Art has always been a channel for my personal growth as well as a favored mode of expression. As a child it enabled me to work through life challenges by envisioning and, in a way, enacting them or simply letting out pent up energy in a creative rather than destructive manner. Drawing helped me to explore and define, out of my varied interests, what I was truly passionate about. Over the years it has evolved into that of a spiritual and therapeutic process as well as enhance and round out my other passions, such as dance or movement, theatre, and energy healing. Through my art one may enter my journey of growth, love, and life.
As ballroom dancing entered my life, an irrepressible urge to draw my dreams and idols in the ballroom world arose. This piece was created about six months after I began dancing ballroom. I was caught up in the whirlwind of ballroom, thinking this was my new found passion for which I had secretly yearned since my early years. Everything was fresh and new, and I didn't realize how close to the surface of this dance world I was treading. My focus on the fun of the dance and connection with my partner are evident in this piece, which I turned into a Valentine's Day Mailer.
Once I started I couldn't stop. I began a dancer series inspired by whatever dance had me captivated in its essence, from the fiery Latin dances to the elegant Standard dances. At this point I was slowly deepening my love and understanding of this art, finding that the grace and purity of the Standard dances came more naturally and comfortably to me than the flirty and sultry Latin dances. I tried to capture the former in this piece.
As I entered deeper waters I realized that it wasn't just ballroom dances I loved, it was the connection to others through movement. I came to the conclusion that dance is simply an expression of oneself through movement, and can enable people to communicate without words. I was rounding the corner to a new year in which I knew my dance partner of two years would have much less time for practicing, and I feared what would become of our connection. This piece was my gratitude transformed into an illustration I used for my partner's birthday card.
The time came to turn a new leaf- my dance partner had left for a year, many of the people who originally started dancing at the same time as me had left, which allowed space for new opportunities to enter. I began dancing with a long time, high level dancer who enabled me to see areas of my life that had been stunted for over a decade. He introduced concepts and styles of movement completely foreign to me, and encouraged me to explore areas of my life where I had yet to blossom. I began to see how clearly my life was reflected through my dancing and welcomed further growth. That is what this image depicts. It is the latest in my dancer series, and I am excited for what the future holds!
While I was skipping around in a bright field of ballroom dancing, an old passion and inspiration began to rekindle. Many years ago, when I was experiencing difficult times, I explored belly dancing and created a safe world in my imagination. This world grew and evolved into a fleshed out world with cultures, origins, species, anthropological studies, and even its own languages. The Zairania were a result of this imaginary world. They valued dance as a spiritual practice, a method of story telling, prayer, gratitude, and an expression of oneself. Their cultural dance was inspired by tribal fusion belly dancing. This image was one of the first depictions of a Zairania dancer, including the language I had developed, since I began to revisit this culture.
This path continued and I began to revisit and refine the culture, politics, social structure, mythologies, and of course their language. At this time I had moved out on my own with three new jobs, my Illustration business, and Reiki practice on the side, with no car to rely on. I experienced some extreme difficulties emotionally, spiritually, and physically, and felt more alone than I had ever before. Once I got through the fire I was left with a strange sense of inner piece and strength like I had never imagined. I felt like I could survive this world and anything that may come my way on my own if need be, which sparked the creation of a Zairania village in the harsh desert. This character, I later realized, is the epitome of that inner strength to withstand the brutal desert lifestyle.
Having focused on drawing people for many years and rarely including a background (as you'll notice if you scroll back up) I decided it was time to change that and draw a background. The concept of background transformed into a landscape drawing of the desert Zairania village mentioned above. Not only was this a wonderful challenge artistically, it also helped me flush out aspects of the culture, society, and components of daily life that I had not yet resolved. I was presented with the opportunity to explore city design as well, laying out the entire city in my mind, discovering what is necessary for survival, how trade would impact the availability of supplies, materials, foods, ect. I am excited to create more of these and finish discovering what this village has to offer.
As you can see, this imaginary world has been growing and developing parallel to my real world, but I have struggled to integrate them smoothly. This image is the first to successfully combine my personal growth with the developement of my imaginary culture. This piece originally focused on the play of fabric in her dress, a design that one of the Zairania might wear, and evolved to reveal what I am working through in my own life. As the piece drew itself the artistic style evolved as well. It is my most recent piece, and I am curious to see if this is the emergence of a new style of illustration as well as new content.
Thank you for venturing through the river that is my artistic journey. I hope you enjoyed what you saw and are as excited as I am for what is to come! I foresee much more growth in every area of my life. With my art I hope to inspire others to experience love and share it, honor oneself and others, and appreciate the inherent beauty in all things.
Love and light,