Jennifer, here. Spooky asked us to write about our foundations, how we grew as artists from them. When I think of art (lowercase a, uppercase A, whatever the case) I think of all forms of making and creative expression, not just the traditional forms: pen, paper, paint, canvas, voice, instrument. Building something from nothing and caring about it is art in my book. But nothing comes from nothing, so if I were to define my foundations, poverty, language, stardust, and alchemy would all be keynote speakers.
Poverty (or “creativity is the opposite of despair)
The less you have, the more you need to create or escape. Luckily, I was inclined to reading at a very early age so I found my escapism in books. Most people I knew found their release in more self-destructive methods,this is something I am only now beginning to understand and appreciate. Not to sound like an after school special here, but I firmly believe that the worlds I was able to travel to through reading kept me pretty grounded and hopeful. There are tons of books that helped shape me but the two I carry with me still are Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block.
And let’s not forget that the more you know how to make the less you have to do without. Enter learning how to: sew/alter/mend my own clothes/bags/purses, bake and cook from scratch, cut my own hair, etc. (My Laura and Weetzie influences emerged strongly here.)
Am I saying you have to have been poor to learn these things? No. But expressing yourself is harder with limited resources, and poverty taught me there are two essential choices: create or die.
Language (“The real secret of magic is that the world is made of words”)
Words cannot express my love for words. Talk about creating with limited resources. 26 letters. I like the sounds they make, the forms they take in print and design, the images they conjure, the neurotransmitters they connect and excite. I love linguistics and morphology. Plus, writing was the form of art that cost the least amount of money, and I clung to it to get toxic thoughts out of me and to create all new realities on the cheap.
Star dust (“We are all star dust.”)
My favorite one! When I was in kindergarten someone asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I replied, “a star.” The elation and fascination to find out a few years later that I already was one. This may sound trite, but come on! We are made from exploding stars and we are all one and that is awesome (“something which inspires awe”). This has since inspired me to search for the connections in seemingly unrelated things, to connect-the-dots so to say. Essentially, that is what I am doing when reading or writing.
All this transformation. Stars to dust to people to reality to words and back.
Talk about Alchemy!
(“The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”)
I hope to contribute to each theme with a written piece along with a mixed-media piece, written piece at the beginning of the week and mixed-media at the end. I look forward to connecting more dots with The Kindred Collective!