I took three hours out of my busy AmeriCorps Program Director work day to participate in this panel presentation on art and healing. I was one of three writer/artists to participate, although I have twenty academic years under my belt as well and could easily have worn that hat — but I am glad I didn’t. I find so much more meaning in telling my own story (as egoistic as this may sound) because my story is also the story of the underserved by art individuals I have been able to help through offering them opportunities to visually tell their own.
The artists present were invited to bring samples of our artwork, and I automatically chose the healing artworks I created between 2009 and 2013 that helped me by illustrating my misery, my grief and finally my ability to celebrate my transition from traditional college art professor to teaching artist to the underserved and during a time when many painful memories and truths were being revealed. As a result I will most likely be showing that series of artworks for the first time at a local Richmond, KY gallery — and won’t that be empowering!
Many thanks to Melinda Moore, psychology professor and leader of the Survivors of Suicide group at EKU for inviting me to speak and share my healing through art story.
I am proud to announce that two of my artworks, one the first in a series about O, will be part of a long term traveling exhibit sponsored by the Kentucky Arts Council, entitled The Illustrated Word. The exhibit will travel to libraries across Kentucky from February 2017 through 2018, with a special exhibit in Lexington at Kentucky Crafted: The Market, April 21-23, 2017. I am thrilled that O will go out into the world in this way, giving viewers a chance to experience the incredible person he was and the impact he had and continues to have on me and my creative life.
Ode to O: Inordinate
Ode to O is one of a six panel series that I began with a matrix of dictionary pages collaged during the time we shared a studio space in Haynie’s Corner, Evansville, in 2015. My initial intent was to make them a single, multi-paneled piece with a tree form visually tying the panels together. However, when we had to move out of the studio due to irreconcilable differences with the gallery/studio owner (which included insistence on collecting commission on artwork created by the homeless) the panels languished. I left them stacked in a corner of a guest room in Indiana when I left for Berea, KY in May, and didn’t work on them again until the day before O took his life.
By November I was finally able to pick up where I left off in August, rendering words from the dictionary pages that reminded me of O — and with his tattoo ink. As I worked it soon became clear that in both form and content I was mimicking an older and much smaller artwork, entitled Obsessions #1 that is also about a man I loved and lost that will be exhibited along with Ode to O in The Illustrated Word.
While editing a frequently rejected essay entitled “The Jezebel” (that is not receiving the attention it deserves) I received notification that I will have another autobiographical essay, entitled “Thematic Development“, published in Botticelli Magazine’s upcoming issue.
Rejections are part of a creative life, but one never gets used to them. It is a good thing, however, that acceptances so successfully wipe those rejected feelings away!!!