I finally gave myself permission to explore my visual creativity when I turned 30. I celebrate artistic expression and teach art history, but spent most of my life terrified of creating anything as I felt I lacked natural talent. However, in recent years I have found freedom and empowerment through exploring my artistic abilities, and have discovered a voice to allow suppressed feelings and frustrations to come to the surface. I aspire to one day call myself an artist without hesitation.
Idle Idols is partially created from ordinary office materials such as Bic pens and steno pads, reflecting the mundane and humdrum nature of the images drawn. However when the paper cut outs are fixed on a gold-painted wooden panel the work takes on the air of a Byzantine icon, an object of devotion and reverence.
This work stems from the shame I initially felt in a recent church study that explored “idols” as being objects of desire that distract from God. A common reaction to feelings of guilt is to busy oneself with acts of devotion and charity, however in the times we allow ourselves to be idle our thoughts often continue to fixate on deep-seated desires. The abstract doodle patterns in the starburst arrangement of paper cutouts in Idle Idols are a reflection of frustrated mental energy, and the drawings within the doodles represent obsessive “idolatrous” thought related to the desire for romantic relationships and physical intimacy, stress over money, release through mind altering substances, and the pursuit of “the good life” through leisure activities. The synthesis of this work has moved me to consider that the “idle” thoughts and activities that at first caused me shame can also be thought of as a revealing and integral part of me that gives insight into what provides the most significance in forming my psyche.