Thursday, January 15, 2015

Take off your Mask

I blogged recently about wearing masks, to hide who we are and what we feel.  

We're always wearing them.  

We're always crafting new ones.

Why are we afraid to show our real face?  
More specifically, why am I afraid to show my real face?

People ask me often why I became an artist.  I didn't grow up thinking I was an artist.  
My very earliest art teachers assured me that I was 
completely and utterly without any sort of talent.

I preferred the written word.  I love books. I love fairy tales.  
I dreamed of publishing a novel someday.  I even majored in English literature.  

Somehow, though, I ended up selling vintage clothing online.  
Then, I parlayed my love of jewelry into a jewelry design business 
which led to graphic design.  Finally, that bloomed into surreal art.  

In the past, I have characterized my art career as a natural progression,
 a sort of inevitable evolution, but it really isn't quite that simple.

Whether we are visual artists or poets or musicians or novelists, 
we're all trying to convey something: an idea, a passion, or a truth:
 maybe a universal truth, maybe just a personal truth.

Very recently, I had a moment of epiphany.  
I started my serious pursuit of surrealism as a shield, as a mask to hide behind.  
I tinkered with graphic design, yes, and a little art alteration for several years,
 but I can date my real foray into art at the same time that 
my husband was diagnosed with cancer. 
 It was the perfect outlet for hiding from the pain and the the fear.

Strangely, this never occurred to me before.  

Intellectually, I know that art is a form of therapy.  
It's a way to express emotion and trauma. 
 I know that, but I didn't know it.

My surrealistic fairy tales are the perfect escape and, ironically, 
the perfect expression of my fear and my grief.

So, maybe I've peeled off another mask.  Maybe I can let 
my vulnerability and hurt and fear and grief through for a moment.  
I don't know.  I still feel like I hold my mask in a death grip, but I am trying.

Wish me luck.

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