18x24 acrylic/ canvas/ glitter/ mica silver flake/ art resin
I’ve never seen her face but she has never been separated from me. She sits here, casting glitter upwards. Small and sincere - unmistakable. I smile hello as she forms on the right side bottom corner of this portrait. Our portrait. It's late. I paint until she comes to life fully.
When I do yoga I pretend my medicine girl is next to me observing so that I can show her how strong and capable she will someday become. When I sit in a sweat lodge it is her that brings me the courage to open my eyes into the same black that is my eyes closed. I always think I am going to panic but I experience in those moments for a split second a limitlessness beyond the body that I am at a loss to describe.
“Your magical child archetype comes out in the things you buy and sometimes that is out of control. You have a two-foot-tall stuffed dragon. Rainbow roller skates. Crystals and stuffed animals you’ve kept all of your life and called family.” My mentor would smile at me. I never thought about that until she passed and now I just replay things she said that I never thought about again until I did and now the things echo all of the time. I think it makes me stronger and gives me more of a chance to be more like she was - the hero that taught me how to be one to myself and flip the victim archetype.
“You are always hunched over the art like a child. It is so childlike. You are so so far from the room.” He tells me on a sunny afternoon in a life I live that I never dared imagine.
“The art is the only medicine. The only compulsion I can get away with anymore - a completely blank mind that is only thinking about where the next color is going and how. I have healed drastically in this life and my medicine girl is proof of that. She is the elder. She makes all of the art. My only job is to take care of myself enough so I can make it safe for her to appear through me. All of those old famous white men artists that were terrible people but got famous - fuck those guys. I can feel everything about them and what they really brought into the world beyond the structure of the art. Mostly just pain and disassociation that is celebrated because it made famous art. Ugh. That is some low frequency survival shit and it’s been done a million times.
My art is about bending the light of healing into a portrait and language that people can effortlessly experience. Not abstraction and misery or the glamourizing of the next escape.
That is why I am successful. It’s the only currency I have and whether I come up with the story or not (the second part of the compulsion that keeps me not thinking and just doing) the way people feel when they look at the painting will tell them everything they need to know. Which has nothing to do with me. That’s between them and their spirit. Everything I create is between me and mine.”
The medicine girl shows up for me as long as I take care of me. What shows up for you when you take care of you? Is it ever separate from you? Does it have a face?