n some ways, I was set already set up mentally for the sense of limbo and purgatory this year has felt for many people. I had already given up my apartment in Bluffton, SC with the intention of going with the flow of where art jobs took me. I was going to scatter seeds about and see what cropped up.
In large part, that hasn’t changed. I had already chosen a job that requires hours of indoor time and an accustomation to uncertainty and job insecurity.
The widespread unrest and pandemic impacts have had their deepest impacts on my relationships, sense of community, and in my artistic direction.
Why am I creating? Is it relevant to what’s happening in the world? Does it matter? Am I digging deep enough? I’m an artist, but I’m also a social worker and massage therapist. My brain and heart are a mixture of social justice warrior and empathic healer.
I have had people tell me: “Don’t be too political, you’ll lose clients.” and the juxtaposed “With all that’s going on in the world, people don’t want to see pretty art.” And then there is some form of “Your work speaks to me”.
In the last few years, my work has had an airy quality to it. The color pallette has been pastel, sweet. But lately, I look at it and it gives me a tooth ache.
I started using wood panels instead of canvas because of their sturdiness. In a tactile way, the solid texture brings me a sense of grounding in comparison to the give that canvas creates when you apply pressure to it. It’s like putting your bare feet down on the ground. Maybe like hugging a tree. The wooden browns join the earth with the air.
A writer, Jason Hine, whose work resonates with me intuitively, although not always intellectually, said this:
TO CREATE A MORE BENEVOLENT HUMAN PRESENCE ON EARTH PARADOXICALLY WE MIGHT NEED A MORE FIERCE, BESTIAL, FERAL AND WILD PRESENCE ON EARTH. WE MIGHT NEED TO CONNECT WITH OUR ANIMAL SENSES AND THE WILD GODS AND GODDESSES AND BEASTS WHICH LIVE AROUND US AND INSIDE US. WE MAY NEED TO CRY OUT VOLUPTOUSLY IN GRIEF, TO LEAP UP IN EXQUISITE UNTAMED CELEBRATION OR TO ASSERT OURSELVES WITH RENEGADE FEROCITY. WE MAY NEED TO EXPRESS THE STRANGE MYTHICAL POWERS BEHIND OUR BODY SYMPTOMS AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS IF WE ARE TO FIND WHOLENESS.
What I feel in my bones, is that healing is not mutually exclusive with ferocity. In fact, they seem to be partners in transformation.
To be continued…