Friday, December 10, 2010

Hello. My name is Sylvie and I'm a "pink and green person" and I make CUTE stuff.

I can write those words now and claim them, but back in the 80s, when I was in art school, those were used as insults by both professors and other students. This all came to me when doing shows/classes this fall. People kept saying "how cute!" and I had to think for a minute and adjust the volume down on that inner critic's voice that remembered the words from college. Because I AM a green and pink cute person and no matter WHAT was told to me in art school, I'm still an artist.

Art is about emotion. I'll be the first one to tell you that I have spoken about lampwork beads to others in the past and divided people into "makers" and "artists." I've never felt like you had to be one or the other exclusively, but I do feel that some pieces have SOUL and other things are just made from a "pattern" recreating something someone else made that probably had SOUL the first time around.

It doesn't make it any less of a glass piece, it's just different to me. Art is so subjective, however, that something that I see is a piece that's got soul, someone else might see as something meaningless. That's what's so interesting about art... and challenging.

Without naming names of people's work that doesn't move me, I will tell you that among lampworked glass bead artists, Jen Geldard, Sara Sally LaGrand and Karen Ovington all make things that make MY heart sing when I look at them. (there are others, but these 3 particularly sing to me right now)

That said, my own work, as silly as this sounds, doesn't make my heart sing when I look at it. Because that's something that's left to the viewer. The art that comes from my end is about the making of the piece in the first place... the emotion that goes INto the piece. Sometimes I make things that convey emotions that I want to experience, but sometimes, as is the case right now, I'm funneling how I already feel into my work. And my work, as it is now, is all about HAPPY. It's easy for me to fluff my work off as something of no substance because of that, but HAPPY is an important emotion and I need to remember that.

If my pieces bring HAPPY to someone else who isn't having a lot of happy in their life, if it is a reminder of the HAPPY that they do have, or used to have, that's just as important as someone whose work evokes thoughtfulness, sadness or anger. I'm going to work hard to remember that HAPPY is an emotion just as worthy as any other.

And if the adjective that comes out of people's mouths first, when seeing my work is CUTE. I think that's a good thing. Cute and happy go together.... and I like cute! I've ALWAYS liked cute, which is why the word was hurled at me as an insult in art school. I made things that often were... cute, fun and colorful. A painting professor sneered at a piece I'd done and said it was "cute" (imagine that spoken in a villainous way... it just doesn't have the same effect typed,) as if the very word "cute" should send me hurling myself out the 2nd story window of the Georgia State University art building. "Quel Horreur! I make cute happy stuff!!! I must end it now!!!"

But it did intimidate me, and make me think less of my work for quite a while... that people who were making dark and gloomy work or work with political subject matter had more to say than I did. I'm not saying their work isn't important... not at all. I'm just saying that it was very easy for fellow students and professors to gang up on me because I took a different route and channeled a different emotion into my work.

So, in closing, I would like to dedicate this posting to my weaving professor, Zenaide Reiss, who I oh so affectionately referred to as "the weaving witch." (and who seems to still be around since I found this link to her work.) Ms. Reiss, within the first 2 days of class, looked at me and said with a sneer "I can see that you're a pink and green person," as she looked down her nose at me. For the rest of that semester, and the others that followed with her, I felt inferior, as if my choice of colors made me less of an artist than anyone else in the class. (and for anyone who clicked on that link... did you happen to notice the prevalence of pastel colors in her work now? Just sayin'...)

Well, here's what I've got to say to you, Ms. Reiss.....

My pink and green work, though it's now in glass rather than fibers, has meaning and worth. Several years ago, 2 women came to me at a trunk show that I did in California. They brought in 2 necklaces that their mother had made. Each necklace centered around one of my mermaid beads. They wanted me to know that when their mother passed away, each of them received one of the mermaid necklaces and that they were so special to her and to them and that it made them happy that they had these reminders of her. THAT is why it's ok to be a pink and green person who makes cute things.

So I'll say it loud.... I'm cute and I'm proud!

Have a nice weekend everyone!! (even you Ms. Reiss)

tiny blah blah blah...

coffee - I love my Keurig!
music - Christmas!!!


rosebud101 said...

sylvie, I've been called "pinkinistic." I love it! I also own your precious rosebud mermaid that I cherish! Thank you for making cute and pink work!

Sylvie said...

I don't even think I can SAY that word Mallory... it's a tongue twister! :)

I'm glad you like your fairy princess and your rosebud mermaid. :)