Sunday, August 26, 2018

An Abundant Life - Healing The Soul

One afternoon a few weeks ago when I was on my way to a gallery in Tribeca for an Artist friend's opening reception, I got the feeling that I needed to take the PATH train to Christopher Street and walk downtown instead of doing what made the most logical sense and taking the train to the World Trade Center. I've gotten to know by now that when I listen to that inner voice that tells me where and when and how to go somewhere I'm listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, the highest power there is and one that is always leading every one of us if we can just tune out some of the voices that would tell us we're being silly to do something that is going out of our way and tune into the frequency that knows the best way for us to go. I love thrift store shopping, and some of my favorite thrift stores are near the Christopher Street stop, so I left a bit early and planned the route. As I began to walk down Hudson Street, I saw an outdoor market set up in front of a school I know well. I've walked that way many times and I used to live right around the corner for many years, and I'd never seen an outdoor market there before except for one time when some of the students were hosting a fund raiser. But this was a very different kind of market - school was not in session and the vendors seemed very professional, and as I looked at the different tables and saw the jewelry and clothing and home goods for sale I was impressed. Each person had a very high quality of artisanal products, and because I am always interested in the work that artists and designers are doing, I spoke with each one on my way down the block. Just before I reached the corner I saw a table filled with artwork that drew me in, and the artist sitting there seemed in some way familiar. As I looked at the artwork, he said, "Welcome to my world," and I knew somehow that my own world would be forever changed.

Irrix Screen is a graphic artist who founded D.U.O Gear in 2011. He had already completed projects for clients such as The Wu Tang Clan and Red Dragon Music, and his unique and deeply personal abstract creations had gained respect and admiration. He was receiving requests for shirts, jackets and hats with his designs, and as he began to envision D.U.O. Gear, he had an epiphany stemming from the original D.U.O. ideology of 1999. In his words, "D.U.O. Gear should stand for the people. Not for those who try to impress everyone, turn the heads of the opposite sex and let their egos run wild. It was, and still is, about staying true to your core. It's about bathing in the greatness that is you, and letting words of the the neigh sayers fall to the side, like water off the side of a cliff. It's about being at one with the world, and more importantly, yourself. That's why D.U.O. Gear®'s slogan is Strength In Peace!®"

In an interview in 2016 with Sara Nardea of Letage Magazine, he states, “Through my whole life I have been a creative and an artist. I can remember, as far back as when I was five years old, knowing that I was an artist. I always colored within the lines in my coloring books, and I always had an eye for color blending. Throughout my life I’ve been creating. It was either in my teen years through photography, and poetry, then as the computer age crept up on us, more sophisticated programs allowed me to create within the field of graphic design/computer art. In my early 30’s, I followed my passion to create awesome illustrations, and images through programs like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. I attended Parsons, New School For Social Research, and I am also an alumni of the School of Visual Arts."

He also attended Iona College in New Rochelle New York, studying business, with a minor in marketing, and after graduating he was offered a job at Apple Computer, as an ASC/Apple Computer consultant. He goes on to describe that, "This was my corporate job, and for the most part this position introduced me to myself. I learned that I am not a corporate person. With the help of being laid off in 2011 from Apple, I was forced to move on, and live my passion, and to do what I was born to do. Create art works! Looking back, I remember envying those who could paint. I tried to paint once, and I did not like it at all, not the painting part, but there was no real concept, I just wanted to paint. Now moving forward, to go back to 2011, when I got laid off. You know sometimes things are done for a reason, well the universe makes no mistakes. It is at this point of transition, when I truly started to find out who I was without being led by the occupations I once lived by; simply put I could think for myself now. . . . How I started my clothing line, and becoming a designer collected worldwide, well it started as simply as doing weekend shows at art markets, selling T-shirts. Each one of my designs are original one-of-a-kind pieces . . . . I started selling shirts on the weekend, at an art market in Chelsea. The name of my company is: D.U.O GEAR, D.U.O for short. D.U.O stands for: Da.Underground.Organization. Anything that was underground was always more authentic, didn’t matter if it was music, art, anything that was raw talent I gravitate towards. People at the beginning, and even now see my work, and will sometimes say, it has a Jean-Michel Basquiat feel to it, or some say Keith Haring, others may say Norman Lewis. Though whoever views my artwork always says, although your artwork has a feel of these great artists, still your artwork stands apart as original . . . . My artworks, either on T-shirts or paintings are now collected globally. I received awards, best of Manhattan for the last three years for small business art gallery . . . no matter how successful, or where my art takes me, I will never be a celebrity, let me explain. I am a person that creates, art is to be shared. The true celebrities are the people who appreciate, and support emerging artists. They are the ones to be celebrated! If it wasn’t for the arts supporters no one would know us for what we do, and the passion behind it. I am just an artist, surrounded by celebrities, that take me from point A to point B. My goal is to help others, and if I could do that in a creative way through my art works, well that works for me.” For the full text of the article, please see

And these are not just words. Irrix Screen lives by the words he speaks, sharing his art and his inspiration freely with anyone who takes a moment in time to enter his world. That day on Hudson Street when I stopped by his table, he began to speak to me about his work, using words that spoke directly to a very deep part of my soul. It is very rare that I've experienced that, someone who has a message that can heal a weary heart and calm a troubled mind. After describing some of his work, he pointed to a drawing on paper and asked me what I thought of it. It was beautiful, and I said so, and he handed it to me saying, "Take it, it's yours." I was so moved I was nearly speechless, but it was such a beautiful gift that I didn't want it to get damaged during the rest of my afternoon and evening, and so I got myself together enough to ask if he had anything to protect it. He reached for a white paper bag, and began to draw on it, describing in detail as he drew what each section and symbol represented, each word touching a chord so deep in me that I began to cry. But I was smiling too, because of the pure beauty of the divine moment I was experiencing, and he said, "See, that smile? That right there is what makes the art worthwhile."

The next day I posted the piece and the bag he'd drawn for me on Instagram, and he responded so beautifully and gratefully that I was again amazed and moved. I had already thought that I wanted to get in touch with him to see if I could write a blog post, and when I asked him if that would be possible, he was so welcoming that we arranged it for the following week. I took a train up to Stamford, Connecticut to see his shop and studio where he is located in the Art of Framing store owned by the wonderful Manuel Chagas, and from the moment we walked in the door the afternoon went from one magical and inspiring moment to the next. The art work is gorgeous, and he is also creating one of a kind pieces of clothing from vintage and reclaimed materials. I am very careful with my own budget from necessity, but I could have bought everything in the shop. It was an incredible afternoon, with Manuel Chagas as a gracious and welcoming host, and marvelous Artist and builder Michael John Santoro and the wonderful Entrepreneur Leroy Webber stopping by, sharing stories, talking about art, history, and life. When I got home I posted a group photo that was taken by Manuel Chagas, and the next morning I posted some videos of Irrix talking while drawing, creating another one of a kind piece for each guest and leaving us all with words and inspiration to live by. Irrix responded to my posts with his beautiful words of thanks and gratitude, and then left this poem on my page: 


The night is filled, with broken hearts, ♥️ broken glass, and unresolved, differences. love is a book, filled with secrets, written in, invisible ink. I have come to realize, that nothing matters; but time. Old age, will not kill an artist; though love 
♥️ will.

When did we get to old, to smile. Why do we not have that same look of love 
♥️ in our eyes, as we did, when we first, fell in love, with one another. How is it that, loneliness embraces sadness, in the presence of a crowded world. 🌎 Why is it that we forget to love ourselves, for the fear of losing those, who pick, and choose love at their convenience.

In truth, sometimes, I feel so; dead 💀 inside; as if I could no longer breed poetry; for my emotions, are being crushed by the weight of despair, as my heart disintegrates; decaying; withering away; forever lost; and then I think of you; and I know, my life is reserved to protect you; from sadness, fear, and the thought that; you are average. You, are; spectacular, in every way. 
The night is filled, with broken hearts, ♥️ broken glass, and unresolved differences, though remember; Sometimes, the enlightened path, is the darkest road. When you find yourself; questioning life's journey; it is then; when the awakening, to the path of consciousness occurs. One thing for certain, we are all meshed up, to some degree. I love 
♥️ you. Always! ~ Irrix Screen

When we had been talking at his studio and shop, he had shared this poem with me:


I have found that the soul rests better in the day, than at night. The night provokes, the prowling mind; quite; Listen to my thoughts, they are solely of you. An Artists mind fascinates, mystifies, and intrigues, through emotions, and torrents that rage, like a sun storm, through an abandoned lighthouse. I know I love you, and yet; I am uncertain, of your alluring enchantment, surrounding my heart. I do, love you; I have always; loved you. Feasting on romance, I am happy to facilitate you, with a well, of pure lavished admiration to where I am humbly yours to command. No, I am not weak, by any means; I trust you, like no other in this world; I trust you with my heart. The time is now, of a new day; and like many days, before this one; my days always begin, and end with; I love ❤️ you. 😘 Until the end of my days; I will love; only you.

~ Irrix Screen 

And when he emailed it to me, his signature included these words which were also on the walls of his studio and shop:

“Art Forces Us To: Ask questions, have an opinion, evoke emotions, to look around us and inside ourselves, take action, unite, love, think, remember, create, learn… art has no boundaries!”
                              ~ Irrix Screen

It is hard to add anything to words as beautiful as that, so I'll leave you here with some images of the beautiful and life changing artwork of Irrix Screen.

Irrix Screen
At His Beautiful D.U.O. Gear
Art And Design Shop
In The Marvelous Manuel Chagas'
Art Of Framing
67 High Ridge Road
Stamford, Connecticut

With Artist and Builder Michael John Santoro

Cover Art By Irrix Screen
For "Venenum"
By Christian Sauvage

A Gift Of A Signature T-Shirt

Creating A Carrying Bag For His Art
That Is A Work Of Art Itself

And Another Bag
For Entrepreneur Leroy Webber

Three Videos
From That Lovely Afternoon
Art In Motion

A Beautiful Afternoon With Irrix Screen
From Left:
Leroy Weber, Irrix Screen, Jannie Wolff, Michael John Santoro

The Art Of Irrix Screen

Hand Painted One Of A Kind Zero-Waste
Refurbished Vintage And Designer Pieces

And Always Beautiful Poetry

For Some A Wall Of Fame
For Irrix Screen, A Wall Of Friends

A Vintage Halston Dress Made Stunning
With Gorgeous Art

A Sign Selected For Its Perfect Message

Feeling Very Glamorous In Vintage Halston
Hand Painted With The Stunning Art
Of Irrix Screen
Photographs Taken By Manuel Chagas


Jannie Susan