March 28, 2020
Art is for Everyone
Beauty is found in the small and quiet, authentic and perfectly imperfect.
As an aesthetic oriented person, perfection is an inspiration and motivating force, but what creates more expansiveness for my heart is playful freedom and an acceptance and deep joy for processes that are messy and deeply authentic. Children’s art for example can be so much more meaningful to me than a work of art that is labored and refined.
In my paintings, I keep reminding myself that it it should be absolutely fun. I shouldn’t make anything for an external, inauthentic approval created by values that aren’t my own. These values that we instinctively felt as children have the capacity to guide us like a northern star: follow your heart and your bliss, lose yourself in the process and do it because you absolutely love it. Magic abides in exploration, curiosity and daydreaming.
It’s a process to learn how to thrive in a capitalistic world that is misleading. Live simply and with heart, and fiercely abide by these pure and innocent values.
From The Hundred Language of Children in Ministories book , written and illustrated by a three year old.
March 24, 2020
Adaptable animal of the desert with fur that’s colored like the cracked earth, sandstone and basalt of diablo canyon.
Your yips, yaps and howls sound like playful devils, stirring up mischief in the vacous darkness outside.
In the daylight, I’ve seen you crossing the road and trailing across the desert, and I wonder where you’re going.
One day, we found a clue--our dog led us to a decapitated head of a pronghorn. This sweet pronghorn had once wrestled for its life but now was peacefully laying on the earth. A coyote had carried it far from its home to ours.
Coyote, you hide yourself well and are relentless while being able to live in the extreme conditions of the desert wilderness, in cities, and all across the world.
You remind me that not only is the desert my home, but across the world, no matter what country or landscape, are diverse places to love and feel at home in as much as I do in this place.
Alexis Rockman Field Drawings, mud and acrylic polymer on paper
March 22, 2020
Process & Manifesto | Death & Chaos
written during the COVID-19 pandemic
Partially why is work is because I learn so much from the process. Not just literally, but I learn to soften around the edges and move forward with love and gratitude for what I make. Some days are easier than others but in the bad days there’s always a gem in the rough. Mistakes are blessings for they illuminate what doesn’t work to move forward. Art-making helps me learn these life teachings. It can be so frustrating making a painting that isn’t what I hoped for and envisioned, and then to make it worse, the remedy I seek is to look towards something I actually like made by someone else. The more I move forward with my work, the more I realize that I am my own unique person and as much as I love what someone else is doing, their methods, techniques and approach etc. wouldn’t fit me in the long run, at least not precisely how they do it, but is just something to try on. What someone else has created will inform the decisions I make, and I can shoot for what they’ve achieved, but of course it will be in my own way. Diversity is what makes life beautiful. It’s miraculous how many paths a person can take. The current situation in the world right now reminds me of my own internal struggles. Everyone is facing their own internal struggles right now even though the challenge is so external and global. The only thing I absolutely know is to move forward with care, kindness and calmness. One thing I’ve personally learned, is to trust nature and yourself to move forward with grace. To sincerely love times of darkness makes the light so much more beautiful. We each have our way of relating to darkness and trying to empathize with another’s loss. We’re in a time of global loss so our hearts must be especially resilient, and continue to be, for more tragedies will certainly come.
Another reason why I make art is the underlying motivational message, methodology and essentially, manifesto. I absolutely love the word manifesto, though I rarely use the word. It hits the chord of the natural anarchist in me. I titled my latest exhibition in a way a manifesto would be titled. The title, A Culture of Wilderness, emerged out my thoughts and feelings around a passion for being a part of a culture of kindness, reverences and connectedness to the natural world. My vision in making art centered around wildlife is to play a part in creating a dialogue and reinforce a value system through beauty, creativity and imagination to generate more of a culture of mutual fondness towards wilderness for friends, community and myself. If we had more of a widespread culture of mutual fondness towards wilderness then it would be clear that it’s worth preserving and protecting, and more space would be created for wildlife to flourish. I believe that there’s not just one path for how each person can take care of what they cherish. We each have our own stories and journeys. Art is a part of my story, and a part of repair and regeneration.
Beatus of Liébana, Commentary on the Apocalypse, 8th century
March 18, 2020
A Love for Animals
Why animals? Why am I compelled towards them, drawn towards illustrating them and comforted by their presence? They are so authentically themselves.
A friend eloquently put that animals don't fabricate stories, or act self consciously or with ego. They're not convinced or won over by superficial qualities. Pets are so endearing because they are so receptive to us and authentically present. Growing up, I had so many pets and I often called them my bestfriends or siblings. A maincoon cat named Pet-Ki (aka Pet Kitty) was my absolute favorite friend, another friend was Colores the goat, who wouldn't hurt a fly. I loved climbing a mulberry tree in our backyard and would pick leaves to drop from the branches for Colores to eat below. I loved their sweet personalities, how they responded to me so authentically and their genuine playfulness. Even to be reminded how delicious and special food is by the presence of a dog is so sweet. They are so connected to what matters.
Animals also deeply know how to live in harmony. In the wild, dualities exist together and create balance. Death brings forth life and darkness gives rise to light. Our sheltered human world steers towards taking care of our needs above the needs of the planet's but in actuality, we're connected, our planet's health is deeply connected to our health and wellbeing. A vital, biologically diverse world is a fundamental part of our health.
In my dreams, there's an abundance of wildlife--as many sightings of wildlife as people! We currently live in a people-centric world. My vision is that we can work on creating more space for wildlife, out of respect and reverence towards them. Being interconnected and living in coexistence with wildlife does a world of good for our health and happiness.
With my two goats and Pet-Ki the kitten
March 17, 2020
Animals in Traditional Clothing & Art
A blog is something new for me. I've never really quite related to making a blog but since being a guest on Hecho A Mano’s podcast, I've been spurred to put myself into words to better convey my thoughts, feelings and culture that I would like to be a part of and re-enforce/create with my art.
One of these themes which I keep circling back around to and interests me to no end, is the use of animal imagery in ancient indigenous art: clothing, ceramics, petroglyphs, adornments etc. The handmade clothes from ancient cultures around the world often use imagery from nature. They're meticulously and artfully crafted and adorned with sweet imagery. In the modern world that we live in, I feel as though I'm at a loss. Why is it that the most frequented stores offer mundane clothing, factory made and built to fall apart? What does it say about our value system to be choosing to wear these clothes? Clothing is a fundamental most necessary part of our life, it's so similar to food in these ways yet its an even more expressive art. Somehow I gravitate towards these things that are basic essentials: clothing and food. They are basic human expressions and a part of daily life. A dream of mine would be to design elegant clothing with sweet, beautiful animals. As one walks about the world, each day lifting someone's heart with the colors and cute animals that they wear.
One of these cultures that I'm particularly drawn to because of region I live in, is the Mimbres. Another inspiration are huipils from Mexico, in particular huitchol huipils.
Otomi Bag Mexico
This Otomi bag from the Ixmiquilpan area of the Mezquital Valley of Hidalgo is quite similar to the bag (costal) held by one of the women in the print shown in the previous photo.