The intensity of 2018 expressed itself in many different ways.
my holiday greeting shared:
In 2018 I was in a total of 19 art events with both my collage and photography. Some were group shows that juried my work in. Others were collections of work that toured. Some were solo installations. A few things got published. Most of these events were local but two were excitedly in Chicago. One event in particular was very competitive. Along the way I sold art. I even have a few collectors now. Selling my art fills in a small bit of the financial gap that my Shaklee income does not provide. Having my art in the homes/offices of others is defining, and very affirming. I acquired a used sewing machine and have added stitching to my collage work. I am so enthused about this additional creative layer that I see much of my 2019 work going in this new direction. Something I am very excited about.
I posted other commentaries on social media:
Recently I dismantled my touring installation "inspirit-form". I took 21 original collages out of their display frames. The frames are now empty for what might be next. As an artist one of my largest challenges is funding framing for shows. When developing this particular project a large sale of photographs provided what i needed to present this collection of collage work. It was pricey. I bought in bulk and I risked and did not buy frames with glass. Thinking ahead to if I ever had to ship something that a lighter weight would offer an advantage. This has been true a few times now. With very limited storage, this is about all the inventory of frames I can muster. They will be used over and over and over. I share all of this because I am rather pleased with this investment and decision. I love the 11 x 14 size with a black matt in them. I feel it's a strong presentation as a collective. Stronger than lets say an 8 x 10 Frame. I love the potential of what these empty frames provide and I am very proud of the journey this year + touring show had. I want to thank all of those who I have met with this collection of work, the discussions we have had, and your very enthusiastic encouragement. I am appreciative of those who hosted this installation.
Another expression of 2018, and something i am at some level still experiencing, is illustrated in a collage. I titled it "hanging on by a thread." ( image below is an instagram capture ) I had been in this new space a month. I finally experienced a feeling of safety and security. I shifted from the beauty and the challenges of the county, the high rent and isolation I had gotten myself into, not to mention the saga of rentals, landlords and maniacs prior. Cumulatively, I realized that I had been in FULL fight and flight for YEARS. One trauma after another after another. I don't know if I went into an emotional sort of shock, or if what I would express later as not feeling like myself or having good days and bad days. I am pretty sure that how I felt was some layer or form of PTSD. All of this now is wearing my well being down. Last week I had what I think to be my first panic attack. It's very fair to say that I am not struggling with this by myself. I have a good Dr. I have the best people around me. And when those of from afar chime in and encourage and champion me, they often get me through to the other side of a bad day. Thank you!! What I love about my art - is the visual it gives to a feeling and a narrative to a tough time gone by.
An additional personal triumph of 2018 is not a popular topic. i promise not to illustrate it, but i did photograph all of it, every single day. suffice to say that i endured for over 4 months - or over 160 days ---was the DAILY biting of bed bugs. i am not kidding about being bit daily. Sometimes i had as many as 45 bites at one time. two things. when you know that your bed is where the bugs are. its very hard to find it a restful space. the level of reaction and bites i did have - left me feeling like a leper. The torment of them biting me and my severely reacting to them was intense. The ordeal was mortifying, upsetting and a feeling of helplessness that is indescribable. In the scheme of things, bed bugs are not an easily resolved thing. I have learned many many details about the topic. first and foremost, the poor are not the only ones afflicted with them. ridding oneself of them is tedious and what you read about them on the interweb is not helpful. i am actually not sure i am in the clear, but not a bite since Nov 20th means something to me. An interesting fact: did you know that many of the 65 and older don't know they have bed bugs because they don't react to the bites?
I won a beard contest people's choice award in late fall. In a bar full of men and their friends. complete strangers unanimously voted for me and my hairy face. Coming out so to speak on social media with a female fully bearded face was the first layer. I needed to be authentic about how I had decided to bravely present myself to the world. Attending and entering the contest was a large act of courage. I hope that next year they label a category after me. The hair on my face is part of what my health is trying to tell me how something isn't quite right. Growing it has me not fighting how assertive it is and accepting my natural self.
Below is the image I chose for my holiday greeting. I fell for Bellingham a long time ago. I fell for it enough to find a way to get back here. This wonky wire wreath struck me when I saw it. It's very Bellingham and at some level very me.
Photography = a never ending opportunity to capture visual celebrations.