Hearing Voices

Today, I’m hearing voices in my head!  One of them is telling me to get busy on my new ‘Blog Triage’ class assignment from Cynthia Morris and Alyson Stanfield:  write a topical post three different times, each to a different type of person in our lives, or even to a specific person in our lives, then post the one which feels like the most authentic personal voice.

I hope it will be an entertaining game for you if I go ahead and post all three and let you guess to whom I was writing each time. (Now that I think about it, I am usually writing to a specific person in my life when I create a blog post, and I’ll bet she has no idea that she is the unwittingly chosen one.)

First post:

mosaic art about the shooting at Fort Hood, TX by Lynn Bridge

Broken Lives

5″ x 7″ x 7/8″.  Copyright 2009 by Lynn Bridge.

Well, I finished another mosaic tonight.  It only took me about two hours to make because I was so focused.  Once again, it looks ‘pretty’, cuz it has bright colors in it, and shiny things, but it isn’t a pretty subject, and people will think it’s really weird, but I feel like I just had to tell the story for the sake of the victims.

When I heard from Karen about the shooting today, I could hardly wait to get home and make a piece of art about it.  The whole time we were on duty together, she was taking phone calls from people who were asking if she is OK- fortunately, she had a doctor’s appointment in town today before we worked at Micah 6, so she was not on the base when the shooting happened.  She had just talked to the man two days ago, and she said he was acting really weird.  Just to be respectful, she always thanks him when he comes in to treat the patients, but this time, when she thanked him, he just stared at her and didn’t say anything. She said that, tomorrow when she goes back to work, she dreads the state that the kids will be in- all those young guys she has been treating, and some of them who have seen the shooter for treatment- she doesn’t know how she is going to help them trust anyone again.

You know, I keep on making these pieces about other people’s horrible events, and I keep feeling like I have to give them away instead of sell them because how can I profit from other people’s troubles?  On the other hand, I can’t keep on making this stuff and giving it away- I have to make a living somehow.  These tiles and glass and stuff get expensive and I can’t go on buying them unless I can make some money along the way.  I guess I have to keep making trays or paintings or something to make some money so that I can keep making this other art, too, that I would feel guilty selling.  I don’t know what to do.  I’m confused.  Do I have to quit making this stuff because I can’t afford to anymore?

Second post:

painting of people running away from an explosion by Lynn Bridge

Emergency! Alone Together

12″ x 16 1/8″ x 1 1/4″.  Copyright 2009 by Lynn Bridge.

Who has used acrylics before?  Did you know that you can pour acrylic paint into molds, let it set up, then pop the shapes out of the molds and stick them on a painting?  Let’s do that together this summer!  Why don’t you think of a place we need some art and let’s just make it.

Who has looked at a painting before and studied it to see what the subject is and how the artist made the brushstrokes?  Do you just read the tag on the wall, or do you try to figure out the painting for yourself?  What do you think this painting is about?  Why do you think there is so much orange in it?  Do you know what those little fluted-edge things are for?  (Fluting means ‘scalloping’, those little ruffle-shapes around the edge.)

I have been in places where people have real emergencies all over the city- not just family emergencies in their own houses, but big, public emergencies where people have to run away.  I’ve never been in an emergency like that myself, but I’ve heard first-hand about those things, and I’ve been where people have those experiences.  In fact, those of you who have gone on our trips over the border in Mexico have been where emergencies are.

Remember when we were in Miguel Aleman, and the Federales were having a shoot-out with two of the drug cartels while we were there?  We couldn’t go eat dinner that night and Randall and I had to go out and buy pizza and bring it back to the hotel for you?  Well, those people live in an emergency all the time! 

So, this painting is about emergencies like that- people are running away from something scary, but they are all alone, even in a crowd. See how the strong and healthy ones aren’t stopping to help the children or the person with the walker?  And, I meant those acrylic shapes to look like gears.  You know how gears are mechanical and they just keep on turning no matter what, unless something gets stuck in them and forces them to stop?  Well, sometimes governments are like that and they just keep doing bad things and grinding up people’s lives until someone or something forces them to stop.

Do you think I should try to sell this painting?  What should I do with the money if anyone buys it?  Do I get to keep it, or should I donate it to an organization like “Save Darfur”?  What am I going to do to make money so that I can keep on making art?

And, what if I’m so busy at another job making money that I don’t have the time or the energy to make art anymore?  How is that supposed to work?  Can you think of other jobs like that, where it seems like you should not make money doing those jobs?

Third post:

mosaic art about rape in Guinea by Lynn Bridge

Blood and Tears

Copyright by Lynn Bridge

12″ x 12″ x 2″

In making this mosaic art piece last night, I was still strongly feeling the emotion I had when I heard the NPR report and the interviews with the women who had been savagely raped  in the stadium in Conakry, Guinea a few weeks ago.  At the time, I had heard about the peaceful pro-democracy protest in the sports stadium by citizens who did not want the current president of the country to run again in the next election, and how the government troops beat and killed some of the protesters.

But, it took several weeks for the reports from the women to come out.  Women had been targeted for terror because, in this conservative Muslim society, female victims are especially humiliated if they are sexually assaulted.  It is as if the crime is their fault.  Here is a link to the program I heard, so that you can listen, too:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113966999

I felt compelled to stop what I was doing at the time, which was driving, and listen to the voices of these women!  I could not get home fast enough, and back into my studio, to start work on a mosaic about these women and their experiences.

Once I started cutting glass and mixing cement, I did not stop, and worked into the night until the project was finished.   One friend interpreted the white stained-glass shapes as candle flames, a sort of memorial to the victims.  I was enthralled by this, as my intention had been to abstractly represent the sharp threat of weapons, while also representing the purity of purpose of the protesters, and someone had just added yet another layer of meaning to my work.

When consulting with a mosaic artist friend about the framing of the piece, I commented that I did not feel right selling the piece and making money from it, as my whole inspiration had been from the victims of violence. I told her that, if I sold it, I would have to donate the money to some human-rights organization.  But then, so often I make art about other people’s problems!

I think of myself as a reporter and interpreter all-in-one.  I realize that a reporter could not keep going back into the field unless a news organization is paying her way.  And a person who owns a company which cleans up and sanitizes crime scenes cannot keep working for sheer benevolence.  I believe that I am performing a public service by calling attention to victims and the down-trodden, and to their needs and cries.

Why should I not be able to live, too?  Surely there are a few people who want to be reminded of the serious side of life, and who expect to pay the messengers for the effort?

Post-post:

The ethical problem I faced in my mind on this particular work of art was solved when my daughter, who is a budding therapist, chose this as her Christmas present last year.  Case closed!

Advertisements