Category Archives: collage

the artist on sex, the shadow and spirit

yes, I am choosing to write about a risky topic, in that it entails broaching the conversation of our most private and often unexplored topic, sex!  it gets our attention and regardless of our opinions, preferences and experiences will command a moment or more of attention when we see it in a topic.  it is natural, biological, and humans are captive to the impulse regardless of their personal conception and whether it involved sexuality or was a scientific experiment.  the biological sequence of becoming a life form involved an exchange of energy to initiate development.

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“untitled” collage 10″ x 10″ istara freedom

development from the infinite unknown, or spirit world into a life form took some sort of attraction and environmental arranging to occur.  thus the occurrence of matter!  any matter formed also creates a shadow.  shadows can be fun.  we can play with shadows, and become the master of our shadow.  we can turn in a certain way to the light and with our eye see the smallest shadow possible.  if we desire we may grow that shadow to immense proportions with the right angles of light, and make a large impression with our shadow.  some may call this a negative impression, and indeed it can be.  however there is another side besides the negative shadow, and it is the protective, powerful guardian side, that we can also depend on if we know how to work the light.  and now of course you know that I am speaking metaphorically as well as physically.

okay back to the sex, time to keep the attention going here, for real! –a quick review, how are all those things related–artists, sex, shadow, spirit?  oh yes, by nature of having a physical form, attention is drawn toward the impulse of exchange, and energetic exchange that creates more energy is a matter to consider, along with its shadow.  a psychological shadow also develops as a psyche forms when the matter begins to relate/exchange with other forms.  it all may seem very abstract but there is a basic exchange, a relationship.  in that sense spirit is drawn to that which is energetically embedded in our primal impulse, from that moment when energy surged into the cells that began to grow into us.  that universal occurrence of biological exchange makes us especially drawn to the idea of sex.  regardless of the opinion we have regarding sexuality, we will respond to the word or idea with some attention.  artists are the ones that visibly, consciously externalize the shadow–both physically and psychologically to the world, becoming a reflection for other lifeforms to relate to.  many artists have an ongoing representation of the shadow in their work.  it is an opportunity to have a reflection, and to share the reflection, as there are those that are conditioned to believe that the shadow is bad, or to be feared somehow, and want to minimize it to be more comfortable.

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“untitled” collage 10″ x 10″ istara freedom

we can benefit by being aware of the shadow–as a performance of personal power, or to provide a distraction, or open a conversation with the psyche as to ones fears and challenges.  I have found the dialogue can be very helpful, to assess where i am in relation to my shadow.  by looking at it, envisioning it, and playing with the shadow, we can communicate with the parts of our psyche that are pre-lingual, and deep in shadow.  it may well be an uncomfortable conversation at first, as our very powerful imaginations combined with deep elemental forces will detail any type of fear or fantasy we may have.  artists and creative types, scientists, are agents of this primal creative energy, and often explore aspects of shadow sexuality in their work.  the commercial viability of sexuality is part of our collective human shadow and is a consideration for many artists and the phenomenon we know as ‘selling out’.  because sexuality is viable, it will often dominate certain types of commercially successful art forms, especially in film and music.  as artists with integrity we can minimize the grotesque exploitation of sexuality for profit by looking at the shadow sides of ourselves and use the sexual energy to create work that honors the sexual impulse of all life as a more elemental occurrence.

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“O” collage, mixed media 2′ x 3′ istara freedom

as I am transitioning from the more quiet side of the visual arts to songwriting and singing, I am beginning to consider performance again and selling an image.  I get to play with the ideas of sexuality and how much of a sexy image I want to portray.  i consider the challenge it has been for me from time to time to present or ‘sell’ my  visual art, as it is open to interpretation and has the energy of self reflection.  it gives the viewer a mirror to go deep inside and that can be uncomfortable for those that want a pretty and conventional surface to relate to–or people will get distracted by my physical presence, and want to shift the focus to me. so now i get to play with selling my own image in the presentation of the songs if i choose.

perhaps you were expecting a more juicy expose on sex, shadow, spirit and the artist. i will admit, i have been curious to see just how much of a difference in the traffic to my site will be affected by including sex in the topic, and this is part of my research. maybe another day i will write a more ‘juicy’ piece to make up for it if my readers seem interested. let me know. thanks for the visit!

the large collages

New World

‘a new world’ -five feet tall

“what did you…?”
“how did you…?”
“why did you…?”
“you did that?”

I have heard comments such as these and more regarding my large collages. they are uniquely blended and expansive, with a complete saturation of wild imagery, color, and glitter, melded together with thick, clear, shiny resin. they sparkle in many ways beyond what is captured in the photos. they can provoke intense reactions – I have had people prostrate themselves and bow before these large colorful collages, oh my! now, some of the collages are being exhibited at the Jadenow Gallery in Santa Barbara and people are asking about making the art.

the first collages came from images that I collected during an exciting time when I lived in san Francisco, CA. i was going for it: i was in art school. i had headshots and an agent. i was in an experimental theatre company, called Ego Po. i was with a dance company, we did techno tribal dance. we entertained at night club events, raves and concerts, including lollapalooza. i performed interpretive dance for a friend’s monologues who later founded a theatre currently producing shows in san Francisco. busy, busy, busy. I saved anything that caught my eye visually.

eventually when I moved from the city and took some time off to help my sister with her business in Hawaii, I had a large collection of papers, photos, club flyers, events posters and other bits of memorabilia. I had to downsize, so I coalesced them into the first collages I made. i like to expand and carry out an expression to its fullest, so they grew large. other people added things to the collages, younger relatives I spent time caring for, a girlfriend, or added art made by other artist friends. there is an influence of theatre, dance, art films, raves, and ecstatic san Francisco psychedelia. that saturated time is reflected in the large red collages, as well as the soul archeology that I spoke of in my last blog.

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‘sacred’ eight feet tall

the story of the large blue collage is a little different. this piece was made in Seattle, after i moved back from Hawaii and lived on capital hill. the blue collage was created during a lonely time. seattle was so different for me, with the rain – the slick shiny and reflective surfaces, wet gear, shiny streets in the night lights, and a view of the Olympic mountains from the balcony that saved a part of my soul when i lived there. i had an astral connection to nature that was more intense than when i lived in san Francisco. I felt ungrounded often and very close to the other side. the blossoming of esoteric wisdom became visible and I made peace with the pronounced negative space we feel when suddenly we lose someone to death.

i chose the image of Marilyn Monroe for that expression in my collage, she is pictured on the lower left side, an image of her face, an ephemeral beauty full of light. then in the same place on the right side is the beautiful negative space, like a black rose, swirling with empty darkness and emotion. there is again the notion of universes in our heads, starry substances our cells. in the top center of it all resides the ‘queen of unity’ (from a card, artist unknown) – the balance of light and dark, the perfection of balance and the supreme mother. at the bottom is the bull, also sacred to the goddess, grounded and fierce.  the image is of the woman taking him by the horns, surrendering the bull and her own self to her power. it is an homage to the divine feminine, with the gentle message being:  all that is sacred is not lost. this message led to the title: ‘all stars are not created perfect’.

all stars are not created perfect

all stars are not created perfect

because these collages were so large, i eventually had to do something with them to make room for other art and life…also because they were so large, i had to find creative ways to frame them, as i couldn’t afford to have them professionally framed. the frames became further decorative extensions of the artwork.

 

universal upgrade, part 1

some time ago i made a commitment, to get some work done and really give my love of stone sculpture my full attention for a while. it seemed that would be the only way i could make enough progress in this tough and challenging medium. it is an art that takes time and physical energy and patience and the willingness to be dirty. the results occupy space and time in such a hard and formal way, even if the gesture is soft and lovely. to make this commitment, i had to let some other interests go. tattooing for one. so i may not get to have work on myself as often for a while, oh well, that is a sacrifice i choose for now. then i asked the universe to give me some support if this is the right choice for me, and got busy with my rocks and hand tools. i had started to speak of my journey with stone in my previous entries.

i’ve come back so many times to the love of the subtractive carving process and the way it feels very complete to me, being so physical, and sometimes so slow to see results, it takes me out of my mind. i hear the sound of the tool in rhythm with my mind’s eye and the physical ability i have to execute that visual relationship. now i’ve made a deeper commitment, followed through with some action, asked for support, made some progress. i’ve received support, encountered challenges and set myself up for a year or more likely a lifetime of sculpting with the tools and techniques and new material, but especially with the feeling that there is so much more to learn and say within the medium.

wow, so what exactly was the upgrade? things went so full circle and surprised me–i’ve  learned recently that people i respect in my community have been reading my words, here. okay, to step back a bit, where i left off, i was working on the ‘angelheart’ sculpture. what a stone–the detail, the polishing, it is like glass, very crystalline! i’m happy to say it is finished. renamed ‘Ananchel’ or angel of grace. Ananchel means divine grace, and she is here to offer us the experience of an open heart allowing the love of the divine to pour in. “she awaits to bathe us in a state of ecstasy, when every cell in our body sings praises”  and offers gratitude. “Ananchel provides the state of grace which allows the angels to fill us with love, inspiration, wisdom and rapture.” the color of the onyx really does vary from white, to a soft peachy color as shown in the photos, depending on the light.

   

what happened is that after i made the commitment and fumbled around with my motivation to put the energy into it, that i had the first upgrade; the pleasure of being commissioned to create a piece in stone for an indoor water fountain made of slate and built into the corner of a wall. i put the other pieces on hold, and went for it, finding the right stone and getting it approved, eventually having enough awareness of the project and the material i started carving. (this part took a while, looking at the rough rock in the shadowy corner, and trying to ‘see’ it in my minds eye) i loved working the stone, pyrophyllite. the consistency and color and smooth, tight grains. the idea of water and the shape of the fountain informed a feeling in me of where my eye and tools wanted to go together. also, there was a lovely patch of red on the top corner of the stone that the client really liked, however the red was pretty shallow and toward the front, so had to find my way around that brief red coloration and not overwork the area, a thought i dreaded. the following pictures are: the fountain, the sculpture, and the fountain with the sculpture.

  

i then encountered a problem with my growth. i made too much dust in my home studio environment (that was our garage and yard) and had to look around for a new place to work. i heard about Pratt in Seattle and looked into it for a studio rental. i rented the stone yard there to finish my piece and am so glad i did. it is a great place that has everything i need to continue my exploration of committment to stone sculpture, the tools, the air, the water, drill presses, the six inches of dust, etc. i have had the place to myself, except for a few random and changing artists and the department technicians which have been most supportive. this place allows me to keep busy and have more resources and and a good atmosphere to work in, as it is surrounded on two sides by a community park on the other side of which is a great local coffee place.

that is why you may not have seen or heard from me as much in a while. i’m encouraged to continue writing along with creating sculpture and visual art, and recently i contributed to a group show at artwalk in Issaquah, completed another five-day figure sculpture intensive and am getting ready to have a place in the local annual salmon days festival in one weeks time. events that are requiring me to finish pieces and consider how i want to represent myself and grow.

forest for the trees

i like the medium of collage because to me it is like viewing a frozen image from someones brain, the revelation as many disparate parts  composite and form into a new idea. or as i titled my last series of collages, aetheros portals a portal to another view, a sketch of possibility in quantum terms. i say quantum terms because of the fact that most of the elements of a collage are or have been pulled from another position, and thus have previous or current lives as different symbols, parts of other realities. this could happen infinite times.

i have collaged and re-collaged certain images so many times they are now existing in many possibilities at once. they may look very different, even unrecognizable, or appear as the same feature, in a different mood, a moment in time, or expression of emotion. i enjoy the discovery of bits of visuals that my eyes are drawn to being placed in a new array and becoming something different. i am reminded of the options we have to form realities, and to change them.

in my collage series i had several themes develop, where multiples of one idea or image occurred.  a few trees, the untitled ones, and the uraeus, named after the egyptian symbol of an upright cobra, often shown with wings, mostly associated with royalty. the symbol of the uraeus originally was a depiction of a state of spirit, when the kundalini, or life force, had crowned, reached its peak and achieved union with spirit,  all that is.

the first one, uraeus rising, is experiencing bliss. in pleiades dream, this visual is the imprint of an ancient memory. in earth/sky uraeus, also titled soul uraeus, it is in the balance of connection, connecting above with below, a perfect place to allow full expression of the soul.  together they represent three glimpses into the idea of ascension, the experience of spiritual freedom through having mastered form. in my process of recognizing and imaging the symbols, i feel i have imprinted the possibility for this idea.

in the tree series, i have three tree portals. there is tree one, with its flower, its metaphorical fruit. it is sheltering a small cat. various energies are formed around and under the tree. it is an enchanting place, safe and full of wonder. in tree two, it is a tree of wisdom. it appears to have a face, that may seem to speak. i wonder what it will say to me, to someone else.  in the third one, there is a magical forest. the trees are alive with consciousness and communication. it is like music, expressed in the light, shapes and climate, created by the density and reach of the trees. the title, forest for the trees, alludes to the loss of humans ability to witness and enjoy the natural magic of the forest, or of a tree.