I have to admit I have an agenda behind these questions. I am once again reinventing my online presence and intentions for my art. As I dig deep into what motivates me and what I have to offer beyond making and selling images, I think more and more about what is the purpose of art. Two iterations ago when I was focused solely on fine art prints and calling myself PHOTO.WORKS, I used the tagline because art can make a difference. I liked it, but sources told me that it was too vague, so I lost it. Still, I believe art can make a difference, and that is one element I plan to bring to my new website and blog in content.
Once upon a time I wanted to be an art therapist. Not the kind that gets a psychology degree and interprets the art of disturbed patients, but a new kind that helps people heal through art making. This was an idea that was just taking hold in some communities and not a “real” profession, per se, so I let it go, but the interest never left me. At that time I was helping my mother get through cancer treatments and I became interested in how art was being used in cancer centers to help patients process their feeling about illness. Mom succumbed to the illness later that year and I did the next logical thing and got creativity coach training when it was in its infancy. Never used that either.
The point is, I have always felt there is a great connection between arts and healing, and arts as creative inspiration.
We are not just talking about nice things to look at or listen to, but things that enrich our lives and help us grow.
I have been doing digital illustration and art for the past two years and spent little time with traditional arts materials. Then last week I had an emotional breakthrough that helped me see I am still holding shame and lack of self worth that is tied to my relationship with my mother (10 years past her death) and a cycle of starving artists in my female lineage. I had been going through some of her things, working on getting my house cleared of excess, and came across four pages of what must have been an epic letter she wrote me when I was 17.
The letter, what little was left, was loaded with shame and I felt suddenly empowered by that. Rather than my usual reaction, holding that shame, I was determined to be done with it and claim my worth.
I was ready to stop letting go of my passions, to stop letting go of playing small, and to start letting go of shame.
What you see above is part of the result. Below, the rest.
I really had no specific intentions when I went about this, other than to take those pages and make something that defied them and empowered me. The Phoenix came to mind and the exacto knife and some matches came out to play. Then markers and glue and matte medium. Finally, into the computer and some photoshop magic. Cutting and crumpling. Burning and glazing. All very satisfying regardless of the outcome. I felt like Wonder Woman!
That art made a difference, I can tell you, but what about this art?
The previous was really just for me; I share it only to illustrate the story. But the latter is the start of a new series, a series of healing art because I do think art can make a difference in the hurried and uncertain lives we lead.
Art has the ability to inspire, comfort, and engage new ways of seeing and thinking. Art can inspire conversations and conjure stories. Art has a language beyond words and deeper than words that speaks to the spirit of life. My home is filled with art and I find something of value in each piece. So my question to you is this: