LEARNING FROM 2023: Refection, Authenticity & Connection
I typically don’t do the whole “New Year = New Me” thing or New Years resolutions. I prefer to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned over the past year. Outline some of the ways I can use that knowledge to enhance my life going forward and how it can help me become a better person, Mother, artist, and so on. Therefore, I have dedicated the first blog post of 2024 to reflecting on THE BODY COLLECTION and the lessons I learned through it.
Having primarily been an abstract artist my entire artistic career made taking on "The BODY PROJECT" both frightening and exhilarating. I am not a figure artist, and the models shared vulnerable moments with me through their modelling experience and their journaling, so I was worried I wouldn’t do them and this project justice. This collection, a fusion of abstraction and figures, was more than just an exhibition for me; it became a profound exploration of connection, body positivity and neutrality.
The process of creating this collection was a transformative journey, pushing me beyond the comfortable confines of my non-representational abstract repertoire. I began in January of 2023, filled with self-doubt and fear. I was thinking too much and staying in my “left brain” with the ideas of “what will people like” swimming around my mind. Therefore, I created inauthentic, mediocre work. I was saved by carpal tunnel surgery and had to set the project aside. When I came back to it in the summer, I was done with fear and worrying about what anyone else thought. I was ready to create a collection of work that I connected with deeply. Referencing the photos and becoming familiar with the journaling of each model, I found aspects within their experiences that I personally identified with. The shared perspective I found with each model coupled with remaining open and connected with my intuition allowed me to create a collection that I am very proud of.
However, the main lessons found within this project lie in the intimate narratives shared by the volunteer models who served as the inspiration. The layers of paper, pattern, journaling, and paint on canvas echoed the layers of their personal stories, creating a tapestry of diverse experiences and perspectives for myself and the viewer. Reminding all of us that we are more than our bodies, and more importantly, that there is a common thread of the raw human experience that runs through all of us – we are all connected even though we can often feel alone and isolated.
This collection became a celebration of body positivity and neutrality, not only for the models but also for me. Through this transformative journey, each brushstroke became an opportunity for self-discovery, unveiling layers of emotions and perceptions about my own body. As I connected to each model through their personally written narratives, I found myself challenging societal norms and embracing a newfound sense of liberation. The canvas became a mirror, reflecting not only the unique beauty of each subject but also the evolving narrative of my own body positivity and acceptance.
As I look back on "THE BODY PROJECT," I am reminded that success in the realm of art is not solely defined by sales figures. It is found in the transformative power of creation and connection, in the ability of art to transcend its physical form and resonate on a deeply personal level. Witnessing the vulnerability and strength of these individuals, I was honored to be part of portraying their bodies and their stories. On a deep level I internalized that we are all connected, and this has led to feeling more openness and understanding to others. I am grateful to have been reminded that fear and doubt have no place in the creation of authentic work. "THE BODY PROJECT" has left an indelible mark on my artistic journey, proving that the most significant triumphs are often the ones that cannot be measured in monetary terms.
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Let me know what lessons 2023 provided for you by leaving a comment below!