Wangechi Mutu

I can't get enough of Wangechi Mutu's artwork and her words. Her collage paintings are not only fantastical and visually explosive in that what-is-she-thinking-about and how-she-do-that-kind-of ways, but they are replete with symbols representing wealth, consumption, colonization, globalism and eroticisim of the Black female body, just to name a few.  

The female form and femininity looms large in Wangechi's work. She says she's committed her life with talking about herself and women who look like her. Women, for Wangechi, are magnificent, mysterious and powerful. I second all of that.

To learn more about Wangechi Mutu, I suggest watching this (long and rich) or this (short and sweet). To see more of her work, do check out her incredibly creative website

Like these artists spotlights? Do check out the archives <<CLICK HERE>>

in love and art,
cd

Two Speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. You Should Hear

I wanted to continue the conversation we started in yesterday's Sunday Summary No. 15 about being emotionally and mentally prepared to leap from your day job into your dream day job. I wanted to emphasize my point about getting clear on your relationship with your current job before deciding to leave it. I wanted to remind you to spend some time this week thinking about whether your day job is an escape, and excuse or an exit strategy?

But you can also just watch the replay.

And then join me in listening to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preaching and speaking truth to power today. Here are two speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. you should hear.

Martin Luther King Speaks! Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution 

"And one of the great liabilities of life is that all too many people find themselves living amid a great period of social change, and yet they fail to develop the new attitudes, the new mental responses, that the new situation demands. They end up sleeping through a revolution" - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr., "What Is Your Life's Blueprint?

"You have a responsibility to seek to make your nation a better nation in which to live. You have a responsibility to seek to make life better for everybody. And so you must be involved in the struggle for freedom and justice." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

in love and art,
cd

Friday Favorites // Walls of Art

I live for good walls of art. I have a few mini galleries throughout my apartment and just LOVE the pops of color here and there. There are no hard and fast rules for creating these walls of art and if there are rules you have my permission to ignore them because 1) it's your art and 2) they're your wall.  Do what you want. Arrange and rearrange until your heart's content.

8 crush-worthy walls of art 

My Pinterest boards are bursting with walls of art. Come see then go hang some art. Need some help starting your own art collection? Well here's a FREE guide to help you - A Beginner's Guide to Collecting Art.

in love and art,
cd

 

Carmen Herrera

Sometimes a whole industry can be so focused on one thing that it completely ignores the other equally important things happening at the same time. What Cuban artist Carmen Herrera was doing the 1950s was one of those important things.

Abstract Expressionists artists like Jackson Pollack, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning with their bold, brazen and expressive styles ruled the day. Carmen Herrera offered something much different - a highly distilled form of abstraction that focused on a limited color palette and tightly controlled composition. As she has explained, “I had to forget about the trimmings and go to the core of things.”

When you put it all together - her superior but not popular painting style plus being a woman plus being an immigrant and when you put that all together - it’s no guessing why she was overlooked. Damn you sexism, racism and xenophobia. 

Carmen Herrera resisted though. She kept painting. She stayed true to her vision and love of the straight line.

She’s 101 years old now and her artwork is finally getting the focused attention it deserves. I’m super grateful to have seen her work up close at the Whitney Museum a few months ago. The show closed two days ago.

Carmen Herrera created much of the work exhibited in Lines of Sight, between the years of 1948-1978 (a mere 30 years). While an impressive show, it’s a very limited one. Carmen Herrera has painted for over 70 years and this particular show captures only a sliver of that. I left the show wanting to see so much more. I have new found respect for the straight line thanks to Carmen Herrera. 

I managed to snap a few shots of the work right before my camera died but you can header to the Whitney Museum’s website to feast on more of Carmen Herrera’s work and hear more from the artist herself in the film The 100 Years Show. Enjoy! #fineartforeveryone

Artist: Carmen Herrera b. 1915 Havana, Cuba (she currently lives and works in NYC)
Medium: Acrylic paint mostly
Thoughts from the artists: “
Fun fact: Carmen sold her first painting at age 89!

Want to learn some inexpensive ways to see and buy art? Check out A Beginner's Guide to Collecting Art. It's FREE. 

in art and love,
cd

My 2017 Word Is Steady

Had you told me that 2016 would be the year I would burn out, take a month long vacation, spend part of said vacation in Santorini floating in the Aegean sea on my back so I could keep the salty water from stinging the stitches I would get after that near death motor bike accident, and quit my crazy but secure six figure salaried day job for my beautiful no-where-near-six-figure dream job, I would’ve said “GTFOH, who me?”

But then it all happened. Twenty sixteen will forever be known as my LEAP year!

 

Adjusting to my new normal - full-time artist and creative entrepreneur - hasn’t been easy. In fact, it’s been really hard especially managing my mood, being a team of one and dealing with inconsistent cash flow. No book or blog prepares you to leap from the known into the unknown. Sure these tools help with business basics - business models, marketing, and branding - but they do little to prepare you for the non stop emotional rollercoaster.  The constant anxiety, the loneliness, the always wanting to throw up, the sleepless nights, the 15-hour work days, the feelings of nothing being enough, and the never ending to do lists.

Nothing really prepares you for all of that. Knowing why you made the leap in the first place and keeping your WHY squarely before your eyes helps tremendously though.

As I start this new year and my fourth month of making art full-time, I need an anchor, something that I can wrap my whole self around as I chart these new to me waters. I can’t remember the last time I chose a word to ground my year, but it’s time to resurrect the practice. And after lots of prayer, mediation and stillness, my word arrived. 

My 2017 word is STEADY.

Steady adjective | \’ste-dē\

1 a: direct or sure in movement
   b: firm in position
   c: keeping nearly upright in a seaway

2: showing little variation or fluctuation

3 a: not early disturbed or upset
   b: constant in feeling, principle, purpose, or attachment

   c: not given to dissipation

And yes, I’ll take ALL of the definitions. Thank you Merriam-Webster. I love that my word isn't pretentious or full of great expectations. Sure, I'm expecting to thrive in my art practice and business this year but I'm not putting any unrealistic pressures on myself. None of this six-figures in six-weeks non-sense.

When I started my public health practice after getting my MPH in 2006, I earned $51,500 dollars a year as an analyst. When I left my job four months ago, I left as a Senior Director supering growing teams of Directors and junior staff. I earned $112,000 dollars doing so. I say it not to boast, but to remind myself that at the beginning of every new career there's a starting point, a bottom of sorts.  I'm ok with that. I'm OK with the fact that at age 36, I decided to start over, to start a new career as a professional artist pimping her wares and services in-person and online.

My ultimate goal in a nutshell is to have a thriving, prolific and profitable art career and business where I lead a small team of creatives that make fine and commercial art goods that inspire and instigate social change. 

Right now though, I just want to settle into a grove where I’m present in each moment, focused on my own artwork and business, and not comparing myself or my work to anyone else’s. In this new year, I want to be clear about what I’m aiming my art and art practice at, open to new partnerships and opportunities to hone my skills and grow my business, and steady, come what may.

in love and art,
cd

p.s. the art print shop launches on 1/15 with new collages alike the one above. yay #fineartforeveryone and every budget ;)

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye is probably a household name now thanks to Solange's A Seat at Table album, but many of us art lovers and art makers have been crushing on her for years now. I can't quite remember when I first discovered her work, but I do remember the first piece of hers that pulled me in. It was Mason's Yard. The colors, the composition, and the brush strokes just makes you want to stop and stare.

And if you're a people watcher like I am, you can't help but wonder what's on this woman's mind. Is she thinking about her partner being late for their date or the sermon Pastor preached that morning?

It's up to you to fill in the gaps of the story. 

In a 2010 interview with Nadine Rubin Nathan in the New York Times Magazine, Yiadom-Boakye described her compositions as “suggestions of people...They don’t share our concerns or anxieties. They are somewhere else altogether.” This lack of fixed narrative leaves her work open to the projected imagination of the viewer. (Jack Shaman Gallery | Artist Profile)

A R T W O R K  F A C T: Each of Lynette's paintings are completed in one day. Doing so helps preserve the mood and the artist's stream of consciousness. Two words: prolific. genius.

And then there's Complication, the now extremely well-known Lynette Yiadom-Boakye piece that inspired Solange's Don't Touch My Hair song from her recent album A Seat at the Table. Read more about artists inspiring artists over on the CRWN blog.  

in love and art,
cd

Basil Kincaid

basil kincaid 2.png

Instead of squirreling this incredible artwork away and promising myself to whip up a tidy blog post soonish, I'm sharing it now. Basil Kincaid's work seized my attention today and for that I'm grateful. Good art will do that to you sometimes. It will seize your attention and get you focusing on what's most important. 

Creative entrepreneurship is taking it's toll on me emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I question even if I'm cut out to do any of this. Is my work good enough? How will I make money? Should I just get a full time job now instead of later? What the hell am I doing trying to be a full-time artist at 36 (soon to be 37 in a few short days)? I feel sick most days.

But then I take some deep breaths and get back to my work. Underneath all the uncertainty I'm feeling, I really do believe that I can do this, that I can figure out how to live a full and fully supported creative life.

basil kincaid 1.png

in love and art,
cd

My First Art Show

peace the passes all understanding christa david collage

And so it begins: my first art show!

My artwork will be a part of a really important and timely show opening in Vermont tomorrow as part of the Awaken Collaborative. Big thanks to my friend and fellow artist A'Driane Nieves who recommended my work to artist and curator, Sabrina Leonard. Bless you both! Having my work be a part of this important exhibition, this important conversation at this particularly point in history strengthens my resolve to keep making art that communicates a clear and honest perspective. 

I can be mad all I want to about the state of things in America, the world, or I can roll up my sleeves and DO MY DAMN WORK. As an artist my work is create things that make us pause, ponder and repent (as in to change our minds), especially if doing so brings us closer to affirming our shared humanity and divinity.

Here's the press release for the show. If you're anywhere near Vermont, do go see the show for me. #onward #thereismoreworktodo

press release
Controversial Artwork on Racial Injustice opens at Johnson State College this weekend.
Underhill artist and Vermont native Sabrina F. Leonard, announces the opening of her community-based art collaborative “AWAKEN: Exploring White Fragility and Criminal (In)justice” at 3pm this Sunday, November 13th, 2016 at Julian Scott Memorial Gallery.
Leonard says, “Just because we’re the 2nd whitest state in the nation, we do not escape our culpability to participate in a conversation on race. I was drawn to speak up publicly on this issue when I got tired of seeing Black men murdered on my computer screen. I didn’t know what to do, but I had to do something.

“My ancestry is poor, immigrant farmers who achieved middle class status here in Vermont, and I spent my teen years thinking that my background wasn’t privileged because I knew how to work hard. Participating in social justice work showed me that just wasn’t true. After the Dallas shootings this summer, I decided that since there weren’t any clear avenues for me to participate in activism, I would make my art my activism, and take as many people with me as I could.”

The project grew from a small group of (Johnson alum) Leonard and two professors at Johnson, to include two dozen volunteers and 30+ donors from 8 states, as well as featured artists from California, New York, and South Carolina. “This was intimidating” admits Leonard. “I very quickly exhausted the few artists of color in my local network. They’re busy with their own work, and they’re hesitant to touch this subject because most white people are just not equipped to engage in an effective way. Here’s the reality, though: White people need to do the work of turning toward our discomfort, examining our implicit bias, and preparing ourselves to be of service in a Black-led movement. This work won’t be easy, but we need to do it anyway.”

The show opens this Sunday (November 13, 2016) with a second opening for Johnson students on Monday, and will remain open during gallery hours until Friday afternoon (November 18th).

Contact:
Sabrina F. Leonard
sabrinaf.leonard@gmail.com
802-734-5535
Awakencollaborative.com
https://www.facebook.com/awakencollaborative/
Sabrinafleonard.com

Sunday Summary: Creative Entrepreneurship Uncensored

IMG_0787.JPG

It's midday and I'm sitting in my home studio checking things off my to do list like a BOSS! Because, well, I am the boss now. I'm officially a full-time artist and creative entrepreneur (yep, I wanna throw up and cry tears of joy right now).

I QUIT MY DAY JOB!!!

I know, crazy pants.

I gave my notice on July 26th (and submitted my official letter on July 27th).  My last day in the office was September 2nd. August was one big emotional blur. The hardest part of quitting wasn't the actual quitting part, it was the long process of reconciling my feelings about my decade long public health career and saying goodbye to all my friends and colleagues part.

Lots of tears...most of them happy.

Now that I am officially settled into the grove of working from home and for myself, I can get back to writing and sharing some of the finest works of art I can find and see up close. 

Don't worry, I plan to share this crazy beautiful creative entrepreneurial journey I am on as well. Each week, I take to Facebook Live to share the week's happenings - the uncensored version of quitting a secure six-figure day job and diving head and heart first into entrepreneurship. You can catch up here - Sunday Summary - and watch weekly on Facebook Live at 9pm EST.

Do join me!

in art and love,
cd