After watching Amanda Gorman read her poem "The Hill We Climb" for the 19th time in a row, I needed to know more about her. I read a NYT articleabout her experience writing the poem and found such comfort and connection with her process. Doubt, pressure, feeling stuck.... She sought advice from inaugural poet Elizabeth Alexander who shared...‘The poem is already written, it’s already done. Now, it’s just up to you to bring it to life as best as you can'. What if our work is already done...it's there inside us waiting to be painted, sculpted, drawn, sketched, printed? Back in the mid 2000s, I spend a couple of years creating folk art from craft paint that I bought from Michaels in those little plastic bottles. Inspired by an episode of Trading Spaces, I resonated with someone's portrayal of American life in an art project they did. I began painting perfectly formed and spaced hills with little houses sweetly perched on top. They were happy, and told stories of perfect neighborhoods, communities, and families. I listed them on eBay and I sold some. The sales from the pieces created evidence that this was what I should be focused on...even though, looking back, those pieces never felt like the perfect fit. It was as if I was wearing a size too small shoe and was constantly feeling the need to sit down and slip them off to let my feet expand and relax. I thought that was part of the process of being an artist who was making art to sell. It was part of the process...just not in the way I thought. I was finding my voice. We find our voice by doing. By practicing. We find our voice by borrowing and copying and trying things on to see if they fit. We lean on others work before us to give us examples of what's possible. We look outside of ourselves until our insides start to catch up and understand that it was always already there inside of us all the time. We are our art. Our art is us. As Elizabeth Alexander said so profoundly...'...it’s already done. Now, it’s just up to you to bring it to life as best as you can'.
I will continue practicing bringing my work to life the best I can.