What is mine to do in the world is to awaken people to other ways of seeing. To inspire hope where there is doubt, love where there is pain.
Two weeks ago I shared with you a draft of what will be my credo for life and work, as I move into a new phase in both. This is the first and most essential statement, so I felt I should elaborate on it. I may elaborate on all of them, but this one is the key.
I have been blessed with an uncanny capacity for optimism, considering the amount of loss and pain I experienced early in life and the opposite nature of my mother. Despite the message that the world is dangerous, people can’t be trusted, and I am not worthy, I always seem to find the bright spot in the picture. I realize now that this is a gift that many don’t share, and could use help with.
We live in very confusing times. We are way overloaded with information, noise, and imagery. It is a wonder anyone can function with the amount of distraction most of us face each day. The way we do it is by tuning out a majority of it, but at what loss? I think for many the ability to filter out the garbage and see what is good is gone, and with it a lot is lost.
I had coffee and conversation with a good friend yesterday and we discussed this. I pointed out the window where there was a row of trees beautifully bursting with white blossoms. So beautiful, but surrounded by a strip mall, highway, cars, asphalt, glass, metal… How many people driving down that road actually notice those trees, we wondered? My friend agreed that this is a problem.
So, when I say it is my work to awaken people to other ways of seeing, I mean notice the trees but also notice what is beyond the surface.
I mention having experienced a lot of loss early on. The year I was thirteen I lost my father to suicide, my bedroom and all my belongings to a house fire, and whatever hope was left in my mother. It was a sad, sad year and shaped me in many ways. I remember coming into the house after the fire and looking into the shell of my room. Most everything was gone, but on the wall were the melted remains of a yellow princess phone dripping down onto the charred carpet. It was somehow beautiful in my eyes and I became fascinated by the beauty in the unexpected.
Birth and death, creation and destruction are what life is, and we need to embrace all of it to live fully.
In 2006 my interest in photography was rekindled in an abandoned factory. This is where my interest in learning to see, and in healing through art and imagery, really began. The striking tenacity of nature to reclaim her space with new growth in the rust and rubble is as beautiful to me as anything.
I take this way of seeing to all I encounter in life now. It is not always easy, but if I try I can see that there is a positive spin one can find in most situations. Where there is not is simply the fact that light cannot exist without darkness; we are both.
Do I have concerns about things, the planet, education, pointless war, social injustice…of course I do. However, I believe that in helping people to see in a more positive way, we give them hope and that gives them power. When we feel powerful we are motivated to work and to change. I believe that art is a means to achieve this. The image with the hand above is an example of how I use art myself as a tool for healing and change. It is art I do just for me, not to sell or achieve any level of expertise. It is raw and intuitive but contains symbols I have come back to again and again.
I am an artist using my hands to show, my heart to see, and my voice to tell.
I believe there is beauty in the breakdown, and I am not alone.
Tell me: What do you think, what do you see?
From the Heart,