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Wringing Meaning from Turnips

I’ve established the beginnings of my own personal, artistic vocabulary during the course of the Creative Experiment. I talked a little about it in the previous post. There is always a fear for me in revealing what my artwork means as a whole, and what each individual part means to me on a personal level. My fears are many fold. The first among them being the feeling that I’m ‘over-sharing’ and that the vast majority of people could not care less about my artwork or its meanings. The second is that I will be viewed as wrong, broken, mentally and emotionally unstable, and just weird. The third fear is that by giving voice to the meanings behind specific elements of my artwork, that somehow they ‘lose their magic’ and become useless objects.

I’ve been told more than once that I would, ‘share my life story with the person sitting next to me on the bus’. I’m a chatty person by nature, sometimes overly chatty and I am painfully aware of this. I view it as one of my biggest faults. Living in Finland has helped me to (most of the time) be more aware of my tendency to talk too much and/or remedy the situations as they arise. It seems like it would be a natural think for me to want to talk about my artwork endlessly with anyone who will listen. But strangely, it’s the one thing I tend to become tight-lipped about. Talking about it seems grandiose, as if I actually thought well enough of myself to want to have attention called to it and to me as a person. I do think that most people really have no opinion about my artwork, and that’s fine. I’m down with that. Not everyone is into art and art creation. We all have our own ‘things’ that we do, use and participate in.

Talking about what my artwork represents and what the elements mean, requires me to reveal parts of my mental and emotional states that can at times make me look…not so great. I spend an inordinate amount of time inside my own mind, poking around, rummaging through my thoughts, feelings and memories. Couple this with my imagination and add in my compulsive need to be making things with my hands and you can see why I’m an artist. No one wants to reveal the most sensitive parts of their being to people who may reject them, especially if it’s happened at points in the past. Once bitten, twice shy, you know?

I know that magic might not be the best word to use, but it works for me. It actually has a lot to do with the artwork I create and why it’s created in the first place. Perhaps I should say, why my artwork needs to be created instead. It almost seems to me that the artwork that I create is imbued with my thoughts, emotions, prayers, wishes, needs, etc., and that by speaking them out loud, I break that spell and render the art useless, meaningless and hollow. That seems like a profoundly bizarre thing to think, but here we are.

All of the above being said, remember the picture at the top of this post? It’s me. I’m tiny. I’m small. I’m happy. I am fragile. This is me before the world happened to me. Before I was too loud. Before I was too obnoxious. Before I was told that boys don’t date fat girls. Before I was told that I was too much. This is what’s left of being truly and completely content. This is who I am when I look inside myself and see who and what I am. I create myself over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again in the hopes that I can get back to that contentment. In the hopes I never forget what it was like to feel like that. This me keeps getting smaller and smaller the older I get, so she needs protection. I put her in safe places. I put her in boxes. I hide her in drawers. I give her tiny blankets. I give her tiny pillows. I give her guardians.

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again next Tuesday.

Another interesting video from The Art Assignment. I particularly identify with the the night sweats and insane amounts of self-doubt.