An artist spends most of her time staring at her works, replaying the marks made through time filled with wild and untried attempts. All mark-making created by an artist leads to the breath of the brush and one's internal dance with time. Someone once described this dance as "the ecstasy of the privileged moment." I find myself agreeing with this statement. Art can be the vehicle where she is unembarrassed by emotions and unashamed of beauty and darkness—a space to be free. The result is her truth in the making.
Art helps open the heart of the artist and, if willing, the observer.
It's a gift to witness the unfolding of one process. So, while strolling images of one's works on your phone or treading past artwork hung on white gallery walls, I invite you to look and seek the meanings behind their images. Look with a non-distracted mind.
They invite you to fall in love.
Love takes time.
When was the last time you honestly looked at anything solely for its own sake? Strolling through this ordinarily, life is existing in a blur.
We must not get lost. Let's not forget the sweetness of life. Seek the hope art can bring. Hope floats!
We live in a culture that avoids seeping into the unknown, especially when one is an outsider to what is unfolding before them.
I invite you to engage more with whatever art piece you find yourself in front of. Ask questions like, what is the work saying to me? Have I discovered anything new? Did the piece provoke something within me that I was unaware of? If anything, ask yourself, what did the marks make you feel?
I am currently working on a self-portrait. After hours of looking, rearranging, dreaming, painting, and mapping out what could be next, I always return to my mark-making that has been lived and reclaimed many times.
David Hockney is a world-renowned artist with whom I find myself revisiting and sharing the fold these days inside the studio. I see him, and I see myself. I see it in the colors, the glasses, and the queerness. I see similar marks re-stated and re-insisted in its vigor. Marks passed down like a linage of time.
This self-portrait titled "Smock" is a collection of marks and brushstrokes that have stopped me in my tracks, influencing me enough to store them visually in my mind and onto this canvas. By echoing the marks that had once stopped me, I realized perhaps it's not about the artist but the deep connection I felt in their marks. When I look at art, I seek its map that leads to the artist's process, the thing in being, the being of the thing, the struggle, the excitement, and the energy that has uncovered one personal internal manifestation.
As an artist, I don't aspire to be known as one who sells their work for millions but for creating work that makes one stop to inhale its process and exhale its lesson.
The act of sharing one's work is a bold act. I share most of my work on social media and my website. The algorithm changes on Instagram, and the recent lack of connection from my followers have led me down a rabbit hole of questioning myself, my work, and this platform. Advertising myself has always been a challenge. It feels non-authentic and unhealthy. I feel removed from what's essential: "creating art." I ask myself why I am doing it occasionally. Is it ego, is it for validation, or is it just because I want to share?
Ever since grad school at Goddard College, I have been fascinated with sharing my process through video, and this was before every phone had a video camera. The trap for me is trying to capture the mindless stroller escaping from their busy life to stop and witness something I created. I wish these platforms were not about competing for followers, etc. I want to believe that sharing my work, process, and love for art can and will be enough.
I value being an artist. It is my calling. It is what I do best at. It is my purpose. Perhaps the lesson for me as I continue painting "Smock" is to remind myself what matters! To exhale and honor my progress and internal process. My worth as an artist is not determined by how many likes or followers I receive. I value my willingness to show up, create, and seek the ecstasy in my moments, unembarrassed and unashamed of my internal beauty and darkness. My art allows me to feel free and hopeful. Hope indeed does float, and I hope you believe that, too. Thank you for witnessing me, my work, and my worth.
May you be well and continue to be inspired.
The Paper Boat Den