A canvas layered with stories and attempts at expressing my narrative, covering them like a veil blocking the clear picture. A veil of trauma I slowly free myself from everyday. My altered body etched in eternity. I mark them so that the perspective shifts however the image of my morphed self remains. There is no escaping trauma. We can only make it beautiful with our tools.
I scrub the image with water just as I did my body after my assault. Gently. It still tears, the missing links and blocked memories remain. Just as when I paint my body. The paint acts as the traumatic event. Washing away after as an attempt to fix the wrong done to me. I scrub the paper to reveal a glitched image beneath. As does my brain
I’ve always been interested in landscape.. not only because of the nature and the way we exist within it, but because of the way we view it in memory. There is a nostalgia related to landscapes and natural monuments. The moment you and your family went to the Grand Canyon. The smells and temperature and what you ate that day comes up when you view that perfect spot. If I smell honeysuckles, I’m suddenly back in Pagosa springs. Depending on the wind hits me, I suddenly feel as if I’m on the beach in gulf shores or a mountain back home. How each of us view landscapes is infinite. You may see a mountain as a nice skiing vacation, while I see it as a dark hole my childhood died within. There’s a duality that comes with these feelings that don’t necessarily happen in a home or building. The landscape is awe inspiring, large and small at the same time. Your viewpoint matters. Are you within it or afar? When within it, do you notice every moment you did when far away? Appreciating the beauty within it but feeling pain in remembrance. Trauma lives within our senses. How a big t shirt feels on my skin isn’t the same as it once was. The taste of green Chile haunts me. I am in pain when I see mountains. Silence is torture, and worse if I hear the crickets.
I paint with my memories
Moments in time are my paint, my psyche the brush and the canvas my surface (of the iceberg) This way of production is like a puzzle within a puzzle within a puzzle I slowly put together each day. One that may never be finished but then again, what artist thinks anything is ever finished? This idea of a palimpsest echoes throughout my entire body of work. As survivors, we share our experiences, each story adding a layer to the one told before it. Each survivor gaining more confidence speaking out due to the work laid out before them. They lay down new work for those to come.
There is a certain quality to transferring and painting that I often work with in my sculpture. The material has a mind of its own. Like my mind, it is searching for its place and reacting to memories of its movement before. The clay retains a history of which way its particles have shifted. The paint absorbs onto certain surface textures differently when applied to canvas and transfer. Sometimes one color becomes another when layering. Transfers don’t always peel away perfectly. My finger may slip or I leave it on too long. I embrace these qualities of the materials because I am learning to embrace those within myself. Instinctually, I react to things in a specific way. The way I am cautious or reactive to certain environments had previously been a burden but I have learned to grow fond of my preferences. I cannot be in tune with my art if I decide separate values from myself for the materials I work with.
There’s a moment of clarity within painting/making working through an artistic endeavor that creates an environment where I can peacefully process emotions and issues in my life. Typically the moment of clarity within my mind goes hand in hand with that of my decisive making.
I used to think that I painted in bed because I was lazy.. maybe I didn’t want to stand or be in a room that wasn’t mine. Perhaps I even saw it as an afterthought.. but I think I realized tonight that I paint from bed for comfort. I paint in bed because it’s the one place I feel safe enough to let go of my inhibitions. I am free and 100% open to working in mediums I don’t feel well versed in. It’s given me a space that lends me permission to explore, to make mistakes, to learn from them. Being in my comfort zone allows me the ability to explore darker concepts and understand my inner thoughts better. It is a time I spend getting to know myself and my needs. My movement and focus allow my thoughts to roam landing me in a place that I can finally articulate my subconscious. I have discovered so much in the past 4 months of quarantine about my new mediums, myself, my trauma, how to take care of myself and be alone. Just so much that really matters for me to understand.
I hope that reading through these late night thoughts can help some of you to understand the why of your work better. Perhaps, for those who are not artists, this lends you a perspective of creativity that can be logical and thought out. Hopefully, it can help you view art in a new light or even just broaden what you look for in a piece. I hope these rants help some of you see my thought process and the different ways in which I cope with trauma through creating and community.
Rest assured, this is not my last post of late night thoughts on my work.
See you soon (: