First and Next Show, find ten differences, and an Invitation to Arting in the times of Corona 101

 

It will have been fourteen years since I first showed my art publicly (when I don’t count the picture of a sun when I was four that got hung up in the kindergarten, up on the noticeboard for all the parents to see…since then I don’t think my pieces ever made it up on the noticeboard again, see I was never very good at drawing inside the lines, and that is what mostly counted as I grew up in the communist and later transitioning Czechoslovakia, now Czech Republic).

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Here it is miraculously, surviving all the moves and transitions since. The four year old me’s reminder to grin at it and shine. All the time. I owe her a lot.

My first show was a group one, and it was of works by clients of a psychiatric clinic I ended up at when twenty five. It was called, Art is a State of the Soul…could not agree more…however reflecting upon the exhibited works, my soul or psyche had not been in such a great shape then despite, or perhaps because of?, the care I had just received…it looked a bit like this, though this is a later work.

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To cut a long story shorter…I am here now…in London, preparing another solo show, for Goldsmiths gallery, which just had to be postponed, understandably due to the corona situation and lockdowns.

It is called #artofwithdrawal and maps the period of my prescription drug withdrawal, not always and easy process…but very nourishing and enlivening for the aforementioned soul/psyche. Hanging in there. Both with my soul and the show.

I am looking into ways how to take the project online at the moment and make it more participatory…earlier I had opened up my photographic series #everydaycourages to sharing and contributions by other artists and artingers. I might do something similar this time too.

Would you be up for it? Do you have some experience with #recovery from #psychofarmaceuticals? Is art/arting one of your coping and survival strategies? I would love to hear from you for an open conversation about the possibilities.

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If you feel drawn and inspired by this…and not too put off by my unofficialness…it really at the moment is just me in my studio…and/but the Goldsmiths space too in the foreseeable future…let me know :-).

Let’s talk…abre el corazon…I have just opened my heart in Spanish, been tandemming and picking it up after years of non-usage, the same with German…what I love about this whole corona situation is the fact that people, when not destitute, and worried sick for their livelihoods were able to slow down and take the time to do things while in lockdowns that they normally would not have given themselves the time to, or simply would not been able to make it. Hope you are among them too, and/or getting support you need.

I have opened a free challenge #21DaysArting in the Arting Group  aimed at the first three weeks of lockdown over here in the UK. You can still join us, not too late. It is a creative first aid of sorts for artists and artingers. After day two, following the process, I have come up with yet another angle, another inspiration, I literally breathed it in…so invite you to do the same. Come over.

#betheartistyouare and #neklid

This week I have fully dived in into my inner healing process…both with arting and writing. It has brought stuff up, I have had to rest and process, let the body do the work, let my soul/psyche and heart heal.

I had published my #neklid story for an anti/alternative psychiatry blog in Czech. Here it is. It has ruffled my feathers in September when I was in a tapering process on a much lower dosage than I am now. I had been talking to people in Chci zit bez psychofarmak and NEKLIDni fb groups about it and their shared experience, supporting each other.

What came up for me from this was the necessity of addressing my trauma experience through some form of bodywork, so have revisited what I know from biosynthesis and other body oriented psychotherapeutic approaches.

On the practical level, the theme of absolute acknowledgement and appreciation came up…and that of hundred percent responsibility for myself…my feelings, my health, my life. I am no child anymore. I am forty this April. What it means to be an adult in this day and age though remains up to debate…discuss. Especially with past psychiatric and psychology experience. Still getting over it, through it and on with it 😀 <3.

Since last week I have also started the teeny weeny #betheartistyouare challenge in the FB Arting group. Been posting the prompts…and so flooded with all the above that not fully focussed on them myself. Back to it though as of today as the theme of radical healing, forgiveness and self care are knocking on the door once again.

See me to see yourself…in Arting…or through my images, paintings, portraits, photography and projects…above the latest #foundaroundthestreettreasure with Hermes wings and lotus flowers…see what the cat, aka my partner dragged in. Bless him. I can see a painting in that…among others.

What are you arting right now? Do leave a comment or get in touch otherwise.

Love,

Irena

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those butterflies…of hope…again

They have made it back into my studio…first as affirmatory messages on my mirror, flutterring their tracing paper wings, then landing in my paintings and getting trapped there.

Butterflies, of hope.

Feeling lot better this week, having started another minitaper round: on 55% of my prescribed dosage now. After almost ten months. Another ten or so ahead. Midway point? Definitely if I count in the sertraline taper last year too: Slowly slowly catch a monkey…and the precision digital scales the #teddylost paintings have paid for have been of great help. Art of withdrawal indeed.

Butterflies of Hope

It is a strange and not always easy position to be in: I have always considered myself and been more of a community and participatory artist…working with people…now by the nature of the withdrawal process being pushed into a solitary confinement of the studio…being grounded…and grounding in the withdrawal process.

Following my #becometheartistyouare process meantime.

If you want to join me virtually at least, head over to the link.

To stay in touch, subscribe to my Arting newsletter here.

In the meantime…butterflies…of hope.

 

 

 

10 Arting Books to read/have a look at over Christmas to get arting in 2018

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Arting Manifesto, photograph, 2017

Christmas as you would probably agree is one of the best times for reading. So before it finishes, why not check out these books, even if you may not have got them (there is Amazon, oh no, I did not say that! or the local library). So which books should you read/have a look at to get arting (more serously or with more fun) in the new year?

Here are my top ten

  1. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, I know, I know… if you are really feeling stuck and combating those inner demons and blocks this will help.
  2. How to Become an Artist by Michael Atavar if you are already taking it “seriously” and need a bit of pep talk.
  3. Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp if you need to rock your creative habits, obviously
  4. LifeLines by Dion McInnis if you need some more interesting ways to dig biographical inspiration.
  5. Foundations of Art and Design by Adrian Piper to revisit the basics of visual language, even if you are only looking at the illustrations and consider the headings of each chapter.
  6. Make Mess by Keri Smith to get a bit more playful and irreverent, any of her books, really.
  7. Women, Art and Society by Whitney Chadwick to appreciate, even if  not that perfect, gender relations in the field.
  8. The Tate Guide to Modern Art Terms by Simon Wilson and Jessica Lack to get your head around some of the art books, magazines and art gallery labels. Or approach it dada style – pick a random term and create around that.
  9. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon, check it out really really, if you have not already.
  10. 100 Artists’ Manifestos: From the Futurists to the Stuckists as selected by Alex Danchev to get inspired (or steal like an artist) to pen your own one.

These are my top ten for artists at any stage, shape or form, plus of course…read anything AND everything BY your favourite artists. No harm in that. Not necessarily ON them, but BY them, says I as an also trained art historian.

What would you add up to the list? To help your arting itch? Let me know

And if you want to take it more seriously (arting itch) with a bit of fun (a lot actually), why not join me on the #becometheartistyouare course in February or take the self-study option anytime? Let’s get arting in 2018!

Irena Ellis is an artist/educator living in London, running her own Arting online and offline workshops and art practice aimed at photography, painting and butterflies.

 

 

Merry and Happy

Wishing you a merry festive season and a happy new year. May all our creative seeds sprout and grow!

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If you want to get an arting start in the new year, why not join me on the Arting webinar on 28th December at 6 pm GMT. Just let me know on irena.ellis.arting@gmail.com that you want to join.

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I shall be teaching overcoming arting fear and inhibitions and finding inspiration within and outside. A kind of arting kickstarter. Hop on! Looking forward to seeing you there.

 

Becometheartistyouare Day 4

Today’s prompt has taken me to the garden. From noticing the lost shiny objects, my eyes wondered through the thicket of foliage to unforeseen openings and new shoots and leaves. The tools are there – boots and a spade (reminding me to call a spade a spade)…and it is called “challenge”. Nothing in the way of new shoots and leaves growth.

Becometheartistyouare: Day 2

Inspiration from within…this is the piece I created with Day 2 prompt. By drawing a line and drawing inspiration from it.

The outcome is a neverending mobius strip in a starry background…which turns out to be made of paper too. At the same time they are black and white and waiting on colours to be brought in, thinking about it.

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Looking at it I get a sense of completion, yet journey ahead of me. And a child-like urge to colour in the stars in the background. Perhaps I should do it. What do you think? 🙂 The more I look at it, the more a right way it seems. Will keep you updated.

 

33 Days to #becometheartistyouare

In May I am running this unique mixture of visual art training and art therapy self-experiential challenge: #becometheartistyouare.

For a month, in twenty-minutes a day (minimum) you will unblock, find, explore and develop your own arting inspirations and learn more about your world, yourself and the things in between in the process.

#becometheartistyouare challenge prompts and pieces

This is how (a curtain pulled, syllabus revealed).

All you need is yourself, your phone camera, a pencil and a sketchbook. That will do to start with.

Week One is all about getting rid our our arting fears and finding and developing our own ways of seeing

Day 0 — Looking at where we are

Day 1 — Making a baad drawing

Day 2 — Drawing a Line

Day 3 — Looking and Seeing

Day 4 — Seeing some more

Day 5 — Write up your Seeing manifesto

Day 6 — Show and Tell

Day 7 — Arting Reflection

Week 2 is all about learning from your favourite artist’s work, which speaks to you the most currently. You learn authentically from them and about yourself.

Day 8 — Inspired By: Your choice

Day 9 — Inspired By: How was it made?

Day 10 — Inspired By: What does it mean?

Day 11 — Inspired By: What did they mean?

Day 12 — Inspired By: What does it mean to me?

Day 13 — Inspired By: Show and Tell — My Inspired Answer

Day 14 — Arting Reflection

Week 3 and Week 4 are devoted to developing the material you have created using elements and guiding principles of art and design…and looking at what it all means for yourself too.

Day 15 — Nothing/ness

Day 16 — Point and Line

Day 17 — Shape

Day 18 — Texture

Day 19 — Space

Day 20 — Time and/in Motion

Day 21 — Value

Day 22 — Color

Day 23 — Unity/Harmony

Day 24 — Balance

Day 25 — Scale/Proportion

Day 26 — Contrast/Emphasis

Day 27 — Rhythm

Week 5 is about preparing to Show and Tell, to share authentically what you have created. And…deciding how to move on.

Day 28 — Looking at it all and seeing what it means

Day 29 — Choices, Choices

Day 30 — Preparing to show/share

Day 31 — Show and Tell: #becometheartistyouare

Day 32 — Celebrate and Reflect

Day 33 — Where next?

Daily I am sending out the arting prompt direct to your inbox. When you put in the arting work, and follow/spend time on these arting prompts daily, you are guaranteed to get your arting juices back, develop a creating habit/discipline and take your arting to the next level. As well as discover things about yourself you did not know or did not acknowledge fully. You #becometheartistyouare. More of herself.

There is a friendly and safe community in place to share your ahas, questions and observations. Ready to join us? Go here.

I look forward to arting the May away with you!

Let me know if you are in!