WHAT? Am I artist as a way to account for the ways i am unable to negotiate particular conventions in a fashion I can live with?

MORNING MUSING. Am I artist because I cannot fully navigate the path of scholar, cube worker, day laborer, housewife, mother?

Perhaps the lack a capacity to fulfill those roles has influence, but i did not arrive at artist reductively, because it was all that was left available to me. Yet neither did i grow up thinking, “oh i will or am an artist.”

grease pencil, acrylic, newsprint. circa 2005

Though even at an early age i drew and even then i worked with material that was scrap. Scratching out naked people on the cardboard sheets discarded from my dad’s dress shirts. But drawing did not form me as artist. it is more likely that standing at the edge of childhood herds watching behaviors of one being shaped by another, being shoved against lockers. Books spilling from my hands, sensing this had very little to do with me. Instead I found myself believing that the new girl who herded up the others and lead them by the nose did so as some compensatory behavior to account for a home life that made her powerless. Sure these thoughts did not manifest in my current language set, but in a conceptual equivalent kid version.

In fourth grade thinking about these behavioral dynamics was were my mind played. In third, I noted hierarchical power shifts delineating along oral reading group placement. It sucked. In first grade, I saw the consequential power of actions that invoke critique as I stood frozen on the talent show stage garbed in the flowy flower girl dress with pink satin trim, my lips held tightly closed. I do not recall who rescued me from the song of letters I had set out to sing. Most often lost in my head watching the play and shaping of my peers and siblings by outside forces. Just because I saw did and does not mean I learned to manipulate these social patterns to my gain.

I did not arrive at artist by elimination but by fulfillment, by my capacity to see relational dynamics and the implications in human space. Drawing is a nice skill but is only a minor criterion in creativity that is no longer even required. It is but one of many tools. Apparently sewing is equally viable…stitching in space.

archiving the distention of memory (not to scale), 2015.

When I stumbled on doing artist after I was forty, working out my knowings and unknowings with my hands, there was an overwhelming sensation of coming home to myself. I recall the vivid sensation of feeling like I was finally walking in my own skin. I even provided myself with a few butt, lightly berating myself. “How could I have not known i was sculptress, I was artist? For I was a tactile learner, oriented toward the observable and physical correlations, strong in seeing literal and abstract patterns and spatial relationships!” Of course I came home to myself only when I had the resilience to do so. More interesting to me is that I only noticed the resting in myself as visual artist through writing.




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