All nighters with Tina Vaden to create one of kind prints, frames and a beautiful celebration of creativity and divinity. Creating from nothing, this experience allowed me to take apart my work, put it back together, as well as take leaps of faith into a mixed media World. It isn't so scary...
So much more experimenting to do.
It's a beautiful bizarre when someone steps into your life that seems to fit perfectly in your heart. Tina... Oh, Tina. I feel as if my words get a bit twisted when I try to explain the love I have for her, how our lives have intertwined - and how grateful I am to have her in my life. My heart feels safe in her hands, and I can go anywhere with her and I know she will be by my side.
We were on the phone one day, seems I remember the moment she asked if I would put a show together with her. I just lost my job due to them not being able to afford me, moved into a new apartment in Brooklyn with 4 other strangers, and emotionally felt like I wasn't an artist anymore. I didn't know what was next for me - everything seemed to be floating in mid air, and it seemed everything was too new to be able to fully step into anything.
I was supporting a friend for the day at his apartment, to then go to his office in Times Square. It was raining a little bit, and I didn't bother buying an umbrella - I didn't know when my next paycheck was coming in. I was passing through the west side towards Times Square, looking around for some sort of inspiration. Tina called at perfect timing... of course.
She asked for me to show with her, for me to be apart of her first show, and to have it not be traditional - for us to go for it and have it break all of the standard photography show rules. I had this vision of me ripping up art, throwing paint around, and truly creating beautiful disasters - to mirror how I felt at that moment. I said yes, I hung up, and I cried tears of gratitude - I had a reason to jump into my Art.
We sourced free printing, cheap frames, found stored away paint, gold leaf. Recreated everything in creating this show. We stayed up all night to finish our work - for it was more than printing. A pretty darlin' night of the two of us skypin', listening to music together, and sitting on our beds as we painted away on frames, me gold leafing my work, and screaming a couple of naughty words every now and then.
Introducing my one of a kinds - Some are long gone sold. The others are available. All of the prints are glicee prints with gold leaf hand treatment. The frames are hand painted, and if bought - you will get the frame as well.
One frame busted, all nighters do not support hanging a show in the morning - in case you were wondering - yet you can still get that print (it's kind of one of my favorites)
I got to walk some of my lovely visitors through the show, explaining the creation of each piece with them. It had been a while since I've gone into my "why" I create, the background stories, as well as how my life story is really transparent in my work. Beautiful to speak so personally and to see other's eyes light up with excitement. It feels good to share the dark and the light of my life, and to have work that reveals the beauty of struggle that life can be.
This portrait is of a dear friend named Dila, who is my wanna be adopted sister with her Turkish twin. She is delicate, precious, and has this way about her where everything she speaks to seems to be as soothing as the pedals of the most beautiful flowers. I find even her way of speaking to be nearly silk, and containing a sensual way about them.
When she was in NYC going to School of Visual Arts with me in Graduate School, I found myself going to her when things seemed dark and rigid to bring her aura to sand my self talking thorns down to a low roar.
A model stepped in for myself, to hold a place for me and my Grandfather. I originally created the digital piece the day that he died back in 2013. His journey of downfall to death was one that was hard, surreal as well as painful. Seemed no one could support him and that things kept going wrong. From one health disaster to the next, he passed a sad man. I created this to show him as sacred, to forgive his downfall, and to see him as the Papa I knew before he got sick. Going back to the basics of who he was, he was a man of strength, love and presence. He could move mountains.
Inspired by Picasso, I have always wanted to be one of the girls in his paintings. Detached, distorted yet beautiful. The main reason I got into art was actually his work. I used to have "Girl Before a Mirror" in my closet hanging up - as if it was a secret shrine to him.
... No wonder why I can't get over duality...
Once upon a time I had a dream where no one was speaking, yet everything was told in the creeks in the floor. People where moving gracefully, quietly to quickly. Every set of footsteps had a different rhythm to them. Clothing seemed to sway to the creeks - and it seemed as if everyone was whispering the most lovely melody. For once, I wasn't scared of the muteness. I accepted it.
A combination of two pieces that are quiet opposite from one another, this piece is to illustrate the feeling of being in my head, then in my heart. When I overthink: lines get blurred, things seem chaotic and scattered, I suffocate. When I dip into my heart, my movement become clear, I can rest easy in the background and just be, and the way I hold myself is with love and power.
Visualizing myself falling upwards - to surrendering to myself. That initial swallow of self.
This was before my sober days, the initial photoshoot. That whole entire day, I avoided mirrors. I wore mismatched clothing (Man I was hip... Not that I match now a days...) and had no idea where to place my feet next. I received orders and orders of online shopping I had done the previous week when my eyes were hazy and I felt as if it would sooth my soul a little. I thought I had the time of my life that night... I would speak about it until my sobering moments of how joyous that night was by myself. In reality, I was shaking a bit, avoidant and really in a scary place. The fog is what I had, and I only knew how to survive behind it. A paradise of distortion.
One really late night, I woke up in the middle of the night to my heart beating louder than I've ever experienced it before. I don't remember much, but I couldn't fall asleep. I was alarmed, for I was feeling for the first time in about a decade. Always thinking that I was this hard ass who could emotionally deal with anything, this night had me realize that maybe i've been wrong all along.
Before my parents actually moved to Utah, we would go out there a lot. Well, the rest of my family would go out there a lot. I finally got to go for the first time in a while right before I checked myself in to get recovery in my eating disorder. Connecting with nature, feeling the ground below my feet, hearing the sounds of the earth... everything. I realized the only thing that was in-between me and feeling that sense of grounding all the time - was me. I could blame it on the city, the noise, the hassle, the hustle, people in general - or just be bigger than all of that. When I had nothing to blame for my anxiety, I found myself drop down my walls towards myself for the first time. It was a scary wall fall - where I found myself holding my breath. pinching my skin, and holding on tight. I thought the ground was shaking... it was just my fear.
"Projected" was the name of a series that I created with YPA (Young Photographer's Alliance), where the theme of the collection was named "Escape" - We had mentors to guide us as we put together a show and created a whole new series within a couple of weeks. It was a great experience where I became friends with a lot of really rad people.
(The New York City team and I created a zine that kind of rocks a lot - see it HERE).
I found escape to mean what we hide behind from day to day - so projections it was. I wrote:
A time comes upon all
At one point or another
When we wish our feet
weren't planted in a situation
Roots inching deeper into discomfort
Making us lust out to our surroundings
Hoping it would swallow us whole
Spitting us up after the fog has risen
Camouflage our skin
Cover our flaws
Smooth over our insecurities
Fill our ditches of doubt
To avoid the chance of a glance
From others to see us crawling beneath it
Swallowed by surroundings
Shielded from everything
Including even ourselves
Escaped from truth
Projected as everything else
This beautiful home was gifted to me to photograph in while I was visiting a friend in Rockville, MD. Always having been obsessed with blue doors, I knew it was meant to be. I remember when I was little, I met a Native American. He spoke to me about surrendering to time, and living with instincts of his own time. To eat when he's hungry, sleep when he's tired, to create when he wanted to create (he was a builder and also painted). He spoke to me about traditions, which I've always had a fascination with. When he looked into my eyes, he told me that he just painted his door that color (I used to have blue eyes - they changed colors a bit), for the color blue is believed to prevent any evil presence from entering - hence, when my eyes started to change color... I flipped. Interestingly enough, it was when my own darkness really flourished. This was me trying to find my blue again.
Sometimes, I avoid what's going on inside. Let my intuition slide, yet reaching for it at the same time. This is the push and pull of a beautiful disaster. yup.
This is the frame that broke, and oddly enough, with what this piece is for me - it's perfect. This is all about how I disappear, right when someone says I'll stick around. A runner to say the least. Right when someone gets too close, I used to shut down and out. I would no longer be anywhere to be found. This, is me running from love.
It was a beautiful, inspiring, loving and slightly delirious day. I want to think those who came out to support us, the people who bought some art for their walls, and for all of the beautiful conversation.
If you are interested in purchasing any of the above, they are still for sale. I hope to set up my online store soon, with more mixed media work to come. So stay tuned - seems I'm turning a bit into a mixed media artist.
Who knows. Maybe pixels will slowly fade away from my portfolio. I'm open to adventure in the land of Art. Come take the leap of faith with me.
With Sparks O' Light,