Misfortune may have brought Carol Fraser (aka Coolmamaroadkill) to the Nook (our house of 3 sistars) to stay with us while her bedroom was being repaired from fire damage, but the luck was all mine.
She arrived in a flurry of drums and snow and soot and sacred objects that she had saved from the fire. She brought her grand-motherly energy and wicked cackle into our home. Her foraged smudge and wildcrafted teas, her tattooes and hair extensions, her friendships and connections with artists near and far, her drum playing and drum-making, her leather work and bone/antler/fur creations. Her love of conversation and her university presentations on her heritage. Her recipes and maple iced-cream
We shared many deep conversations about art, and where our passions had taken us over the years, what our dreams were once and what they are now today, learning boundaries, healing from our pasts, dealing with chronic illness, relationships and the lessons we have learned along the way as women.
She has taught me a great deal about her Métis culture, cultural appropriation, and how she suffered the effects of colonization. And yet, she still had the energy and desire to ask questions, about my pain, my past, my process, my life. I shared freely with her, and we have taught each other so many things along the way.
Sometimes, there are those people that happen into your life, where a significant connection can occur, out of the blue, over life, art, trauma and oatmeal. However, before leaving, she had an earnest conversation with me about my art.
Her suggestion was to explain my art to people the way I had explained my pieces to her.
Interesting, how I had not thought of that idea !?! I am able to explain my position and experience in regards to healing and trauma topics in other ways most of the time.
-"Why don't you share those details with people about the art that you create, she asked? People will judge you, yes, but whatever, that's their issue."
"Well, cause I don't want to taint the vision that someone else may see in the image."
-"Taint?! Taint it with the truth that lies underneath?"
"Perhaps they see lovely things, why should I wipe that out with my truth?"
-"Because it's your art!!! Your healing, your pain, your process, your depth that makes these images really powerful to me. It's so raw and real! It's so rare that people share themselves like this! It's what makes the art!"
"Oh, it is?!?"
-"YES hunny!!!!! People aren't paying for the materials (the canvas material and wooden frame), they are paying for the artistic rendition of your experience. Your experience is unique and what makes it more unique is that you are willing to share it. You need to tell people about your artistic process, there is so much involved in each piece! Like pieces of your diary!?! really??? like holy shit! Now that is amazing!"
But what about....?
ReallY?" in utter disbelief.
-"Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes." she said with certainty, impatience, and arms flailing.
And because she herself is an artist, she understood, not knowing the worth of one's art. She broke things down for me, gave me examples of what she did with her own work, what her brother did with his prints, and what her son did with his work (also an artist).
So, it seems I've gotten brave enough to share parts of my story with people.
Then, brave enough to share my art; my pieces of healing along the way.
But not brave enough to spell out what the art means to me. At least, not to the general public. Maybe only when it's one-on-one, and if I'm feeling close to the person, (which is like never LOL!) Except, this time, when Carol came to visit.
Many people have asked what they mean, and I've shied away. Shied away from that sweet curiosity on their faces, that I assumed was expecting a sweet and cute answer. But the sweet and cute pieces don't get asked about in this way.
Hmmmmm...... This is true. Only the bad-ass ones get queries about their meaning. Some of my paintings actually scare people. Carol had been triggered by one of my fire paintings hanging in the room where she is staying, after the fire at her house. That's when I took the time to explain it in detail to her, to share the truth of it, the healing that lie within the layers of paint, glue, and paper for me. After a day or two, Carol had decided she wanted that painting back in her room and she was going to use it to create an altar to fire. "Fire medicine", she called it.
I brought her another piece of artwork to add to her fire altar. We discussed that one also.
Some of my paintings, she used in her own healing! Now, THAT is what my art wants for me!
My artwork wants to be shared and known for all that they are, so that they can in turn help others with where they are at. That's the healing in Painted Pinecone's Healing Arts. So, I've started sharing the process, the pieces behind and within the images.
Then, she talked to me about price and valuing my worth. And I listened, and I've made changes there too.
Thank you Carol, for seeing me and the depth of my art,
and encouraging me to not-only share it with others,
but to share the stories within the artwork too.
Thank you for rallying for my worth, and being my ally
As I am happy to stand alongside and be an ally to you, dear sistar.