Woodshedding with Rachel Yeatts
Woodshedding at home during the time of the Coronavirus COVID-19 and social distancing.
My very first Valentine was my Mom. She always bought me a little box of chocolate hearts, sometimes a card, and I knew growing up that no matter how much I may feel alone on this day I could count on those little boxes of chocolates.
Maybe it sounds lame but it was a planted seed that has grown into something much more. Valentine’s Day is often regarded as a “Hallmark Holiday” made by the retail industry to profit off of humans intense need to be loved and show love for someone special; and also chocolate.
I have decided to make it something else. I simply call it love day and I celebrate this day by being grateful for everyone and everything that has brought love into my life, no purchases necessary. From my favorite park, to my dog, to my friends to my family I allow myself to feel love both as a recipient and as a giver.
I make gifts to give people: cards, food, anything that comes from my heart and soul. I make sure to tell my friends I love them, even if we haven’t known each other long, because I do love them. They have come into my life and I don’t know for how long, but I am so grateful they are here at this time. I even love you, complete stranger reading this, because you have taken the time to read this tiny little excerpt from my rambling 3AM mind.
I will throw love around loosely, with no reserve because this world needs it in every form it can get. Love your park by picking up trash. Love your dog by bringing him a bone. Love your friends by bringing them a coffee or even just a phone call. Love by giving and you will receive so much more than you ever anticipated. Above all love yourself, because you are stuck with you until the end and it is up to you and only you to have as much love as you need in your life; and maybe chocolate.
Happy Love Day,
“I’m not a real artist.”
“I always compare myself to other artists and feel so fake.”
“It’s just a hobby I could never share this with other people.”
Oh the excuses I’ve heard and every time someone starts to degrade whatever beautiful project they’re working on I want to pull out the spray bottle and just –
Alas, I can’t do that. It’s considered rude or something. However, maybe I can help define an artist for you. According to our friends at Oxford Dictionary:
There you have it folks, from the people who wrote the dictionary, even if it’s a hobby you’re still an artist. Even if you’re bad at it, but as long as you are producing work you are still an artist. So now that we can throw labels out the window (don’t worry they’re pretty much useless) let’s get to the real issue.
You’re putting art on a pedestal. It’s not meant for that; unless your a collector, but you’re more. As an artist your duty is to create, express, and feel. Human beings are complex creatures with limited space in our wee brains. To hold on to so much is detrimental to our individual growth. To compare what we are feeling and expressing to what someone else is feeling and expressing is detrimental to our individual growth.
When it comes to art, for it to be authentic, it must come from you. For it to be of any worth more than some mass production piece, it must come from deep inside of you. What you produce will always change as long as you are true to yourself. Practice will make your media better but being real will make you outstanding.
The more you tap into your personal freedom of what makes you, uniquely you, the more defined your audience gets. There are ways of arranging elements in a way that appeals to people’s senses and emotions, yes, but I hope you always start with what is appealing to yours. Appreciate other makers in your life; allow them to inspire you as I hope you inspire them. Even unique snowflakes are still made of the same stuff.
There were freaks, geeks, and art critiques spilling out of Tupelo Honey with much fanfare this past Saturday. People from all over Texoma and beyond came to The Lowbrow Hoedown to see the “Art show for the rest of us.” Joe Steinman of Minor Threads hosted the art exhibition with great success. A wide variety of artists and vendors encircled the patio as people worked their way from the inside gallery, to the bar, past the live music and shopped through an all inclusive welcoming atmosphere.
In a small town so many people tout supporting the community but I’ve seen those that pick and choose which part of the community they want to support and which ones get the cold shoulder. After doing numerous interviews it is conclusive that some people have found it hard to get their art out to the public in an art exhibition as certain galleries have set styles.
However for each person that has felt rejected I believe that if they looked a little further they would find twice as many people to create with and connect. More and more of those in the art community are celebrating the differences with wide open doors. Many people from different art organizations visited and supported this unique show. I only hope to see it grow stronger next year, like a snowball rolling down hill. Those looking for a place to be will gravitate towards each other. After all, we’re all a little weird, some of us are just brave enough to wear it comfortably.
by Shannon Orr
Creative Block; it’s something every person who depends on their creativity loathes. You will be going along, making things to your hearts content, having fun and BOOM. It hits you. Your flow is wiped out, you start fearing that you’ve lost it, you’ve peaked, or even worse, maybe you never had it.
Creative Block is some sort of siphoning mind demon. The more you acknowledge it, the more it grows, and the more it grows the longer it stays. The longer it stays the more apt it is to make itself at home and invite it’s friend’s depression and anxiety over.
Let me tell you, do not let it smell your fear; you must carry on as if you are taking a break. All of this was intentional, totally in control. You didn’t even notice it had stopped by.
While you are taking a “break” you may consider doing the one (or all) of the following:
Sometimes you actually just need a break so your brain can refill on those juices you so desperately crave. Creativity is endless in the world but energy is not. Read a book, or several. Go to a museum, the movies, or just binge a bit on Netflix. Rest is underappreciated in our culture but it is fundamental to our physical and mental health.
Wait hear me out! Seriously exercise will help. I’m not saying you have to do cross fit or hardcore jazzercise (Does jazzercise go hardcore? Yes, yes it does.) Go for a walk, a simple walk. It can be outside at a park, in a store, wherever you want to go and just watch the world around you. Not only is there a high chance you will be inspired by your surroundings but you will also naturally increase your serotonin and dopamine levels. So at the worst you may leave your first walk with not much more than an image of a scary tree but you will at least feel better about it.
If you’re not a master of your craft (and really none of us are, nope not even him.) then you should take a class. Not only will you get the benefit of structure for your brain (something it really likes despite the chaos you keep finding yourself in), a class will generally give you assignments which if you are nerd like me you can reword them to “challenges”. Each of these challenges will teach you a rule to your craft. I know, I know, rules! How are lame rules going to help you end the creative block! Because once you learn them you’re going to be inspired to break every single one.
It’s no surprise to learn that most artists have more than one outlet. It’s because they can easily become depleted in one avenue and the only way to keep the balance is to switch gears. Maybe you didn’t know your favorite painter also was a prolific knitter? In the end you will need something that keeps your brain charged. Switch it up and you will find yourself doing this proactively to help avoid creative block all together.
It is so easy to fall in the trap of comparison but if you are smart you will realize that’s not what art is about. It is about self-expression and each person has something unique to offer the world. Sometimes just surrounding yourself with other artists and creative individuals will help open new perspectives for your brain. Allow yourself to be influenced by new mediums, offer your help to friends who may need an extra hand in scavenging found objects, props or just being part of a great brain storm. Never compare, just be inspired.
Whenever creative block hits me, I’m reminded of compression yoga poses. These types of yoga poses are used to squeeze your internal organs and muscles pushing out toxins. When the pose is released new blood rushes in bringing oxygen and all the healthy stuff your body wants. Creative block is just your brain being compressed; you’ve probably been pressing it forever to get those creative juices out. Once you find a proper release, you will be hit by a double whammy of the good stuff and you will find the fire that burns within even brighter than before.
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working” – Pablo Picasso
Ghost Town Arts Collective (GTAC) held it’s Call & Response Show with great reception. People from all over Texas and Oklahoma came to see the show that paired art with words. It housed sculptures, photography, paintings, mixed media and even independent films. This show was special to me as it allowed me the gift of expressing my thoughts through surrealism photography and then combining them with poems I learned to cultivate in the Catfish Writing Workshop, also hosted by GTAC.
It encompassed every single way I had found to express myself. Talking with people is often a struggle for me as I am looking for immediate depth. Here I could simply speak and people had the choice to walk by or stop and listen. I found a great luxury in those who not only stopped to listen but asked to hear more. Me, this woman who has grown through her own circles of hell and lived to tell about it. I had photos and poems of postpartum depression, the fight to come out of that, dealing with the haunting of PTSD and domestic abuse. The ability to meet with people and talk about these items which are heavily stigmatized and hidden in our culture was like taking the first deep breath after being submerged under murky water for so long.
I left the show equally drained and exhilarated. What will I do now? What subjects should I touch on? What do I have to say? I’m not sure, but what I am sure of is that GTAC has given me a home, a safe space to express myself and to always let those expressions be worthy. In a great state of self doubt having a group of people who believe in you more than you believe in yourself, well that’s better than liquid courage. That’s gold, and my tribe is golden.
Ghost Town Arts Collective is always looking for members and collaborations to work with. They hold true to the philosophy that art is for everyone, no matter what stage of an adventure an artist is on, they want to be apart of it and help others succeed in their creative living. You can find out more about them at www.ghosttownarts.org.