I touched on my entry into the art world briefly in my Artist Statement, but I wanted to recount the process spark I went through in the Summer of 2012.
I had returned to Charlotte in April, but after two months had no luck finding a job. To pay my way, I took care of my roommate's awesome (and by coincidence, artistically talented) 9-year old son during his Summer break from school. This meant a lot of idle days at the pool. During this same period, I also discovered Pinterest. Aggregating what I found beautiful, innovative, creative, and funny proved not only to be a relaxing diversion, but became a visual paradigm of what I was about to suddenly comprehend. On one of those idle pool days in the middle of July, my other roommate, a talented graphic designer, brought home the book Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. He prefaced the suggestion I read it by stating the book was geared towards artists, but was applicable to anything in life. He thought I might enjoy it during my time of struggle. I devoured the book in a few hours. The whole time, I kept exclaiming "this is amazing," "oh my god," "where has this book been all my life," "so right." None of the information was necessarily new to my 36 years in the world, but it was framed in a new, clear way. It was like someone had reached deep into my brain and flipped a switch. Suddenly all my adventures, and experiences and education and projects fell into a sense of order. The quote from Andre Gide:
"Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again."
was the most liberating statement I had ever encountered. I suddenly felt uninhibited. The need to create was immediate.
Now I do have really neat handwriting, and I was always creatively resourceful with decorating, and I doodled concentric circles out of boredom, but I had never painted a picture before. I considered my self an art consumer, not an art creator. That night I searched on Pinterest for an artwork that spoke to me. My intention was to emulate as a method of experimentation in creating. This is where I discovered the art journal work of Ingrid Dijkers. In particular the organized chaos of her zentagles piqued my interest:
I gathered the resources I had available to me: old, but unused gold-covered journal filled with lined notebook paper, a kids watercolor palate with a plastic brush, and my v5 pilot gel pens I use to take (colorful) notes in grad school. I spent the next three days creating my version of Dijker's zentangle.
I used her idea as a jumping off point, but once I got started I put her image out of sight and progressed with my own interpretation. I chose my favorite colors, incorporated lyrics from my favorite band, added my favorite concentric circles. Then I just began playing with shapes and design elements. The image filled itself out from there.
Proud of my first effort, I wanted to attempt to replicate a more concrete object, rather than purely abstract freeform. Could I actually control shape to create an image? So I went back to Pinterest in search of inspiration and I was drawn in my the color and activity of Jamie Price's piece You Are My Sunshine.
Again, my intention this time around was an attempt at duplication as a self-test of my capabilities. But I eventually reached a point where my own experiences and interests took over and I incorporated details and style that were relevant to me.
I do owe a particular credit to Jamie Price because the use of filler bubble circles has become recurrent detail in most of my pieces. These two sources of random inspiration motivated me to study zentangles and painting techniques. Soon I was off to the races researching Mexican art iconography, aboriginal dream art, and graffiti artists. I started looking at the details in other creative crafts like quilting and crocheting. My interests keep growing and expanding exponentially. Satisfied with my first two attempts, my unused gold-covered journal quickly became an art book. Since that first night in July, I have been painting and drawing every single day.
More of my early journal drawings are below in order of creation. When I finally jumped out of my journal and onto the canvas, I began creating the images that make up my current portfolio. My gold-covered journal is now more for notes and ideas and practice techniques and lists and collecting random pieces of inspiration for new pieces I am creating.
So this is my little origin story. I'm still navigating my artistic path, but I'm enjoying the journey.