Where Joy Meets Melancholy

Opening a Heart Card

When I first started drawing with pen last year, I did it to steady my mind. For whatever reason, the rhythm of drawing straight line after straight line kept me riveted.

The heart image was one of the first illustrations I completed, using artist markers to add color to the black and white illustration. It was a guilty pleasure to sit and color with markers. After all, markers aren’t for serious work. At least, not for me. I associate them too closely with my childhood and childhood in general. Streaks of color on my hands and arms.

The pen illustrations have helped me redefine what art means to myself and what I want my work to mean to others. Since I’ve began to dig into this artist thing, I’ve been asked repeatedly to define my work – to write the dreaded artist statement – and I’ve struggled to verbalize what I so clearly feel and see. In large part, this struggle comes from the belief I hold that valuable art should move a viewer to feel and see more clearly, and by our human nature, what moves me is different from what moves you.

While art can express universals, it remains a personal and intimate experience between the work and the viewer. It’s difficult to talk about specifics when the specifics change with each set of eyes. What’s more, its almost dangerous to talk about specifics, since my words might affect your viewpoint when only the art itself should do so. But we are human beings and human beings require explanations.

So, with that in mind, knowing the danger, I will tell you what my work means to me.

My work creates a place where joy meets melancholy. It often resides in a childhood landscape or desire for fantasy. It encourages whimsy and sometimes delves into nostalgic emotions. It examines the wonder of nature and the grace of each day. My characters carry sorrow on their backs but believe in optimism.

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