I invite you to consider a new paradigm....

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All artists are story tellers, transformers of the soul. 

There is no REALvalue to art.
Yet, imagine a world without it. 
How bleak.
How devoid of soul.

Artists tell the stories of their time. They are the translators of human emotions.
They are the record keepers of the socio-political landscape of their generation. 

Without art, life would be dull, void of color, poetry and drama. 
Artists speak to and for the soul.

Think of how a piece of music takes you back to a certain time or relationship in your life.
Or consider how you feel when you hear poetry that speaks for your heart.
Imagine a stunning painting you can’t turn away from.

Art translates our emotions. 

I am an artist who makes art because I have to.
I make art to beautify, to express and to process this human experience – for myself and for the collective.

I also sell my art. 
And right there is the rub!

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I write this essay to begin a conversation with you about the current commodification of art.
I want to change that paradigm and I want to start in my own life as an experiment with you. 

Right now, art is sold as a one-time transactional experience. Each artist must put a “value” on their art, and so often that “value” relates to time and supplies spent on the piece.

I challenge this system, because art needs to be valued and exchanged in a completely different way. I can’t put a price on the thousands of hours and dollars I have spent arriving at this point in time, where I create a piece of art and then put a price on it for you. This is a simplistic, commodity oriented basis for pricing something that cannot be valued with this scale. 

And really, when we look at the art world, and what collectors will pay for art, who sets those prices? Hundreds of thousands of dollars for a splash of paint on a canvas. At the other end, artists so often asked to donate their work for “good exposure,” to offer their talent for free. There is an imbalance of over-value and under-value in the system. None of this is real. And all of it is real.

Art is made to speak to and for the soul, to translate human emotions into some tangible form so we can better understand our own experience and the conditions of our time. Art is made to shift our consciousness. When a piece of art speaks to your soul, that is when you want and need to live with it.

And yet, how do we put a price on translating our emotions into something beautiful, lyrical or poetic? How do we put a price on shifting our consciousness through art? How do we put a price on something as intangible as a skill that translates emotion into something beautiful and understandable?

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Art must be valued by the soul. 

“Good” art speaks to some deep place in us that begs to awaken. When you say to yourself, “I must have that piece,” then you know something within you is on the verge of awakening.

It doesn’t matter if anyone else likes the piece you’ve chosen, it only matters that it speaks to your soul. We must trust our own choices.

For making art is a journey of trust. One artistic decision leads to the next and the next until resolution comes.  

Just like life, we cannot rush our unfolding. We must believe in our choices.

So, I want to do a personal experiment with you, one that will have a direct impact on us. I want to invite you to consider looking at art in a new way when you feel drawn to owning a piece of art. Instead of thinking you will “buy” the art piece for a certain price to “own,” ask yourself, “What would my soul offer for this painting; to live with it and let it work on me?”

This self-reflective process engages you to ask a few questions. 

First, why do I love this artwork? 
Why does it speak to me? 
What can I give in exchange for this art piece so I can live with it transform me?

It asks you to consider your own resources and what you genuinely have to offer the artist in exchange for their life energy and years of practice they bring to creating the artwork at hand.  

Instead of having a one-time transactional experience of “buying” a piece of art, you enter into a relationship with the artist, and you find a price point for the exchange that speaks to the “value” offered both ways. There is no clear cut “price.” You, along with the artist, begin a dialogue around the artwork, what you have to offer, and together you find a value that works for both of you.

It feels uncomfortable doesn’t it? 
It does to me.

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As the artist, this system asks me to step into a place of trust that you, whoever you are, will value what I bring to the table in making my art – not just the piece at hand, but all of my years of study, practice, education, and inner work. And you, you must take a real look at your resources, what you value in life, why you want to live with this piece and make an offer on the piece. You must open the conversation with the artist. Your offering may also be something in non-monetary form. Perhaps you have skills that I’d love to trade for. Make the offer. See what happens.

The upside of this new paradigm, as I see it, is that art goes to the people whose souls are truly affected, regardless of monetary resources. The art then gets to do its job – bringing joy and transformation to someone’s life.

And you, as the “buyer” become more than that. You become a patron – someone who has a relationship with the artist, that is not about the “price” of any one piece, but rather you support and value the work the artist does in the world. There is an acknowledgement of the power of art beyond its commodity value.

You have stepped into a place of patronage, which is far more valuable. You have stepped into a relationship with the artist, which in the end, is what life is about: relationship|

this is the world I envision - where we change the paradigm of how art is circulated, and we find a way for you to enjoy the art that we as artists create. My art is not able to do its full job unless it goes out into the world to live with you. Lets try this!


Donald Trump is my Teacher

Donald Trump is my teacher. No seriously, hear me out. I am in shock that he is our new president, but he is now a reminder to me that ANYTHING is possible.

Absolutely anything.

So why is he my teacher?

Because here’s a guy, who not only was a laughing stock when he announced his candidacy, NO ONE thought he’d become the presidential candidate, much less the president.

And yet he did!

How did that happen?

He believed. He believed he would become President. I heard it in his shoot from the hip rhetoric – “We’ve got this.” “Did you see the polls? We’re ahead in the polls!” “Hillary is a liar and a cheat.” He planted doubt about her at every step of the way, and touted his lead, even when he wasn’t leading.

He TOLD us he was going to win. He got HIS supporters excited and engaged them.

Strangely enough I feel energized and even more committed to my own path. It’s exactly the kick in the pants I need. There’s no more time to be asleep, to drop into self-pity that “I can’t” or “I’m too afraid…” to do what I’m here to do.

No, the time is now to make change – for all of us. We can’t wait for the government, the corporations, our friends and family to “take care of us.” It’s time to step up into the game and play. Play it big. Bring our gifts to the world – whatever those gifts are. Stop apologizing for our faults (note Donald doesn’t do that!).

It’s time to DO what we love. Love who we’re with. Accept ourselves as we are, with all of our blemishes, unhealed parts and to DO IT ANYWAY. Whatever “it” is.

So, despite the “bad” news for half of the nation, I say it’s a wake-up call.

Do something today.

Hug someone (as Michael Franti tells us in his song, Once A Day “Everybody oughta hug somebody at least once a day…)

Do a random act of kindness.

Send a love note.

Pick up some trash.

Smile.

Do something to make this world just a tiny bit better!

 

 


Counting Down to Launch Van Go

In three weeks I will be hitting the road in Van Go. Each morning I wake, tossing and turning with a list of to dos – make sure you have the right sized containers, call the mechanic, check the windshield wipers, get an ax, go over all of the mechanics of the van, check on how to put oil in, get extra oil, send the birthday card, take the dogs for a walk, don’t forget maps and dry ice.

You know how it is.

The logistics of getting ready are clogging my brain cells and on occasion, in a moment of downtime I consider what one of my students said to me, as she spent three months in a VW Van, solo, after her kids were grown.

She said, “It will change you.”

Of course I don’t know how it will change me. But I know it will.

The whole trip is about inviting in change. Owning those parts of myself that are not so well developed and leaning into becoming the woman who wears a red bandana on her head, who totes an ax, who calculates miles and gas consumption and read maps like its second nature.

She is the adventurer, unafraid of the unknown, the sounds of moose stepping through the woods, the hoot of the night owls, the roar of the bear just yards away.

But right now I have little time to contemplate these things. I’m racing to the finish line of logistical prep, stepping towards the discomfort of these lessons to come.