A Great Lesson from Mondo Guerra
This weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Colorado Art Education Association's annual conference in Breckenridge, Colorado. While there, I was randomly drawn to be one of 20 conference attendees to participate in a workshop facilitated by Mondo Guerra (Project Runway). Although I have never been all that interested in fashion design or textiles, I was excited at the prospect of learning something totally new!
During the workshop, we were challenged to make a "Mood Board" based on a personal story told to us by our partner sitting at the same table. My partner began the conversation by stating, "Well, I am always walking on the edge of chaos." "What do you mean?" I asked. "Well, I have had three near death experiences in my life, so I always feel like I'm just on the edge of chaos--not falling completely into it, but just teetering on the edge." As she went onto explain her near-death experiences, I found myself conjuring up the image of her walking on a tightrope, with chaos below.
After our conversations, we were free to choose our materials. As I was looking for supplies, I found a long, thin piece of poster board--perfect for a long tightrope picture! As I looked for a rope, I happened upon a piece of red ribbon that had a few knots in it. This seemed like the perfect symbol of her life line, and her three near death experiences! After finding the perfect tightrope, I needed chaos. My partner had told me that one of her near death experiences had occurred while she was living in New York City, so I thought the image of a city with colorful yarn and mark-making would be the perfect representation of chaos. Here is an image of Mondo and I, standing with my finished work of art:
Although my finished project was not necessarily a "mood board," it served an incredibly useful purpose in that it reminded me that art is so much more than a personal experience. It is about conversations, empathy, storytelling, and healing. Creating this work wasn't about me making up my own story. It was about hearing someone else's story--truly HEARING, and then reacting empathetically through my artwork. This finished work of art was then given back to the owner of the story as reflection of my understanding of her story, and as a reminder to keep her chin up, and keep walking forward towards bigger and better things.
How many untold stories are living around us everyday, waiting to be HEARD and retold?
Take a moment every once in a while to truly listen to those around you--forget about yourself, your stories, calm the buzz in your head, and just LISTEN. You never know where their stories may take you!
Have you ever experienced a moment that you can't really classify as anything other than "magical?" A couple summers ago I went on a 90-mile backpacking trip. One night I woke up in the middle of the night and could see a bright light shining through my tent. When I stepped outside of my tent, I looked up and saw the most incredible night sky I have ever seen--so many bright colors all swirled together with twinkling stars. I remember feeling goosebumps as I took it all in.
Last fall I experienced another magical moment as I was sitting in a cozy cabin, sipping on my tea. A few sips in, I began to notice a herd of deer gathering around the cabin. At first they were nibbling at trees and grazing, then they began to bed down around the cabin, and several fell asleep. I remember one deer that was out cold, sprawled out in the dirt. It was a pure, peacefully magical moment.
I find that most interactions with animals in the natural world feel magical to me-- a fleeting moment shared in the peaceful solitude of the wild. That type of magic is something that I frequently desire to capture in my paintings--those fleeting magical moments between man and the natural environment.
Below is one of my most recent paintings, capturing a fleeting moment of peaceful magic.
Have a wonderfully magical week!
Welcome to the whimsical world of Tara Pappas' mixed media art! Thank you for stopping by to view samples of my work and read a little about my adventures as an artist. I am always looking for new ways to connect and grow as an artist, so would love to hear from you if you have any questions or interests in a particular piece. I hope that my work brings you inspiration and joy!
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