At a recent exhibition of my work, I thought, “Man, everyone up there on that wall is fighting, yet so elegantly!” I guess I must be kinda slow, or at least a bit dense, because it’s taken me almost a full lifetime to begin to reveal, even to myself, what drives me to create Art and how to define it. Even now, I am not sure if I truly know. It all seems so undefinable, so unknowable.

Yet there are some things I do know. I know that each series is inspired by an event or a life change with a focus on the personal and a nod toward the political. I know that I am driven by the narrative application of color in a composition. I know that sometimes these are abstract and sometimes representational, yet always expressive.

My work is not so much a world of ideas. I find it totally frustrating to filter what I do through language.  And this is because, like all good, long-lived art, language is NOT the point. Language is beside the point. The real experience of creating Art, with a capital “A”, is the unknowable, experiential, emotional, temporal, the discoverable and the ephemeral. The arc of the act is complete when the energy of the act hangs in the air, when it is palpable.

I was trained as a classical pianist. I spent the totality of my formative years interpreting the musical world of Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. Yet in my childhood home we did not listen to Bach, Beethoven or Mozart.  We listened to WABC radio. We listened to the voices of Archie Bunker and the Brady Bunch. My parents did not read to me. There were no books in the house. The reading material in my house was a daily Newspaper. The piano was my universe, my sanctuary, my teacher, everything to me. Well, until I discovered sex at the age of 15. Then it was not everything, but a pathway to everything else.

The memory of playing the piano is strong and clear. I open the bench, choose a piece to place on the music stand, sit down, pull the piano seat closer, open the keyboard cover, find my place on the keys and begin to play. There are clusters of black notes in various states of lines, stems and hollowness. Finding their corresponding keys is intuitive. I can feel the notes transform from clusters of visually coded pictures into music. The crescendos and decrescendos and fff’s and ppp’s combine to make the Bach, Beethoven or Mozart come alive, through my body, through my blood, through my flesh. I know – very dramatic right?!!  But it WAS dramatic. It was ALL drama!

Even now, I find myself overcome with emotion as I recall how visceral, how real, how pure it was. My experience was not affected by any other pianists’ interpretation of any piece because I hardly if ever listened to recordings or attended recitals. Playing the piano was fed by the visual interpretation of symbols, the notes written by Bach, Beethoven or Mozart centuries ago, from their minds, their flesh and then again through mine, These symbols were a sacred language of encoded emotion and passion and angst written only for this young girl, this soon to be oversexed art-school bound teenager.

Everything I do now, every painting I paint, every print I make, every song I write or sing or cake I bake, or story I pen or dinner I cook is filtered through this lens. Through the lens of all that emotion, all of that angst. The arc of a classical piece is the arc of sexuality, the arc of human life, the stuff that great Art is made of.

Yes, for today’s world, this may seem a bit quaint, somewhat of an old-fashioned way of creating art. But it’s taken me almost a lifetime to understand, to finally accept, that this is who I am. This is what fuels my work.

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