As an artist I often have wondered what my role is, and what role art itself plays in the larger world. The day after the Election 2016 I was having drinks with friends, and someone said to me that it was my RESPONSIBILITY as an artist to keep making my work. However, I don't make political art per se, so what positive impact does my work have in the world? Especially because purchasing artwork for most folks is a luxury. How does creating a "luxury item" truly a responsibility worthy of respect and an agent of positive change?
I purchased some artwork recently - a poster of Hillary Clinton. You may or may not be a fan of Hillary, but for me she represents someone who has committed her life to a cause and no matter WHAT has been thrown at her, has PERSISTED (nevertheless!), which is something that I want to personally channel within my own life.
When I bought the image of Hillz it didn't feel like a luxury item. It felt like something necessary. It felt like a visual talisman that I needed to strengthen qualities in myself to be an agent of positive change.
I came to understand that some images have a power to awaken something within us.
That's when I realized that my work did have worth beyond simple luxury.
This is what I believe to be true: We are at a crossroads in human development where the old rules of the patriarchy no longer serve our race or our planet. The Feminine is required to take its rightful place alongside the masculine to heal and move forward for the evolution and salvation of our species and world.
The artwork that I create is to help facilitate that movement. Surrounding oneself with authentic images of the Feminine Divine and Female Power is activating to our inner heroines, to then bring out into the world to make positive changes in the name of Love, Justice and Peace. This "activating force" is the term I use for what energies does a Goddess, Heroine, or Saint have for awakening the dormant or blossoming mirror energies within ourselves.
I am creating a series of Goddesses, Female Saints, and Real World Heroines to fulfill this new focused vision. The first two of the series are the Greek Goddess Psyche (read more about her HERE) and the Christian Saint, Doctor of the Church, and Mystic Hildegard Von Bingen (read more about her HERE).
They are currently available as open edition Giclee Prints (shop HERE) and I have grand visions of other forms these women will take to help you on your journeys, as well as many other goddesses, saints and heroines to add to the series.
P.S. Do you have a Goddess, Female Saint or Heroine who inspires you? Tell me about her in the comments!
I, like many Americans, have been on a rollercoaster of emotion for - ok like a year and a half. But over the past 10 days it has been extreme. Shock, sorrow, fierce anger, hope, motivation, exhaustion. This past week's theme for Illustration Friday was "Aquatic" and this is what appeared in my sketchbook as I attempted to connect to this word. The storms are raging, and I have cried an ocean. But.
I will NOT be wallowing. I am channeling all of these emotions towards positive action. I will no longer be the "slacktivist" I have been in the past, simply casting my vote and thinking that's enough to participate in a Democracy. Full disclosure: I am not one naturally called to Social or Environmental Justice. I have been lazy about matching my actions to my values. But there are times when we are all tapped to step up, and I am answering that call. If there is one powerful thing that is positive in the current state of the United States is this: my eyes are open, I no longer take my rights and privileges for granted, and I will use these things to fight anyone who tries to take it away from me, my family, my community and those who are currently in a much more vulnerable place.
What does this mean in a practical concrete way?
I belong to a private group that is now 3.7 million people strong who are now organizing for change and to resist what is currently happening.
Specifically I now have the phone numbers of my state representatives and Senators so that I may call them DAILY if I have to, to express my strong opinions on things like the appointment of Steve Bannon, a white nationalist who now holds a position in the White House, my feelings of horror over the discussion of a Muslim Registry, and my fierce rage over the suggestion that Roe v. Wade is overturned. Sadly that is just the tip of the iceberg that threatens our great ship. But it's a place to start.
I also will be giving 50-100% of any art sales towards organizations such as the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law, Climate.org, and to people running for office such as Louisiana Democrat Foster Campbell (please go donate right now: if he wins the race this December, the Democrats in Senate will not be as much of a minority ).
I will be emailing Journalists who use words like "Alt Right" instead of "White Nationalist". I will be subscribing to media such as NY Times, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, and Bitch Media to support the integrity of journalism.
I urge you to, if you are feeling helpless, to find a local group of like minded people to join in the fight. We have much to do now and in preparation for the elections in 2018, and the elections in 2020.
If you are a reader like I am, you may find the book "Hope in the Dark" by activist Rebecca Solnit inspirational and helpful: www.haymarketbooks.org/books/791-hope-in-the-dark
If you enjoy listening to podcasts, NPR TED Radio Hour has an episode called "Democracy On Trial" which I found informative and very hopeful.
Please listen to the call. Do not sit idly by. That is a privilege we cannot enjoy right now.
It's the third morning of our new reality. Like many people I've been gutted by this, and am absolutely terrified. I've been glued to social media and the news, trying to make sense, grieving, and looking for hope. Looking for someone to tell me it's going to be ok.
There ARE some people saying it's going to be ok.
But what I've found is that I cannot - and will not - take comfort, even though I yearn for it.
I've been called.
You've been called.
No one is going to save us. The people who could've been heroes failed us (looking at you, Paul Ryan. You're very pretty but your soul and character need some work. Not to mention your buddies).
I am full of anger for people who definitely share some blame in bringing this situation about. However, quickly we must move past recrimination for it is a waste of our power and energy. This is an emergency of epic proportions, and if we want to make history/herstory proud, we have to move quickly and effectively.
I know many of you probably feel as lost and hopeless as I do, but there are actions to take. We must gather together. We must look to institutions that are already in place with knowledgeable people who have the tools of change. But they need US.
I'm not going to lie to you, I've been perfectly happy being apathetic - or rather, letting people who are called to work for social justice and global change carry the load. I thought things were - ok - or I let myself be asleep about how it wasn't ok. But this election is the 2X4 to the head that is saying it's not ok, it's seriously absolutely not ok, and you don't get to be asleep anymore.
So this is what I am doing. I am researching, reading, talking, gathering and planning. I will figure out what is the best use of my time and money to make sure that what I know is right and good is not destroyed. All my creative efforts going forward I am devoting to making sure the America I was raised to believe in is not destroyed.
And I will share with anyone what I am doing, if you feel like you can't figure out what you can do, or you can share what you are doing too, and together, We Will Rise. We MUST Rise. The time for choices is past: the only choice is LOVE and JUSTICE.
Hey there sports fans! If you read my last post, you know that I have decided to make a piece of artwork from my sketchbook once a week for Illustration Friday, which is a website that challenges artists to create an illustration based on a one word prompt. This week's theme was the word "steam".
So I rolled that around my head, while listening to my multitude of podcasts discussing the state of the nation and politics and what in the heck is happening. So yah, what in the heck IS happening guys? Crazy times.
Actually I'm going to be frank here. Heartbreaking times, really. What has been stirred up this election cycle is nothing short of horrific. I've found myself on an emotional rollercoaster - shocked, scared, sad, and.... MAD.
I'm so MAD. I'm so mad at the irresponsibility of certain people who normalized the hate speech that we are hearing. I am not naive: I know that there is racism and sexism (and insert all the other "ism"s here). But that it is, in a way, being celebrated and exuberantly encouraged by certain people who KNOW they are not telling the truth and KNOW what they are doing.
I'm so so angry. But I guess I'm also thankful, for the scales have fallen from my eyes, and I see where we REALLY are in terms of our evolution. I feel motivated - beyond just voting - to figure out what things I can do (don't know what that is yet but I'll keep you posted) - to make this Nation a better place. To make this world a better place. Because I think that's a pretty great way to live your life.
So yah. "Steam". My character here is both Steampunk, and pretty steamed about stuff.
As a kid, I used to draw. Like A LOT. Every day, pretty much. My brother and I would tear through reams of typing paper, drawing and erasing and crumpling and starting over. Princesses and horses/unicorns were my fave subjects, being a white middle class white girl of the 1980's. My brother: Star Wars, Indiana Jones, space ships. My sketching spot in the house was on the floor in the living room, with my feet tucked under the bottom of the bookshelf, where the heat vent was. We had a shoe box of crayons that I left there a couple times, to have them melt through the box onto the hardwood floors. My mom loved that.
I kept drawing all the way through college, where most of my sketching happened as doodles during classes. Yes, there was drawing for my degree: Illustration and Design - but oddly, my best work was my doodles. I never questioned why that was....until recently.
So first of all, somewhere along the line I stopped drawing. My paintings are very draw-ery (as opposed to painterly) - with definite line work and hard edges. I glaze to get my colors and shading as opposed to blending or brushwork. But I barely work on the drawings underneath the paintings and don't work out my idea before hand. It's just in my head, I get reference photos, and then slap up a rough sketch on my board, and then flesh it out with color.
Then at Blueschool (my shared studio/gathering/art/class space) I had to lead one of our monthly Art Socials, and the subject was Drawing. So I went online to gather some exercises I could lead the group in, and read an article about listening-while-drawing, and how drawing is not a distraction from what you are listening to; but rather allows one part of your brain to be occupied so the other can focus. So doodling helps you listen better - but conversely I found it also to make my drawing better and more unique! Having the linear left brain critic occupied while listening allowed my non verbal inspired artist play happily and unfettered. So THAT'S why my doodler is better than my strictly supervised illustrator!
So two things happened as a result of this insight: one, I switched from listening to just music while painting (which is still great) to listening to podcasts. Not only was my painting better, but I was able to finish quite tedious bits with much less resistance. My left brain is also happy, getting a fabulous dose of new thoughts and stories through an array of my new passion for podcasts (current faves: This American Life, Serial, NPR Politics, Keepin' It 1600, Revisionist History, The Big Listen). Two: I decided to join in the October Drawing Challenge "Dractober" to get back to my sketchbook roots.
Dractober 2016's list of prompts was created by Kirsten Easthope, which I found via one of my all time favorite artists Amy Abshier Reyes. I sketched every day (ok there may have been a few days of catch up) and posted to my instagram account, @karinbolstadart, which automatically also posted to my Facebook Page and my Twitter Feed. It was so much fun to find new artists this way and also get feedback from old fans and now NEW fans. My first few sketches, I have to say, kinda sucked. But towards the end I got less inhibited and had more fun.
Now I find I don't really want to stop! I've decided to keep with the sketchbook fun by joining in with Illustration Friday, where there are weekly prompts. It's less sketchbook and more of a finished piece, so I'll be posting first a sketch of my idea and then do a scratchboard of that sketch to submit to the Illustration Friday Website. I'll be posting that here, as well as on all my social media spots - so stay tuned!
For those of you who didn't catch all my October sketches, here they all are! Which is your fave?
Click below to see a current calendar of events.