My amazing friend Jonny Willi has just come out as an intersex person. I am in such awe at the courage and journey of my friend. Living an authentic life is sometimes so hard. But this struggle has inspired me to live true to myself and try and define my goals and values.
This popped up in my email a few minutes ago...I couldn't say how I feel any better than this. I am learning to be selfless and dissolving myself into, "...a useful member of the world family."
August 29, 2015
In the beginning of 2015, I was faced with the hard choice of continuing my art career or giving my time to my family. I of course had to choose my family, but it has taken me through a whirlwind of emotions. I have had to learn a new, selfless way to think and exhist in the world. My time is not my own anymore. I used to sneak away to my studio to work and just think. But I gave up my alone time to engage with the people I love.
This all has not been easy. I have been creating things since I could hold a crayon. Through college I still created in my spare time. Then after undergrad I began using art as a business. Like all business, success is determined by who you know. I just came to that realization recently. After all my failures I realized I just don't have any connections. There was no one regularly buying my art and seeing my art through a failing business, left a bitter taste in my mouth. My art has been my business for over 12 years, so to quit and just be a wife and mother was and is so hard.
On the one hand I feel like I lost my labels, my independence, my expression, and my purpose, on the other I feel like I am required to raise thoughtful, generous, passionate people. I chose to marry. I chose to have children. And I wanted to do everything, to have it all. But my business did not go anywhere and our family was stressed out. So I gave up a way of life that was so ingrained in me, that I still have panic attacks when the house is still.
I have learned that I am the glue that holds this family together. My partner is the one that's good at making money, I am not. I am good at saving us money and work very hard to live a certain lifestyle on a budget. My time is mostly spent cooking, cleaning, running errands and gardening. Some of those things I enjoy, some I hate, but all take time. When I worked on art, one or all of the things that need to be done on a daily basis would get pushed to another time, build up or get put on my partners to do list. There have been summers where I could not participate in camping trips or vacations because I had to get a project done.
My goal is to simplify my life. I just breath and tell myself I need more down time. I don't need to live a life constantly on the go. I need to be board again.
I am not sure if I will ever do art as a business again. I still have projects that I am working on, but the world will see less of them than in years past. It is time for me to live a selfless life. I must give up my dreams of being a respected artist and maker for the dreams of my children.
I was asked to create some wolf art today for Wolfcon in Vancouver. The show is tomorrow, so I am busy making some watercolor paintings.
I have been laid up in bed since January 20th with the flu. I spent over a week in bed with over 102 degree temperature and could not do anything but sleep. It is now three weeks later and I am still recovering.
But the flu couldn't stop me from making a few new pieces. Actually I had to get these finished because the deadlines for shows and submission are happening next week.
I finished this painting while I was still in bed, but I just loved how he turned out, so I had to share!
I also finished my piece for the O-Face Show in Portland on Valentines Day. I started by casting my face in plaster. It was pretty hard because I was still sick and did not have a lot of patience. Over the next few days I cut out hundreds of flower photos and illustrations from the stack of seed catalogs Heather and I had accumulated. Then I decoupaged the little scraps all over the cast and mounted it to the panel. After covering the entire panel with flowers, I used some white vellum to make a layered paper cut. It was incredibly difficult to get that paper cut to lay down so I could glue it on. But I did it, and I am so happy with the results. I can't wait to show you the finished piece at the show!
When: February 14, 2015 7PM to 11PM
Where: Lightbox Kulturhaus
The last piece I am working on is for the Collage Scrap Exchange. I had to mail an envelope full of scraps to another participant and they mailed one to me. My "partner" was from Australia, so I got some pretty interesting scraps. The theme for this show is "New Landscapes" so I decided to do a double landscape. There is a checkerboard on one end and mountains on the other. It is kind of busy and complicated, but would you expect anything less? I just have to scan it and submit it before next week. Cross your fingers. I hope I win the contest.
I recently started reading Frida Kahlo's Biography and it has been the perfect source to work out how to move forward in my life and art. I feel like my art needs to become something more. More personal, internal and with more feeling. My mind is always in a turmoil with keeping the past shut out and focusing everything on the now. I purposely live my life in the present with some glances toward the future. I rarely look back into the past. But over the years I have begun to develop a thicker skin and can take a fair amount of criticism before it breaks me. 10 years ago, that was not the case. I am so extremely empathetic that one comment or tone would send me into a pool of tears. The rut I am in is going to need a jolt of emotion to get me out of this funk. I have a good support system now that will help if I get too far sucked into the past. But I think I need to do this. I am going to try and finish the piece on the footling breach Cesarian birth of my first born. I will address the miscarriages I have had. I will celebrate the home birth of my second born. I will address the fear and shock of the ectopic pregnancy that left me unable to have any more children. I will explore the ramification of sudden food allergies have had on my daily life.
I have never made art or done anything more than journaling about these experiences. They are incredibly intense life changing events and I have basically been surviving the past few years. The food allergies have alienated me from most of a social life and I am now even afraid to engage in social activities or travel and I have lost all spontaneity. Everything I do now requires a plan. That is exhausting. The ectopic pregnancy put me so close to death that it brought me to a place where I finally realized who I was and to do the things I wanted because life was just too short. The Cesarian forced me into a reality that things do not go as planned. My body was permanently deformed and it has taken years to pick up the pieces on my self esteem.
It feels the older I get, the less I actually know about the world. I never thought any of those things would happen to me. I have basically lived my life as a good person taking very little risk but life just hands me the drama and makes me deal with it. Most of my trauma can be directly tied to either a sexual or reproductive issue. This life has been brutal but because if it, I can empathize with other women on these issues too.
The first part of internal exploring will come in this next Artist's Shuffle: My Dichotomy. I have never done a self portrait other than photography. I feel like this project, where I will have to create over 100 self portraits alongside another artist's self portrait will be the first step in self discovery.
Just in case you missed it, the Artist's Shuffle is happening again! Deadline for your self portrait is April 1st! You can find all of the info you need here.
We had some fun raking the leaves today. Actually it looks like I didn't rake...but at least we had fun!
I just finished the design for my back...I hope to get this tattooed on me before the end of the year!
I am going to post some of my experiments and thoughts. It can be anything from photography to fashion to metal