Ready or Not

It was winter in college, and I was horribly depressed. I didn’t want to do anything but sleep all day. Whenever I forced myself to go outside, all I saw was gray. Clouds in the sky, trash in the gutters, nothingness all around me. Anguish. Everything was painful.

One afternoon, I felt a sudden overwhelming desire to paint. I found the school supplies section of the local grocery store, grabbed some crayola watercolors, and rushed back to my apartment.

I started painting, and for the first time in weeks I felt alive.

I painted and painted. I painted flowers and dancers and the ocean and myself. I painted reds and yellows and fiery oranges, I painted frenzied visions of life and dreams and what music would look like if you could see it, and I painted my very soul on a canvas. My art was passionate, and it was beautiful, and it brought me back to life.

And then when everything dried, I put all of the paintings away in a box, and I put the box away my closet. My art was beautiful, but I didn’t know what to do with it. I didn’t think I could ever show it to the world.

I have never thought I could show that part of myself to the world. I didn’t know how to explain it. That was definitely not my only bout with depression, and that was not the only time I’ve been stricken with a sudden and overwhelming desire to create art. I have so many beautiful works of art hidden in my closets, hidden in the attic, but they’ve never seen the light of day.

Until now.

About two months ago (near the winter solstice) I had a terrible week, and I started drawing again. After a few frenzied days of creation, I looked around me and thought, “I’m not hiding them anymore. This is who I am, and it’s time.”

I still can’t explain it, but I don’t care anymore. It’s time to share this part of me with the world. This is who I am, and it’s time I share it with the world.

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On Being Overwhelmed by One’s Own Soul

Being an artist is the most important aspect of my identity, but it’s also something I’m terrified of. Artists are crazy. Artists are freaks. People say they like artists, but they only like a token few of them, and even then, people don’t want to see the messy parts. People don’t want to see the experimental, the discordant, the political critiques of modern society. They don’t want the naked howling banshee art; people want artists to wear black clothes and have berets.

 
As much as I dreaded the art in my soul, I could never deny it. When I finally let myself create, I feel the Universe coursing through my veins. 

Two and a Half Dimensions

In a world made up of screens, there’s something deeply satisfying about art with texture.

It reminds us that seeing something in person is worth it. It reminds us that no matter how awesome something can look on Instagram, photos are still no substitute for the real thing. It reminds us that being present is still important.

Painting and Plucking Herself into Existence

Gender is performative, life is performative.

I imagine a hand coming out of a dark abyss and opening a case of paints and brushes.

There are oil paints and acrylics and pen and ink and tweezers and lipstick and eyeshadow and everything else.

The hand picks up a fine brush, dabs it in a color, and begins.

Eventually she is fully formed, the artist of her own careful existence.

Coming Home

I’ve noticed that a certain proportion of my pen and ink drawings have involved simple, comforting images like hands holding a cup of coffee or a person reading by a window.

My only explanation for this is that I used to work with pen and ink frequently, but I put it down for several years to focus on other things. I love pen and ink–I love the simplicity, the high contrast… I find great comfort in drawing in pen and ink again. For me, it’s like coming home.

Persephone

I’ve been calling this one “Persephone.”

This piece is part of a series I’ve been working on lately.

I find the tactile nature of my fabric art serves as an important protest against the brutal numbness of winter.