Exist truly and fully

I’ve probably never been more relieved to enter a fresh new year.  In 2017 I encountered parts of myself I hadn’t known existed and self discovery ain’t always pretty but I maintain that it is good.  As I look to 2018 I want to keep the humility of my humanness that last year gifted me and find a way toward boldness rooted in love.  

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“...be good at what you’re good at.  Many of us spend time and energy trying to be something we are not.  But this is a move against the soul, because individuality rises out of soul as water rises out of the depths of the earth.  We are who we are because of the special mix that makes up our soul.  Power begins in knowing this special soul, which may be entirely different from our fantasies about who we are or who we want to be.”  -Thomas Moore 

I’ll be leading a workshop this Saturday, January 6, 9am-12pm at The Hive.  Andria Yates of Reach and Thrive will be joining Amelia Peterson and myself to explore this source of power through guided meditations,  exercises from the Alexander Technique, and the creation of blind-contour self portraits.  No experience or skill necessary.  Register at thehiveknox.com 

Hope you can join us for a creative practice to begin our new year.   

We painted our floor navy blue and stayed with friends while it dried

Sitting with my honey over tea and coffee.  We’ll go home and put the furniture back when we’re done. He’s writing and I’m doing this.  Feeling grateful for seasons of transition and growth.  

work in progress  

work in progress  

Making art about finding a comfortable enough place in the dissonance.  I had a dream that showed me how I don’t make space for the ugly in my worldview.  I think a lot about how it can/ought to be and forget my humanness in the process.  I’m claiming my mess and need for grace.  I’ll do this in color, pattern, and texture, with the hope of one day internalizing that playful peace into my everydays.   

Navigating by Resistance

Title taken from a thought by Steven Pressfield.  

I've been thinking for some time on the project I want to devote my energy to next.   

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There's a part of me that would love to write every idea in my brain but that would take a lot of time and I'd rather spend it off my phone.  I'll come back when things are a bit more consolidated.  Blessings of creativity and joy until then  

October 14

Announcing the next Embodied Season Workshop:

We will be exploring the Fall as a season of togetherness through a workshop focusing on the cultivation of empathy. Participants will be lead through reflective prompts to craft a watercolor/collage playing with the aesthetics of pattern clash. 

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Register at www.thehiveknox.com

Relationship as a medium

I feel like my vocation is to be in dialogue with the spirit of things through materiality.  That's what I think of nearly all of the time and when I stay out of this space for too long I feel frustrated and sad.   

I like that the expression of this vocation can be a myriad of things.  I'm listening and experimenting to land on my next project but for today it looks like helping with Knox Revival Paint Co and loving my people well.  Turns out my next lesson in loving well is learning about all the ways I fall short.  It's a miserable lesson to learn but I think it's good.

Last week we worked on these cedar planks for some cabins up at Blackberry. I loved being in the shop with the team.  Meditative type work punctuated with humor and adrenaline  

Last week we worked on these cedar planks for some cabins up at Blackberry. I loved being in the shop with the team.  Meditative type work punctuated with humor and adrenaline  

Tiny vacation of sorts

I love seeing people by the water in their bathing suits because it is such a vulnerable declaration of our humanness.  We're all soft and flawed and if we're wearing a bathing suit we're probably playing.  I go swimming much less than I want because taking my heathens at their ages is not all that fun but I am getting away to explore that endearing sense of humanness this Saturday at The Hive.  I'm facilitating a workshop there, along with Amelia Peterson and Angela Hill who I deeply admire for their courage in making expressive and authentic art.  We'll be playing with movement and gestural painting  as a meditation on summertime Being.  Register at thehiveknox.com

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June 2 @ Central Collective

7pm-10pm

I'll be trying a few new things for this upcoming exhibit.  There will be paintings, an installation of sorts, and a loosely structured dance.  I have no idea how it will all play out but I'm pretty sure it will be interesting even if I fail.  Hope to see you there.  

studio shot sneak peak  

studio shot sneak peak  

Come on out

Excited to be in the First Friday conversation tomorrow.  I'll be at Rala in the Old City with a new body of work that I'm experimenting with and,  permission pending, an interactive installation of sorts.  

Here's a talk I gave a few weeks ago at LMU on other peices in the series: 

Good evening and thank you for being here.  I'm really pleased getting to have a conversation about this body of work in this particular place given the shared Appalachian context.

 This work is sourced from my family history.  I decided to approach it in a chronological order to minimize my editorial bias.  They're as much documentation as ruminations on memory, cultural context, and the formation of identity.  The imagery is collected from my photos but a strictly linear narrative is not the aim. Instead I'm opting for a more metaphorical approach to story telling and meaning making through materials and process.

For example, the three step transfer from a source photo to vellum and then carbon copy mimics the reconstruction of memories and family narrative through time in order to fit our present mental, emotional, and cultural frameworks.   Color and pattern are employed to ruminate on relationship - the way color interacts with its neighboring hues to create an intangible sense of harmony or dissonance, echoing the subtle nuances of perception.  The behavior of the paint, the extent to which I am able to exercise control, is a meditation on personal choice, forces of divinity, and natural order on human fates; the moments when the paint is allowed to choose its own course and how all of it marks an action occurring in the past but is living on in the present. 

All of the elements are situated in a domestic sphere with an emphasis on relationships, intimate scale, and inferiority.  These decisions stem from the tension of inhabiting a feminine identity.

As for art references and influences, I've drawn from Henry Darger, captivated by his collision of an idiosyncratic world view and the bank of sourced imagery from popular publications.  Fritz Scholder for the way he was able to work with customary imagery with an innovative approach that opens fresh dialogue.  As well as an interest in pop art because I care about finding the undwrcurrent of trends and facets  of life we often take for granted. 

With that, I'll open the converse ok for dialogue.  This work is new for me and so I'm still learning from it and am happy to hear any questions or thoughts as an extension of that process.  Thank you.

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New springtime life

Tonight:  A Good Day's Work in the back room of Awaken Coffee 5-9pm

Tomorrow: Embodied Season Workshop at The Hive 10am-12pm 

Work in progress  

Work in progress  

After the workshop on Saturday I'm driving to Lincoln Memorial University to put up a show of new work, here are some thoughts on that.  Opening reception will be April 20:
This body of work explores interconnectedness as a rumination on memory, legacy, and cultural ties.  Both the materials and process serve as a metaphor for the human experience.  As the paintings evolve, first from a memory or from an oral history, they contend with the mysteries and paradox of the creative process and our primal urge toward making meaning.  Addair uses pattern, color and imagery to create both dissonance and harmony in exploring her Appalachian background and the complexities of shifting identity. 

How art teaches me

I'm visually drawn to things for a long time before I understand why.  The spaces I've been attracted to have been spare and white which makes sense on the surace of things.  Three tiny boys make a lot of noise (in every sense of the word) and a visually quiet space is like a cool drink of water.  

For Lent, I've given up podcasts, music, and videos in our home.  I craved the absence of multi-tasking, comparison, and external guidance.   Yesterday the quiet whispered a revelation about why I keep seeking these cleared out spaces.   

Samples for a Knox Revival job.  We're in the early stages of launching #agooddayswork campaign to shift the industry's culture toward artisanship. Making space for living well.  

Samples for a Knox Revival job.  We're in the early stages of launching #agooddayswork campaign to shift the industry's culture toward artisanship. Making space for living well.  

"Take everything that's bright and beautiful in you and introduce it to the shadow side of yourself.  Let your altruism meet your egotism, let your generosity meet your greed, let your joy meet your grief...But when you are able to say, 'I am all of the above, my shadow as well as my light', the shadow's power is put in service of the good."  -Parker Palmer

That's why I've been editing down visual clutter, I'm clearing out a space for all the parts of myself to occupy.  I am intuitively communicating to myself a message of abundance.  There's enough room for all of us.  

New workshop series

I'm so excited to introduce this latest project, it combines several of my interests and I'm so looking forward to further exploration with others.  See description below:

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Syncing cultural conversations with the natural seasons, the Embodied Season Workshop Series seeks to give participants opportunity to think about their ways of being as they intersect with seasonal rhythms and innovative ideas through the process of making. Each workshop session will be a collaborative pairing of a creative mode of expression and a person doing good work in our community (with interests ranging from theater and social policy to photography and education) to prompt participants to live into the rhythms of nature through art making. Each class will be led and facilitated by renowned Knoxville artist Ashley Addair and is open to women and men of all ages.

For the Spring Workshop, we will be exploring the question of how we can engage our bodies as listening tools toward practices. Amelia Peterson of River and Rail Theater Company will be leading us through a few theater exercises that explore space awareness and how objects affect us and workshop facilitator Ashley Addair will facilitate a hands-on portion of the class that leads participants through the creation of a soft sculpture embodying these concepts. Participants are invited to bring a soft item (t-shirt, small blanket, etc.) they are willing to sacrifice to art-making as well as small objects or materials (pebbles, fabric, beads etc) to incorporate into the sculpture.

$5 from each ticket purchase will go towards workshop scholarship positions for under-served creatives in our community.

You have two ways to participate in the class:

  • A one-time class purchase of $50.
  • A year subscription to our four seasonal classes for $170. The remaining dates for this cycle are as follows: Saturday, July 22 (summer), Saturday, October 14 (autumn), and January 13, 2018 (winter). Descriptions for the remaining classes will be announced at a later time.

 

To purchase a ticket visit: 

thehiveknox.com  

 

ABOUT OUR CREATIVES:

Ashley Addair is a visual artist, mama of three, and collector of chairs. She is a modern dancer and holds track and field records in the state of Illinois. She tells a joke every year at Christmas. If she weren't a painter she would be a scientist. Her chief interest is in color and its use as a metaphor for being. Addair is an active member of her arts community in Knoxville, Tennessee and her paintings are collected internationally.

Amelia Peterson of River & Rail Theatre Companyis a Knoxville native and a graduate of Bearden High School. She earned her BFA in Theatre Studies from Southern Methodist University where she studied directing under Stan Wojewodski, Jr. (former Artistic Director of Yale Repertory Theatre). She has spent much of her career working with budding playwrights on new works. In New York, she co-directed the world premier of MORBID POETRY at the Incubator Arts Project and a folktale adaptation series LONG, LONG AGO with Firebone Theatre Company. She has also directed new works for the CalArts Arts in the One World conference (Valencia, CA), the Kennedy Center’s Page to Stage Festival (Washington, DC), and the Inkwell Theatre’s Showcase Reading Series (Washington, DC). She trained in silks, trapeze, three-sectional staff, quarter staff and a variety of other weapons with Professor Bill Lengfelder and is a certified yoga teacher.

Therapeutic endeavor (but isn't everything?)

There's a sound cloud of embarrassment and confusion hanging over my side of the bed.  I'm pretty sure this could be useful as, earlier, I was on moralistic high ground when R screwed up.  I felt offended and afraid and I lashed out without giving all that much (any?) thought to my responsibility in the situation.  

But I'm not there right now, not able to find the helpful humility because my mind keeps looping on tracks of shame and worry.

 

Thoughts via color

Thoughts via color

I'm writing now in hopes of finding peace.

I'll begin by publically acknowledging that I botched up.  Here's what's keeping me awake: No. 1- I posted a toy lovingly gifted to Briggs on facebook with the caption "to give ".  I meant this for a private site. I apologized, she was gracious.  I feel like an ass.

 No. 2- I was accepted to present at a conference in February.  I never responded to the invitation because I feel overwhelmed by the logistics of getting there.  I don't know if it is worth the expense and inconvenience for my family.  I dread the conversation with R.  The possibility of his feeling like it isn't important feels painful.  The possibility of his openness to it feels scary.  I worry I'm taking up too much space, too many resources.  I worry I don't have anything important enough to say.  There is an email in my inbox extending the deadline for confirmation.  The decision I hoped to have dodged is undodged, my cowardice resulting in annoying inconvenience for the conference organizers no doubt. I feel like an ass.

 

Thoughts via form

Thoughts via form

Actually, I resonate with donkeys, their strong sense of self-preservation and the way they get violent when threatened.  I'm pretty familiar with that gaurdedness that slowly eases into stubborn companionship.  They're scrappy animals.  The other thing about an ass is that they're loud.

Which brings me back to my two faults that are keeping me awake.  In both these things, I'm called to a boldness that I yearn for but don't feel ready to accept.  I'm asked to converse in a language of authenticity but I'm wracked with a compulsion to please. My listed transgressions are not really the things keeping me awake.  Really, I'm afraid of myself.  I'm afraid to unapologetically step into the fullness of being this particular person.  I'm afraid to be that wonderful, that messy, that flawed, that wild. I'm frightened of the implications of being specifically noteworthy or notorious.  Sometimes, like tonight, I can't get small enough.  I'd like to thin myself out into a translucent sheet of near-nothingness. "Good" behavior allows me to do this but failure makes me live in the weight of my body.  Ass-behavior lets me clash, to remain opaquely visible in all my donkeyish glory.

Holiday aftermath

I seriously love my kids and also want to sunbathe in the winter sun and totally ignore them.  I say this for the benefit of other mothers.  #thisisfreakinbeautiful #andsohard #reallyhard.  While I typed this, my baby pulled the Christmas tree over and broke heirloom ornaments.  #rememberhowisaidthiswasfreakinhard #guilt #morehashtagstoavoidthesitiation  

iPhone paintings while I nurse  

iPhone paintings while I nurse