This month's Feature Artist hails from Atlanta, Georgia and goes by the name of AWANIGHTS!
She specializes in hand-painted jewelry, body painting, and exotic, culturally-inspired wearable art!
Check out more of her work on Instagram @awanights.
Last month's feature came from a brilliant phenom from Sweden who goes by the name of Juni Artist. She specializes in creating empowering and brilliantly colorful images of culturally and stylistically diverse women. Check out more of her work on Instagram @juni.artist !
“Woman in Hat in Can Tho” Original photography by Hisu Lee | @lee_hisu
Break the Mold ‘Cause God Said So (for the Creative in You)
Few would argue that being in the midst of beautiful artwork is one of the most deeply inspiring experiences of our human existence.
From innovative architecture to colorfully painted canvases to deeply moving musical arrangements and pimped out rides, art is all around us. And my God…what would we do without the brilliant minds and hands that create such artistic works?
The truth is that artists are brave.
And many of us who are born with the unquestionable Calling to CREATE are challenged, discouraged, and even denigrated by social forces of opposition. How many times have you been told, “That ol’ sangin thang ain’t gon’ make you no money…You need to get a real job” or “I don’t know why you keep tryin’ to sell that stuff…Just a waste of time…”
It would seem that with all the beauty around us and the general consensus about the inherent value of beautiful art, people would be more encouraging and supportive of our creative selves. So, where’s the disconnect?
Why ARE artists starving – financially, socially, emotionally? (It’s a good question)…
You see, this society is not like those of the traditional African or Asian or Aboriginal or Andean cultural communities where there were entire families of metalsmiths, families of djembe players, families of whale bone charm makers, families of tapestry designers…whole units were known to specialize in the making of certain crafts and artistic productions.
But here we are – the artistic reincarnated souls of those ancient lineages in 21st century venture capitalist America – flailing in the wind, devoid of appreciation and material successes, often castigated or even disowned by our own families because we failed to choose the “tried and true,” more socially acceptable, less risky path to success.
The issue is that for those of us who are truly CALLED to create, it’s bigger than success. It’s bigger than fame. It’s bigger than obtaining material wealth (although we definitely prefer NOT to be broke).
It’s truly about the realization and cultivation of our Divine selves.
With every brushstroke upon the canvas, with every chord change and strum of the guitar, with every twist of the copper and every braid and two-strand twist, we are channeling Source. Artisans in traditional cultural settings understood that their God-given gifts were not only for the community to enjoy, but in essence a means to remain in communion with their sense of the Divine. And everyone respected it as such…
Perhaps the most unfortunate part is that for many of us in this society in this day and age, our God-given gifts are not valued, recognized, or deemed relevant until our name is Trey Songz…Mariah…Van Gogh…Maya Angelou….
In other words, our Gifts are not honored as such until there is an element of undeniable fame or fortune – celebrity status – attached to them.
We don’t get to be recognized as artists until we “make it…” So in turn, we fold within ourselves.
Some of us come to deny or loathe our Gifts and begin nurturing a relationship with them that is steeped in bitterness and self-hatred. Some of us internalize the incantation that we will never “make it” doing what GOD has called us to do…now how does THAT work???
Your Destiny is YOURS and NO ONE else’s to revoke, deny, or impede. The only one who can rescind your BIRTHRIGHT is you by measure of your decision to not walk in your God-given Gifts.
If Creating is your Calling, know that you ARE NOT LESS THAN the financial analyst, the air traffic controller, or the biologist. You are an artist, and the world needs you (even if and when they say the opposite….silly rabbits, smh).
Therefore, fellow artisans, know that I get it, and I challenge you to push your creativity to the limits, to the edge of possibility! Creating is your birthright; walk in it. Love your Self. Honor your Gifts.
And tell the nay-sayers that if truly they don’t believe in you, to simply do you the favor of stepping to the side so you can continue Creating without their undue obstruction…’cause God said so!
Please and thank you.
© 2016 Whitney Sherrill
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