Here on the blog I write about my art process, as well as topics that mirror the core of my work - combination of herbalism, ancestral connection and eco-feminism.
I'm interested in exploring how the environment is impacted by humans and how a disconnection from nature has changed society as a whole.
Have you heard of the Enneagram? If you haven’t, here’s a quick primer: it’s a personality test, where each type has a base number. There is no hierarchy to the numbers so no type is perceived as being “better” than the others. There are also subtypes or “wings,” in addition to a few other layers that I won’t get into here. The Enneagram Type 5 is what describes me as a human and as an artist.
Before we go deeper, I just want to be clear that I’m brand new to this whole Enneagram thing, and so I’m not an expert.
I became fascinated with my type when I realized most of the components of this personality come through not only in my life, but in my artwork as well. This is probably be true for most artists. If we infuse our art with ourselves, then our art will reflect components of us.
One of the over-arching descriptions of a Type 5 is that we are very cerebral – we are thinkers. In relationship to my art, I can spend hours thinking about the piece I am planning before I begin. I might research a piece for almost as long as it will take me to make it.
Also, if someone were to say “wow, this piece really made me think about _____” as a compliment to me, I’d feel like I had accomplished my goal. To get people thinking, for people to feel a connection, for people to resonate with pieces not only emotionally, but also intellectually. My ultimate hope is that my art will be in homes where people will spend time with it and ponder its subject matter, materials, and deeper meaning.
Research, knowledge, and learning
Learning new things brings me so much joy. I love documentaries, the fiction section in bookstores, and expanding knowledge in areas of interest. I have a mission to gain an understanding of the world around me. Hours of research goes into the pieces I create, and so I learn a lot in the process. For example, I research endangered, at-risk, and predicted-to-be-at-risk plants for my Tending Series, so that I can learn about their history, home, and conservation efforts.
Some other topics I’ve been exploring lately are methods of painting in Ancient Greece and Southern Italy; ways of creating paint sustainably and locally; and the vocabulary and etymology of words associated with environmental stewardship.
This adjective feels like a ridiculous way to describe me, as a shy introvert. I tend think of “intense” people as those who are on the far side of the extroverted spectrum. At the same time, I have been told that I’m intense in a way that could be synonymous with passionate. If I’m talking about something that I’ve been researching and am excited about, I fully open up and have to work hard not to overwhelm people.
When I contemplate the topics in my artwork, I think it can be intense for some. I’ve been told in the past that my artwork was “too shocking” by a local shop before, which always seemed humorous to me and others because of my normally-shy nature. So in a way, my art is intense. At-risk plants, climate change, habitat loss, the anthropocene…those aren’t light and fluffy topics. And not that anything is wrong with fluffy – but what really engages me as an artist is the intensity of the time we live in right now, and what’s happening with the environment.
The TL;DR version of all of this is: it is in my nature to come to my work with the intention to create art with deep meaning. At times it can be hard to manage the duality of “too much/intense/overwhelming” and “not enough/too shy/too quiet.” It’s strange to co-exist in both of those worlds. However, it’s in the quiet moments that I can think, ponder, and make art.
It’s my art that helps me to process the topics that I am passionate about.
Art gives me a method of communication that speaks for itself. Art for you to ponder, to feel in both your brain and heart. A reminder of your core values being understood. A documentation of the layers of past and present. A representation of a desire for conservation, for change, for a world-wide shift to a deeper connection with nature. For me, that’s where my work holds its value.
What I’d love to know is – if you know your Enneagram number, how does it reflect your desire for conservation, for the protection of the earth, and for a habitable planet? It might be interesting to see if we are all similar numbers! If you don’t know your Enneagram, you can take the test for free here.