People have told me that my art reminds them of...Hindu, Arabic, South American, Egyptian, Russian, Native American art...of Picasso, Chagall, Dali, Gaudi, Modigliani, Bufano...of Goddess Art, Feminist Art, Outsider Art, Surrealism, Cubism, Expressionism, Folk Art and art I've never heard of!...THANK YOU! These wonderful associations remind me of my connections to the world. I've never studied art or emulated any culture, artist, or stylistic movement, but I was exposed to many of these sources of inspiration during the time I spent, from ages five to fourteen, in the multicultural artist's colony of Taos, New Mexico.
In my childhood, New Mexico's high desert and pygmy forest was my backyard. I spent hours playing in the arroyos, taking midnight walks on the mesa, and gazing from our rooftop into the clouds. During those times of intensely focused play, my imagination and my spirit spoke at once and the surreal, fantastic world became inseparable for me from the realm of deep feeling. My head was filled with fantasies of nature spirits, trolls and animal guardians; my heart opening in awe at the mystery, beauty, and power of nature.
As well as a stimulating environment to grow up in, my parents gave me other great gifts: They encouraged me to freely channel experience into all sorts of creative forms, allowing me to express even those emotions no one can "handle" and ponder even those questions no one can "answer", and they responded with love to what I drew, danced, wrote, and performed. Their lesson, which I must re-learn all the time (since unfortunately it did not entirely prevent me from growing up!) was: Self Acceptance. So, even though people like what I do enough to praise and buy it, my art will keep changing, as I keep changing, because I am not looking for a formula, even a formula for beauty or expressive power. I am looking for a fuller creative experience.
When I first began to sell my art, and found that others understood this language in which I have for so long talked to myself, I experienced a sense of belonging which I had not had before, and thought that maybe I should have been trying to talk to others all along! But making art is really just my way of living, aloud. Art is no more about communication than lovemaking is; neither can fail to communicate. What I really want is to be more alive while making art--and also while making salad or making love. I happen to spend a lot of time making all three! It seems that the better one gets at being present, in anything one's making, the more it becomes making love anyway!
Picasso said "to finish a painting is to kill it", and my aspiration is not to be a finished artist with finished paintings, but rather to finish off the internal judge and censor and become a master at the joy of doing.
© Justine Tatarsky.