I feel until I tell this story, the true meaning of what art can do is not being fully told. Family photos can tell a topline story of the time, place, and relationship between families, but peeling back the layers to tell the real story, the deeper story? That doesn’t come from a photo. This story is the length of several lifetimes, and the challenge is putting it into words.
My family’s story is art. My mother, my brother—me, we are all artists, and the art that drives us and the art that binds us is what we have to do, on late nights to fuel our bodies to keep going. Only, it wasn’t until I combined all the visual clues together that I was able to see the true meaning of it all.
The moments that mean the most, that viscerally resonate in my body are the times when we, as a family, viewed each other’s art, as well as the art of others. Walks in the museums; visits to my mother’s art shows or my brother Danny’s studio; transporting each other’s art for shows or viewings. Because we know the meaning, the passion and the crux of what it means to make work, wherever it may take you.
Early in their marriage, my Dad encouraged my Mom early to make art and has continued to encourage all of us to create. Year after year, she began her art journey while bringing my brother and I up in a house full of art and interests. Books were stacked high; walls were covered in passions and musings of figures, flowers and fantasies. Our house was a place of color and exploration where you truly felt anything was possible. And for my brother and me, your room was your sanctuary to decorate and investigate what meant the most to you.
Beginning early on and following through to adulthood, most of our family outings were to make or view art. It’s how we met up; it’s how we showed up. And while I could share a lifetimes worth of anecdotes, there is one very important moment when art healed and brought me where I am today.
During a difficult time of uncertainty and fear when my mother was undergoing treatment for breast cancer, Danny encouraged my Mom to create a painting each day to chronicle her journey. Her daily meditation, this art grounded her and created the space to focus her attention on beauty, and on the faith that her art always represented a fresh new day, and it was always there for her.
At this time I was also undergoing the challenges of IVF treatments, and focusing my attention on art just came naturally to me. I started to incorporate the paintings my Mom created during her treatment onto pieces produced to share with others. Fabric and objects began to manifest and connect me to a world new to me and exciting for us all. All the while Danny was also creating, focusing in his studio and following his new found passion for clay. All of us were making art, sculptures and paintings, that spoke to each other and created our own unique story. This week in a complete moment of faith, I combined all of our work together into the collage below. It’s my family’s story. It connects us, shows our purpose and a journey without the faces but with emotions and moments that intertwine and bind.