I started working autobiographically when I was in college and have never looked back. I overheard someone talking about writing and they quoted someone to say ” You should only write about what you know.” When I heard this I thought it applied to art too, at least for me. What I know… is my life, my relationships, and my trials so this is what I glean from in my own work.
an early diaristic text work of mine.
Being an artist whom works directly from their own life can be a challenge as you expose your vulnerabilities and reality to be judged, seen, and discussed. You share your interior world. But it has great reward as well. I find the process cathartic, when I sit and embroider my real emotions and my real fears I feel empowered by the mere fact that I am admitting them “out loud.” I also have ideas literally flowing out of me everyday, I mean I will never run out of material, right?
As an “academically” trained artist I searched out inspiration and courage in other artists who worked from their deep selves and found an abundance of them. One of the first artists that I truly fell in love with was the French artist Annette Messeger. She works in all mediums and has diverse persona’s. But the one piece of hers that I have always loved is her birds. The story goes that sparrows would constantly fly into her large studio windows and kill themselves. It was very disturbing to her as she would find there small lifeless bodies. So as a way to deal with her own sadness and the loss of the birds she hand knit each bird a small sweater.
Eventually, I found the work of Tracey Emin whom is infamous for her bawdy and raunchy personality and art. Initially I found her work a little “obvious” but the more work I saw and the more I researched her I became totally inspired. My favorite works of hers are the confessional quilts in which she reveals gut wrenching emotions and experiences, often referencing her sexuality and both the embracing and violating of this. She is a little bit “F” you and a lot searching for love. I am always drawn to this type of work and personality, maybe as it reminds me a lot of me. Strong on the outside and totally vulnerable on the inside.
We all know about the incredible work of Louise Bourgeois who pulled form her childhood her entire 90+ years of art making.
And some lesser known artist that inspire me…
Jung Eun Park – works about missing home.
Amanda McCavour explores memory and space.
Portrait of my son and I.
If you are feeling a little inspired yourself come and join my class, Autobiographical Embroidery, which starts this Monday.
Inspiration is in our every moment.
Until next time keep your needle threaded.