Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Uppem : a manifesto

My son is two and he is the reason I am a work-at-home Mom again.  Before he came along I owned and operated my own small gallery in St. Petersburg, FL.  My son has his own words for things... when he wants to say thank you he says, "Uppem."

I joined the Artist Residency in Motherhood because I always feel like the odd man out.  And that's just it... we don't even say, "odd woman out."  I'm a single mom with four children.  This in itself attracts disdain.  Add that the father of my youngest has never even met him and you get an even higher amount of social judgement.  And as I have been told countless times..."This was YOUR choice... "  And it was... it was my choice to keep my precious son.  I could not be more Uppemful. But yet, I am not a part of the "club."

When my son, let's just call him, "crumbcake #4" was born... I was making art full time.  I had a one woman pop up show when he was just two months old.  So I went from natural childbirth to back to work in less than a week.  And anyone who ever had a newborn knows the difficulties in just functioning because you are so sleep deprived.  So hard work has never been a problem for me.  I adhere to deadlines and almost always bite off more than i can chew.

I have my own style of work... I call my character, "Gretchen."  I see her as a type of Vivian Girl who fights for the lives and rights of children and women.  I'm not sure if any of my messages ever come through to my art.  But there are messages for those who can see them.  I wish to be a force for good in the world... to give hope to the hopeless... And essentially I just want to save myself.  If I can save me... then maybe I can help my own crumbcakes and possibly others along the way.

I believe in giving until it hurts.  You give and give until you cannot give anymore... because it's the right thing to do.  It's good and right to give.  Creation is salvation and I must create.  The drive is strong in this one.

I feel i'm on the verge of giving up or my life taking a turn towards the good.  Everything of late has been negative.  Last week I was told that only my male artist counterparts work would be buyable, hangable in a corporate setting because men can relate to their work... that my work is too feminine.  Yoko Ono had it right when she said that, "Women is the nigger of the world."  And in the art crowd I witness... it doesn't take a man to even put you in your place... the women are very good at holding other women down.  Today I went to a grant review that I was invited to.  When I got there I was told that "you aren't good enough" to be reviewed... "didn't you get the email?"  Nope... I didn't get the email... if I had... I wouldn't have dropped my daughter off to school early, arranged a babysitter for my crumbcake #4 and wasted a 1/4 tank of gas to be here...  And to be clear I checked my emails this morning, including spam folders.  So my grant idea was to work with an already existing organization to do workshops with incarcerated women and those newly freed... to do sewing and painting projects with them and to paint a mural on their South St. Pete workshop headquarters.   I really believe my grant proposal was good enough.  But, again... the whole thing is based upon women... art for women... women who need some hope to take home with them.

So I want to DO, I want to create... I want to achieve my goals and to get off of food stamps.  I want to help others.  I want to help myself.  I want to help my children.  So I joined this... Artist Residency in Motherhood to have someone to talk to about all of this... cause honestly, there is not one person who takes the time to listen to me.  Partly this is my fault as I work hard and when i'm not working--i'm devoted to my crumbcakes.  And it's my fault for picking really horrible men to marry and/or date.  So it's me, the cakes and my art... and of late... i've been deemed... "not good enough."

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