For me, it seems like everything started in 2012. I was 37, depressed and finding no solace in my normal distractions. Reading, writing, movies, soap-making … none of it was helping. I’d never drawn before. Not even as a kid. Visual art was something for the ‘creative-types’, and I was a pragmatic. I was a list maker, a task doer, an analyst. My depression sent me searching for something else and I found a Sharpie and a canvas, and I drew … and I was soothed.
My art is a purely selfish act. I create because I love it. It feeds me in a way that bread never could and speaks to me with my own internal voice that I ignored for most of my life because it was hard to hear. That voice reminds me that beauty isn’t perfection and that being genuine is the ultimate goal. “Anything less than honest is a failure,” it shouts, and I cringe and nod.
I’m not sure I believe in inspiration, at least not the soul shattering kind that leaves you breathless with creative exertion. Inspiration comes in doses while I’m in the midst of creating. I’ll find a crease and shade it, only to discover the edge of a foot where the shoulder ‘should’ be, or a vine edging out from behind the fragile skin of an eyelid. Like finding patterns in clouds, images start to form and my ‘inspiration’ is the desire to chase them, to see what image begins to take over. Inspiration is the willingness to search through the nonsense to see if there is sense at the end. Sometimes there is.
I don’t work in themes, not intentionally. Creation is an organic act for me, sometimes it takes the form of visual, hold-able art. Sometimes it is the reorganization of a room in my home. Other times it is a moment with my children, both the beautiful and the difficult. Art is all around me, in forms outside of frames as well as in. The one overarching theme that does return again and again is how beautiful the broken can be. I do believe in the value of Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing cracks and breaks with gold. Our breaks are our stories, our hurts and our lessons. The broken in us displays our history and is an honest map of where we have come from. And it’s lovely.
After a year of drawing I decided to share my work with an audience larger than my immediate family. I started a website, created my social networking sites and threw my work into the wind to see what would happen. Since then it’s been a wild ride of balancing the creation and promotion of my work. I’ve participated in a few art shows, had my work published in a some zines and online magazines and participated in a large collaborative illustration project published in 2016. It’s been an astonishing adventure.
In the last few years I’ve come to the very difficult and exciting conclusion that you just don’t ever really know where you will go or what you will do. At 36 I was someone who never drew, at 40 I’m someone with some moderate financial (and booming personal) success as a visual artist. By 50 I could be moonlighting at a piano bar (I just started to learn the keys) or publishing children’s books … who knows?
I’m accepting that so many of the definitions I’ve had for myself weren’t defining at all, they were short sighted and lazy attempts to simply categorize who I was so I wouldn’t have to fret about it anymore. I still don’t fret; I just follow the curve to see if I’m creating an elbow or a tentacle. I’m curious to see what my final image will be.
November – 2016