Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Can Art Change the World?

I was recently interviewed by Art is Moving and they asked me this question: Is art moving and can it change the world? My answer was this:

"If it's not then I don't know what is and yes....it changes the world every moment of every day. When an artistic idea is born, the world is changed. When it is shared, an energy is created around us and we move and interact within it. Socially, humans interpret the world differently, but within the same context of being artistically natured. Nature itself is art, and as nature evolves, so do we and how we respond to it. Art is so varied, as we all are, but within that variety we share much of the same urges and desires to express ourselves....and art is a natural form of that expression. I may not love, agree with, or find certain forms of art appealing, and some may even be offensive to my personal sensibilities, but as an artist, I can appreciate them for being created and adding to the beautiful collective conscience we all share. It's the sharing that's the key in my opinion. As art is shared, opinions are formed, they develop into beliefs, and the beliefs are then acted upon. It's a lovely system to be a part of, simplistically complicated, but aren't we all?"

I woke up this morning thinking again about that question, reading over my answer, and realizing I was quite content with it. I wouldn't take anything away, but I will share an addition, or should I say, a passion of mine, related to it. 

Over the past 9 years I have had the beautiful experience of watching art transform me into the person I am today. When I had to give up teaching, I felt my world had collapsed on itself, and it took me a long time to crawl out from under that belief. Art was something I enjoyed, so I turned to it in hopes that I could find some sanity while my body began to heal. Little did I know that it would become a way of life for me. I had no clue that it would awaken the spirit of creativity within me, I simply thought I would spend some time painting or drawing to take my mind off of the medical nightmares I was living through. And, I am grateful to God that he chose to use art to help heal all those parts of me that were so dark, and there were many. 

Living in the light is the way I would prefer to label my days now, and art has been a channel for that light to shine in me and through me. My passion, my dream, is to be able to use that creativity to touch others, to show them that no matter where they are on their journey, that art can be used to make that journey more beautiful. I can't bring myself to simply be an artist for profit. So, in the context of can art change the world: Yes, one person at a time. And when one shares their creativity, their inspiration with another, it lights a fire that can't be extinguished. I hope in my lifetime my actions cause the world to be ablaze with it. 

Here are few new pieces I have been working on. I love, love, love it when art tells a story. Shakespeare wrote the play, "Much Ado About Nothing" which I found beautiful and hilarious. I chose that text as my background in this mixed media piece, "Beatrice Pulled A Fast One," because her sharp wit was so fresh and entertaining throughout the play. 

Because I am of course, obsessed  with doll parts, LOL, I worked with some unconventional doll forms in photography. I would have loved to share this with a class of students and had them write about these "Fruit Beings" and their adventures. 

(All Images copyright of the artist)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Baking Edgar and ATC Musings

I baked Edgar. Yes, dear, sweet Edgar, protector of prayers, spreader of joy, one hot looking, studly dude...I baked him. Actually, it was for his own good because had I not thrown him in that super hot oven, he would have smeared his comb over, and we just couldn't have that now, could we?

Edgar is one of my Ardithian creations using a bottle I found buried in a dump pile and polymer clay. I decided he needed to be a prayer protector, so the prayer he protects says this: "May you days be filled with love and joy always." I think Edgar will do a perfect job making sure that prayer gets to the big guy upstairs, I mean, come on....who would wound a soul like Edgar?

Alas....I have also bitten the ATC apple of obsession. Actually, until I move some of my larger pieces, I decided to work on some smaller themes and play around with ideas. Art Trading Cards and mail art are two perfect ways to do that. My most favorite format is 4" by 4", but ATC's are always 2.5" by 3.5", or playing card sized, and those aren't too bad to alter. Several of my friends are into inchies, and although I have prepared some for paper, that tiny size is a bit too hard to work with when my neck has to look down so often so I may just leave the inchies to them.

It's the beginning of September and I am forced, yes, forced to be thinking about what items I need to prepare for my Christmas show. I now understand why we see holiday items in stores so early, which I really dread, but from a retail sense I get it now. Lots going on in the art world in Mobile these days which is a wonderful thing. I plan on sharing some local events and local artist on my blog in the next few weeks. If you know of an artist that wants some 'media coverage', and not the MSNBC kind, shoot me an email.

Until then, Edgar and I are going to have a conversation about his friends, or lack there of, and I plan on introducing him to Found Baby. I think she might just find his comb over quite appealing, LOL!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

An Artist's Path Is Most Often Not Straight

Being asked the question "How long have you been an artist?" always gives me pause. I assume, most of the time, they are asking how long I have been an artist that is trying to sell my work, but the most honest answer to that question would be my entire life. It' a bit of a conundrum I say. What makes one an artist? 

Swimming through the world of art can at times feel like one is treading water, diving off the deep end, and at others, being eaten by piranhas. Don't get me wrong, I love the entire experience, swimming, not swimming, skinny dipping, LOL! But the art world can be cold, cruel, and at times, unwelcoming to those who 'aspire' to be artists, and I feel that is a bruise on the butt of it, just saying. 

Some of us pop right out of the womb with one hand in a jar of Play-doh, instinctively artistic, and as we  journey through life that path my not lead to an art degree. Does that mean we can't claim to be artists? No.

That simply means our path followed a different course, but led to a common destination, one of being in a place where we are folks who create art. Create is the key word to me. Creating art, for what ever reason, repeatedly is a behavior I would say gives us the right to be called 'artists.'  Notice I didn't say Master artists, but artists none the less, joining a collective consciousness with other artists who do the same.

And, like most professions, there are levels of expertise and experience that makes one more successful, but as the art world is weird, a mere marsupial can place a paw in paint, walk across a piece of paper, and have it noticed. Then....that paper goes on a sells for thousands of dollars. The conundrum goes on, because placing value on art is and always will be subjective. 

Thank God I haven't bought into the premise that I must sell to be an artist. Personally, I choose to be an artist to express myself, my faith, and share my creative gifts along with way to make our world more beautiful than I found it. If I am lucky enough to sell a piece, then woooohoooo! and I consider that a blessing, but it's not what makes me an artist. If I create, then artist I am. 

Here is a video I made of how my art journey evolved since my childhood. I am self-taught, and I hope you might choose to share it with your kids so that they, too, can walk through this life believing in themselves, their creative talents, and the hope that all things are possible.

My Art Journey Video

Be Your Art and share it with others, give those piranha's something to chew on!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Just When You Think You're In A Groove......

The Exquisite Corpse Doll Game photo from Terri Keller and I .

I'm in a melancholic mood these days. Not because my life is challenging, all life is I think, but I had a harsh reminder of that dark, brooding, sinister shadow that lurks around all the time. No, not a Chinese Bandit like my husband use to make me laugh at, but the painful reminder that my body has issues, and ignoring them is not an option. For a while, a totally, blessed while, I was able to function a bit better, which meant it didn't take a ton of meds to get out of bed and I didn't' have to spend 15 min. doing things and 15 min. resting, which is pretty normal course for me, all day long. I actually had a taste of what life was like many moons ago and it was lovely.....until the other day. Until I simply woke up and had that cruel reminder, almost like an evil puppet master pulling my strings, remind me that my body, or let's clear that up, back, is the royal pits sometimes.

I often wonder what people think sometimes when they hear that I am 'disabled.'  That term has such loaded meanings for some, and misconceptions I might add. No, I was not given the journey that some have to be blind, to be cognitively impaired, or to be bound to a wheel chair every moment of every day, and I am most grateful. My course in life, the course that put me on disability, was to have a joint/spine disease that at first glance seems hidden, or on many days, no where to be seen. But that's the cruelness of it to me, that on any given day my legs can go out, the pain in my spine will be so excruciating that Morphine won't touch it, and that the pressure in my neck becomes so intense I can't see. And though I walk with a cane, I wonder, because I don't 'look' like what most would label a disabled person to be, if people judge me harshly or wrongly, by simple false perceptions? 

Thankfully, I don't live my life to fit other people's standards, and on melancholic days, I stay true to myself by taking it slowly, resting, doing what I can, and waiting for it to pass, all the while praying through the moments, because it is my faith that pulls me out of days like this. I am grateful to have such a creative mind too. A mind that sees the beauty in practically everyone, finds colors intoxicating, is thrilled at making a difference in the life of a child, and loves intensely. And though it could always, always be worse, I am blessed through every moment of pain or not, to know I have this mind and the choice to use it. That to me is precious. I am not one to be still either, almost to a fault, and strive every day to leave the world a better place than I found it for no other reason than it being the right thing to do.

So Prussian Blue and Peach Black day of mine be what you may. Tomorrow holds the potential to be one drenched in Opera and Manganese Sunsets, and for that I hold my heart to the fire in hopes it happens. Seems like I needed to vent a bit, those times are needed aren't they? Glad to know that my fans who know me, know what kind of person I am, aren't the ones that question the character of a person without knowing them. Oh if we all were that true and honest to mankind.

On the art side of life, which is all sides really, LOL, I was able to go to Jami Buck's art show and am thrilled at the painting of Dauphin Island we will be getting. Her work has an honest emotion about it that is rare to find in many pieces lining the walls of galleries these days. Got some wonderful ladies coming over to collage with me, have been swapping some hilarious Exquisite Corpse Dolls through the mail, added to some 1001 Journals, sent some mail art flying, and with my hubs help, have the beginning of a functional, working studio beginning to evolve. To  an artist, that is better than Christmas morning! Would love to know what is going on in your world.....drop me a line. 

Doodling in my Wackadoodle Art Journal
Lovely Ladies on Collage Mondays