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Brian's abstract paintings will be available in the Housing Works Art Auction in May 2010 in New York City. Housing Works is committed to ending the twin crises of AIDS and homelessness.
Brian's abstract art is also showing at the Chicago House Birdhouse auction in Chicago, IL on June 24, 2010.
This is Brian's story.
To contact Brian, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please click any abstract painting for a close-up.
Living thirty-nine years on this earth, I have found that the struggles we encounter every day prepare us for the adventures of tomorrow. Having been laid off from two companies in 2009 (a software company and a computer corporation), I found that the pain and the struggle came out in my work, as it brings back the anxiety of what the military caused me when they released me from my service as they no longer needed me.
For years, struggling and searching for that level of happiness that I hoped would finally give me the peace I had been searching for, left me more alone. Being homeless twice in my life and struggling to get ahead, I would find that being out in the world and alone was a far cry from the upper-middle class upbringing that I had been used to. Born to highly supportive and wonderful parents, I emerged on this earth in 1970. A happy and content child, I found my pleasure riding my bike and having the only two friends in the world I needed, my parents.
I loved the four seasons that Maine gave to me: the crisp cold air on my face, the sun beaming on my head, and the vision of the ice covering the lake at the lake house. I found a sense of peace and security being in the country, awakening the senses with the smell of wood burning fireplaces in the cold country air. My days were filled with a Catholic school education. At the same time, I was an alter boy at my Catholic school. As years passed, high school brought on a serious decline in my grades from my Catholic school elementary days.
The torment and discrimination that was my high school years left me feeling alone and different from everyone. Not knowing or understanding why the kids would threaten physical abuse while at the same time calling me everything from faggot to queer. At the time, I was not out nor did I feel the need to disclose my sexuality. I was not even fully confident if I was gay or not.
The time came that the torment and hell of those high school students became so much that I wanted to end my life. The first attempt was an overdose and was unsuccessful. Therapy ensued, but was unsuccessful because of an incompetant therapist. The second attempt was a carbon monoxide poisoning which was also unsuccessful. After my second attempt, I found strength from myself to get myself out of the suicidal thoughts and start more positive steps to my adulthood.
Enlisting in the United States Air Force, I became proud of who I was. Proud to make my parents proud. Proud to defend this country and help fight for our freedoms. The Air Force embraced me and protected me in the beginning. Teaching me new skills and making me realize how much we take for granted.
Bouncing from state to state, the Air Force planted me down in the Midwest where I was starting to learn more about myself and the adult I wanted to be. I fell in love for the first time with a wonderful person who impacted my life so greatly. Keeping a secret life hidden from the military was hard as it was not allowed to be what they do not approve of.
When the relationship started to end and my love was leaving the state, it was a shock to feel the loss as he made me feel as safe and comfortable as the military did being 2000 miles from home.
Imagine the surprise when an airman came to my 3rd floor and stated the Dorm Chief needed to see me ASAP. Upon entering his office, I was informed that my First Seargent would be coming to pick me up. He would not go into details, but made it very clear that they most likely were going to ask me questions and that I needed to think before answering what they asked. When my First Seargent arrived, we rode to Security Police together and as he made small talk, he stated that the Security Police wanted to talk with me. Upon arriving in the parking lot, shock went across my face when I saw my first love's Acura in the parking lot (I had been informed he had already been gone for weeks). My First Seargent noticed and kept pushing if I was ok ... almost as though he knew what was going on.
When I entered Security Police, I did not see my ex boyfriend anywhere so I started to get paranoid thinking I had been set up. That maybe he had set me up. That maybe the last 6 months were nothing but a lie. That traumatic event in itself layed the ground work for the years of anxiety that I continue to suffer.
Two Security Policeman brought me into a closed office and proceeded to question me, stating that they had reason to believe that I had been engaged in homosexuality. They stated that this was immoral and illegal behavior. That this behavior is against the UCMJ (Uniform Code Of Military Justice). They stated that I would be demoted, fined and would face at least six months in jail at Ft Leavonworth. They offered me three options: to tell them what I know .... to answer only the questions I wanted to ... or to answer nothing until I retained a Staff Judge Advocate. I opted for the latter and was promptly escorted out of the room as they informed me to retain a lawyer as they would be starting an investigation on me. As I was being escorted out of the office and as I left the building, I saw my ex boyfriend through a glass window and the anger and rage and confussion that was going through my head was overwhelming. Not knowing why or how he could have done this to me.
The next steps involved meeting with my chaplain, who had become a vital therapist to my ex and I, and we devised a game plan. My ex came into a meeting with us, and he reassured me he had nothing to do with this and that it was a high school ex friend that was stationed at the base and turned on me. My ex did reassure me that I was not alone, but from my eyes, my military career was ending, the love of my life was leaving forever and my closest relative was 2000 miles away. Here I was in a brotherhood that was supposed to protect me, shield me from harm, and now I was on the other side of their sword. They were willing to do anything in their power and use tax payers dollars to make me pay for being a gay man.
The following months left me at 135 pounds and severely depressed. Having to disclose the secret of my homosexuality to my family as the wrath of the military would soon be coming down on me. I was taken from my dorms and put in supervised housing. I was taken from my job and placed in a Commander's office so he could keep an eye on me while on duty. I became so paranoid I thought that my car was bugged and that inside my dorms were under surveillance . When I would leave the Air Force base, I became agitated and always felt that I was being followed. I would get to the point that I would think that the headlights of the car behind me were those of cars that left the base and were following me. I would pull the car over on the side of the road on multiple occasions and jump out yelling at the passing cars ... just to find out it was not from the base.
After six months of this hell and anxiety, the military offered me an Honorable discharge to leave service early. They were downsizing, and the level of anxiety that I was suffering became so severe I wanted to kill myself again. Somehow I found strength to get through the processing and found myself in a situation where I met a loving person and he became my boyfriend for two years.
Finally being able to feel safe, I reached a point where I really missed my military service and my brotherhood. I wanted back in. I looked at joining the Navy. I met with a recruiter. My boyfriend at the time was crushed. I so wanted to be a part of the brotherhood again. I seemed to have blocked the trauma and rage they put on me. As time moved forward, I moved on in my life and was not only searching for where I fit in, but searching for that true love feeling again. Driving cross country five times and living in multiple states, I found myself at Gay Pride in San Francisco and saw a young man in dress blues marching in the parade, a toilet seat over his head, the lid up ... and on the back it stated, "AIM HIGH". The Air Force slogan. That hit me so powerfully. It reminded me how much I loved the military and also it opened the wounds of what those bigots did to me ... something I would suffer through for the rest of my life.
After years of still searching for where I need to be or where to fit in, I find the anger and the rage is best expressed when I have a paintbrush in hand and I let that anger come out onto a canvas.
Please click for a video of Brian Cyr's latest abstract paintings.
Listed in The Davenport Reference and Price Guide, Fall 2008