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It feels ironically comfortable and rather overwhelming to sit down and think about things such as what 'tree' I hang from? What I am about as an artist. What influences me and what my thought process is? I am not sure I have concrete answers to these intriguing questions. Questions that are difficult to resolve because I consider my art, and how I make it, something that is still in its infancy. I am an artist still trying to understand and refine what moves me. I feel like I am part of an evolving process that is seldom static. I do know, however, that there is still a good amount of exposure to the art world, I need to get, in order to be able to concretely express what really influences me or identifies me as an artist.
I am an observant of life around me where I am constantly discovering new things. I am fully aware of how other people make their art, some of which piques my interests, some of which doesn't call for a second look. Aside from these, there are many other elements that will always continue shaping me as an artist, such as my exposure to different life experiences, critiques of my work, school training and the natural development of a much broader library of images, art and ideas that continuously accumulate in my mind. These are the things that ultimately will define me as an artist. At this stage in my art career, however, I define myself as being an artist that loves to linger in the world of fantasy. But even in this world, my likings are confined to not fantasy on a broader sense but rather focused on the mythical and legendary. I love imagining worlds that most people have given up dreaming about but my biggest drawback is being able to render these as I see them in my mind. If I really get into it, it feels real to me, almost an environment that I can touch and feel and that is powerful. Unfortunately, at the stage I am in right now, in my artistic journey, I cannot render perfectly what I see.
So where does my inspiration come from? Or, more importantly, where does it go when I just can't find it? I try not to confuse information with inspiration. The former is too me, the result of learned behavior; the latter is what happens when I don't think about it. Each has a role to play that I think should not be mixed with one another. To me an inspiration may be a structure I drew in the clouds, perhaps a castle; but information to me is the solid rock where the foundations are.
I spend a lot of time being shocked and delighted at how beautiful things can be when I admire the works of my favorite artists - light, waves, rocks, faces, architecture, whatever. All that beauty makes me feel susceptible, because I see it as perfection beyond what I can ever hope to achieve, the good thing is that it also makes me willing to try.
On some of the art, I have produced so far, a few people have asked me where my inspiration comes from and as crazy as it may sound, I think it comes down to what I see as my imaginary worlds - three of them to be exact: the one in which we all live, the world were only words reside and in which we all participate, and the world between the first two, where images live. This last one, to me, is the intriguing one. It's the place where even my husband and friends cannot go but I
can wonder about and return with the pictures I have collected along the way. As my favorite artist would say: "...from the land a little left of reality" (James Christensen 2), that is where I feel I've been when I try to render the stuff I like which usually includes places and things that are between childhood memories and adult imaginings.
I would like to someday achieve a level in my work that would open a window to another world, rather than wrapping our own in fantasy frills. I love fantasy art because it is kind of shedding of the mundane, the pruning of the everyday and the transferring of worries into a world where the 'possible' reigns and where there is another dimension in thinking. It would be wonderful if people never grew out of such a state which is mostly present in our childhood but later lost. As James C. Christensen asserts, "Life seems to be more complicated than ever. And, all too often, too serious. I use my art work to ease the burdens of everyday stuff. My characters deal with the same problems we all face in what we call 'life.' Their unique point of view helps me put my own problems in perspective with a smile - and hopefully yours. We are all in this journey together and anything we can do to help each other is a good thing" (2).
As I mentioned before, myths and legends are mostly the type of fantasy I enjoy. If I try to do an illustration in this arena, I tend to follow my pencil as it wanders. I find it is often more regarding than thinking too much. When I get stuck, occasionally a word or phrase will trigger a sketch that goes far away from the original idea, often leading to new ideas. Also to conquer any mental blocks I encounter, I write one word in big letters then create a big soup of words around that word. All the words are related somehow to the word in big letters. It is from this soup of words that I often times can pull out a stream of ideas. This is a method of generating ideas that for me has turned out to be very powerful. The process does have its drawbacks because sometimes I get too many ideas. It is a wonderful problem to have but overwhelming since I need to weed out the not so great ideas from the more solid ones.
When it comes to my art, if allowed to reign free and given all the time needed, I feel that what I have collected inside my mind from my imagination could easily be laid out beautifully and it would challenge the mind of those who view it or so I hope.