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Jack, Johnny and dog painting (my avatar) by Johnny-Jack on Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:10 am
My avatar is an actual painting of Jack at age 10. I've searched for but never found a photograph of my alter personality Jack and one may not exist. However, the avatar is a reduced digital photo of a 3ft x 5ft composition of Jack, painted from memory by my father a year or so after Jack punched him in the face, fought back, ran away that night, thus ending the abuse, then shortly went inside for decades.
Jack's eye squint is characteristic of him, though here it also helps him aim the gun. My father was a gun collector. The pistol is no toy. It is the relative size of an adult weapon, which Jack holds ready for his off-screen assailant. He protects the untroubled boy on his back, the host John (aka Johnny), whose face is not shown, indeed, cannot be shown for it would be identical to Jack's.
My father may or may not have consciously known what he was painting but the identities and the meaning of the painting are quite clear to me. Everyone close to the family who has seen the painting says the boy is me. Others have confirmed that even he knew it turned out to be his son. Only I know the boy with the gun is Jack and the child on the ground was his second favorite son, John (Johnny). It is the largest painting ever done by our father, who knew quite well that the two boys were different, though in the same body. He never named this painting. Although it's not clear in this reduced version, the dog, with human-like eyes, stares back in harsh judgment at the painter of the scene, and so at the viewer.
(April 28, 2012) Two friends who know my entire story now, who knew me since we were age 2 or 3 and who knew my parents, got an overwhelming response to viewing the painting. The boys' bodies are so close, the recumbent Johnny seems to blend into Jack. One held her hand over the dogs lower face and said the eyes looked human and accusing.
I have mixed feelings about displaying a painting by my abuser, but it is the only known visual record of Jack, the painting itself is not at fault, it is absolutely his likeness and a documentation of his battle won, and I retain it to honor Jack, who no longer sleeps.
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