As an artist, I’m used to battles. Change won’t happen sitting on the sidelines, complaining, playing into guilt, or letting fear get in the way. No excuses need apply for positive and meaningful results. Lately, my energy has been harnessed into action and advocacy inside and out of the studio. Just like the old saying “when it rains, it pours”- time has become a precious commodity.
What does a big corporation, a spanking video and lines have in common? The last few months of this interesting journey called life. In my “neighborhood” a company wants to build a development not following the city of Richmond General Plan or building code. My neighbors and I relied on this information prior to purchasing our properties and were told that any new construction would be a certain maximum height. However, the builder has had other plans since day one. There have been numerous local government meetings and hearings. Last Saturday, I distributed flyers with information to all 150 homes in my community. Accountability needs to be addressed and questions answered. We might not have the bank account to compete but we have the heart and a conscious.
In addition, I had been a member of an organization for many years. Although not as active as hoped, my renewal was consistent to support a positive female artist community. A few months ago, received a renewal email from the national chapter. There were links on it to a video of a woman teaching spanking (use your imagination). The “joke” was if a member didn’t renew, you would be punished. Really? As a result, made the decision to end my relationship and demand a refund until rejoining under a new President or leadership. How can I tell my students to not accept situations that are inappropriate and then not take a firm stand? Leading by example can push positive change. Using gimmicks instead of merit to attract membership should not be encouraged. While its difficult and sad, doing what is right is never easy. Shortly afterwards, I was accepted as a National Association of Women Artists member. One chapter ends and another one begins.
My hands hurt from bending, painting, drawing, writing, and manipulating lines. I’ve gone through stacks of paper, brushes, pens, and a worn computer dissatisfied with everything. However, this is typical in my art practice. Right before “beauty” there is the grotesque stage. For example, last September drew on a 42×360 inches paper roll at the de Young museum. The week before finishing it, felt repulsed and thought my time was wasted. However, I knew it would be completed because this “condition” consistently appears prior to finishing a piece. Bottom line: creation in any form is beautiful and ugly.
One thing I’ve learned over the years is when it gets difficult, buckle in, and stay for the ride. Right when wanting to give up, keep pushing forward. Whether it’s your moral compass or creative passion: stand tall and firm. Some battles will be won and other’s lost. These experiences make us stronger and aware of our existence. Despite the craziness and challenge, wouldn’t settle for complacency. Life is just too short and precious to accept mediocrity. Participation is much more satisfying. Here’s to the next hurdle!
Martin Luther King, Jr.: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”