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Creativity is in the living of it.


The art that I create is all about, to be honest, my passion about being a woman and having a female body. It’s about celebrating, examining, touching upon difficult topics, of hoping to share with others my sense of awe in relationship to all my sisters and of speaking to conditions, concerns, issues and the wonderful variety of all who identify as women and/or females.

 This is more than a political point of view, it goes beyond my feminist understanding on women and their lives, it’s a very personal path that I am on in which I discover as I go. This artistic production of mine is informed by my thoughts and questions, by my observations, readings and communications with my sisters.

 My creativity may at times be overshadowed by the expression of my ability with painting technique and use of materials but it’s always there when knowing where and how to look. All of my production since my transition has been dedicated with full on passion to exploring different aspects of being a woman, a female and all of the incredibly inspiring lives that I have come into contact with and without which, I would be stuck in my head.

 Of course, as with anything, there is a price to this passion of mine, I contend with the want to often be around friends and I am sometimes ambivalent when wanting absolutely to be in my studio and creating but also desiring a life without waves. I cannot count the number of times I have been in the kitchen, cooking up a meal, making coffee for my partner and I, or many other daily activities and chores and be thinking of how I’ll approach this or that painting, of having the urge to run down to my studio and paint. I love my partner, I love my cats, I love my sister and friends, I even enjoy cooking. All of these things and people are vital to my happiness, they fill my life and I cherish them so much.

 I don’t know that I think my art will have the type of impact that will help change this world but I do know that I am passionate about my art and the topic I have chosen to explore and share. My creativity is of the sort that grows on one, that emerges from my paintings when not expecting more than what one sees, then maybe slowly, maybe very quickly, one can see the layers beyond the technique, the message and the visual effect and see that I am creating a universe filled with women, a world of feminist context, queer women’s live, not shying away from setting my gaze upon the erotic and sensual. My creativity is fully expressed in how I bring this to life, in how I contextualize and bring into focus certain areas of women’s lives and issues.

 Certainly I am not universal or even in every way and my privileges, education, where I came from and what I was taught, all this plays a determining factor in what topics I chose to examine and depict on canvas. I excitedly hope for an opportunity to expand my horizons and understanding of more of my sister’s lives and experiences. What I chose to explore in my art and that becomes my focus as an artist and a woman is unfailingly connected to and formed by my own life. My production, the direction my art is going in and everything about it is determined by my choices as a woman, a woman with the Herstory that is particular to me and the life I have had. 

 I know that the fact of having been born male and secretly keeping the sense of being a female to myself for so very long impacted me in ways I am still working through and that my career as an artist could go no further than it did prior to transitioning as it was just too much for me to handle, I could not be what was expected of me by family and society, that would have been my death.

 But all those long years, all the jobs and the living on welfare, of being a cult member, working as a nurse’s aid, a counselor, all of it did bring me to that place where I was confronted with a life and death choice. I do think that because I am rebellious, that I am independent of mind and can be quite single-minded, that I was able to hold on long enough and eventually find the strength to make that decision and follow my certainty in who I am knowing that it was the only way for me to eventually be happy.

 So, my creativity is guided by a lifetime of fear, pain, depression and secrecy about who I am, about what I eventually knew I had to do if I was to survive and be complete. This is why I am so passionate about representing women and their lives, their issues and concerns, why the very first series of drawings and paintings I created were about vaginas, yes I was influenced by Eve Ensler’s “ The Vagina Monologues “ but mostly it was because I had just had a sex change surgery and was in a celebratory mood and now feeling good about wanting to further understand and know more about the topic in an healthy way.

 I have had to make difficult choices in life and but I have a great support system in the persons of my partner and my sister plus some really wonderful friends. My partner enables me to concentrate on my art and in spite of the risks of not making many sells or being picked up by a Gallery due to what I chose to represent on canvas, and I am so thankfull to her for this gift. A lot of my understanding about being a woman, a female, and a feminist, has come ( other than books ) from observation and in no negligible way, from my sister Jeanne and all my women friends, in real time and online. 

 I write this down this morning as I think about creativity, the creative process in particular and how my creativity was formed and informed, how it flourishes thanks to the key support of those closest to me and those who encourage my art. For a while, I could not see or comprehend that I was, in fact, being creative, I could see that I was productive and a good painter but I did not believe or get that what I do, the process of how I go about it and the roads I travel to find my subjects, the questioning, all of it … is in the final tally, part and parcel of my creativity.

 Joelle

Posted by Circé on September 1, 2012

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