The prolific artist and longtime Portland resident Zoo Cain shared some wisdom with the Phoenix ahead of the local premiere of "Peace, Love, and Zoo," an award-winning film by Reginald Groff that chronicles his road to recovery and shows that when you give to the universe, sometimes it gives back.
What have you been up to lately? Where is your energy focused?
Walking the wilds of Cape Cod with my wife Cindy. Staying close with my art, visual art, while doing some cool reading and writing. Spending a lot of time with my three new friends, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Kokopelli and Shirley Jackson.
How do you feel about the reaction to the film Peace Love and Zoo so far?
Well for a person more drawn to flying under the radar the film is somewhat daunting and exciting at the same time. I am grateful for people's great vibes towards me.
What has been the most reoccurring piece of advice you've offered people struggling with addiction, or any type of ailment or anxiety for that matter?
Never give up. Folks that are suicidal simply have run out of hope. One of the few survivors of jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge said that all his insurmountable problems actually had solutions other than the fact he just took that fateful leap. Like almost everyone that has survived an attempt to die, they are so happy to have another chance. Life is precious. Transform and be at rest inside yourself.
How does art factor into that?
Art enables you to think with the whole brain. You can at once be on and in tune while creating. Also it's real fun. Going to plays, movies, reading, and listening is grand.
Art can definitely help a person paint their way out of a very dark place. Making things, poetry, songs, drawings, vessels, other than all this constant destruction active using involves, is very good for the soul and psyche. It can actually change patterns in the body, imprinting positivity rather than the negative. Enrich your insides and the outsides will look after themselves.
What advice would you impart on any struggling artists out there?
It surely is not easy being an artist wanting to get by in a place that is being bought up and sold for many tens of thousands. What happened to our beloved Munjoy Hill for instance? New fire department interest in places that house the artist, since a very tragic fire, also adds strain to the less than rich and middle class. One has to really want to create to make art. Its never been an easy road, especially if selling out is not a personal option.
How do you feel about Portland's art scene currently?
Portland is a wonderful place to live and work. It will only get better. A rock and roll band will sooner than later put Portland center stage. People should be ready for that big sure change.