on Eve
Make a mistake and blame the snake
Sss-sooner or later you'll be blaming the creator
Dave-Dave-Dave

I drew your name, Let's play a game
(DAVE)
Pan the fans, Everybody wave
(DAVE)
Blow us a kiss Let's reminisce
When young lovers were willing slaves of passion
Fruit in the night Rotten in the light
Invites vile reactions
Dave-Dave-Dave...

(Chorus)
Always know I won't leave you alone
Though you fell with the angels, baby
I'll never go, 'til I bring you home
(Go- Go)
being alone always makes you go crazy
Go-Go Crazy
Go-Go Crazy

No one can free you Dave but me
On your flight from humanity
Drop to the ground Rock-et on down
You've fallen under my custody
Be a muse be a prop
Be a man and make me stop
Dave-Dave-Dave...

(Chorus)
Always know I won't leave you alone
Though you fell with the angels, baby
I'll never go, 'til I bring you home
(Go- Go)
being alone always makes you go crazy
Go-Go Crazy
Go-Go Crazy

Dave is depraved, Dave will behave
now that Dave is my own love slave
Play with my prey, bat like a toy
You want to pay, you naughty bad boy
I created you Naked Dave to destroy you
You can't be saved!
Dave-Dave-Dave-Dave-Dave-Dave
Dave...


(Chorus)
Always know I won't leave you alone
Though you fell with the angels, baby
I'll never go, 'till I bring you home
(Go- Go)
being alone always makes you go crazy
Go-Go Crazy
Go-Go Crazy

No one can save you No one can save you
No one can save you can save you Naked Dave
Dave-Dave-Dave...
No one can save you No one can save you
No one can save you can save you Naked Dave
Dave-Dave-Dave...
No one can save you No one can save you
No one can save you can save you Naked Dave
Dave-Dave-Dave...

(gentle kiss & blow sound)

 

 

PAST E-MAIL FROM VISITORS:

 

Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2005
From: Daniel Hicks
Subject: A bit of thanks...

My name is Daniel Hicks, and I am absolutely charmed by your "Naked Dave" story and art work.

After viewing his work, it ignited a little anger in me as well. The idea of the objectification he promotes and obviously indulges in is repulsive, but to see his negative energy returned to him as a beautifully revelatory and positive force is a justice that is wonderful to marvel at. He is clearly a man defined entirely by his own work as desiring only to confuse woman with vamp. And for this I am so incredibly happy that you have returned his horrible portrayal of the feminine form (entirely lacking substance) with positivity and artistic beauty.

You are an absolute champion. I am unsure of how great humanity could be if we all could instinctually return disrespect and miserable treatment with an honest expression of feelings and indifference to negative attitudes.

You have my respect and appreciation.

Daniel Hicks.

 


July 3, 2003:

Thought I'd drop you a quick line and say how much I enjoyed your paintings (and the Naked Dave stuff too, naturally). Seems like a lot of people are getting really upset about it, with the notable exception of you and Dave.

Weird.

It seems fairly clear to me that Dave (naked or otherwise) is an obsession for you, but only in the same way that cypress trees were an obsession for Van Gogh or horses were an obsession for Da Vinci. Every artist has personal obsessions which they work and rework endlessly. I say, if you find something strong that keeps your work flowing, grab it and wring it out.

Nice one.

d.

 


Dec. 23, 2004
Subject: my take on the dave bit

I suppose I can only interpret your situation through the lens of my experiences. I had a breakup where I WAS creepy and obsessive. I could not come to grips with the fact that my partner did not see things the way I did and the world refused to fit with my worldview. Telling me to 'get over it' was like saying 'pretend it never happened'. My liberating realization was that my feelings could simply exist without implying any reflection of that fact.

The absence of a social relationship between two people does not require a surrendering of shared experiences. If I were to speak it, I would say-

"My memories of you are mine.
My feelings for you are mine.
My feelings about you are mine.
Our time together is part of me.
My understanding of you is part of me.
You cannot deny me the understanding and exploration of these parts of myself.
They are mine to interpret, accept, reject or spin how I see fit."

It seems as if you have taken an unusual situation from your life and used it as a catalyst to explore various other ideas and concepts. If it leads to greater wisdom, so much the better.


" Art is basically a gift you’re presenting to people and hoping they’ll respond well to it" .

Dave Stevens, 2003


"Much of your pain is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self." – Kahlil Gibran

 
Naked Dave web site design & content ©1992-2015 Laura Molina "The Angriest Woman in The World"® C/S