August 10, 2015

THE VALUE OF ART. AND WHAT IT SHOWS US ABOUT RISK AND REWARD.

  
THE VALUE OF ART. AND WHAT IT SHOWS US ABOUT RISK AND REWARD.




Dedicated to the mystery graffiti artist. 

That did not make me cry. Just pissed me off.

Thank you for the platform. 

It is about time I write this.

______________________________________________



I am a risk taker. 




And I am not talking about sky diving because I dont want to do that. even though I did do that one bungee ride thing at Kings Dominion. I have no idea how I was convinced. I blame Stephanie Kim. 

What I mean is that I live by taking gambles. 
And I think everyone should. 
My parents took us to Vegas in elementary school. between canyons and historical things.
But my point is- risk. gamble.
For me it is in terms of living as an artist and making the sacrifices necessary to live like this. 
Not a hero, more like an idiot with a plan. 

I kid. I am not an idiot. I dont think.
I am just a little ridiculous. 
but I own that and I also feel very aware of reality.

and how we must be a part of this world even if we feel like we float on another plane. 

If artists just hung out in that weird limbo level that we were born in, then we wouldnt make a single impact on the world. 
But art is powerful and so using it for good. 

is a responsibility.


THIS DOES NOT MEAN WE ALL HAVE TO DO THE SAME THINGS. 
or totally agree. 

or even like each other. 

BUT. 

There is a level of respect that is completely necessary in order to hear and be heard. 
and when you take yourself out of that equation then your power is less effective. 

_______________


I have a mural in Richmond, VA. 

on the side of a restaurant- FOO DOG. 



shout out to that restaurant. their ramen (add an egg). and the Hey Joe (delicious drink).




I designed the dining room but also have two murals on the outside of the building. 





_______________________________________________

This one mural is the subject of my rant. 
and the reason I am standing on a Peach Crate. (chosen because I love peaches and needed a visual.) 
and some height.


can everyone hear me?






My rant is about the value of art.
and mostly about respecting YOURSELF as an artist. 

It parallels respecting your potential. In life.

So. this is not just for people who consider art their career. their calling. their blood.


Its what I talk about all the time - but theres more reason to do so today because 


A MYSTERY GRAFFITI ARTIST DEFACED MY MURAL ON MAIN STREET.




I am interested in graffiti. 

It can be beautiful. It has a culture and a place. 

but this. 

THIS IS DUMB.



I keep wanting to say the artist is a HE but who knows... it could be a SHE that threw her arms all around making scribbles on the mural. I dont know. But for simplicity. I am saying he. 
and because I am a woman. and I hope another woman did not do this dumb thing.

So. at a moment where I could cry. or be a little baby... 
And I will admit my eyes welled up a little bit. 

only because this mural happened at an important time in my life and represents a season for me. 
and being brave. and sweating. and fighting. and loving. 

so for a second, the graffiti hurt me. 

... at this moment I just want to keep moving.
and it got me all fired up. 

I texted some friends and we turned all Steel Magnolias hair salon mad. 

I jumped out of my truck in the rain and touched it. The places he sprayed.


and remembered why I do what I do. and what value there is in respecting your own potential.
as an artist.

 but also as a person who has time on earth and wants to 

USE IT. 


My response to the mystery artist who graffitied the mural I painted on Main Street.



1. FIND YOUR OWN SPACE. I already had this one. I have seen preschoolers figure this crap out.
There is amazing power in being yourself. when you feel something is easy for you. or that you like something. pay attention to that. focus on it and find that little place where weird things intersect- your interests. your skills. and then boom. THAT IS YOUR THING. that is what you should do because it is YOU. and no one else. be specific. 

I say this a lot but pay attention to your likes.. if you like it. you may love it. and if you love it. you should do it.



2. IGNORE LIMITATIONS. I may not know your face, but I know how tall you are. sorry. this is so funny to me. but. as it pertains to life- GET SCAFFOLDING. or like in my situation someone saw me on a ladder and got some for me. if you cant ignore a limitation on your own find a team of people who believe in the crazy thing you are aspiring to do. if you are alone. think of the wildest alternative to the limitation and you know what- TRY IT. you may be the only one. and look. someone decided to go to the moon. and did. so theres that.

3. EXPAND YOUR MATERIALS. try new things.
challenge yourself a little. all other vandals are using spray paint. in life- use materials no one else is. maybe your message is similar to someone else's but the new perspective could be pivotal in how your message is received. it could up the stakes. 


4. STAND OUT. your scribble looks like it could be anyones. find your own style. This doesnt mean you cant learn from other artists or people and reference them. Thats smart. do that. 

but then respond to it. bring something to it. learn even more. whenever you are bored. instead of defacing shit, learn some.

5. GET BEHIND MEANING NOT COMPETITION. This is off subject slightly but artists compete too much. all kinds of us. we should be working with, not against. and if you value your work and what you are doing- you arent going to miss out or lose an opportunity. it just may not be YOURS. so keep working. if you dont get something. be upset for a little bit. then make something else. if you are competing for attention- That is a problem all in itself. attention doesnt have the same weight as meaning. MEAN something. 

people turn their heads when they hear a loud noise.  

people clap at a show. 

BUT what really sticks. 


the deep stuff.  the meaning. 
art can have that. 
real life can too. 

mix them together and you can really kick some ass.

6. DONT BE A JERK. Self explanatory. 

7. RESPECT WORK (ART). You make art look silly when you just color on someone elses. 
Here is the thing that kills me. and is a slightly unrelated tangent. and deserves more than this little space here... lots of artists will offer to work for free. to be seen and get publicity is good enough for them. In fact they will cut deals to beat out other artists for the gig. but think about it this way- when you get that chance to be seen, what good is it if you did not respect your work enough to be paid for it.? because then you are creating a future for yourself where there are no art careers. no payment for artists. when you get "there" wherever that may be... do you want to always be competing for that job that doesnt pay? 

design and art is worth paying. here is why- it is work. it is something we work at. art does a lot. dont undersell yourself. because you undersell the whole art world. 
and please. dont undersell the power of art. 

8. DONT PUSH SOMEONE ELSES CASTLE OF BLOCKS DOWN. it is not cool to go around in the night and ruin something someone else worked hard to make. It is thoughtless. and thoughtless is the worst. is thought  less.  NO thought. 
thats not nice.

the brave thing is to work in the light.
the brave thing is to make your own work. to be vulnerable.
Try this adrenaline rush. 


9. TAKE A RISK. vandalism isnt a risk. its a crime.
take a real risk. one that means you could win something or lose something. if you lose you have the experience. you learned something. maybe you cried or screamed or hurt. but feeling those things means you are alive.  
if you win... 

sigh.


_____________________________________________________


poor me? no.

I work as an artist. Im good. 

thank you for the platform. 

I am going to go work now. 









I am going to fix that mural tomorrow. 

today I felt like writing about it.



August 5, 2015

Sunscreen you guys.




I have just been outside in dirt because it is summer time

 or working. 

And I cannot get my act together. 

Nor do I think I totally should. 



BUT I wanted to remind America that my current art show stops on AUGUST 8. 
which is soon.
someone just told me it was Saturday.



Instead of posting everything you will see there I will just post this one. It is 4' x 4' oil on canvas.






The sun shines today also.



_________________________________________________


Show is at:

HILL GALLERY

GALLERY HOURS
Wednesday - Friday 11:00am to 5pm
Saturday 12 - 5pm
(also by appointment or chance)

hillgallery.net
for more information. 


Also. high five to this gallery for being in the latest issue of Southern Living. 

Cool by association. 

only.

____________________________


July 10, 2015

THINGS KEEP HAPPENING IN REAL LIFE.


This is significant because when you have a wildly unabashed imagination, Churchill says double the amount of things happen to you- blessing and a curse really.  so as opposed to the things that I THINK happen.  

several actually do. 

*
*
*


LIVE ART HAPPENED JUNE 8. 


and I can never do it justice in words. 

It is hard. 
It is busy. 

It is beautiful to work on. 

and then when it is over there is a major weight lifted off but it's kind of like carrying a baby on your hip. and then someone takes the baby. 

Yeah. I just used kidnapping as a metaphor. 






So when it was over I had some other major projects start up immediately.


One- MILK RIVER ARTS

and 

Two- THIS IS WHAT WE SEE:  A HILL GALLERY ART EXHIBITION


MILK RIVER LAUNCHED AND I PINCHED MYSELF A HUNDRED TIMES BECAUSE I FOUND PEOPLE WHO WANT TO DO GREAT THINGS AND ACTUALLY. DO THEM. 
And I am three thousand percent behind organizations that elevate human beings. and their hearts.
(Milk River Arts is a vocational arts center/gallery/place of business and adventure for adults with special needs. If you know of an artist in the area who has developmental disabilities and a passion for this kind of career, do tell. )


AND THEN 

I will take the caps lock off. 

My art show happened last night. 



So naturally I had a dream about some girl dragging me into a museum exhibit of large taxidermied animals. And the nightmare lasted basically the whole night while I fought to get out of the door. 

the horror. 



anyways.

cheers to LIVE ART happening. I will eventually reflect and post about it, but it takes me a while because that project takes everything out of me.









and my art show.  thats next... please hold.

May 26, 2015

LIVE ART IS COMING.






 I am on another planet. 

Normally yes, but particularly now. 

LIVE ART HAPPENS ON JUNE 7 








and therefore it takes over my life- HAPPILY until then. 












If you do not have tickets. you are missing an experience. 





get them now and just go by yourself

and be inspired by the power of the arts and of a community that unites.




these students are risk takers. brave fighters. quiet. loud. happy. nervous. loving. troublemaking. authentic. clever. smart. funny. 



they have different abilities. 


they see things and understand things in ways that inform my life. 


and we get to share that. 

on JUNE 7. 

LIVE ART is a concert/show/performance... but it is like that book you read and when it is over it affects the following days and you want to tell everyone about it but they didn't read the book and you wish they had because it swallowed you up.





lucky me. 
lucky you.


While painting the set last week I told one of my coworkers that I seem to speak really flowery about this program and wonder if that kind of gets old and people dont realize how amazing it is. 

maybe I am making people numb to the words I use...



BUT I WILL CONTINUE TO DO IT. 







_________________



ok picture how you feel if you are a barefoot sweaty kid covered in sticky rainbow hands with pieces of a lollipop in your hair and running around with your favorite friends. 

(that is a literal picture of one of my favorite LIVE ART helpers last week) 

Anyways. That is how we sincerely feel working on this project. 





Because it takes your insides. and sets them -  in a very aesthetically beautiful way - on the outside.


hmmmm


yes. 









I geeked out when I drove by this. I took pictures and pulled over and people stopped to see which famous person was on the sidewalk. 



No guys.. hes on the marquee. 


________________



And when it is over. you can find me. 

creatively exhausted. 

and missing my people. 


Because the coolest thing about this is that it's a show. but it is a realistic representation of a program that happens all year. 

A way that human beings are valued. and elevated. 

And loved. 






I am an artist because I am interested in the important. real. and deep stuff. 

and this... 

This is it.








Thankful.


May 15, 2015

My little city garden is life affirming: and how being outside makes life feel: good.







So I have been really busy which is kind of annoying to hear and awfully subjective. and me just trying to justify any delay on anything. 

really sorry about my delay in mailing prints lately. you would think it is rocket science....it sometimes feels like it. 

I think the post office enjoys the apologetic rabbit illustrations all over the packaging. 
especially this one lady who makes zero attempt to react. 
I am onto her. 


THINGS:

ART SHOW OPENING JULY 9. details to come. ( thursday. mark your calendars. my friends are playing music. my sister is making bacon wrapped dates. 
my art and the art of Claire Hill will be on display at Hill Gallery. 
again, that's july9. a thursday. come have a drink. and look at things) 

but before that!

In June, my rabbits and birds and such are hanging in the lobby of Theater Lab
in conjunction with their show 
white rabbit red rabbit
June 8-21 
I support theater making, art moves, and experimental voices- so: http://www.theatrelabrva.org/


but before that!

LIVE ART is coming on June 7. 
buy a ticket NOW.

It is the biggest deal. 

I am a teacher and the art director for LIVE ART- an inclusive theater arts program for students of all abilities. 

And I mean all. 

I am particularly in love with... 


each of them. 


I can honestly say that
because we teach the value of every human being and we genuinely feel it there-
which is why it is my great passion and feels like my purpose on this planet. 


to work with human beings that are unique. genuine. honest. fighters.  and did I say genuine? 


I think that is what I crave most when I really think about what attracts me.









_______________________


I am currently in school for American Sign Language- English Interpretation
and. lets have a small dance party for the fact that I just finished my first semester.

surreal.

But I already bought my next set of books and am of course already anticipating the craziness as it continues. 

I adore school and love to learn.

but I do not love balancing the work load

- HOWEVER-
there is something extremely empowering about sacrifice
and doing things you dont love... to get somewhere you will... love. 


_______________________




But
this post was originally supposed to be about my garden.  Which I planted a few weeks ago and am always standing in. 

I am obsessed. I am 90 years old.   

I love Birds. 
Gardens.


I am also 12. 

I love Dirt.
Sun. 


today I literally stood at a bird feeder down the street for a good fifteen minutes. 

and if you think- 
I DONT HAVE 15 MINUTES. 

yes you do. 

calling your bluff. we all make time for what we really want. 



anyways. 

my point is-

I have a garden. and I like to stand barefoot in it for far too long. 








This is a bookcase I got from the alley by the trash can. Turned it sideways.

and the mint and cilantro are doing really well. I put mint in everything now.






I wanted an outdoor bar. and, being 90. I love yard sales.

 and this guy was selling a white and faux wood cabinet thing.

It is not white and faux wood anymore.

The power of turquoise.




I almost died when I saw these things.











I also just discovered that rose bushes are on my list of the greatest things ever.

This year the one in my yard is particularly incredible. 




please. 


I watch every one happen. 





this small chair is in case a fairy wants to sit.
it was also a yard sale find.



if it sits still. I plant something in it.






Today I gasped outloud at this one and I have no idea what makes it so amazing except that I have been waiting for it for so long.





and I dont know how big this marigold think it can get. But its out of its mind.







so far, there is a direct correlation between work load and garden size.

I have cilantro for the whole block.


____________



I am acing the warm weather this year.

I am outside 90% of the time. either in my yard. or


packing paints in a backpack and adventuring.


more on that soon.
on how being unprepared means nearly fainting at a waterfall.
how lizards feel about oil paint.
and how you should apply sunscreen behind your knees.


P.S.


there is a new art center in town.

it is providing vocational opportunities to adults with special needs
who have a passion for a career in the arts.


So. I am working with them now.

That was a no brainer.

and it is BRAND NEW. so please hold for more information.


enjoy the music while your party is being reached.








_________________________________________________________________

April 21, 2015

quiet. THE GREATEST ADVENTURE.


quiet











It is raw. and real. and powerful. 














And. When I am walking or running. or sitting. I put my hand on the brick wall. the sidewalk. the airport shuttle. the church cinderblock. the baby's foot. Whatever is there.









And I am in the present. 



________________________________________________




The present is the best place to be because it is where everything is possible. It is where dreams are completed 

or disregarded.






The choice is to run from discomfort. or move into it. 











The present is where hope lives. 


you would think it lives in the future. 

But let it live in the

right
now












it helps your walk become a run. 


and your run. 


become 



a fly. 







This is Nella.


When she was born, I wrote her momma an email. Because her momma is a great photographer and writer.

And I felt connected to her.
So I followed my instinct.




Good thing I was right.

We have been friends for five years.
Good friends.


I would call her one of my best friends. We speak the same language. and text. call. and skype when things are insane. or scary. or amazing.


We think we were born in the same hospital. High-fived our little baby hands and then worked on projects until we saw each other again.

We volley around art ideas and help each other with work.




We are artists that love human beings.
beautiful things.
raw places.

and our hearts beat in this ridiculous pattern. almost out of our chests.




















and we hugged last week.

Five years later.











Adventure is what life is for.







Kelle.Abernathy.Heidi.


Kelle: http://www.kellehampton.com/
Heidi:http://www.heididarwish.com/



They are like wings.. see.

I have loved both of them for a while.



So good to be together.



We soaked it up.










in cow pajamas. with stickers. swimming pools. ballet class.
beaches. alligators. grapefruit slices in our beer. thai food.


and lots of creative conversation and brainstorms.



until going to bed exhausted. with wet hair. and a closer understanding 
of what support and love looks like. 







                                                                                                                                                                       photo credit:Kelle Hampton














March 30, 2015

that dream where you miss a quiz.





When you go back to school you have dreams that you will miss an exam. 

or have a quiz you did not know about. 

That dream even happened to me when I wasn't taking a class. 



Working and school is a funny animal. It's super empowering and exciting and then also discombobulating. 

For four seconds a day I get stressed about it and then I remember it is a really amazing opportunity. 

This ability for us to do exactly what we want. when we want. 



to change up our lives. or to enhance them. 




(in my case I am in school to become a sign language interpreter. which is part of my art. not separate from. I am going nowhere. just talking to more people ;) ) 



I love to learn. So. sitting in a classroom is one of my favorite places. 
I could take less work
but when I am working towards something I really want, I realize it comes with the territory

....sacrifice.


totally familiar.


I think I have 42 lists around my house that tell me when things are due. 

I also carry several bags around. A computer bag. A teaching bag. A school bag. A project bag. A bag with just a glue gun in it that keeps showing up wherever I go.


Honestly it is a little crazy. but I am not a martyr. I am just juggling(flaming torches). 





I also eat neat things like significant blocks of cheese. 
and salt and vinegar chips. 



________________________________________________________






________________________________________________________





oh. also. 

that quiz. 
I missed it.


IT HAPPENED .


in real life. 


and I am still distraught about the mix up and how it played out. The student in me is horrified and currently playing out a tragic stage death..spotlight...downstage left. 
(back in college I never skipped a single class. slept through one and cried but thats it) 



but the other parts of me are laughing really hard. 
because this is my life right now.




I missed a quiz. 
I got a parking ticket Thursday. 
Someone hit and run my truck and took my side mirror off.

AND I DONT REALLY CARE. 

I am sort of kicking ass. 




because I have chances. 



_______________________________________



March 16, 2015

This is where I am right now.












______________________________________________________




I am in a constant state of looking for amazing and authentic. and in doing that. 

Those things. 

They show up.


______________________________________________________




I was invited to be a part of an art and faith panel a few days ago. 


Before we went up, I looked behind me at the crowd and thought... 

one of the most beautiful places is where human beings are eager to learn from each other. 


Eager to HEAR and UNDERSTAND and GROW with each other. 


_____________________________



I am in the early stages of several projects with people who take risks and are interested in work that says something. 

Work that DOES something. 


And those are the teams I want to be on. The places I want to get muddy.
The projects I want to exhaust me. 



_____________________________




Work and school has been really crazy. 

I am still figuring out how to organize and balance everything. But my life is my art. and it is all part of the same picture. 

It just gets richer. 





When you make work. 

Make marks. 

really intentional. really bold. really brave marks.






______________________________________________________





i love music. almost more than everything.