In order to be a practicing artist I discovered very early on this month that I had certain needs to be met. I need to be authentic, to feel like I have a purpose, and to nourish my creative impulses. So ultimately, I had to get really clear on how to meet these needs, because it is my unique voice, what I want to say in my work that will at the end of the day nourish my soul and sustain my art practice. This was really frustrating to be so ‘in my head’ about it, when all I really felt I should be doing was to start working, like Chuck Close advises see previous post. But now I’m graciously accepting the process that it took knowing that at least my conceptual foundations have been laid and I have a strong sense of my voice and purpose.
So, what is my voice? I had no idea until I did an exercise that my tutor gave me, putting together 10 of my favourite artists with intentions of making connections, so that I could see what they all had in common. I soon discovered that I am drawn to: Illustration, Mixed Media Sculpture, Digital and Traditional Mixed Media, and Printmaking of all sorts (most recently I have been fascinated with Photopolymer Etching as it satisfies the photographer and printmaker in me. See gallery below for the selection of artists that I chose in the exercise.
Sweet Song (2011) by Margaret Ashman
Nine Stories (2014) by Susan Tuttle
The Dancer (2013) by Chantelle Scholten
Oath (2011) by Kate Fitzharris
Weeping white fox wall mount (n.d) by Mister Finch
Untitled from the Bird Series (n.d) by Marloes Duyker
Horsefly, 2005 by Daniel Chang
Untitled in the Gouache Series 2013 by Bill Mayer
Waterbuffalo (2008) by Shawn Tan
The common threads are works that tell a narrative, feature people or creatures or both, surreal juxtapositions, and a good dose of whimsy. These connections didn’t surprise me, but what did surprise me was that these concepts lead me down a pathway of quite a political approach to my practice. Which stands to reason, as I want my art to be a provocation. Using my art as a form of storytelling (another love of mine) and inviting the viewer to consider their own experience of being human, ones place of belonging in the world, and in the body, and also the choice to live consciously alongside our fellow human beings and the other creatures of the planet.
My voice resounds with :
- animal and human consciousness
- awareness of Self
May it serve me well in the World!