I have been an artist of many mediums my whole life. The daughter of an opera singer and an electrical engineer and the youngest of 5 kids, I grew up in the woods in a tiny upstate NY town. I was fortunate to have kind, skilled and nurturing teachers in art, music, dance and theater and I carried a love of all these things with me to the "big city" of Philadelphia. Obsessed with performance and theater, I graduated with honors with a BFA in Musical Theater from the University of the Arts. I continued to paint, draw, learn and create in many forms through my early adult years.
Like many women, I came to a point in my life where I abandoned my personal artistic ambitions in the interest of practicality and family. I pushed my artistic pursuits aside and channeled my creativity into being a mother, a wife, working and living. As my life and the world have become more chaotic, noisy, "max capacity" and saturated with information, I continue to be drawn to art. For the last several years I have been telling myself that I am too busy and that the way I see the world doesn't really matter much in the grand scheme of things. Any of my creations would be more noise in an already overly noisy world.
As I have lived my life and focused on my family, I have started to see the world not just through my own eyes, but also through the eyes of my children. I want to share as much art, beauty and humanness with my kids as I can. I need them to know that the world is not just a place of despair, fear and ugliness as we are so often led to believe. Artistic expression and creativity are ways to mitigate the painful things we experience and ways to celebrate our joy. Art helps us to understand our history and who we are. People have a lot of literal and figurative crap to clean up in their lives. We all get older, people die, we have losses and we go through things that we never could have imagined starting out as young people. I tell my children that when things don't go your way, when you go through things that are painful or confusing and you don't think you can cope, or when you don't know what to do with your feelings, you have a choice. You can shut down, break down, find a vice, or you can create. Create to express what you are feeling. Create and share it with others who might not have the ability to express it themselves. Create to make the world a more beautiful place and create to share your joy. In an increasingly negative and fear-based society, the world needs more creation, beauty and hope. And it needs all of our creative voices.
For most of my life I have viewed my lack of focus on one aspect of the arts as a liability. I have never "specialized" in one particular area as so many things have captivated my interest over the years. I would never tell my children that their intense interest in many, many things was anything other than exceptional, exciting, beautiful and a reflection of their unique visions of the world. At the same time, I have been telling myself that my broad interests are not something to be treasured. I have been ignoring my creativity and telling myself that it doesn't matter. I silenced my own voice to the cacophony of the world.
Now I create as authentically, honestly and frequently as I can in the hopes that I can inspire more people to be true to themselves and not silence their own creative voices. We each have a voice, and we each deserve to be heard!
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