Hi ho art friends.
Today’s post is a bit of a break from the Takashima action and do a bit of a blather. I don’t share a lot of personal info, because it’s not my way. Don’t worry, though, I’m not going to regale you with tales of alcoholic parents and other really depressing childhood bs. The baggage does impact my art, what I choose to present, where I want to take my art.
Just for giggles, I looked at my drafts folder and found this random bird canvas that I made back in November, when I was feeling lost and uninspired. I’m drawn to landscapes and nature-themed art because I love those styles in historical art. When I look at my landscapes and nature-themed works, I think something is missing.
It’s taken me a while to figure out what is missing: the silly. The absurd. The dark whimsy. The dolls.
Most of the art I’ve created as a result of the many classes I’ve taken where I scratch the surface of a style, play with it, and then move on to the next class. Compared to the amount of time I’ve spent on trying out other folks’ techniques, I’ve spent little time creating the images I want.
Takashima is the start of the deep dive into Anne’s Art.
Looking at “Lost” today, I find I want to stick one of my Blythe dolls on it, like she’s catching a ride to some land far away.
What does all that have to do with baggage, you ask?
Good question. It has to do with the ancestral baggage, specifically from my material grandmother, who was forcibly taken from her home when she was 6 and dropped into an Indian boarding school.
If you’re not familiar with this government-sponsored system of cultural integration and the attempted annihilation of Native culture, check out this wiki post on US Reservation Schools.
My grandmother was taught to be seen, not heard. To stifle her real voice. To blend in with the white folks. Don’t make waves. She passed that to her children, including my mom, who passed it to me. I have long had difficulty speaking up. Speaking out. Saying how I feel and what’s on my mind. Stating my preferences.
Personally, I’ve been working on this. My hubby and friends are very supportive. I currently work in a very supportive, very safe work environment with some incredibly cool humans. One coworker & friend (historically, I’ve made few friends at work) said he’d get me out of my shell. One of the big steps out of my shell is following the Takashima path. I’m telling people about. I’m committed to the project.
Too much of my time in the doll hobby and art groups has been spent comparing myself to others. Not feeling good enough. Hauling around the baggage of my inner critic.
How this baggage has affected my art is by being afraid to fully embrace my muse out of fear – that it’s just too weird. It’s unsellable. No one will care.
Thinking about my favorite photo shoots, it’s always my dolls. I love them so much. Not just because they are works of art in their own right, which they are. My dolls get my story telling juices flowing. I love taking them outside, photographing them and coming up stories about them.
When I look at all the canvases I’ve created, my favorites feature my dolls.
No more. Here, Mr. Inner Critic. Take this bag and stick it where the sun don’t shine.
I’m really enjoying the process of creating grungy photo canvases with my dolls. When I look at the images in this post, I see they need a bit more work to push the boundary further. Lots of people take doll photos, but I don’t see many people else creating this style of art.
I’ve resisted focusing on a niche with my photo art, but everything has come together with the Takashima project. Focusing on my doll photographic art make so much sense and creates a ridic amount of joy in my heart.
That’s my sage advice to you, friend: let go other other people’s baggage, let go of your inner critic, let go of comparing yourself to others. To quote Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
Go forth and “do that voodoo that you do so well!”