Sunday, October 11, 2009

Art Journaling: One Little Word

Digital Art Journal page
12ins x 12ins

ONE LITTLE WORD (unedited)

As a person who doesn't cope well with hidden agendas, it's my natural inclination to say what's on my mind, get it out in the open and then move swiftly on. This doesn't always go down well with other people and dealing with the fall-out of my honesty is certainly one of my life's greatest challenges. Being assertive and adult during interpersonal communication works best when both parties behave as adults and how often does that actually happen?
In the company of fellow Digital Art Quirks forum members, I'm currently rambling along The Artist's Way: a self-help manual for those who feel in need of creative-rekindling. The book challenges us to re-examine our lives and the things that have led to us getting "stuck". When I found the "please all and you will please none" quote in Lynne-Marie Favreau's excellent Creative Word Art kit, it completely chimed with one of the issues I'm examining. The words I'd typed on the card originally read "I am sick of worrying about what people think or are going to think" but that made me feel like a pathetic victim, and so I thought hard about what I really want to say, right now, to all the people in my life who have tried to knock me down for being straight and honest. In the end, it came down to two little words and boy did it feel good to type them. There they sat in the middle of the page: tiny...tiny, but effective: poking their little tongues out at any unsuspecting viewer who might be charmed to take a closer look at the small print, potentially capable of upsetting a large percentage of the scrap-booking community. Following the Rude Tomato post on my other blog, wasn't I pushing my luck a bit? Had the "F" word ever been used on a scrap page before? Of course, I was fretting...I was worrying about what people would think, trying to please! I worried that I would be banned from the forums; banned from the CTs I work for and lovely Lynne-Marie Favreau would sue me for inappropriate use of her work. As for any submissions to Stamptington publications...
When a friend suggested that, for the sake of decorum, I should blur the offending word out, I experimented with scribbling over it, thus making, I think, a further point about self censorship, but the page
is funnier and I believe, more effective with the word left visible and it makes me laugh and cheer out loud. In fact, I would go as far as saying that typing "fuck off" on a scrap page is one of the most exhilarating things I've done in a long time, which could indicate that I need to acquire a life, or possibly, that I'm teetering on the edge of getting mine back.
I would be interested to hear your views on the subject of creative self-censorship. The scrapping world is such a cosy, family-orientated place, but many of the things that I want to explore are not cosy at all. A number of scrappers tackle challenging subjects but how far can we really go? Does the community we're part allow us complete freedom of expression? Are all of us
really saying what's really on our minds when we create our scrap book and journal pages, mindful that we'll be sharing the with the whole world and her dog?
Moving swiftly on: this week I have received a lovely little package from my beautiful, clever and talented friend LaWendula. At the moment, I can't transfer photographs to my Mac, so I have nicked LaWendula's images of the gorgeous goodies. Thank you, kind lady, even the stamps were beautiful!


Lawendula said...

Thank YOU, darling for being a friend to me.
Yes, you’re right, please everyone and you please none. I’m on nearly the same topic now, I started to realize, that being a good person is not making me happy at all.
I wrote about what I call my ever present „pc-conscience“, always acting good, kind, understanding, eco-friendly but not fulfilling my deepest wishes.
I can tell you, this „Joy diet“ really cracks you open. „The artist’s way“ is similar too that, I think.
I think we have to follow this „good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere“ quote and dig deep to know what we want. And this can be very very painful. Share it with friends! It will be easier then.

On the other topic: I for myself can only say, I am not as free in art, as I would be, when I am doing this only for me. There’s no problem in Germany to say „fuck“ but I know Americans can’t stand these 4-letter-words, so I erased it recently out of a Björk lyric quote.
But no problem with that. It’s an American blog, most of my readers are American, so it’s a question of politeness to put it off. F...., everyone knows what is meant with that, hm?

La Dolce Vita said...

well my dear, I am an american but I do not believe in censorship. this post is awesome Lumi and I hope you get a lot of dialogue from it's timely message. I love your piece by the way. just yummy. and the quote is true. I aim to please me!!
so, this is how I see it in a nutshell, it is YOUR blog. I think you should do what and say what YOU want. if they don"t like chocolate then they shouldn't eat it! ....and personally, I looked all summer in my garden for a piece of rude, god given veggie to photo for you! xxxxo

MrCachet said...

Even enlarged, the word is difficult to see under the tongue of the ape who is spitting out the words. Or is it just me putting a face on everything? Regardless - I've never used the word as a part of my art, but did use it as every part of speech forty years ago. Does that count?

Leslie Avon Miller said...

I am drawn to the visually appealing work on this post - and the words - please all and you please none. I doubt that any artist has ever pleased all. It takes energy to counter the all the lessons about "being nice and polite". Courtesy is easy, pleasing others may require loosing part of one's self - not a good thing. Good luck. Don't worry about the Stampington publications - that is only one audience. There are a lot of us out here that aren't part of that.

Anonymous said...

I have just found your blog and am so pleased that I have (absolutely love the header. I haven't had time to read more than your latest post for the moment but see that you are from the Cotswolds, as I am, and that you are following 'The Artists Way' as I did - found it invaluable back in 2001 when I had been ill. As to self censorship - it would take up too much of your time of I commented on that right now, but I do have an opinion.

Bea said...

Interesting post, thought provoking. As Dr. Phil says everything we do gives us something in return and if it's what we need we keep doing it.
Some people feel being honest and upfront means expressing their opinion about everything. Frankly, unless I asked that person I'm not interested in their opinion. They have their own agenda for their honesty and I may not be part of that.
What I put in my art is what I need to put in my art. If it offends that is not my problem it is the person that feels offended.
If I am submitting the work and it is rejected because of what I have created then that wasn't the place for it to be.
Anything that I express in my art is validated simply because it's mine.
I don't create art to satisfy other people I create it because my soul wants to express itself.
At 60 my time is limited and valuable. I have no patience for people that want to spread their egos or negativity around. BE GONE, I SAY or at least stay out of my way. :)gently said by Bea

Diane Lou said...

I love this post...your art, your thoughts and ever-so-well-written comments and insights about yourself.

In my mind, we should never make art for others...EVER. It becomes something else when we cross from letting ourselves express freely over to censoring ourselves (which is even worse than others censoring our work). To me, it seems to put brakes on the creative process.

I envy those who come upon this realization at a much younger age, but it has taken me much of a lifetime to get to the point that I do what I do without regard for the opinions of others (helped by my artist husband who came to feel this way ages ago and continues to cultivate it even more as he gets older).

One of the great joys of getting older is learning the very valuable lesson you illustrate.

If a blog is good & interesting to read, it is honest, and yours is that!

Catharina Maria said...

I love this very much !
Rini the Netherlands

Lori Saul said...

When I first started blogging (Feb this year) I immediately began to wonder is my blog for me or for those who might happen to stop by and look? It has been an ongoing (sort of)battle and I feel that you must say and create for yourself first and foremost. You will never please everyone (sometimes not even yourself) and THAT is when we grow.Say what you mean and mean what you say. Your art and words are very powerful Lumi. Your new beautiful work here speaks volumes!

Crafty Green Poet said...

what a gorgeous journal page, beautifully laid out.

I don't believe in censorship, but sometimes I think there is a very deep self censorship that can be difficult to overcome...

Alberta said...

You go, girl! The only art I've ever been capable of creating has been what I NEEDED to create. This is the reason I wasn't suited for commercial art, never sought publication, and found little satisfaction in marketing my art. All my creations come from that personal craving or from a desire to give a gift to someone special. So censorship is out *#@*#! out of the question!

Alberta said...

You go, girl! The only art I've ever been capable of creating has been what I NEEDED to create. This is the reason I wasn't suited for commercial art, never sought publication, and found little satisfaction in marketing my art. All my creations come from that personal craving or from a desire to give a gift to someone special. So censorship is out *#@*#! out of the question!

deb said...

A very good friend of mine did her whole Masters show on profane words, I often wonder how words become laden with so much baggage... as to censorship, self censorship is the most difficult obstacle to overcome, hence the whole, "if one woman told the truth..."Kudos to you for your truth telling!
I loved the Artist's way and the follow up book, I go back to it again and again when my compass is veering from north!

The Artist Within Us said...

I found your blog by accident but see that a number of other I know are here to and so I feel at home here.

I like the quote you incorporated from another that we cannot please everyone and as for self-censorship, that one is easy—I think.

As an artist we need to be true to ourself and our vision and using an offensive word needs to fit into the context of the work itself. Using language, regardless of a word or words bus not be done for the sake of shock or just to be frivolous about it. The word or words in question must have a purpose and having that gives the intent a foundation with which to argue on its merits.

I hope that helps.


Linda said...

Loved this post and agree with all you said. Your artwork really made me smile.I often write the f word in my journals (don't know whether anyone has ever noticed, but it makes me feel better for some strange reason).

pondlife said...

Maybe I'm missing something. I couldn't see any offending "F" word but I have to admit it would be unlikely to offend me, in any case; not that I use it that much myself. Sometimes though, like that cup of tea, it hits the spot... I'm sitting here typing now only because I don't seem to be able to please anyone at the moment. No doubt it will pass.

You have given scrapping a whole new dimension.

Seth said...

This is one tremendous blog post. It has a compelling piece of art, personal disclosure, and a very thought provoking topic that I am not sure I have seen in the blogosphere before (at least the one I hang out in).

First let me say that the quote "please all and you please none" really resonates. As far as "the other quote" I say this is your art and your blog. Stand up and let your feelings be expressed. To me, art makes people feel and react -- some may feel offended and some may feel exhilarated. Either way, the power of your piece can not be denied!

lynne h said...

hey lumi,

i'm just getting to this post - how did that happen?! maybe it was waiting for this day when it was the perfect medicine i needed to proceed with the day in a more joy-full way... like lawendula i am reading 'the joy diet', and after an initial burst of positively exuberant joy, these last days have been, well, not as joy-full. 30 laughs a day is on the menu and i think i *might* be getting in 5. anyway, this post makes me smile for many reasons, not the least of which is its honesty. i love that you put 'fuck you' on your art, and then shared that with the scrapbooking community. LOVE it. it inspires me - this bravery. and visually i love this piece... i think that (like all of your art) it is perfect.

it's easy to say that we should be brave and honest on our blogs, and another thing altogether to do it. i bow at your brave feet...


icandy... said...

Absolutely wonderful space you have here!
Happy day!

Taluula said...

Wow I bet you feel better for saying all that!

cookievf said...

Happy to run across your blog today (through a comment you left on seth's blog) and to read this refreshing post. Powerful, really. Open, honest and your art reveals that. Love it! Love you!

- vicki