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Blogpost earth day 4-22-2018
Artefacts is an artist collective who focuses “on artifacts from the future, play based art and healing sacred spaces with art”.
Last January I went to an inspiring experiential workshop called “We Almost Didn’t Make It” led by artist Beverly Naidus and members of Artefacts and sponsored by COCA (Center on Contemporary Art) in conjunction with the January 2018 art show at the same location, Pioneer Square, Seattle, Washington. https://cocaseattle.org/exhibitions/2018/1/20/artifacts-we-almost-didnt-make-it
It turns out that the workshop was informed by a book by Joanna Macy PhD, Buddhist scholar and Chris Johnstone called Active Hope, published by New World Library 2012.
Active Hope is a thoughtful and useful book that helps show “How to face the mess we’re in without going crazy”. Not just cheerleading but a practical approach! The book talks about the concept of being able to face our problems before we can act. And to connect to each other and our planet in order to feel part of the change. When we feel alone, it’s too overwhelming. Active Hope will give you numerous insights and productive ways to change how you view yourself and the world as a whole. It made me feel hope that we can tackle even our most dire problems.
In Chapter 9, Catching an Inspiring Vision, the authors explain more about what active hope is by showing a diagram about Static Thinking versus Process Thinking.The Static Thinking box shows a single frame that says: “This is how things are. If something isn’t in the picture, it just isn’t going to happen.” On the next page they demonstrate Process Thinking in three film strip frames: “This is how things are now/But choices I make influence what happens next. /So what is my hope? And how can I be active in moving toward that?”
The book contains practical exercises for discovering a different view of the self and facing world problems; simple breathing and empowerment exercises, and more involved exercises like writing letters to the future.
During the workshop we did some of the exercises from the book. We found ourselves feeling intensely sad and hopeful as we imagined ourselves in the future looking back at today. Our group listed evidence of dystopia and then evidence of “the great turning”. As I understand it, The Great Turning is a Buddhist concept that happens when our society’s priorities shift and we think of ourselves not as separate selfish entities but as part of the earth together, identifying with the interconnectedness of all the earth. We are then able to work to create positive change to stop ecological disasters such as global warming, poverty and war from destroying our planet.
Towards the end of the workshop, we were led in a visualizing exercise to picture something from today that we would miss in the future if it was to become only a memory. People in the group thought of all sorts of things from an acorn, clean water and a blue heron to concepts like love. We broke into pairs and created future artifacts out of a panoply of cloth scraps and art materials, placing a commitment to action inside our “artifacts”.( My team made a blue heron and an acorn artifact). We were invited to place these “artifacts” in the We Almost Didn’t Make It show in the COCA gallery. Having space to feel the pain of all of our problems, helped to face the problems and to become part of the change. This is a form of time travel where we had a chance imagine what our legacy of today would look like to future beings. Thank you Artefact collective for doing this work connecting art and social change! If you are feeling frustrated or overwhelmed about how to create a better future, connect with past and future generations or want to learn more about the story of “The Great Turning” read Active Hope!
My Blue Heron "artifact"
Making future artifact in Artefact workshop
Lovely acorn and my wacky bird artifact on our "Change" drawing
Workshop participants created a clean water artifact.
We Almost Didn't Make It at COCA
COCA ARTIFACTS SHOW JANUARY 2018
#coca #artefacts #artifacts #art #artefacts artist collective #andreaklawson.com #activehope #socialchange #processthinking #thegreatturning #wealmostdidn'tmakeit #earthday #hope #pioneersquare #seattle #artforchange
A conversation with Yael Zahavy Mittelman April 2018
Andrea: I’m so looking forward to your show at Gallery 110, An Abstract Self Portrait. How long have we known each other?
Yael: For the longest time.
A. Long but wonderful. Did you always know that you wanted to be an artist?
Y. My mom is an artist, so I always had art all around me. It is interesting how as an adult I appreciate that exposure to art in a different way. As a child I used to doodle, anywhere and everywhere.
As an adult, I was a special Ed. teacher at first, then, moving to the states, I finished my M.A. in art therapy, so I worked for a while in a psychiatric hospital as an art therapist. At some point my body was struggling physically, and I had hard time walking and climbing stairs. I was always making art, but at that point had hard time climbing to the second floor of the house to my studio. So I organized a corner in my office downstairs to make art. Because I could not work at the psychiatric hospital anymore, I became a full time artist.
A. What an interesting journey! I have been following your work for years and watched it evolve from painting acrylic to collage to your new digital work/ digital collage combination
What is the medium that you are using in this show?
Y. I can say mixed media, and that will be short and correct, but to be more precise, the base is acrylic. On top of the acrylic there is collage and on some of it colored pencils.
A. These new Art stories are a fascinating combination of abstract, figurative imagery and something almost surreal. How does your process work?
Y. Thank you, I like your observations. It is a very intuitive process. It is like the art is formed through me, something that I cannot define, is guiding me in the process. It is really hard to describe. I could describe it in a different way. It feels like a dance between me and the materials, me and the process, where the art has a life of its own.
A: How did you get inspired to begin creating with the digital process?
Y. I got exposed to different Apps on my cell and computer. But even here, it started with my mother. She suggested to use Coral Painter 2018 free for a month, to try the program to see what I can do with it. She has been using painters forever. So I tried different programs and Apps and found myself manipulating parts of my own mix media work. It was really cool to see how I could not just make the art in my studio, but continue and explore parts of it through digital media. This show will have the original work as well as digital manipulations of it. It makes it very exciting and fascinating.
A. What inspired this show?
Y. Hard to say. Life leads me. But Gallery 110 is a member’s gallery, and the artwork I am exposed to is very inspiring. I am trying to bring art and abstract closer to the people around me. The digital manipulation is making it easier to do so. It is like looking closer and closer at something and the closer you get, you see the same thing in a different way, get deeper into the story.
A. Your work seems to flow and evolve. What do you start with? An idea or image or?
Y. I just start and it happens. That is the best answer I have.
A.I always want to ask artists the question: What are your influences?
Y. I think we are influenced by our background, and the things that are happening around us. But my art is happening at the moment. It just comes from the inside.
A:. Do you have a favorite artist?
Y: You. I am also inspired by the exposure I have to artists from all over the world the more I spend time on Instagram. It is so cool. It is magic that it is so available.
A. Thank you, I’m honored! When you moved to the U.S. from Israel did you notice any differences in the art scene or how you approached art? I’m wondering if you had different influences or ways of learning about art in Israel or if moving to the U.S. changed your art process or inspirations at all?
Y. I am sure it did, but not sure I can say how. It happened about 20 years back.
A. This process of creating sounds very personal. Have these artworks changed you and if so, how?
Y. I keep changing and evolving, so it is hard to separate my art process from my personal growth and to say what influences what, the chicken and the egg story. But I am more clear about my emotional/spiritual process by now, so it is easier to share the art process, which allows conversations to happen with people.
A. Your art feels very honest and expressive. Has it been a process to be able to share yourself so honestly in a public venue?
Y. It is still in the process, but it becomes more pleasurable. I think the exposure part is the hardest for most artists. In my perspective, it is not just personal, but the art brings part of you into the canvas/paper. That is the reason for the title: "An Abstract Self Portrait." each piece of art is a self-portrait. It can be realistic or abstract, conceptual or non-conceptual. That is the beauty of it, as the viewer, you can see parts of the artist in the art, as the artist, that is the risky part. Especially art, verses, let’s say music, stays on. Most people do not have a way to share themselves that way. Artists do. The more I am accepting myself as I am, the easier it is to share my art with the rest of the world.
A. So, the show is at Gallery 110 in Pioneer square Seattle and you have quite a few events happening around the show. Lots of opportunities for visitors to enjoy and a chance to meet you and talk about the art!
Please tell us the details:
Y. The opening/Artwalk is on April 5th, from 5-8. It is really cool how on Artwalk night the whole neighborhood comes to life. Gallery 110 is in the Tashiro Kaplan Artist Lofts. It has many galleries and artists studios in and outside the building. During artwalk it is all open free to the public to come in and enjoy art. It feels like a big party to me. Come to talk about the art, meet the artists, and just meet new people. The creative vibes are in the air.
A. And there is a reception also right?
Y. Artist Talk is Saturday April 14th 1-5, and the reception is April 21st 5-8 (for reception, please reserve by emailing to Director@gallery110.com.) During those two events we are going to do fun activities and talks about art. Come join the fun. For an example, on the 14th, Saundra Fleming, an amazing artist and a wonderful friend, who is opening her own solo show at Gallery 110, and I are going to converse about the connections and differences between our processes of doing the art and what connect us as artists, and in the art we will see on the walls in April.
A. The show is from April 5-28th and I’m looking forward to seeing it!
Y. Thank you, great questions by the way, and thank you for this wonderful opportunity.
I am an artist and also, a teacher and I do not want carrying a gun to be part of my job! Can you imagine all the possible disasters arising from supplying teachers, administrators with guns? Why is the answer to gun violence to increase gun availability? If the professional armed guard at the Parkland school hid during the shooting, how is the average teacher going to use a pistol or a bucket of rocks to stop a violent intruder with a high capacity magazine gun before he fires? What if a student is emotionally disturbed and grabs or gets hold of the gun while teacher is otherwise engaged? Or they could harm themselves or others by accident. What if an administrator or teacher has otherwise unknown mental issues? How are teachers going to be trained well enough if the armed guard isn't trained well enough? When will the teachers have time to teach??? How about eliminating high capacity magazines and adding stricter background checks. Most of these attackers were already known to have mental health issues! Sadly, if mental health and stricter gun control were followed up with, many of these tragic incidents could have been avoided! That's also the good news because we can fix it or at least improve the chances of fewer incidents of violence!
Okay, explain to preschoolers why school is a weapon free zone but the teachers carry guns?
WMD Revealed: Poodle and Toy Guns, oil on canvas, 10 x 20"
Out of the mouths of babes/youth!
I'm so proud of the young people for standing up to the adults in our country! This is what democracy looks like! Speaking up and changing the world! How sad that some of the adults are caught up in their fears or tangled in their purses provided by the NRA, that they are not listening to these very intelligent students who are making smart demands. "The NRA is a major campaign donor with five million members and an annual budget of more than $300 million" (The New York Review, April 15, 2018 P. 4)
Gun violence is a public health issue and should be treated as such:
1.Fund gun violence research and prevention
2. Eliminate absurd restrictions
3. Universal Background checks no matter where gun is purchased
4. High capacity magazine BAN
5. Limit Firing Power on the street
I finally made it to the Bellevue art museum last week and saw several impressive shows including Walter McConnell's Itinerant Edens. Wow! What a rule changer. Who knew that a clay artist could show their work wet without firing? It takes a few minutes to figure out what is going on in this exhibit but once you peer at the work behind the shower-like curtains , it's an amazing experience, one that almost gave me chills.
The large clay figures are cast from plaster molds of live models, made by 3d scanner located at Cornell University, very tech-savvy. The figures are imposing and a little creepy, but don't move me as much as the moist slippery plant forms which I adore. The moisture inside the curtains, creates living molds which add to the strange tactility of the work. Questionably, the artist's statement mentions a dialogue between analog and technical digital art as the meaning of the show. As contemporary artists, we are all part of that dialogue as more technology is developed and used, but other than the use of digital form casting, I don't see the work itself asking this question at all. Does anyone else? Please comment if you have seen the show. When it gets down to it, it's the visceral and emotional reaction that is important to me in a work of art, not the intellectually based description. On a less esoteric note, how on earth does McConnell manage to transport these huge wet clay installations!
It's closing soon if you want to see it.
Hi! Here's the link to my girl on a bird in a blustery wind. pen, ink and watercolor.
My cousin and I were only in Chicago for a few days but it was so inspiring to see the buildings and the art. This merry go round painting is about a fun childhood feeling and about the lights glowing in the dusk