Hello! It’s been awhile!
Okay, one of my top New Year’s Resolutions is to recommit to my intended practice of (almost) daily journaling on this blog – about my creative process and the things that inspire my creative process.
I know, self-indulgent and somewhat meaningless, right? I mean what does anyone else care about my creative process?! However, over and over again, in my personal struggle to become more mindful, more compassionate, and more life-giving in my artwork and life I keep coming back to the importance of the process rather than the finished product – the means rather than the end – and the importance of being aware of what is happening in that process. This process, this time of creating is where I most grow into and discover myself, my connection to other, to nature, and that mysterious presence that I identify as God.
Some days for me, the just being aware is the biggest challenge. Somedays the biggest challenge is being compassionate once I do become aware. Most recently, the biggest challenge for me is once I have become aware, once I have compassion, is how to not feel helpless with no ability to be “life-giving”. For me life-giving means participating in creating a better community, a better world; and creating a better world begins with “the least of these” people and ideals. Certainly, as an artist, as one who explores ideas of beauty and culture, there is something uplifting there. However, I believe art is something more than just something pretty to look at – more than just art for art’s sake – more than the anthropological imprint of cultures old and new. I think art is for the sake of all who experience it, and can be life-giving. If your vocation is that of a doctor and you want to create a better community perhaps you join doctors w/out borders or work in a community clinic for low income families, if your vocation is that of a teacher and you want to create a better community, perhaps you work in an inner city school, if one is an attorney perhaps you do pro-bono work for the underprivileged. But, how do I affect change as an artist? This is a question every artist asks and searches for the right answer to fit them. For the next year especially I will be exploring this question in a focused way, as well as a few other questions: What does activism/protest mean today (cause it’s different than it was in the 60’s folks!)? Can art truly be a work of activism? Is a negative means to a positive end ever justified in activism? How can my work be a continual process of life-giving activism? How can I make my activism work a work of beauty?
The pictures above represent work I completed over this last year, especially this last 6 mos. Also above, are a few of the hundreds of pictures we took from the RNC in August, which was a complex, scary, and exhilarating time in my own backyard (Matt and I live downtown near the convention site). During that time I saw many activists and a lot of civil disobedience. Some of it was inspiring and life-giving – some of it was not. During that time our streets were filled with police in riot gear (who were on both sides of the political divide). Some of them were patient and interacted with protesters in a life-giving way, some of them did not. During that time our city looked like a demilitarized zone and pepper spray and tear gas hung heavy in the air and we had to close our windows, although there was very little coverage of any of this on national TV outlets. And I wondered, how can protest against war and poverty and fundamentalism become – again and as never before – so meaningful to onlookers, such an act of beauty, so life-giving – that the cause cannot be denied? That the media cannot NOT cover it? That even if someone wants to look away and deny those principles, they can’t, rather they become drawn into the process and move also toward a just peace?