One year ago today I started to take Anna Rae Art full time. I was still watching children in our home and the idea had been sincerely considered for about a month. It was the beginning of a calculated shift to where Anna Rae Art is today. I wouldn’t have had the chutzpah to do this if I didn’t have what feels like millions of people cheering me on. I have a couple secret Mom groups that I’m in and someone asked me “What is your dream job.?” They cheered me on, spread the word, and even supported me financially. This became a thread to pull through the days of doubt and times when the hurdles seemed insurmountable. I’ve tried to say in many ways how thankful I am for that. Thank you. Thank you, family, friends and acquaintances. Your support is so appreciated and please know that your fuel was and continues to be a crucial part of any of my successes.
Until a year ago I had a variety of evolving ways of engaging and expectations of myself as an artist. For some reason, maybe fear of failure or unwillingness to risk time and money, doing street festivals and commissions was a turn off. I didn’t have as much respect for the work that is presented in these venues. How silly that was, in retrospect. And how naive I was that I couldn’t bend these venues to both benefit and engage folks in a way that satisfies my distilled artistic goals. The art world as an organism or institution has a quiet rule that where I’m at right now is considered “selling out.” That letting the control of your work be driven by others takes away your authorship. Well, I’m okay with that and I definitely have concluded based on my experiences that this world is not only not an indication that I’ve sold out but for me it is also in many ways more fulfilling than being an artist driven with more of their own authorship. First of all, art can be defined in many ways but the distilled facts that all theories of what art is and could be comes down to a couple of facts. Art is an engagement; a thoughtful idea manifested concretely. Even art that we cannot touch, (i.e. sound art) is a manifested and concrete idea. The goal is typically to engage a viewer and have a conversation. Sometimes it’s internal. Sometimes external. Sometimes artists want to engage as many viewers as possible. Some are more concerned with the intensity with the viewer that speaks to a slim audience. My work has always been created with one intention entwined with a variety of others variables depending on context. But it has always been concerned with speaking to the people. Engaging in a human way that wants to be a mirror of our world; macro or micro. I’m not concerned with being in the institution of art nor criticizing it. My work has always been tethered with threads of vulnerability and flaws in a way that holds a hand out to hold onto your magical heart. Second of all, and I've spoke of this before, there is magic in the creation of illustrating a moment for a client. It's a token referred to and my job as an artist is to memorialize that moment. Photos snap moments and painting snaps a moment with a brilliant filter. An amulet that anoints your treasured moment, sealing it. If I were to list some of the variables that goes into my work that cannot be physically manifested it would include that feeling you get when something excites you so much that your you can feel your stomach dance and ruffle and flutter. The fight or flight feeling is our only way to manifest both positive and negative vulnerabilities. One might be terrified or falling in love but both are vulnerable and a sign of excitement. That feeling is distilled in both my personal studio and my commercial studio. You can’t turn that off. It might be on a spectrum but it is a constant variable on both sides of the fence that holds my artistic endeavors. My anxiousness travels from mind through hands to paper as well as intense compassion, love and fears. I’m proud of keeping that distillation. While it is a spectrum for artists there are some that put very little in their work on both sides, personal studio and commercial. It isn’t hard for me to maintain and I’m proud that I can keep it close to my work. One year ago I painted Gregory Crewdson’s home, a church converted to living and work space. It looks like I ended up emulating that model and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I can’t wait to see where we go next.