Monday, August 31, 2009

It Needs a Skirt

I belong to a yahoo group of mixed media artists. One recently wrote about an extended family gathering for a funeral. This amazing woman creates and teaches wonderful art journals, and organizes several great artfests that inspire thousands every year. Some family members looked at her artwork for the first time at this gathering, said, "So you just cut and paste", then turned away without a second glance. This is not an unfamiliar experience for any visual artist.
I remember when I created an art doll for a juried exhibit that was going to tour nationally. I created a pattern for a figure of a woman. She was seated on a stack of antique books, holding an antique pen writing on a piece of handmade paper. Her hair is wild, like mine. Instead of clothing, I lettered the titles of many of the books I have read in different colors, styles and multiple layers. She is called "A Woman of Letters". I finally finished her the day submissions were due. A friend of mine who had been trying to get me to stop doing my own "stuff" and join her at the decorative painting classes where everyone makes the same thing, came to look at the doll. She said, "It needs a skirt" and then left. I was just beginning to learn to not mutter "Heathen" under my breath.
The doll was juried into the exhibit and travelled to places in the country I haven't been. I reworked her this year and submitted her for publication. She will be in the Art Doll Quarterly that comes out in November.
I learned long ago not to take comments about my artwork personally. I don't even like or dislike someone based on that. Visual art creates such an intensely personal experience. I don't expect others to like what I make or what I like just because I do. If I am too attached to something, I don't display it where others could put me in the painful position of being rejected. But I am rarely that attached to something. I love surrounding myself with creations, by myself and others. Others will like them or not. But they breathe life into me every time I see them. Mike long ago stopped worrying about nail holes in the walls. He helps me hang artwork up before we put furniture in a room.
So holes-in-walls be damned, heathens be pitied, surround yourself with art that breathes life into you.


Barbara Bee said...

Congratulations! Great story. I loved the "It needs a skirt reference." Sometimes you just have to guide the untrained eye what to look for in the unique.

Barbara Bee said...

Wow! I just did a close-up on the photo. She's incredible!!