As a devoted art historian I rarely get creative. I support, encourage, teach, or consume art but it is much harder for me to take the place of an artist. Formally trained to draw, paint, and sculpt, these educational experiences partially killed any inspiration I had as a young person. However, in recent months I have allowed others to guide my path back to a more creative me.
It started last winter when Hannah Frelot suggested I submit a piece to a Kelly Diels’ project. I ended up writing a very intimate and vulnerable piece I'll call X. This process allowed me to write creatively and not as an academic. Even writing this blog, which started as an exercise in informal writing, has proven hard at times to execute as such.
X - that unguarded, raw prose sparked something inside.
Natasha Marin invited me to participate in the first Read & Bleed where I read X for the first time. Apart from my mom, my best friend, Kelly Diels, and the ladies that were listening that afternoon, no one yet knows what X is about. I am forever grateful to the Read & Bleed sisterhood for listening without judgement and to Natasha for creating the space in the first place. It was an honor.
I have been part of other artists’ collaborative, community driven projects. In spite of this, I never allowed myself to be carried too much into an artist's vision until I met Natasha. While I participate when possible, mostly in the form of writing, I make sure my heart is in it. To be encouraged to do what I've had to do for Natasha, has been liberating and therapeutic. Even though I know many artists from the Seattle art scene, it wasn't until I met them at Natasha's events that we got to know each other more than professionally - we developed a closer connection.
Last week at the Seattle Art Museum Natasha offered a Red Lineage tour and workshop. My tour was facilitated by the very talented and nurturing poet, Anastacia Tolbert. To be succinct - at times I wanted to cry when listening to others' Red Lineage poems and experiences, the writing portion allowed me to work out some of the most problematic aspects of my relationship with my father, and the experience of listening to all of us recite or sing our poems made me feel understood and part of a one and many. It was wonderful.
To my fellow art historians and academics, who are not practicing artists:
From time to time we must shake the dust off and create something. While it is true that living day to day is an art itself and that creating is part of the daily, let us assign intention. It is easy to become jaded, to disdain the pretentiousness that permeates the art world, to get tired of the "subjectivity", but we must relearn to love art and not let the negative drag it down from its righteous place. I had some help from my friends, but you may be lucky to find the path back all on your own.