Scatter Joy

scatter joy - blog

"Scatter Joy" 16" x 20" Mixed Media Painting by Chysti

For the record, I am totally convinced that if you want a handbook on how to live a good, fulfilling life – one should look no further than always-oh-so-inspiring Ralph Waldo Emerson’s writings. Don’t believe me? Try this sampling of quotes on for size, all of course written and so graciously shared by Emerson.

  • “Be and not seem”
  • “Every man is in some way my superior.”
  • “Happiness is a perfume which you cannot pour on someone without getting some on yourself.”
  • “Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine.”
  • “Good luck is another name for tenacity of purpose.”
  • “Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.”
  • “A man is a god in ruins.”
  • “There is no knowledge that is not power.”
  • “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
  • “We learn geology the morning after the earthquake.”
  • “Accept your genius and say what you think.”
  • “It is not length of life, but depth of life.”
  • “The greatest homage to truth is to use it.”
  • “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
  • “Life is a perpetual instruction in cause and effect.”

and lastly, “Scatter Joy” …. it has become my mantra of sorts this year.

Detail in Scatter Joy: Click to see larger.

Detail in Scatter Joy: Click to see larger.

I have mentioned several times how this last year has been one of my roughest ever.. day after day I have been faced with extreme emotional challenges, physical ones and the struggle of once again starting my life anew. It’s a bizarre sort of thing really – for as much pain as I have endured, a part of me absolutely thrives on the challenge – and really, which of us hasn’t had our lives torn apart a bit, only to begin anew? I am also grateful that I have been given this time to learn who I am, and just what I am made of .. and should I forget that, should i forget all the good this world holds for me, should i forget the choices I have in front of me… I have the words of Emerson to remind me.

.. and I have art.

Detail of Scatter Joy Birdie: Click to see larger.

Detail of Scatter Joy Birdie: Click to see larger.

Despite some heavy depressions, lots of cursing and a few really dim days …  I have been creating these wonderfully vibrant pieces, full of color and light.. whimsy and happiness.. full of.. well, good ol’ fashioned optimism. How amazing is that? It is rare I plan out a painting.. I typically crank up the music and allow whatever that magic is inside me to come forth, to emerge. I create with wild abandon, with a huge heaping of freedom, and without judgement… the final result is often eye-opening to me and more beneficial than any 50 minute session with a therapist could ever be. I have discovered, or more accurately- been reminded – of what an incurable optimist I am at heart .. even when the times are more than a bit tough.

Sounds so simple doesn’t it? Yet, it is life changing for me.

Scatter Joy Detail: Click to see larger

Scatter Joy Detail: Click to see larger

 The piece I have shown throughout the post here is aptly named “Scatter Joy”, I threw a good chunk of myself into it & got lost in the magical little world I created … it contains well over 85 layers (i stopped counting there). It is one of the pieces that are dear to me, and one that is difficult for me to part with.. it is up for sale, and on sale at etsy .. and if you decide it holds a deep meaning for you too, I will give you $100.00 back on it – if purchased by Saturday, October 17th … just tell me you heard i ton my blog when you check out.  With that, I am ending here.. before I change my mind!

“This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.”

I know just what to do with my time.. paint, paint with creative abandon.

Chrysti

P.S.  I still have some practically free yarn lots left, and the pre-order deal on the 8×10 of knowing  is expiring soon!

P.P.S. What is your favorite Emerson quote? Share it by Saturday October 17th, and you just may win an Artography print of mine!

Finding Confidence

:: knowing ::
‘Knowing’ © Christy Hydeck 2009

“Be like the bird who, halting in his flight on a limb too slight,
yet sings, knowing he has wings.”

-Victor Hugo

I want to BE that bird.
Some days I AM that bird.
Other days I forget that I  too, have wings.

Self Confidence is a tricky, delicate thing if you ask me – and a subject I find myself reflecting on quite frequently. Circumstances in my life have changed drastically this year; challenging me on nearly every-single-little-or-big-aspect in my life. Until this year… I don’t think I had realized just how much I unintentionally looked elsewhere to validate my worth – when in truth it is my own validation that was so sorely needed. I suppose I thought I had just the right amount of confidence since I can easily rattle off my strengths, and balance that just as quickly with a list of my shortcomings. I don’t see myself as someone afraid to try things, yet it has become apparent that fear has kept from me so many possible joys I could have obtained had I just given something a go. I have been reminded of a (painfully) harsh lesson this year; that by protecting myself from failures, I have hurt myself more than if I had  just… well, let go. I gave others my power, instead of harnessing it myself… a mistake many of us all too often make.

We speak so often on the importance of self esteem, yet rarely do we acknowledge how it is obtained. Much like art, the importance lies in the process, not the result. Esteem isn’t  innate, it is built by overcoming challenges and learning how to cope with the inevitable failures that cross our paths. I am learning to look at life how I have always seen art and how I view creativity. I am adapting my mantra to fit my personal battles and not just my professional ones… it bears repeating:

For everything I create, there will be someone who loves it, someone who hates it, and someone else who could care less.” –Chrysti

So… ultimately, it is how I feel about  it that matters – the rest? It is just noise. I heard someone once say – ‘give it your best, and forget all the rest…’ doesn’t that ring so very, very true? Knowing that has always kept me focused on the journey and what gifts I stood to learn along the way. Now, I am learning how to apply it to the other aspects of my life… and yes, I am becoming more confident by the day… and where there is confidence, there is happiness….

All because I am simply allowing myself to fail.

What have you failed at recently? Cheers to both of our failures, and as a result… our triumphs.

Chrysti

 :: knowing ::

 OVER HALF OFF! Pre-order special on the 8×10 ‘Knowing’ (print shown above!)

  • $12.00 + $3.50 (US) shipping – October 6th – October 14th 2009.
  • Shipping begins on October 15th.
  • Print will be signed & a free ACEO enclosed!
  • Paypal the total amount & your shipping address to khryctee (AT) bellsouth.net
  • Or leave a comment with your email addy, and I will send a paypal invoice.

Day 17/29 Days of Giving is…

so um .

*looks around nervously*

yeah, the time i allotted to write this post?

it’s gone. burned up. deceased. vanished. taken flight.  down the drain. extinct. disintegrated into the vast emptiness of the world around us. spent. no more. nada.

it just, well in the words of a 3 year old. .. went bye-bye ….

yup. yours truly spent over 2 hours searching for these damn darn pics

that you shall see adorning today’s post

 (you better like ’em or at least pretend to! )

and i best finish organizing all these old files

(over 100,000 of them – you’d procrastinate too)

scattered across 3 friggin’ computers …

talk about poor time management and inefficiency

sheesh! bad chrysti!

so as you may have now guessed

there won’t be much writing accompanying this post

unless of course i start rambling

which lets face it … tends to happen alot

sowwy.

MMSP

SO (she tries to state in an eloquent non-rambling, reader’s digest sorta way) today’s giveaway, is one you should be familar with already since it was the Day 1 giveaway too!. I HIGHLY recommend you go back to that post and check out the interview I did with Cate, and read the AMAZING discussions that took place in the comments. True inspiration and eye-openers there.  In the near future, I plan to elaborate on some of your remarks as well – it fascinates me!

I told ya, y’all inspire me daily. Love that.

 Moving on … if you took my advice, and re-read Day 1 … then you’ll know I was honored to be a part of a truly inspiring, and groundbreaking book  last year: Mixed-Media Self Portraits.  In it, I teach you how to create your own self-portrait assemblage, sculpture mask. (it’s alot easier than you think) A super cool background technique, the mask itself..and more. I talk (very personally) about what brought me to creating them. Why I create them, and why i want you to create them.

I’m interested in those of you that may have this book already – what did you think of my piece? Have you tried it? If not, why not? It’s truly not as complex as it seems in print. Claustrophobia isn’t an excuse either – I get panic attacks easily when confined, and actually did a-ok making these. On my own I may add and with no help. (said in my big girl voice) Though admittely, it’d be more fun with a friend. Pair up Ladies!

but here.. take a look at a few in-progress shots as I worked on them…

MMSP

Chrysti - Plastered

MMSP

Proof I indeed went outside like this!

MMSP

Saran Wrap + Vaseline makes for a hot head of hair.

 I want to see YOU like this. Yes – YOU! I want to see artists everywhere slathered in plaster and exploring a medium they may not be used to. I want you to expand your creative horizons – and see what happens as a result. What have you got to lose?

My entire purpose with this project was to challenge not only  myself but to challenge you. It was to create a self-portrait that captured who I was on the inside (and the many moods i experience)– with a loose, rough, raw abstract form. I wanted to teach a mixed-media project that you don’t see very often. I wanted to get to know myself better, I craved a bit of that oh-so-awkward-uncomfortable-squirmy feeling to work with, as it’s usually where I make the most profound insights.

I also found a few detail shots of the masks featured in the book, someday I’ll get the rest of the shots up too… the quote at the top of the post is part of the mask ‘raw’ … and here’s a few other shots for your viewing pleasure …

MMSP

MMSP

MMSP

MMSP

MMSP

I want to know your honest thoughts – constructive criticism included – let me have them, and you  just may win a copy of Mixed-Media Self Portraits yourself! One person will win a copy, with my project signed… and if my studio sale pieces on etsy sell out this week – I’ll order another copy for another lucky receipent or two – you never know just what I’ll do! Heck, I don’t even know what I’ll do half the time… 

To enter today simply…

  • On this post; in the comments answer one or more of these questions: What stops you from making your own Self-Portrait Mask?” or if you have created one tell me how the experience was for you  or what you thought of my piece, these glimpses – ie feedback folks!  Extra Credit if you tell me how hot i look smothered in plaster & vaseline. It’s the stuff fantasies are made of kids! (god i hope not) 
  • Do this by: Sunday, January 18th, 2009
  • PLEASE keep Spreading  the word! Blog it, Tell your friends — the works! I’m amazed daily at the impact this project is having on people. I want it to be contagious, plus it fuels me to make it bigger & better! 
  •  Enter Day 0 & Day 16 still!
  • Check out the first batch of winners, the second batch of winners and the third batch of winners!
  • Review, or Buy Mixed-media Self-Portraits if you haven’t already too! (I know, shameless) Enter even if you have it — you can pass it on to someone else!
  • Sincerely, The plastered Chrysti

    Day 10/29 Days of Giving is…

    friends, i feel so badly i missed yesterday …

    …technology just wasn’t on my side

    but rather than dwell there …

    …and get mighty annoyed again

    i just want to dive head first  into today’s….

    …. absofriggnlutly fabulous giveaway

    Oh. I’m not telling quite yet. You have to read to find out! It’s soooooooooooooooo worth it though.

    SO very worth it.

    Page 35-36

    “Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity.”
     Bo Bennett

    A few months ago, I placed (what I thought was) a seemingly innocent phone call to my friend Lia; little did I know it would turn out costing me money I didn’t really have to spend! If you don’t know Lia (artjunkgrl) … she has this amazing sense of contagious enthusiasm that just …well, it ignites you! Really. Her passion catches you, wraps you up within it’s folds like a cozy blanket on a brisk day… You’re enveloped in her spirit and before you know it – you’re whisked away onto some whimsical artsy adventure that you never expected! I love that she knows how to immerse her soul in whatever creative venture she has taken on – but in the few years I have known her – I can’t quite recall a time she was quite THIS excited.

     Page 15-16

    “The most potent muse of all is our own inner child.”
    Stephen Nachmanovitch

    Enter Suzi Blu & her incredible Les Petite Dolls Class! Lia had gone to Suzi town, and was taking with me with her. Within hours of that call I had signed up – hesitantly at first if the truth be told – but man, I haven’t looked back once yet. Before I knew it, I was drawing faces, girls, and experimenting with them like a mad woman. I was inspired – in the truest sense of it … that awesome kind of inspired you felt as a small child. Where time didn’t have meaning and you could get lost in this magical world all your own. I was using colors I almost never use. Playing with styles I rarely dabble in — and I loved the freedom I gained as a result. I love the subtle changes I have seen in my work since, and I am enjoying taking what she taught me, and making it my own. 

     Page 25-26 (bottom)

    “Creative work is play. It is free speculation using materials of one’s chosen form.”
    Stephen Nachmanovitch

    The pics you see scattered on my post here, are all part of my practicing. I could barely do a face prior. I have a few journals now filled with girlies, and am slowly working on getting them all scanned in.

    Check out what I do have posted:

     
    Page 43-44 (right)

    “To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”
    Joseph Chilton Pearce

     Suzi & I have exchanged a few emails since I signed up, and I am genuinly enjoying getting to know her. We are kindred spirits where creativity comes into play, and both believe there is no wrong, no excuse for holding back, and to enjoy – really enjoy the process. She is remarkably comfortable in front of the camera, and her videos will assuredly coach anyone through any of those annoying lil self-doubts we get. She’s an authentic personality, larger than life, and quite possibly creativity’s biggest cheerleader – and she’ll make ya laugh. I’m a sucker for folks who can make me smile, and know how to laugh at themselves.

    Page 23-24 (right)

    “Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”
    Franklin D. Roosevelt

    Anyway, you will be able to draw  face when you are done. Really. I didn’t think I’d get any decent ones, I just wanted to play. Play without deadlines, without worrying if it’s up to par for a sale … just to play. Lo & Behold, I am doing faces. Addicted to them too. And I’m a tough cookie to please when it comes to being taught, and getting my hard-earned money’s worth. I shouldn’t overlook the rest of the class – it’s great for mixed media virgins, or experienced artists – lots of layer love (my fav as you well know)… beeswax tips, and a whole heck-of-alot more. If you take this fantabulous online course – you will get 10x your money worth. I want to go on, and on and on… but I think you’ll enjoy hearing from Suzi herself more than me….

    Don’t worry there are still prizes to be had, but you still need to read on!

     Page 31-32 (right)

    True to her generous nature & without hesitation Suzi agreed to contribute to the giveaway and to an interview… so without further delay …

    I proudly present you with Ms. Suzi Blu herself!

    (and yeah… the black, bold questions are mine… the colored responses are Suzi’s anwers… do I really need to explain this?)

    You are (to my knowledge) one of the first mixed-media artists to develop a (well-deserved-cult-like!)following with video blogging. You are wacky, wonderful — and oh-so-open with yourself as well as your knowledge! What inspired you to start video blogging, and what advice can you give to those who are afraid to open themselves up in that way?

     I’ve always been a down to earth person and sort of fragile in the world.  I still am when I go places, Im pretty shy. Not when you get to know me of course but alone, in the supermarket, Im scared of everyone. ha. Of life.  But on video I can be anything I want to be. I can be my true self.  As if Im talking to my best friend in the world and she approves and loves me completely. I started making videos out of boredom and necessity.  I was finishing my BA through online classes and spent the majority of my time alone in my aparment with my cat. I lived on student loans and when my money ran thin I put up paintings on ebay.  You Tube was new to me then and I saw how a few other artists would film the making of their painting in their auction and I thought that was a fantastic idea.  I’ve always had a video camera and so I just did it.  In the beginning no one knew me or watched and not all of my paintings sold. But I still made one video a week no matter what, doing whatever I wanted. I WAS FREE! it was awesome. puppet shows in my kitchen, I could be as corny, as happy as I wanted. I could spew my own brand of spiritual art happiness and there was no one there, no parents or friends, to roll their eyes at me (which is what happened in my ‘real life.’  The fact that anyone would really watch was completely not in my thoughts.

    If you could pick one person, living or deceased to spend a day creating with — which lucky soul would be your top choice? Why?
    Oscar Wilde. For sure.  I love his philosophy and the fact that he loved words.  He understood decadance and how art is the best part of life.  I would like to sit with him in a cafe while he thought up a fairytale and I’d illustrate it with creepy puppets and shabby paint peeling sets.

    Most ridiculous object within your view right now?

    My new flip flops on my feet. they are covered in fake fur but they are summer sandals. giant and black. Makes my feet look like sasquatch. (chrysti’s note: she obviously doesn’t know about my huge aversion & distaste for…ick..feet.)

    You seem to have an affinity for bright feather boas, accessories, Neon wigs — i think i already know the value in those things – but would like to know how you see them – What’s the deal there?

        I love color. and in real life I dont get to ‘live’ that very much.  The self I want to be is much bigger than the little self I’ve been up untill now.  I also am not happy with my hair.  Its in the process of growing out too short layers in the front and instead of stressing over it on camera, hey heres a wig.  And Im instantly in another character. Im able to climb out of my role of all of my lables -italian girl from new jersey, etc etc…  I just want to be something bigger, you know? Not that I want attention – I want everyone to be bigger. I want more than just hey when ya gonna get married hey why dont you want a kid. I want a big giant life. I want to play. I want costumes and theater in my everyday. 

    Does anyone ever have a valid excuse for saying they can’t create?

    Nope.
    Watch
    My Left Foot.  True story, guy only had control over his one foot and the toes.  and he painted amazing portraits.  Although people are born with different levels of mechanical dexterity and imaginations, drawing can be taught, color theory can be taught, design, composition, all taught.  And if you are very clear and very honest, everyone has something to say.  Expression is part of being human.

    Through the giveaways, we’ve had some incredible discussions — some funny, some soul searching, and many focus on the role creativity plays in our life. What role does creating, and the creative process itself play in your life?

    Perhaps Im insane which can very well be true, but I cannot live withought the creative process being a big part of my day, every day.  Ive had ooh, quite a few jobs.  None lasted more than 2 weeks. If its not art and painting I am not interested and I’ll do whatever I can to avoid having to do what I don’t want to do. I’ve made it this far in my life and so far its worked out.  Granted, I’ve lived with cardboard boxes as tables and hand me down clothes for a very. very. long time – but during all that time I spent painting so what was around me wasnt important.  Even now, I’ve lived with my parents since March, before that I was on my own since I was 19. I can afford to move out and go to an apartment somewhere, but I dont want to waste any time buying food, paying bills, any of it. I just want to write my Petit Dolls book.  I like giving my dad my bank account and saying please, you take care of it. Make sure my student loans get paid. heres money for food. Just let me sit in my room and paint and write and deal with my students.  And so thats how I live my life.  And will always live my life.  I give up a lot for this, I really REALLY want a place of my own, but if you are clear about what you want what you really want, then it wont feel like a sacrifice.  I want to publish the best book ever.  I want to design the best classes ever.  The rest doesn’t matter. Thats how important creativity is in my life.

    What is one skill you hope to cultivate in the next year?

    Les Petit Art Dolls in clay. I want to take my paintings and bring them into the 3 Dimensional world.

    I have to ask – are you totally insane?(I only feel comfortable asking this, because I am! Ha!) Really, The Les Petite Dolls Workshop is A M A Z I N G. I didn’t think i could do faces, like ever… and I’m getting pretty darn good with them. Love that! But you don’t only teach how to do that – you teach collage, painting, some texture methods, one on one advice, beautiful and inspiring handouts, and a helluva lot more — at an incredibly low price. I love that you are so generous, and it’s part of why I so badly wanted to include you in this – you give back daily, and it’s refreshing. But I still want to know if you have lost you proverbial marbles!

    The most important thing is to have a good product. If you are going to sell something, whether its a thing or a service, you want your customer to feel like they have more than they can imagine. It is easy to put up a workshop.  Write a pdf or make a video and there you go.  But it can be cold.  And if there is one thing I stand for its the fact that Im very good at making people feel wanted.  Im a crappy hostess in that I can’t cook and I don’t like cleaning much, but if you were to come to my home you’d feel like a queen, each time. I respect women highly and I want them to feel special. So thats why there is so much.  This is also very new – a workshop can be A N Y T H I N G   we want it to be.  There is no limitations and so much potential.  Why not put the effort into it and make it a worthwhile experience.

    Also, a lot of the women in my classes are beginners when it comes to drawing in fact, in much of the mixed media community it seems there are scrapbookers and there are fine artists. For the trained artists it is easier for them to make the leap from pure collage to drawing a face and figure but for crafters, they are intimidated.  Thats why I put in so many encouraging pdfs about positive affirmations and things.  The crafters need to know that with just a little practice what I do is not that hard.  Although I do put in a lot of time into my paintings, I put in lots and lots of layers, they can too.  I cant stand elitist artists who say Well, you need to have a masters in Fine Art and some hoity toity pretencious artist statement before youre considered a real artist. Its crap and Im sick of it. So its my mission to turn all the crafters who want to make faces to be able to do so.  

    Also, as a business person – I know the value of an affordable workshop.  Up until August of this year I could never afford to take a workshop.  They are about 200.00 and often in far away places where i need to pay for a plane and hotel.  Way out of my reach.  But 55.00 is something most people can afford.  And if enough people join for that price it equals to the same amount I’d make if half the people joined for 100.00.  I want it to be accessable to anyone who is willing to learn.  And its my philosophy that what is good for all is better than just whats good for me.

    Do you have a favorite medium to work with? A least favorite?
     
    My problem is I want to do everything, which is why mixed media is fabulous.  You CAN do everything. you can mix fabric with paper and sewing and painting.  How incredible.  The least favorite thing I like to do would be…painting something entirely with paints. I dont like to do that. I like to do detail with pencils and then glaze paints over it.  If i had to just use paint 100 % I would cry.  I cant get fine lines like i do with pencil and that frustrates me. when Im frustrated art isnt fun.

    Since I’m a random question junkie – Roll the toothpaste from the bottom, or squeeze it in the middle?

    oh god, squeeze from the middle. 
    I put my toothpaste tube next to my moms and she rolls from the bottom and I always think oh, shes so perfect. there must
    be something wrong with me that I dont care about rolling and neatness. although I like things neat and to be around order, I
    wont give up my dreamy thoughts for long enough to take the time to roll, or fold, or iron, etc… I need to be less harsh on myself.

    Can you give us a peek at what else you have going on, and what suzi blu goodness is to come?

    This is a painting Im making for my friend Jared. Its a Petit Boy!

    Suzi Blus Petit Boy Jared

    Is it true you are giving away one membership to your Les Petite Dolls class workshop?(hell folks, I even hadda pay for mine — aren’t you lucky!!!) Are registrations still open for those who may not win? And it’s tradition here, that the guest gets to pick one of the questions the readers have to answer to win – so what would you like to know/read about from my readers?

    Yes I am giving away one Petit Dolls Membership to one of your readers! Their membership will be active from now unil March 2009, plenty of time to download the videos and PDF’s and email me for personal one to one help.  Since all of the videos are up registration is open until the day the workshop closes.  Its easy to download all of the video lessons and keep them on your computer to do at your convenience.

    The question I would like your readers to think about, is what is there art goal for 2009? What is the big dream – even if you cant make it come true this year, even if you are miles away from being able to do it, even if it seems impossible, what is it you want most to come true? Its really not as impossible as you think.  And 2009 could be the year you begin!

    Ok Lucky Creative Ones! To Enter Today’s Amazing giveaway:

    • Answer Suzi’s question: “what is your art goal for 2009? ” and/or answer mine.. “Roll the toothpaste from the bottom, or squeeze it in the middle?” …
    • If you are already enrolled for Suzi’s workshop, I’ll send you a free print of mine, and you can give the class to a friend – so no excuses NOT to enter kids!
    • Do this by: Sunday, December 21th, 2008
    • PLEASEkeep Spreading  the word! Blog it, Tell your friends — the works!
    •  Enter Day 0 & Day 6 & Day 7 & Day 8 & Day 9
    • Check out the first batch of winners!Some haven’t claimed their gifts! — ya better, fast!
    • Visit Suzi’s Blog, Suzi’s Academy, Suzi’s Etsy & Suzi’s Youtube Videos!

    Warmly, Chrysti

    Overheard at The Self Portrait Show

     Visual Art Exchange

    Right there — yep, just beyond that pretty window — is a fabulous, non-juried exhibition at the VAE Gallery right here in the heart of Downtown Raleigh, NC … and yours truly actually got my piece down there… just in the nick of time to be a part of it.

    You heard me correctly : On. Time. Yes, me.

    Go on, I’ll hold while you dish out the applause — cause we all know, that making a deadline truly is a miracle right now for me; given how many directions I’m being pulled at any given moment. Oy.

    Here’s the nitty gritty on this fabulous, diversified exhibit: (copied from here)

    People You Know August 1-28, 2008

    Self portraiture is a time-honored tradition. Painters like Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Kahlo documented their artistic and biological maturation through countless portraits and interpretations of their physical selves. People You Know is a non-juried exhibit of self portraits, featuring artwork that creatively explores the artists’ likenesses.

    When I initially saw the call for artists on this show, I was ecstatic since I actually had just received back one of the pieces that are featured in the upcoming Mixed Media Self Portraits Book. (If you missed my post on it, take a gander over here..)

    Which is also why I can only show you a tiny portion of it until the book is released. The nerve of publishers making you sign those pesky consent forms

     'Tis Me

    One of the things I most enjoyed at tonight’s reception was remaining anonymous. Standing around listening to people comment on my piece… I abso-friggin-lutly LOVE the honesty that I hear this way, when people aren’t afraid to hurt my feelings. I have pretty thick skin, and when I create any piece — I know there are three reactions I will inevitably receive upon sharing it:

    ” I LOVE it! “ or the inevitable, and less desirable “I Hate it!” and let’s not forget the … “I could really care less; I just don’t get it” remark.

    All of which are a-ok with me. It’s just part of exposing yourself, it’s unavoidable (you know what they say about opinions..) besides, I rarely create anything seeking someone else’s approval. Creativity is one of those sacred kinda things I do for me. Mostly, anyway – sometimes, bills really do just need paid.

    There I go, getting sidetracked again — My point being, I know I did something right If my piece evokes any kind of emotion from the viewer. If it makes people feel. Whether it’s happiness, sorrow, that squirmy-kind-of-uncomfortableness we all experience at some point, humor … or anything in between — if what my lil’ hands created gets a reaction, any reaction – if I somehow made that connection with another soul, made someone think – I feel I was successful. That’s all there is to it. Simple, eh?

    My piece is placed in the middle of the gallery, on it’s own panel. Kinda cool, almost seems prominent (or it just didn’t fit in with the others on the wall...) … but I’ll just delude myself into thinking that’s something of importance. Why Not?

    Anyway… you might be wondering what I heard tonight as I stood there looming, and invading people’s conversations with my eavesdropping… here’s a small sampling of the remarks overheard.

    <deep sigh> “mad brilliance” <typical gallery head nod in understanding followed>
    “I just don’t get it”
    “The artist is definitely tortured inside, conveyed so well.”
    “I want to learn to do this!”
    “The depth, and layers to this… wow.”
    “Umm. Ok. Weird.”
    “Now that is truly original. Unique.”

    You get the idea — people loved it, were freaked by it, fascinated by it. By far though– the best reaction I witnessed was from a child, who I would venture to guess was around 9 years old…

    ” DADDDDDDDDDDDDDDYYYYYY … what IS that? ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww… creepy, I’m scared!”

    I couldn’t help it, I was chuckling..and chuckling to myself.

    I think the coolest part of it all was watching how nearly everyone – really – it amazed me… stopped in their tracks to turn and study it. It definitely got some attention, and drew stares… which is ever so satisfying.

    The self portrait piece I titled ‘Raw’; well, It made folks curious. It made folks feel.

    Misson Accomplished.

    Chrysti

    P.S. Go check it out if you’re in Raleigh, and let me know what you think! I promise, to share more photos once the book is released and it’s all legal-like for me to do so:-)

    Self-Portrait Book – My Scary, yet thrilling ride!

    I dunno, recently it seems as if so many of the new mixed-media books that are emerging, are well, all too common… techniques/ideas that have been done in umpteen other books or publications.. and just, well they aren’t really fresh – (and I am a big advocate of that fresh feeling.) I stopped buying many of the new books as they left me with that… been there, done that feel. I suppose I am always seeking that special something that will challenge me, make me think… and help me discover a new direction, or hone a skill. Am I the only one that feels this way?

    So when I first heard about ‘Mixed-Media Self-Portraits: Inspiration & Techniques‘ I was instantly intrigued, and my inner muse danced with delight at merely the thought! Here is something that has yet to be done — and man, was I ever mad I didn’t think of it first!

    Mixed-Media Self-Portraits Inspiration & Techniques
    By Cate Coulacos Prato

    Get all the inspiration and techniques you need to partake in the hottest trend in mixed media and collage: creating artistic self-portraits. Self-portraits are not only a way for mixed media artists to learn about themselves and their art but also about each other.

    Mixed-Media Self-Portraits features a wide range of artists and contributors who explore creative self-portraits through exercises, essays, and gallery art, offering readers inspiration plus mixed-media, collage, and fiber-arts techniques. Essays throughout the book by a variety of mixed-media artists provide an artistic guide to personal self-discovery. Working in mixed media freed many of the artists featured to express themselves in unusual, un-representational ways, allowing these artists to reveal even more about themselves in the process. The book guides readers through different approaches to creating self-portraits, from jumpstarting the creative process to step-by-step techniques to get ideas flowing on paper and fabric in a variety of media and forms from art quilts to assemblage to paper collage, and more. Filled to the brim with a wealth of inspiration, creative prompts, techniques and compelling artwork, this book is an artistic guide to representing yourself creatively in mixed-media work.

    Thankfully, my anger was short-lived since Cate was asking me to be a part of this amazing book! Moi? I was like seriosuly oozing with glee folks. Ok, maybe not oozing exactly– but radiating, yes I was radiating glee! No, not liking that adjective either… let’s just move on. It’s far too late for me to fret over writing.

    The thing is, this assignment terrified me. I initially pitched an idea that was totally within my comfort zone, merely to get it done. If you know me though, you realize that is never enough for me. Rarely do i just ‘do enough‘ to get by… it’s beyond difficult for me to accept less then my best. So, I decided to stretch my wings a bit — and came up with, what I think will be a fresh take on an ancient technique. I hope you’ll find my project to be inspiring,challenging, and maybe even a lil bit life-changing. It certainly was for me.

    I can’t share my project yet, nor photos of it — you’ll have to wait to see it in the book! I promise, to share some behind-the-scenes shots though once it comes out. It’s oh-so-hard awaiting this – hands down, this was my ab-so-lute favorite venture last year. I am eternally grateful to Cate for making me a part of this. The list of contributing artists is thoroughly impressive — talk about good company to keep! I am so, so honored to somehow be worthy to be among them. Juliana Coles, Linda Edkins Wyatt, Kelly Rae Roberts, Kelli Perkins, The ArtGirlz and Cheryl Prater are just to name a few. Can’t imagine why i feel slightly intimidated appearing between these talented folks!

    C’mon – check out a sneak peek of this inspiring, must-have read here! Tell me, are you as excited as I am? I want to hear your thoughts!

    The extremely tired, not-so-sure-this-post-is-coherent, so I’ll talk more about it later!

    – Chrysti

    Speaking Through Silence & My Newest Piece…

    Music of the Soul

    “Music of the Soul”
    An Original, One of a Kind, Mixed Media Painting & Assemblage w/Beeswax
    by Raleigh, NC Outsider Artist ~ Chrysti ~

    Size: 6″ x 6″ x 3/4″ D
    Created On: Gallery Wrapped Canvas; Ready to Hang!
    For Sale Here

    I completed this piece in April ’07 — all but one part, the caption. Last week, as I sat down.. the words just began to form…

    “Through silence you speak the music of your soul”

    I smiled to myself, as I realized that is slowly becoming my own, personal mantra.

    The last few months, have not only been extremely productive, but also very challenging for me. I have come face to face with myself, over & over again… both my strengths, and my weaknesses have been practically shoved in front of me as I have spent large amounts of time alone, in isolation — simply trying to get caught up, and establish new routines. More time to myself means more silence, and more time to over contemplate every aspect of my life. Too much time in fact. For someone with bipolar disorder, this can often be a one way, fast track into extreme depression.

    What I initially found frightening — that face to face time with myself, has since turned into an enlightening experience, as I find myself embracing my own, personal evolution. I am learning to trust in my own instincts, to trust a bit more in myself and a bit less in what other people think.. to not only trust but to seek that inner silence, that we all tend to push aside. A process I am beginning to find comforting, and not at all scary. See, we really do have a purpose for every part of our life — even if we can’t recognize it at the time.

    Blocking out all that external ‘noise’, has truly brought clarity to me, and a newfound strength that is manifesting itself through my art, my photography, my accomplishments, and most importantly in who I am, and who I want to become. A lifelong, never ending process for all of us.

    Music of the Soul - Close-Up

    For Sale Here

    “Silence tells the seeker in us to love, to love himself.
    It tells us it is wrong to hate ourselves because of our imperfections.
    When the seeker loves himself, loves the Divine within himself,
    he eventually realists the Ultimate Truth.”

    So go on, take a few silent moments for yourself today… you never know what you may discover, if you just give it a chance.

    -Chrysti

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,