"What do you think an artist is? An imbecile who has only eyes if he is a painter,
or ears if he is a musician, or a lyre in every chamber of his heart if he is a poet,
or even, if he is a boxer, just his muscles?
Far, far from it: at the same time, he is also a political being, constantly aware of the heartbreaking, passionate, or delightful things that happen in the world, shaping himself completely in their image.
How could it be possible to feel no interest in other people, and with a cool indifference to detach
yourself from the very life which they bring to you so abundantly?
No, painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war."
Sunday, August 10, 2008
I come from a small Italian family, casual and modest. I was not sent to Catholic schools. I don’t believe in hell. I suffered a head injury at the age of three which resulted in a slow speech development. Maybe. I grew up protected and quietly watching and listening. I was influenced by the sixties and seventies flower power and deeply affected by the social unrest and the Vietnam War. All I could do was watch. What do children know. I can tell you that I remember with my heart. I saw and heard the things that others didn't; they were so busy talking to hear themselves but I never had the knowledge or courage to speak up and I wondered why humans postured so much in order to I don’t know what.
We moved around a lot and and I was always the new girl, alone, playing house in the woods; and I heard voices in the night। Really. Those, I believed ,were the voices of my ancestors but I thought that I shouldn't be hearing them and that meant that I was broken and thus I had to keep that secret so they wouldn't take my breath away. Death. When I grew up I sat with my Aunt as she was dying from cancer and I saw my ancestors come for her but then I wasn't afraid anymore because I knew that was what my power was. Seeing. These things I learned and experienced from the life of being an artist.
This is what being an artist means to me. I want to be in the studio every day. When I am painting I feel like Jacob wrestling with the angel and stuff is shooting out of me as I move around. Like threads that weave their way into some thing that makes up our physical space and then out where it is received by those of us who are receivers. Like a radio. It is best when the music stops and I keep going. I am hyper vigilant and keenly aware of movement and vibrations within my environment so when I am alone I get messages and I see patterns between things. Several of my paintings were images that just came into my head fully realized. When I drive home late at night I get poetry lines which I write in the dark on the seat beside me and then go crazy the next day trying to read them.
My job as an artist is to participate in the re-enchantment by using my creative skills in order to recreate spiritual values, stories and messages by putting them into my paintings As a community we do this when we pray, we do this when we sing, and dance, yoga, raise a family, cook a meal, make a painting. We re-create the original creation story thru the ritual of repetition of our own every day…It is like a binding spell. To remind ourselves of the sacred relationship between the earth and humans. When humans go too far astray waves in the energy field become distorted. It reflects our movements and thus our cultures. What inspires me is when I look at something, a story from literature, a painting, a play or movie or even a conversation, and see the secret behind the veil, I see strange metaphors and patterns, and I think, oh yeah, look, I see that! That has to come out now. When I speak these things out folks say, “oh wow, I can’t believe you saw that, I see it now too” I can share the gift of sight through my words and through my paintings.
Those of us who are aware tell a story, make art, create a work to participate in the creation story and help to weave back, heal the energy field, restore the breech in the pattern. And sometimes just to not be lonely. It has to be this way and there is no other way for me. It is part of my physical and spiritual reality. It is the way I express my love for humanity. And my disdain for it. This is not an easy love. I am constantly disappointed. But I am always reminded by events that occur around me how deeply I feel for being human. I have this quote attributed to Jesus from the Gospel According to Thomas: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.“ And so I paint.