Painting My Conscience, But At What Cost?

I'll be honest. I am not your typical artist, just starting out. I've been around the art and design scene for years. Always on the fringes because I was busy raising two young boys on my own, fighting the child support system, dealing with the fallout from domestic abuse and fighting cancer.

Because of these road bumps, I didn't get my art degree until I was in my 50"s, (still can't believe I just wrote that damn sentence). I try to approach life with enthusiasm and a bit of halarity at the human condition. I mean. come on! My boys like to say that sometimes I border on the juvinile, but I'm perfectly fine with that.

My years have given me wisdom, patience, tolerance (which is tested), experience and a growing sense of outrage. I have accepted that I am a social commentary creative.

I know that term is a lightning rod, but for me it means simple that I believe in a society with the political, economic and social equality of all the participants working towards a better end for each of us. I am not a sword wielder or a soldier. I don't believe in the "one or the other" narrative. I don't want to bash anyone over the head...

It is this combination that makes me feel, that as an artist, I bear some responsibility to record history, create visual snippets of events in time from my reaction to them. I feel most fulfilled as an artist when I am working on pieces that serves as one viewpoint of a moment in time. I believe that words can fall on deaf ears, but images can open the mind. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees and that type of work doesn't market well or takes longer to sell, but is what usually gets me into gallery shows.

Honestly though, after a while I get distracted, almost "itchy'. My mind starts asking me what is the purpose, what is this work changing, who is it helping? Then something happens in the world, and down the rabbit hole I go again.

As I struggle with this duality in my work, I realize I have no answers. I guess I will carry on and learn to celebrate the dichtomy in my work. I have to believe that my more visually expressive paintings bring pleasure and a sense of beauty to the viewer and that is enough, in the same way that my socially exressive works can bring conversation. I have to believe that these two opposing forces are necessary. One makes the other possible, and are part of the forces inside of me, driving me to do this type of work.

I will continue to carry on. Doing the best that I can. After all, that is all we can ask of one another. To carry on. Be our best. Live our passion.

Until next time,


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