I feel we have a lot of repair and healing to do as individuals first, and then as a society. A good start would be by opening our hearts so we can recognize each other as fellow humans and find compassion. In my view, once we do this, real positive change will come in time
I started planning this sculpture series about a year ago. I put the series aside for a while, until now. While I'll continue with my painting series focused on the plights of endangered animals, I will be developing this work as well.
This series is rooted in self-portraiture and my own plight as I navigate through life. I plan to address physical challenges, express inner personalities, and now and then I'll take a deep dive into personal stories, etc. I also intend to parallel what's going on with "self" with current events deeply influenced by a sense of urgency. The direction in which things are going on, and about, this planet keep me up at night sometimes and directly affect my life.
My departing point for this sculpture series will always be from my physical body which, due to a life-threatening genetic condition lives in endless survival mode (Marfan syndrome). My depiction of my own body stems from inner opinions paired with unrelenting gratitude for its resilience and strength no matter how whittled away it may feel.
What feels right to bring out in this first sculpture, is to express how I feel about equality and justice viewed from my own lens. My angst is palpable and frenzied, so I know this hand-building clay technique is the perfect medium through which I can express this series of work.
This first sculpture is titled “Healing Energy”. It depicts me with my face blindfolded. I often feel like there is so much to keep track of that I don’t always know what is going on. On the other hand, sometimes I don’t even want to know. My hands are up in the air almost in a fighting position. My heart is open, and I’m standing. My body is full of cracks yet unrelenting.
Though I am a white Hispanic female born with an “invisible to others” life-threatening condition, and have felt some level of discrimination over the course of my life. I can’t pretend to understand or know what it is to be black or feel constantly threatened by others. However, I do see so much pain caused by extreme intolerance and lack of compassion and I do understand how wrong that is.
I feel we have a lot of repair and healing to do as individuals first, and then as a society. A good start would be by opening our hearts so we can recognize each other as fellow humans and find compassion. In my view, once we do this, real positive change will come in time.
At the foundation of the sculpture, I infuse gold leaf. It is a color of compassion, courage, love, illumination, wisdom, and strength. The legs of the figure are coming-up from the gold rubble, making all efforts to stand and keep fighting with an open heart no matter how beat-up we feel, trusting in the strength and power of our purpose.
As far as I'm concerned, equality and justice are everyone's fight. We are all in it. Now is the time to stand up and resist injustice and inequality. To be strong as individuals and united as a people; to fight for racial equality, equal access, and inclusivity for all.
I hope this has given you some food for thought. Perhaps it will make you think about where you stand in this story of equality and justice, and what responsibility you feel in all of this.
If you know a little art history, you may be reminded of figure sculptures made by expressionist artist Alberto Giacometti (an influential artist since my early 20's, and we share the same birthday!) and abstract expressionist artist Willem deKooning among others. Check them out if you haven't.
Figurative sculpture doesn't necessarily have to be about the figure itself. It can be about the psychological place of where the artist creating them finds himself/herself in, and what they have to say about a particular view. The figure simply serves as a departure point.
To see my video presentation of this sculpture, click HERE
Thank you for reading and following me on this journey.
Until next time!
Much of my artwork parallels the plight of endangered species with human conditions and situations we face. Over time I've noticed that my work tends to be a bit of a pictorial diary of my own life as well.
Over the past hundred years, Koalas have been threatened by mass urbanization. Their habitat today is nearly gone thanks to the fires. Sadly, they are becoming an endangered species.
As they continue to battle unending fires in Australia, their plight continues to sadden me.
Koalas are trapped in fires because they move slowly and climb trees to eat and stay safe.
With this painting, I didn't want to depict the gore of their sad reality. Instead, my challenge was to try to find a balanced interpretation that juxtaposed hope with their current plight.
Many have perished burning in flames or getting hit by embers, but many are hanging on tightly for life and surviving. As the embers die out, good people hard-at-work, are coming to their rescue and are giving them a fighting chance.
The current vibe on this planet appears to be in a sad state. So much of the news is negative. Situations seem too difficult to fix, and so many obstacles seem to stand in the way of progress.
Having said all that, I see a lot of goodness still persevering in the background: Communities help each other in times of need; citizens contribute to society and help clean our cities and beaches; innovators are hard at work; animal rescues take place every second of every day; families and friends love and support each other; people of all walks of life get in front of the world and find courage to lead. The list goes on and on. That has to count for something or more than just something. In my book, these are reasons for hope. These reasons narrow the playing field for destructiveness to continue happening freely.
The fight facing Koalas today may remind you of some adversity you have gone through. I know it reminds me of past struggles where I clung on for dear life as my body faced "fires". It didn't want to work properly anymore. It no longer allowed me to use it in ways I wanted. In the end, my spirit found light. Doctors, family, and friends came to my rescue and gave me a fighting chance. They gave me comfort and helped sew those pieces that could be fixed so I could be on my way to live some more, just as the koalas will have to do once they recover and their rescuers send them along to live on their own.
As we all have had to do when facing adversity, they’ll have to as well. They'll have to adapt to a whole new way of doing things; to a whole new world out there.
I survived "fires" and continue today in that same spirit, understanding that "fires" can sprout at any time, but I know goodness from others will ALWAYS prevail no matter what. Goodness weaves throughout the world.
This, my friends, is a bit of insight into my world. Reasons I have hope. Why, at the end of the day, I remain an optimist. Why hope plays a big role in my artwork.
Click HERE for a few more details about this piece.
Thanks for reading and I appreciate any thoughts you may have to share.
I have no interest in replicating what I see. What excites me as an artist is to interpret what I see, combine it with what I know, how I feel, and what I have to say.
This type of work requires viewers and consumers of my work to be very open-minded. To ask questions and hopefully illicit thoughts that may be new and unexpected. Odd colors and other unusual design combinations may encourage the viewer to ask lots of questions or start a conversation.* [why is the artist using these colors? What do they mean? Why are these shapes placed in this way? What's the purpose of the clusters of symbols?*]
I truly think that being different and unusual opens the possibilities of shedding new light in compelling ways.
If you usually gravitate towards representational work, I would encourage you to open your mind, and truly take the time to look at new, non-traditional and unexpected approaches. You may be pleasantly captivated!
Thank you for reading and please feel free to leave me comments or ask me questions.
With the work I’m developing under my Plight series, I am particularly taken aback by caustic human behaviors and the climate crisis. About a million species of animals and plants are threatened today to go extinct(According to the global assessment released in May of this year). This threatens the livelihood of food crops, marine fisheries and life on the planet as we enjoy today. Click HERE to see more works from the Plight collection.
Earth’s climate is changing because the planet is loosing its ability to deal with CO2. Methane gases produced by grazing animals, industrial waste and human excessive consumption are the drivers of our current climate crisis.
As an artist, I do feel that one of my responsibilities to you and to society, is to contribute towards opening the dialog and bringing awareness of things that matter. This really matters!
I do wonder if we will only be left with virtual animals and plants for coming generations. I feel lucky to have enjoyed the world as I have, but feel horrible for the planet I’ll leave behind once I am gone.
Endangered animals are a focus in this series. Each painting speaks to specific plights. Plights I have focused on so far include: monarch butterflies, large, wild cats, turtles, penguins, elephants, giraffes, Grevy’s zebra and artic polar bears.
My aim is to make you think a little bit about what active role you have or can have to help steer extinction in a different direction. More fauna and flora plights will be covered as I work through this series.
Among many sources I use for research, the WWF, is one I follow closely.
On a side note, I use acrylic and inks and never really have an exact plan of how each painting will turn out. I start with the animal I have chosen, start drafting its silhouette and slowly start flowing with what I’m seeing to get a composition.
Colors often are based on the issue* I am dealing with [climate crisis brings in a lot of reds and hot colors*]. As I bring in color, I continue to flow, looking for textures and glow. When the painting “speaks” to me I know I’m done. Until that happens, it’s an ongoing battle between me and the painting.
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below. I really enjoy hearing from you. Constructive feedback and ideas help build a better world.
It seems that on a daily basis, news surrounding climate crisis, natural disasters, species extinction, social-political upheavals, etc weaves into all our lives.
Life is busy, fast paced and noisy and unless we take stock of our own emotional pulse, we may just keep going and going and before we know it, we collapse.
With my commentary series I take an emotional approach to current events. I focus less on the facts like in my other works and more on where my thoughts are and how I negotiate life along with them. To see more works from this series click HERE
Collages fuse acrylic, inks, recycled plastics, papers, fabrics and found objects. Compositions, textures and colors are laid out purposefully to try and convey my sentiments and observations about a particular current event.
What do you do to allow yourself to release your emotions about issues that enter into your life?
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below. I really enjoy hearing from you. Constructive feedback and ideas help build a better world.
I have had people ask me about my use of geometry, symbols and particular colors throughout my Attenuating series, so here are some thoughts as to why I infuse those elements in my work.
Let me first start by defining at·ten·u·ate
Verb gerund or present participle: attenuating /əˈtenyəˌwāt/, 1.reduce the force, effect, or value of. I define this body of work as Attenuating. I feel it’s quite fitting, as through this work, I take the hits that daily news/information overload and life throws at me loud and clear, and sift it through different steps. As I create each work, I literally take the information I want to focus on and break it down into small bits. Those bits get “plugged-into” the work as I develop it through its layers. In the end every bit has been dealt with and is in a safe, discernible place
We live in a world full of “noise”. Information overload seeps into our daily lives, often infusing chaos and influencing decisions we think we have under control. I tend to compartmentalize to filter and reduce the amplitude of noise, keep some sense of order and let things run their course. Ultimately, my aim is to find sanctuary for thoughts. How about you? How do you keep your thoughts staright?
This work attempts to negotiate between the idea of independence of mind with the overwhelming dependence on technology and cyber life. See work from my Attenuating Collection HERE
I use Geometry to give compartmentalize and give some sense of structure to my thoughts about the information I am focusing on.
The line drawings, symbols and colors I use come from my personal icon collection developed over the years.
The color gold indicates a presence of some sort of divine origin. Blue is intensely healing. Red is powerful and lets me be direct. Color makes me happy. Color has always been in my life in a big way.
As for the symbols, many of them come from the Phoenecian alphabet which is likely the ancestor of the Greek alphabet, hence of all Western alphabets. I always spell words when I use those symbols. I also incorporate my own personal symbols. The use of binary code represents a “filter” and denotes the question or premise I begin my work with. It also spells the title of the piece. The binary code is present because it is the base language of all computers. Without it, computers don’t happen. As you know, computers are everywhere and in our lives on so many levels. The overwhelming mass urbanization of the planet is happening “thanks” to computers.
How much is technology influencing your life and filtering how your life is being experienced?
Feel free to comment below. I really enjoy hearing from you. Constructive feedback and ideas is how we build a better world.
As an alumni from ArtPop Street Gallery class of 2014, I'm so honored to have been selected to ArtPop Street Gallery class of 2019!!!! WOW!!!
ArtPop Street Gallery is a thrilling platform to share my expression to a very wide audience. I strongly believe that public art is a public service for creative presence in a community. It gives busy lives a moment of pause and provides a chance to feel and be with one’s thoughts for a minute.
Public art touches all walks of life without discrimination and removes the idea of thinking art is only visible in galleries and museums, and accessible to those privy. ArtPop Street Gallery really serves this purpose well and I'm just delighted to be of service.
I have seen this program grow exponentially in the last 4 years and have witnessed first hand the positive energy and career-boosting opportunities it brings to artists like myself and the community.
It is such an exciting opportunity and I'm filled with gratitude.
Because animals are suffering too, I continue to be compelled to "talk" about them, their fate and their roles on our planet. This particular piece is informed by the disturbing fate of our planet’s disappearing elephant population. Bright colors reference hope, sharp geometric shapes represent them amidst the chaos and violence of poachers and the white pigment in their bodies symbolizes their disappearance into ghostly presences. I bet you'll find some other things too!
Follow these links for info on the 20 artists selected for 2019:
Queen City Nerve,
Slideshow: artPop Announces Class of 2019,
Introducing Art Pop's class of 2019
Art has the power to change the world. I really believe this.
We each live within our own microcosms of health issues and big challenges but we also live within a numbing macrocosm of larger global health issues that require our attention because if left unchecked, life as we know it would be consumed. Literally!
As an artist, I think one of my responsibilities is to bring to light and create a presence, a space, to some of those things I question, that I’m curious about or that I understand either from lots of research(I love to research!) or from first hand experience and want to explore deeper.
If, through some of my work, I can manage to engage you by opening your eyes to something you had no idea about, to look at something from a different perspective, shined a light on a subject you are curious about, opened your heart to actually feel something, made you question a preconceived notion, to name a few, then I have done my job.
If you, the viewer, have shared your opinions, perceptions, outlooks and thoughts with me, you have made me grow that much more and made my day for sure! Your feedback is always a gift.
This piece started to conceptualize as I kept hearing about large global epidemics stemming from challenging life conditions, as well as life threatening diseases endemic to sterile(or so I thought)hospital settings.
Disease affects the lives of millions and millions of people. Diseases such as: ebola, zika, cholera, influenza, meningitis, sars, MRSA and other life-threatening, drug-resistant super bugs.
On global diseases we often hear that filthy conditions, overpopulation, contaminated food and water, animal migrations and other big problems are the reasons why epidemics start and to a point, one could almost see why certain areas in the world can develop widespread epidemics. But in a hospital setting? How could this be possible when hygiene, trained professionals and sterile conditions supposedly permeate the hospital landscape?
Well, 8 years ago, I fell victim to a drug resistant super bacterial bug in a world leading hospital. A supposedly impeccable and safe space. Cross-contamination occurred because a caregiver did not wash their hands after going to the bathroom. I was lucky to have an incredible, wise doctor and I pulled through obviously but, for the rest of my life, I will live with the consequences of one careless, seemingly insignificant act of one person who neglected to do the small thing of washing their hands while handling my case under intensive care.
No worries. Life is good and I celebrate everyday as a new day. Everyday is a gift full of new insights and inspirations!
Having said that, tiny actions have big consequences right! Good health doesn’t come free and if you are healthy you can appreciate your gift. Disease is widespread but at least from my view, we each have a hand in either letting it roam freely or halting it.
Whether one is a health professional, a health advocate, a patron or just a citizen living one’s daily life, we each have the capability of making responsible decisions.
This 9’x3’ assemblage I title “Cocci, Bacilli and Spirilla” hangs the 3 basic bacterial shapes in a waterfall-like assemblage painted in golds and reds. Interspersed among them, hang large pieces of glass dripped with red and gold ink.
To detect disease, blood smears are microscopically studied. To obtain smears, often, many uncomfortable and sometimes painful labs have to be done to ensure correct diagnosis. The glass represents not only the obvious blood smear slides but symbolically, as in other work I have done, glass represents the strength, weakness and resilience of the human body.
The interlocking of the bacteria shapes come together to organize and repair the damage. The waterfall-like effect symbolizes the power and magnitude of some of these diseases and how they can bring you down quickly and ultimately terminate you. Why hanging? Because for just one fleeting minute, I felt like hanging the careless person responsible for my perilous predicament. Just being honest.
The gold color is a powerful and healing color in my life and the reds/pinkish tones represent the color of blood which means life flows if it’s kept healthy.
On a last note, someone recently asked me what each bacterial element represented and I realized that each piece is a reminder that it only takes one single bacterium to start a colony so at least please remember to wash your hands often!
Each 8x8 piece weaves textures in acrylic, shells, recycled plastic toys, glass and inks.
CSA Grant Commission by the Arts & Science Council of Charlotte
The first layers of shapes using blue, green, lavender, magenta, gold and white colors represent life and ecosystems emerging. With glass I represent life’s fragilities and contrast with rough textures to depict life’s resilience. For the next layers, I went back to each panel and literally covered-up those first layers in an effort to capture some real emotion of sudden loss of life, like the trees that suddenly just got cut down or burned down out of nowhere. It was painful to go through this process, but I did this to extract live emotion. The aggressive motion of cutting and the heat and strength of fire, come through in this layer through the use hot colors and repetitive negative and positive slash-like shapes. The top and final layer holds the lasting fingerprints, the memories, the energy and the random chaos of what’s left in the end.
I am on a second floor, I have 3 huge windows and a ton of work space and wall space!
HERE is a recent article about mount Holly's developing art scene, the Gallery and the studios. More Soon!
Tina's Art Beat
Musings of a curious mind
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