There is so much going on at my studio right now, I almost don't know where to start telling you about it. In March, I moved into an old house on a dead end street across from Gunpowder Falls State Park. I wanted the space in which I live and work to be an extension of my art, and I've been hard at work making this beautiful old place into a nature sanctuary and art gallery.
These are all positive changes, but even good changes can be difficult, especially when they're this big. It was hard making art in the new space at first. It was almost as though my life and surroundings had changed, and now my art needed to change too. Perhaps it was time to take my work to the next level.
Five months later, that has turned out to be absolutely true. Building wildlife habitat and making preparations to hang my art on these walls has given me space to expand my understanding of my artistic mission. I use the word mission because--while beauty is an important part of my work--I always intended it to be so much more than pretty pictures. I create my images from a place of love, but also the fear of loss, and the pain of helplessness. I was screaming to the world, "Look! Look what you're missing! Look what you're mowing down. Look what you're paving over!"
It's just not enough. The natural world is changing rapidly because of choices that humans are making every day. Habitat destruction endangers all the plants and tiny creatures that bring beauty and wonder to our lives, and when will lose them it will be because we forgot how to see them. Perhaps we will only truly remember not because we desire beauty, but because we fear what will happen to us. As their habitat is being destroyed, so is our own.
I call my home and studio The Sanctuary because it is a safe space, a place of peace, where the natural world will be--as much as possible--as it should be. The name also is a reference to my childhood of solitude and religious indoctrination. I emerged into the "real world" as an adult in my early twenties, having to question everything I'd ever been told, everything I'd ever thought, and knowing that to arrive at the truth and survive in this world I'd have to build my understanding of life from scratch.
The pace and repetitiveness of modern life can confuse our thoughts and blur our vision. I am constantly aware how similar this is to living in a culture of indoctrination. I wasn't allowed to question, and now I see how easy it is to forget to question, even when you have the freedom to do so. It is critical that we constantly revisit our beliefs and behavior. Questioning, science, logic....those are the things that saved me, and the only way that we will survive on this planet. My new artworks will make this point much more strongly, and I am looking forward to sharing them with you.