Saturday, October 6, 2012

frida and me....

greetings everyone!
i've been told it is now october, but i haven't been able to enjoy it the way the rest of the world seems to be many postings about getting ready for halloween.

time seems to have just stopped at our house.

i am still recovering from my ear surgery - i had NO idea it was going to take this long!! i suppose i should have, being that my ear was removed,  i had bones drilled out, growths removed, and ear drums rebuilt, but you know, sometimes the optimist in me comes out. i was told by my surgeon that ear surgery was not that painful to recuperate from. liar.
 unfortunately, i got a rude awakening over the weekend that i was no where near healed enough to venture out in to public. and i haven't felt strong enough to be in the studio either. mainly, it's been me, the kitties, hArry pOtter, and HGTV. oh, and some SUPERNATURAL.( dean - yum.)
but, i am feeling perky enough today to do a bit of laundry (mainly because i'm running out of shirts that will fit easily over my ears) and i keep dreaming of maybe painting a few wall pieces i was working on before all this nonsense. but, i have a feeling that the couch and hArry will win out....

just before my surgery, i started a tumblr account. i may not be the best artist in the world, but i love what i do, have tried hard to develop an interesting style and subject matter, and i really enjoy sharing what i make with the world. i would LOVE LOVE LOVE to be able to make my art full time and make a nice living from it, but at the moment that is eluding me. and, you know, that is just the way it is at the moment. i could cry and bitch and whine and complain about it, but it wouldn't do me any good.  but, i still love making dolls - it gives me such joy, i don't think i could ever really describe it. there is such freedom in it.
 honestly, i don't think i have that great of an imagination and i also don't think that i think about my art enough. i spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about silly, stupid things (like dean, from SUPERNATURAL. hee hee.), but again, i enjoy making things very very much. and when i do get in to the studio .... that's basically when my imagination comes alive. i start sculpting and all sorts of ideas and possibilities come in to my little noggin. that's the fun part.

but, i digress...

back to the tumblr, yeah, i put up some pics of my work there, thinking it might be a nice way to meet other creative people and get my work seen a little bit more.
well, what happened over the weekend before my surgery made me very very sad.

i posted a picture of my frida day of the dead doll (which now lives in her forever home in austrailia),

i made this piece because frida kahlo is one of my heroes and because i love the day of the dead tradtion. it was a piece i made for a show entitled MUSES. for me, it encompassed so much of frida's life and trials, as well as how much her work and words have meant to me over the last few years.

but, someone ( i will not post a link to their "blog" as they are hateful and racist, and i do not want to drive any more traffic there than i can help) "reblogged" it, saying that a "white girl" should not be making day of the dead dolls, that it looked like tim burton, that i describe my work as "ugly - cute" (which i have never done, although i am a member of ETSY UGLY CUTE, and proudly so!), and at the end of the "post" told me to "fuck off".
 needless to say, i reported the poster to tumblr for harassment, and tried to get through the weekend without letting it bother me, especially knowing what i had to deal with on monday morning.
it was hard to think i wasn't facing my own death.

well, my surgery is behind me, even though the recovery has been slow & painful, and i've been housebound and bored.  i've been thinking a bit about this post . AND i've been thinking a lot about frida kahlo.

you see, when i first discovered frida's work back in the mid '90's when i was living in tucson.... I HATED IT!!! i thought it was gross and disturbing and i didn't understand it AT ALL. i'm not sure when i actually started to appreciate it...i think it must have been upon my move to new orleans, but i couldn't tell you when or how. but, i did. i became a HUGE fan of her work.  i've been slowly reading her biography for a while now, and i've seen selma hayek's FRIDA more times than i count. and when the mister and i were in san fracisco in 2008, i had the rare opportunity to attend a museum exhibition of her work. we got up at 6am to get tickets for it, and i ventured down to the museum alone. i got in line for my time slot and when i walked in to the room with her work for the first time, i cried. i had never seen anything so beautiful!! i couldn't believe i was there. i could reach out and touch canvas that she had touched.
it is one of the best experiences i have ever had, art wise. and i will never forget it.

one of the other reasons i am drawn to frida kahlo, her life, and her work, is the fact that she painted these breathtaking works of art and led a full, rich, exuberant life while struggling with intense  physical (and emotional) pain. i don't think the pain that i deal with on a daily basis could be considered "chronic" although at times it feels that way. some days i think " i wonder what it would be like to not hurt"...but i have friends who are suffering through far worse than my daily aches and pains and nonsense. creative, beautiful women, just like frida, who have so much beauty to give to the world. and they, like frida, keep working through the pain and bringing wonderful pieces of art in to it.
these are my heroes.

but, now, after going through this ear surgery, and having to do most of my recovery without any pain medication ( i had an allergic reaction to it), i think i may have even more love and respect for frida than i did before. she has been on my mind constantly since i got home from the hospital. every day when i think i'm not going to make it; will it ever stop hurting? will i ever be normal again? i think of frida and what she struggled with throughout most of her short life.

also, i have a huge respect for the dia de los muertos tradition and culture. again, it was something i discovered while living in tucson.
 i lost my own mother when i was 8 years old. i lost my grandmother, whom i was very close to, when i was 19 -- my brother and i being her only living relatives, we were left with the decision to sign the DNR. there's not a day that goes by that i don't think about that. or miss them greatly.
 last year i wanted to honor them with this muerto:

i didn't realize "white girls" couldn't feel loss or honor a tradition just because it is not part of the culture they grew up with.

which brings me back to the person who posted such derogatory remarks about my doll...and how i see over and over and over again on the internet what a callous, cold, and hateful society we seem to be living in. where people jump to conclusions, make judgments, and attack those who aren't like them (or they think aren't "cool"). i have been so lucky to meet the many wonderful, creative, kind, generous people i have met online. i finally feel that i have a little bit of a creative community that i am a part of....where we support and nurture each other's dreams and work. it makes me very thankful that i do live in this age, despite all the negativity and hatefulness i see so often around me. i have had opportunities i never would have had if i was not living it the computer age. we don't have to be hateful. we can be compassionate, kind, loving, and supportive. before you judge someone, maybe get to know them a bit. try to have some empathy.
but i guess haters are gonna hate. it's just that simple.

but, i don't have to hate. i am not even going to hate this horrible, sad person who is so miserable in their own life that they have to lash out at others as a way to make themselves feel better. i will pity them. and hope that eventually they find peace and happiness and love. i hope they can struggle through their own pain and come out better on the other side.

i am having a really hard time recovering from this surgery. one day i will feel great, and the next it's like someone drained me of all energy and hope.
i keep trying to take it easy, but i am so ready to get back to my normal life. so tired of hurting. and itching. and feeling week and sad.
i just want my life back. i want to go to my studio - not the sofa - when i get up. i want to sleep well and not wake up in pain. i want to smile again. and not be afraid.
i know that i will one day. hopefully soon.

i think frida said it best when she said

" i think that little by little i'll be able to solve my problems and survive"....



yoborobo said...

Amber, none of use ever has to justify to ANYONE why we love an artist, or why a type of artwork sings to our soul. No one owns the artists that make the art we love. If they did, then only Italians could love Leonardo, only Americans could love Georgia O'Keeffe. I am sorry that this person made you feel bad, especially now when you're already feeling bad, so that's like getting kicked in the shins when you already have a bum knee! I feel the same way about Frida. She is one of my heroes, even though I am not like her in many ways (including culturally). I love her strength, and her courage. And if I make 5,000 Frida plushies, some people better just get over it - lol! Feel better. xox

PS Ugly cute ROCKS!!! :))

Amber Leilani Middleton said...

you are right, of course, pam!! and i know that...i just couldn't get this off my mind and i knew i wouldn't until i talked about it! i feel the same way...i'll make a million day of the dead dolls if i want to, because it's something i love!!! thanks for the kind words!! and yes, ugly-cute DOES rock!!

Lottie said...

I am sending you a big hug for all that hurt you have had to endure. There are always some bad apples amongst us. I guess they come from a bad place and have a need to project this onto others. I am really sory it has made you feel bad and I hope it doesn't happen again. I am wishing you a speedy recovery!

Amber Leilani Middleton said...

thank you so much, lottie! i knew i shouldn't have let it get to me, but it did. but, i am happy to say i am moving on. and i get my stitches and packing out of my ear on tuesday. hopefully i'll be able to put this all behind me very shortly...

TheBlakkDuchess said...

I'm so sorry that your first foray into a new social media was met by such a great asshat... >_<

You are amazing and wonderful. A superb artist, with a style as unique & fantastic as you are.

Skin color is just that - color. It has nothing to do with what or who touches us on our deepest levels, what makes us laugh, cry, create or stand in silent awe.

For all the hate that this person sent to you, I'm sending you hugs & love & encouragement & glittery smiles. Times ten. <3

I know how hard it can be to not let other's words/deeds get to us... if they didn't get to us sometimes, we wouldn't be human. But I think the most important thing is to not let their hate & vileness taint us... and you're doing an amazing job of shining brighter, despite of this fool who obviously didn't think before they spoke.

Love & hugs, you are amazing & lots of people love you and your art.


PS... All of us who love the things we do, no matter WHICH culture they came from, make the world a happier place.

PSS... I am in mad love with Dean. He's dreamy... so dreamy. *swoon*