Lying in a field last summer in Mississippi admiring cumulonimbus clouds, patterns danced in the sky and in my mind.  I no longer wanted to be married to self-inflicted art rules and judgment.  Life had outgrown them.  My job was now to redefine a practice and life with porous and flexible barriers.  A younger self created a sincere framework in which its use and definition would carry a different meaning for an older today.


Manifesto for a 42-year-old artist, woman, and human being:

  1. If it doesn’t feel right or fit its purpose anymore, politely move on.
  2. Negativity from others has no place in creation and life.
  3. Titles can be free of practicality.
  4. Trust your instincts.
  5. Failure is part of creative bliss.
  6. Embrace fear.
  7. Embrace scars, grey hair, and wrinkles.
  8. Solitude is the rare gift of time.
  9. Welcome inspiration.
  10. Hard work softens rejection and provides the confidence to take risks.
  11. Don’t be defined and controlled.
  12. Time is precious.
  13. Protect your time from emotional and narcissistic vampires.  They don’t care about your wants or needs only their own.
  14. Misery loves company with the intent to drain creativity and energy.
  15. Everyone will always have an opinion.
  16. Vulnerability is strength.
  17. It’s ok to breathe.
  18. Never apologize for a positive existence.
  19. I’m a strong artist, woman, and ________.
  20. Look forward.

Not the first or last artist to create a manifesto.  Artists such as Marina Abramovic, Wassily Kandinsky, Tristan Tzara, Gilbert & George, and The Guerilla Girls have declared their artist practice in written form.  From the Grande Vetro blog, Abramovic lists 18 points, here’s a sample:

1. An artist’s conduct in his life:

An artist should not lie to himself or others

An artist should not steal ideas from other artists

An artist should not compromise for themselves or in regards to the art market

An artist should not kill other human beings

An artist should not make themselves into an idol

An artist should not make themselves into an idol

An artist should not make themselves into an idol


As an educator, I’ve seen firsthand how some artists fear and loathe writing.  Words assume responsibility by declaring intentions and goals.  Clarity isn’t easy and opposition to it will appear in various manifestations.  Positive mental and creative growth most often receives push back and praise.  Fine with me, I’ll continue to stand tall and look forward.

The links:

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