In October 2016 when I met up with Heidi in Reykjavik. Little did I know that I would be introduced to the “Art Jam”. I met Heidi in Art school years before, and painted pretty much consistently but due to life’s obligations, having a child, trying to make a living through archaeology my art got shoved to the side and it was only something I ended up doing while traveling when I was on my own. I always brought a sketchbook and a set of watercolors and pens and managed to sketch wherever I went. This was usually somewhere in the north as this is where my work has taken me.
When Heidi arrived at that flat I had rented in Reykjavik she had so much stuff.. largely art supplies which I came to realize were critical for the art jam.. I didn’t yet know what that was. Along with all the supplies she also gifted me the most amazing sketch book that I am convinced to this day is enchanted and has the power to wake up the artist in you.
I wasn’t sure if she had inscribed secret runes in the book, but this sketchbook was magical.
We set out on our adventures, the plan was for me to give talks on my textile research along the way and drive all around the island to different museums and cultural centers. Our travels were cut short because of bad weather in the east, but we did accomplish one huge goal (for me).. get reconnected with the artist in me in one of the most inspiring landscapes on earth.
I realized that years ago in art school I was visually immature, I wasn’t painting from my gut, or at least my gut was still grappling with stupid adolescent ideas and so the art was forced, it was unfulfilling and I really didn’t know where to go with it.
Today, following the art jam awakening I realized that it doesn’t have to have purpose, at least for me. It can be whatever wants to come out, and can look and be whatever you feel in the moment. We sat down on several occasions during the trip, put all of Heidi’s art supplies out, I pulled out my magical sketch book and we just sat and drew and let loose. It was the most liberating of experiences, and the art came flying out because it had been kept inside to the point that before this trip I thought I would explode. We used any and all mediums.
This approach has helped me today get back into that other significant part of my person, and I have decided I should stop pretending that I am not an artist and ignore those who say I am not. A few months ago I met a French woman who told me I wasn’t an artist. She was rude, and wrong, and in the end she doesn’t know me, and I don’t really care what she thinks. I cannot work at it full time, financially, but I know its there and in the result it has been there all along, and now I just let it be and it turns out that is what really moves me and always has.
subtle and uncomplicated things.. pure things, untainted by humans..and northern landscapes.
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