Aarti Nayar: Be a Lover of Your Language

Aarti Nayar picPoet Aarti Nayar is a mother of two and an instructor of ESL (English as Second Language) at Gwinnett Technical College in the department of adult education. In addition to poetry, Aarti writes for children, has been published in the Indian monthly publication Khabar, and is an active contributor to The Titan View, Northview High School’s monthly newsletter.

How do you create your poetry?

Writing a poem, to me, is akin to creating a painting where the subject is my emotion(s) of the moment and the art is a depiction of it in words.

At what point in your life did you start thinking of yourself as an artist?

Over the years, as I wrote both poetry and prose it helped me realize my ability to create something that was both meaningful and beautiful and spoke to my need to speak my mind about the situation on hand. The beauty came from my endless quest to find the perfect synonym, the perfect simile, or metaphor to describe the thought swirling in my head, much in the same way as any other artist (painter, sculptor, chef) would toil to perfect his creation. In that sense I have thought of myself as an artist ever since my association with the writing process.

How would you describe your spirituality?

I believe in the presence of a higher power and feel inspired by the religion of humanity.

How does your spirituality find expression in your art?

My poems encompass the spectrum of human existence, from politics and war, to nature and beauty, and in general to the mystical and the mysterious in all things around. While very diverse in their subject matter they all resonate with an underlying feel for the human condition and its limitlessly universal appeal.

Can you share a story of how creating your art expanded your awareness of God?

Be it a poem on a moonlit night, or the haunting magic of trees, or the spectacle of falling leaves, the death of a solder or the devastation of the tsunami, one is endlessly examining, at very close quarters, the different manifestations of life. In the throes of this introspection, what you start to see is the grand scale of the forces at play and inadvertently a sense of your own bit space. One understands very quickly that one is but a cog in the wheel that is designed to move with or without you. For me personally, that is the definition of god and in doing what I do I’m forever aware of his presence.

How do you connect with divine flow when you are creating? Is it an intentional process that you can duplicate?

As I write a poem, I start from taking a broader, magnified view and narrow it to the finer, situational view. In doing this I feel like I’m on a journey that takes me around the different vistas of life, visiting and verifying what I need until finally it’s time for me to get off at my destination. While on this journey I feel like I’m connected to, as you call it, the divine flow, as if I see the intrinsic circuitry of life and understand its enduring inter-connectedness.

While not intentional, it’s certainly intuitive and is what I experience as I create my poems.

How do you connect differently to your creative source when you work solo versus when you are collaborating with others?

ANayar bookMy book of poems, Eggshells of the Soul is a collaborative work of six poets including myself. While the book is a shared collection, the poems in it are very much each poet’s personal expression.

How do ideas come to you?

I think it’s all about how you are perceiving the world around you at any given moment. In a sense each perception could potentially be a trigger for a poem. Sometimes three or four ideas come to me just in listening to the news or reading an article or from a bit from a conversation I might have had a week ago or simply from the sights and sounds around me.

How do you decide which ideas to pursue?

Over the years I have learned not to rate ideas or judge them as worthy of perusal. Writing a poem is the device by which I explore the trigger. While I may go into it having one thought, many a times what follows is something entirely different from the original sentiment. There are times when I myself am surprised by the chain of thoughts and the climax that they lead me to. What I see at the start and what I conclude with at the end of my poetic examination could be completely unexpected and radical.

If you were going to teach your creative process to someone else, what would be one or two of the key things you would share?

I would strongly recommend that the individual be in tune with himself, with the things that stay in his heart and those that don’t. Live your life in the big moments but more importantly live it in its smaller, everyday ones. I guess it would be fair to say that being an active participant of your life is critical. The phrase, live life to its fullest, while a cliché, is certainly a necessary requirement. It is where you get the inspiration from. Additionally be a lover of your language. It is from scouring its depths that you can find that perfect metaphor that will season your poem much like a cook seasons his dish. As we know, when it comes to seasoning, all one needs is a dash of this and a pinch of that.

How has your art affected your spiritual evolution or spiritual evolution affected your art?

I think that both are intrinsically related and affect the other spontaneously. That said I do think that who you are and the leanings of your spirit will color the way you approach your art. What you choose to advance with it or choose to take-away from it is also a function of the state of your spirituality. In that sense my spiritual evolution has constantly informed the choices I make with my art.

Thanks Aarti!

Find out more about Aarti in this interview with Colleen Walsh Fong on the blog site Eve. Aarti’s book Eggshells of the Soul is available on Amazon and Booklogix. Her work has been featured in several issues of CountryLine magazine. See her poem Niagara Falls on page 25. Aarti’s poem titled I sit watching. . . (as cancer consumes you) is featured on page 22 in this issue.

With the Art as Worship radio show on hiatus, we’ll continue to feature artists using their written words to describe the connection between their art and their spirituality. Access the Art as Worship radio interviews on Empower Radio. Listen to an encore presentation of an artist’s interviews each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio. Like us on Facebook at Art as Worship, then share your art and comments. Contact Vanessa Lowry at vlowry (@) gmail.com if you would like to be a featured artist on Art as Worship. Namaste!

 

Roger Hutchison: Painting as Prayer

Roger Hutchison picArtist Roger Hutchison is Canon for Children’s Ministries at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Columbia, SC. In his vocation, he has been privileged to gather around the Painting Table with those experiencing grief in a diverse variety of ways—everything from temporary housing, drug addiction, job loss, and poverty to the challenges and blessings of childhood and the elderly.

Your bio mentions that you are an artist that paints with his hands. Can you tell me more about how you create your art?

Late one evening, after my family had gone to bed, I found myself sitting at my Grandmother’s old kitchen table, which we had stored upstairs in our home after she died.

RHutchison 4I had been working on a painting for several evenings, and was getting more frustrated with it—and with myself. In a reactive—and what I now know was a moment of grace— I took my brushes, threw them into the trash and thrust my hands into the paint. I discovered what could only be described as a holy joy when I moved my fingers through the puddles of color and across the canvas. I was surprised—and blessed—by the conversation that followed. This experience of painting as prayer continued deep into the night and changed the trajectory of my life forever.

I am now an artist who paints only with my fingers.

What was ordinary became extraordinary. The same simple oak table where my Grandmother would serve us delicious meals from her garden was now my painting table . . . an altar of remembrance and healing, baptized with splashes of color and tears.

RHutchison1At what point in your life did you start thinking of yourself as an artist?

I am not really sure. I am still uncomfortable with that title.

How does your spirituality find expression in your art?

I am an artist. I find joy when I move my paint-covered fingers across a blank canvas that sits atop my painting table. This is the place where I go to pray. This is the place where I go to listen with my heart. This is the place where the fullness of my life settles down and I can “pay attention” to that still small voice.

Can you share a story of how creating your art expanded your awareness of God?

I was invited to travel to Newtown and Sandy Hook, Connecticut in May 2013 to paint with the children, families, and teachers at Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown.RHutchison 3

A third-grade girl told me she’d had a really bad day. Her painting was dark and frantic. I listened to her for a little while—then encouraged her to paint another one. The second painting was a bit more colorful. She took her two paintings and smashed them together. When she pulled them apart, the darkness had lifted . . . and she smiled. That’s when I saw light and love in her face.

I saw God.

How do you connect with divine flow when you are creating? Is it an intentional process that you can duplicate?

Painting is the way I talk to God. I find joy when I move my fingers through puddles of color and across blank canvas. I am always surprised—and blessed—by the conversation that takes place. It is never the same.

How do ideas come to you?

I approach painting as a form of prayer. I sit at my painting table for a while in silence—listening for that “still small voice.” I then begin to select my colors and enter into the process of translating my prayers into paintings. I never know what the outcome will be.

I am not a professionally trained artist. I did take a class or two in college, but I am mostly self-taught. I had tried painting with brushes, but they got in the way. Now I paint with my hands.

Simply put—I cherish the life I have been given and I searched a long time for a way to say thank you. When I sit at the painting table, I find that I am able to do
this in a way that can only be described as holy.

How do you decide which ideas to pursue?

I never begin a painting with a plan. I let the colors . . . and the silence guide me.

RHutchison2If you were going to teach your creative process to someone else, what would be one or two of the key things you would share?

My painting table is an actual table, but the idea of the Painting Table is more than a wooden top with four legs. It is about the invitation. It is about our sharing our own sacred stories. It is a safe and holy space where conversation, prayer, and healing can take place. The canvas, paper, and other assorted art supplies are the simple tools that help bring us together.

You do not need any artistic experience or training to be a part of the Painting Table. It is not about what your final creation looks like. It is about the transformation that takes place when you sit with others around a table for a period of time—creating, sharing, dreaming, and praying—together. And it can certainly be done in solitude, all by yourself.

It is about what happens in your heart and in your soul.The Painting Table book1

Roger, thanks for sharing your art and your heart!

Roger’s book The Painting Table: A Journal of Loss and Joy was released December 1, 2013 from Church Publishing, Inc. Find out more about Roger and his work at http://www.thepaintingtable.com.

With the Art as Worship radio show on hiatus, we’ll continue to feature artists using their written words to describe the connection between their art and their spirituality. Access the Art as Worship radio interviews on Empower Radio. Listen to an encore presentation of an artist’s interviews each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio. Like us on Facebook at Art as Worship, then share your art and comments. Contact Vanessa Lowry at vlowry (@) gmail.com if you would like to be a featured artist on Art as Worship. Namaste!

Sean Beeson: Relax and Have Fun with Your Creative Process

Sean Beeson picSean Beeson is a world-renowned composer, pianist, educator, and owner of the award-winning Sean Beeson Studios LLC. His piano works have been heard over 20 million times by people around the globe, and are published by Serenity Studio. Sean’s sweeping orchestral scores can be heard in over one hundred video games, films, and trailers.

How do you create your compositions?

I create music by using computers to realize elements of music, ultimately compiling them into pieces. From sole piano melodies to complex orchestral colors, technology is at the core of what I do.

At what point in your life did you start thinking of yourself as an artist?

As far back as I remember, I have thought of myself as an artist. Or more perhaps like an inventor or explorer. I love to experiment, and when I received my first synthesizer/keyboard I got really into music technology and creating sounds. I haven’t stopped since.

How would you describe your spirituality?

I am Roman Catholic. I believe in Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and follow the Tradition of The Church that has been passed down for two millennium.

How does your spirituality find expression in your art?

My art is a celebration of the gifts God has given me. I always strive to express my gratitude in my music, but also bring my music to the faith through various projects I work on. SBeeson Christmas Dreams

Although not directly through my art but through my craft, I try to be a model Christian by making moral, ethical, and positive decisions.

Can you share a story of how creating your art expanded your awareness of God?

For me, I think it worked the other way around. Having grown up in the Church, music was always a big part of my praising! It was my love of that “art” that really strengthened my art.

How do you connect with divine flow when you are creating? Is it an intentional process that you can duplicate?

I don’t know if I connect with a divine flow, so to speak. I would love to think that God is influencing my music, but I can’t really say. I do pray for intervention in my work and career though, asking for God to open my heart and mind to how he wishes to form my career and music.

I try to offer up everything I do to God. Without his graciousness, I could not be doing what I am doing today.

How do you connect differently to your creative source when you work solo versus when you are collaborating with others?

There are times, when working with others, that my art really becomes more of a science/math. It is still art of course, but what I am asked to collaborate on dictates that I become more of a supporting creative contributor as opposed to being a director.

How do ideas come to you?

That is a good question! I still don’t always understand how or where my ideas come from. I think a lot of them come from REALLY far back in my mind and are influenced heavily by my earliest exposures to music. The rest stems from my training as a composer. I rarely have to grasp for inspiration, but I tend to approach some of my compositions as if they are mathematical equations that need to be “resolved” versus creative dreams that are stuck in my brain and need to be exhumed.

How do you decide which ideas to pursue?

I tend to trust my gut instincts. It doesn’t always result in the most original music, nor the most advanced work, but it does allow me to focus on creating art for clients, meeting their deadlines and keeping my business afloat.

If you were going to teach your creative process to someone else, what would be one or two of the key things you would share?

Relax and have fun. The creative process (at least mine) can at some times be stressful and frustrating. Don’t let that weigh you down, and instead focus on the positive. Relax and have fun with what you do. You can pour yourself into it, you can get heavily invested into, you put sweat, blood, and tears into your work… But have fun and relax.

How has your art affected your spiritual evolution or spiritual evolution affected your art?

In my personal experiences they have worked together. It is hard to explain to someone that isn’t me (as I am sure it would be for a lot of artists with a similar mindset!) how art leads to a greater understanding and appreciation of God, and how focusing more of my craft and time on God has given me a better understanding of my role in music with my spirituality.

Find out more about Sean and his music at seanbeeson.com or go to Serenity Studio’s Youtube channel.

 With the Art as Worship radio show on hiatus, we’ll continue to feature artists using their written words to describe the connection between their art and their spirituality. Access the Art as Worship radio interviews on Empower Radio. Contact Vanessa Lowry at vlowry (@) gmail.com if you would like to be a featured artist on Art as Worship.

Maria Howell: As a Sensitive Artist, You Want to Know About Life

PowerfulActress, Singer and Voiceover artist, Maria Howell is best known as the choir soloist from the movie “The Color Purple.”

“Art and spirituality are like singing and acting for me. Art is an expression of the spiritual side of me so as I grow with one, it helps the other. It’s a volleying back and forth like my singing and acting have been. I want both. As I learn more and I grow, I want to know more. As a sensitive artist, you want to know about life—you want to know what it means.” ~Maria Howell

Listen to Maria’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

MHowell as Grace

Maria stars as Grace in NBC’s “Revolution.”

As an actress, she has appeared in Lifetime’s hit shows, Army Wives and Drop Dead Diva, the CW’s Vampire Diaries, FOX’s Past Life, ABC’s Detroit 1-8-7, Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls, Meet the Browns, and House of Payne, as well as the acclaimed theatrical release The Blind Side, starring Sandra Bullock.  She has worked alongside, Mario Van Peebles and Wendy Raquel Robinson in BET’s hit series The Game, Queen Latifah’s Single Ladies and USA’s hit show Necessary Roughness, starring Calli Thorne.  She played Jules’ doctor (Cameron Diaz), in What To Expect When You’re Expecting, and in the role of “Mrs. Easle” in the ABC Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie Firelight, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr.

revolution_nbc_smShe now joins the regular cast of the hit TV series Revolution on NBC.  Her theatrical releases in 2013 include, Addicted, starring Sharon Leal and Boris Kodjoe and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as “Seeder.”  She also joins the cast of Devious Maids, as attorney “Ida Hayes.”

Maria says, “The one seamless thing in my life has been singing and acting. Through singing, I give of myself and open up by telling stories. I’m touching people literally and figuratively. With acting, I feel I can inspire people by letting them see this African-American face doing something they might have imagined doing themselves. Any time I sing or act from the right mindset—from the right heart—I hope someone will be inspired. It’s a beautiful thing to be aware of God and know that in your art, you are connected.”

Throughout her career, Maria has shared the musical stage with legendary artists like Nancy Wilson, George Benson, Ray Charles and Earl Klugh. After a very successful stint in Asia, Maria relocated back to the US and performed weekly at Sambuca Jazz Café for nine consecutive years…2002 to its closing in December 2010. She and pianist Bill Wilson (son of legendary jazz pianist Teddy Wilson), held the distinction of being the longest running act at the Atlanta location. Maria has released several CD recordings, with the most recent release titled Reflections, a retrosMaria Howell singing 2pective collection.

She encourages other artists by saying, “I define passion as something that won’t let you go. Think about what your passion is and go for it. Even if you don’t have a fully developed plan, just start with something. Start with this step and go forward. Things somehow come to you if you put it out there. So many things have come into my life that didn’t come in the package I imagined. Connect the emotion with the experience and just live it.”

Learn more about Maria and her work at www.mariahowell.com. Links to her Facebook and Twitter pages are on her website.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!

Sharron Ragan: Become Inspired by the Process of Painting

SRagan picSharron Ragan is an entrepreneur, artist, business leader and visionary who literally throws herself into her work emotionally, physically and spiritually. She is an awarding winning artist and has commissioned work at several corporate offices including Coca-Cola, and private collections.

As an abstract expressionist Sharron paints intuitively using vibrant acrylic colors and contemporary techniques. She also leads inspirational creative development programs for businesses, organizations, and individuals on how to tap into their inner creative expression and passions with painting. As a new-thought creative leader, Sharron has been recognized for blending ancient wisdom and creativity programs with contemporary business.

Emerging

Emerging

“I paint in an intuitive, expressive style and teach workshops on how to use this style to develop your creativity. It doesn’t matter WHAT you paint. Painting opens up a creative part of yourself that you might not have known you have. Become inspired by the process of painting—the color, the vibrancy of the color, and the movement of the paintbrush on the paper.” ~Sharron Ragan

Listen to Sharron’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

She began her studies in art in college and transitioned into a corporate career in advertising and marketing. After 25-years as a corporate marketing executive with several Fortune 500 companies including Wendy’s and Coca-Cola she returned to expanding her fine art skills as a professional artist and entrepreneur.

Sharron says, “With every painting, I start with a moment of silence. I ask that I am connected to whatever I’m going to create and that it is created for the highest good. I set an intention that anyone who sees it will be inspired and helped in some way.”

Her business Blue Frog Creative Network focuses on Branding, Marketing and Creative Expression providing programs for Business Owners, Entrepreneurs, and Artists.

Sharron has been featured in national media, radio, TV and magazines as a leader in creativity and intuitive mastery. She has inspired thousands of professionals to seek personal fulfillment and business purpose by awakening their creativity and following their intuition. She says, “It is my personal journey to help people recognize they are creative. Once your mind opens to your creativity, the universe brings you more ideas and more information.”

A Paint Journey Weekend

A Paint Journey Weekend

She volunteers her time to various non-profit organizations and also leads art retreats.  As a speaker on creativity she has been featured at corporations, national conventions and universities nationwide.  She lives in the Atlanta area.

Visit www.thepaintjourney.com to find out more about upcoming expressive painting workshops. Find out more about Sharron and links to her on social media at www.SharronRagan.com.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!

Sunmoon Pie: Everything Can Be Sacred

Sunmoon Pie features the duo of singer-songwriters Bonnie Puckett on piano & Michael Levine on guitar.

Sunmoon Pie features the duo of singer-songwriters Bonnie Puckett on piano & Michael Levine on guitar.

Sunmoon Pie is an Atlanta-based Jewish music group, writing and performing a blend of spiritual and sometimes quirky songs that explore the human condition through the lens of Jewish & Kabbalistic themes—with a focus on meditative Kirtan-style Hebrew chanting inspired by the Jewish liturgy. The artists of Sunmoon Pie say, “We take Jewish prayers and add melodies—hopefully adding a new spirit to these prayers that have been said by Jews around the world for centuries.”

“Everything can be sacred. Our name, Sunmoon Pie, represents our quirkiness and combines the sacred and the mundane together. You don’t have to change your sense of humor to be spiritual.” ~Sunmoon Pie Sunmoon Pie logo

Sunmoon Pie features the duo of singer-songwriters Bonnie Puckett on piano & Michael Levine on guitar. Listen to the Sunmoon Pie Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

Bonnie is an employment attorney with the law firm of Ogletree Deakins, and sings with the female a cappella group Octave.  Bonnie and Michael regularly lead alternative services at Ahavath Achim synagogue, which feature Sunmoon Pie’s original music and recently, prayers set to the music of famous artists such as the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, and U2.

Bonnie says, “Music is a way to express spirituality within Judaism and also to build bridges to other forms of spirituality. It expands the concept of the oneness of God.”

Michael is a cofounder of the children’s music education company The Learning Groove and a music producer.  He is also a former winner of the prestigious Eddie’s Attic Open Mic Shootout and has won many songwriting & music production awards.

A singer-songwriter for many years, Michael says, “I always wrote about spiritual themes, but only since I met Bonnie have I been writing expressly Jewish songs while borrowing from other traditions, like creating Kirtan-style chants. It’s really cool to write the songs, then to sing them as a prayer in a meditative environment that serves others.”

Find out more about Bonnie, Michael and their music at www.sunmoonpie.com. Watch of a video of Sunmoon Pie performing an original Hebrew kirtan melody to Shiru L’Adonai.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!

Jeff Beach: Playing for My Creator

Jeff BeachCurrently living and working in Atlanta, Jeff Beach is a professional drummer who is quickly becoming a first call for live performance, recording sessions, and educational clinics all over the country.

A graduate and former instructor of the Atlanta Institute of Music, Jeff has had the opportunity to share the stage with acts such as Maroon 5, Tonic, Ringo Starr, The Killers, George Thorogood, and many others.

 “God gave me this gift of drumming and I connect with Him as I play. Now instead of just connecting to the crowd, I connect up. I’m playing for my Creator.” ~Jeff Beach

Listen to Jeff’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

Jeff is active in praise and worship bands and works with a variety of churches in the greater Atlanta area including Dunwoody Community Church, The Village Church of Dunwoody, Lawrenceville Church of God, 12 Stone Church, Peachtree Presbyterian Church, Hope Chapel, Mt. Pisgah, Cross Pointe, Roswell United Methodist, and First Baptist Church of Atlanta.

He says, “I love the energy of the crowd when I am performing—whether it is a secular concert or a praise and worship service. In a worship setting, I’m able to help people who are in a special place at a special time get into that moment of worship.”

Tanani Church Choir

Tanani Church Choir

Owner of Atlanta Drum Lab located in Duluth GA, Jeff has been teaching privately for ten years. Using professional equipment and a classroom that is conducive to being creative, Jeff creates a program where both he and the student play and learn together.  It is Jeff’s desire to take a student’s interest in music and cultivate it into a passion that will transform both their life and the lives around them.

In addition to performing and teaching, Jeff is working on a project that combines the vocals of a 40-member African vocal choir with his percussion. When complete, the Tanani Church Choir project will help raise money to build a new church in their town of Xai Xai. Jeff arranged the recording session on his second mission trip to Mozambique and played drum rhythms with the singers. He says, “We just made music. I don’t speak their language and no one at the recording session spoke English. It was awesome to see it come together. We’ll see where God takes the project from here.”

emily's-ring-in-box-of- chocolatesVisit www.jeffbeachdrums.com to find out more about Jeff and his work. His creativity finds expression in more than just his drumming and mixed media visual art. Check out DrumInk and his creative marriage proposal to his wife Emily.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!

Janine Hoefler: Worlds Open Up

Janine bio photoJanine Hoefler is a painter, photographer, lecturer and teacher.  She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arcadia University and has taught art classes to both children and adults.

 “I’ve always had a real sense of empathy and sensitivity so whenever I can be quiet, worlds just open up. I find that Spirit talks to me and translates into my paintings. My art is a manifestation of Spirit.” ~Janine Hoefler inner-vision

Listen to Janine’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

Along with her career as a painter, Janine is an award-winning photographer and a speaker. She teaches individuals to take emotionally meaningful photos and how to bring families together with photography.

She has been a member of both the Bon Air Artists’ society in Virginia as well as the Professional Photographers of America. Now working primarily in watercolors, Janine says, “There is a certain spontaneity with watercolors—it’s the quality of the unexpected that I enjoy.”

Lucy-HoundcatJanine is the owner of Jazzy’s Smile Animal Painting and Photography, which is created to explore the love, joy and peace and spirit that animals provide to us every day. She says, “My family has been involved in animal rescue for many years. Pets are healers—a great respite from the intensity of life. People are transformed through relationships with pets.”

Janine currently resides in Virginia with her husband, two children and two loving and very opinionated dogs.

nap-timeVisit www.jazzyssmile.com to find out more about Janine and view a gallery of her paintings and photographs. “Like” her Facebook page for the stories behind her most recent art.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!

Adrienne Lynch: Alchemy and the Act of Creation

Adrienne Lynch picAdrienne Lynch was born on the cusp of dawn in the wake of Niagara Falls, New York’s infamous Blizzard of ’77. Things she recalls from her nomadic childhood include: cicada carcasses clinging to the tree outside the kitchen window, too-small home grown watermelons too-sweet as candy, a neighbor girl’s torn toenail, the strange feelings grown-ups gave her, and how much her terrier mutt, Harvey, loved chasing cars and rolling in dead fish.

As an adult, she found her way to clay. For over a decade, she has made mostly figurative ceramic and mixed-media sculpture and drawings, with an emphasis on impermanence, transformation, and the ineffable mysteries that take place within the human body-boat. The figure—human and animal—continues to play a vital role in her practice, as do language, and humble materials such as paper, rusted metal, and string.

thing temple (love needs objects)

thing temple (love needs objects)

 “Clay is a great medium for me spiritually because it models the alchemy that happens through the act of creation. I take things that are difficult—like death, loss, heartbreak or loneliness—and make art around them. The process of giving form to these intense feelings and experiences lightens them and provides a release. My art has helped me let go of heavy energy and be less afraid of the dark things.” ~Adrienne Lynch

Listen to Adrienne’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

She comments, “Art is an act of communication. My creative process feels like an act of channeling. Art moves through me and I manifest something, but the cycle isn’t complete—I haven’t fulfilled my mission—until I’ve shared my art and gotten feedback. I look forward to sharing my work because it completes the cycle.”

Lynch.CandyDotBraille

CandyDotBraille

Adrienne considers teaching a privilege and a calling. She teaches Ceramics and Three-Dimensional Design at Georgia State University and Roswell Art Center West. She loves how the studio classroom can become a space for taking big risks, asking juicy questions, turning each other’s thinking inside-out, sharing research and insights, and witnessing breakthroughs.  Adrienne encourages each student to “honor what is unique about you and what you were meant to bring into this world.”

detail of Matchmaker

detail of Matchmaker

 

In addition to her art in clay, Adrienne is a freelance writer and recently began a blog project entitled A Daring Adventure Or Dot-Dot-Dot. Her writing examines the questions, challenges, and realities of following one’s dream.

She is also endlessly fond of the colors yellow and grey, and of the word, “Yes.” Find out more about Adrienne and her sculpture work at www.alynchyes.wix.com/adriennelynchart. Join the dialog around pursuing the life of your dreams at www.adaringadventureordotdotdot.weebly.com.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!

Jim Duggan: I’m Closest to God When I’m Carving

Jim Duggan pic smJim Duggan has been carving ice in the Atlanta area for twenty years. He started his sculpting career after graduating from the Culinary Art program at the Art Institute of Atlanta in 1991, the first graduating class of the school. Jim worked with chefs who allowed him to study the field of ice sculpture. He soon left the kitchen to work full time in the art of ice sculpture.

 “I feel closest to God when I have a chainsaw in my hands and I’m cutting. It’s a spiritual thing for me and I meditate as I carve. I’ve been carving for so long now, I’m not thinking as much as I work. I tune everything out and reflect—I can really work through a lot of problems when I’m carving.” ~Jim Duggan

Listen to Jim’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

Eight years ago, Jim founded ICE Sculpture, INC. He has provided sculptures to events hosting President Carter, President Bush, Snoop Dogg, The Thrashers, Tuskegee Airmen, Madonna, NHL All Star Game, and more. Jim’s favorite event each year is carving ice for Atlanta Motor Speedway and NASCAR.  He has also designed and created ice for two movies. Star Light Star Bright

Jim says, “Ice carving is a temporary medium and ice has a life of its own. There’s the production—the creative process where you create the sculpture. But once you set it out, the ice tempers and frosts up, then it starts to melt. As an ice carver, I’m creating something that I know is going to change. It should look best an hour after it begins to melt. I want guests to get the ‘wow factor’ as they walk in. As the sculpture melts, it starts to disappear. It’s turning back into water and the circle will begin all over again.”

Jim is a founding member of the Atlanta Ice Marvels. The team has twice placed in the Top 5 at the Ice Carving World Championships in Alaska. They are competing in the 2013 competition beginning February 26th.

He says, “My competitors are my teammates for the Alaska competition. It’s a tight-knit group. If one of us is having a problem, we help each other out. The ice sculpting industry in Atlanta used to be really cutthroat, but after we started going to Alaska, we saw that we need each other. No company can do everything. You might sell a job and need other companies to help you—people you can count on.”

AIM 5th placeFor the last ten years, Jim has taught the art of ice sculpture part-time in conjunction with the culinary arts program at Chattahoochee Technical College. When he has free time, Jim likes to carve woodcarvings for friends and family.

Find out more about Jim and his ice sculpture art at ICE Sculpture, INC. Like his page on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!