Sunday, September 16, 2012


A discussion            

  Part 1

Yayoi Kasama                                                             google image

This morning I was watching a national news morning show which highlighted an artist I have been interested in since becoming aware of her fantastic long career.  She is Japanese, she is in her 80's, she has voluntarily lived in a mental facility for the last 30 years, and she is obsessive about dots.  Her name is Yayoi Kusama(click).  She is one of the most important artist of our time and one of the most pioneering women artist of our time.  It calls to mind something about the creative nature of our minds, imagination, and the healing nature of the arts.  I think there are people who think all artists are mad, or border or mental illness and there are some famous ones:  Van Gogh is an example.  He also struggled with his mental health and turned to the arts.  Caravaggio was another, a man obsessed with violence and pain; he also turned to the arts.  I think what we must see in this path is that people turn to the arts to heal and to survive.  The arts also offer an avenue to  self expression that is denied in other parts of our society.  Jackson Pollack drank and smoked to much, 
de kooning            google  image
de Kooning painted very scary looking women, and so on. Are there happy artist with life without drama...of course.  But I would say we reach to the arts for many reasons, to express ourselves in a way we can not in any other way.  We are the sensitives of society, we absorb and we reflect our times.  Those sensitivities drives people to the arts, to express or to heal or to communicate.

Now I will talk about my life personally and how it influences my art.  I was born in Mississippi in a time of great prejudice against African drove me to express the need for all people to be treated equally.  I grew up in Florida on the Gulf Coast in a city of Cuban and Italian Immigrants.  I grew up want to learn and to express what I learned about various cultures.  I lived in Asia and the Philippines, I learned to respect all cultures and become a citizen of the world, not one place.  I learned how my country could effect other countries for good and for bad.  I learned other people may have better ideas than my own country and that we are not the center of the universe.  I taught mentally handicapped children, mentally disturbed children.  I learned what prejudice existed against children and adults who had no choice in how they were born.  I learned no matter what intelligence level you are you can be an artist, you can be creative.  I lived in the  Middle East and learned not one religion or faith is better than another.  It all began to come out in my art...cultures, the world, rights for all peoples, peace, prejudice, the horrors of hatred and war, my travels, my friendships of other people in other cultures...and now for the last 10 years plus the struggle of watching my Mother struggle with the effects of massive stroke, caretaking, nursing homes, how age and dementia and alzheimers destroys people we love.  And now I find a need to express that in my art...I look to art to heal and to help me as I go through this journey with my Mother.  As I write this I realize I need to break it into sections of interest.  Our first subject is creativity, madness, and art as the healer.  Secondly a close up look at artist who are artists struggling with mental and physical health.
Thirdly I will take you on my personal journey with my art and life...showing you where the experience crosses over into the art....and I would say, we as artists are not always aware when or how that happens.  It is like when you dream a dream...the symbols in the dream may not make since to you, but a friend will point something out...and you think-how did I not see that!
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