Get Inspired

So the groundhog saw his shadow. That means six more weeks of winter, if you buy into a rodent who can predict the weather. Four weeks, six weeks, doesn’t really matter to me. Winter is on the way out and spring is just around the corner!

Spring is my favorite and here in Nashville, it’s simply heaven. Everything blooms. I mean everything. Sure my allergies will drive me crazy, but it’s a small price to pay to witness everything blossom. Here, the hues are spectacular. It’s almost as if every tree bursts open into shades of pink, yellow, purple, white and gold, while the ground sprouts every imaginable flower and in the most unexpected of places. Even the cracks in a sidewalk can’t keep a good tulip down in middle Tennessee. It’s gorgeous and absolutely inspiring.

I love the idea of inspiration. I think the power of the word inspiration gets overlooked because we use it so often, but really, it is quite a magical and amazing thing. Look it up in the dictionary one day, or you know what? Here’s to making shit easy. “Inspiration ~ in·spi·ra·tion, noun: a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation.”

Those are powerful words and it is never lost on me how special it is. I love the idea that seeing, reading or hearing something can move you so deeply that you are compelled to act out in a physical manner and create something that didn’t exist before. Call me sentimental, but that shit will make me cry like a baby. I think that is why I have such an affinity for artists. All kinds and I always have. I think they are the closest things we have to angels that walk among us. They receive and communicate sacred revelations with us everyday and I have been in awe of them since I was a child.

I have an innate respect for all artists. True artists, I am in awe of. I am just now at a place in my life where I am comfortable calling myself an artist, but the reality is that I have been one all of my life. I was always, drawing, painting, dancing, singing, or making something. My Uncle Jack nicknamed me “Little Miss Hollywood” when I was just a baby after I put on sunglasses and cooed and drooled to my adoring fans in the living room. It’s one of my mom’s favorite stories to tell. That nickname stuck with me for a long time. When I was a teenager I went through this phase of making what I called “Straw Sculpture”. I would collect all these straws and then melt them together in all kinds of ways and then paint them and hang them around my room. I was very proud of them. It drove my Dad crazy. For some reason, I’ve just always needed to make shit.

The day I was so nicknamed "Little Miss Hollywood"

The day I was so nicknamed “Little Miss Hollywood”

The camera has always been my first love. I begged for one from the time I was eight years old. By the time I was fifteen, I actually had clients that paid me to shoot pictures for them, I was an official staff photographer for the school paper and one of the official photographers for the football team. In every instance, I was the only girl doing it in that town.

I have always been inspired by the notion that with the right settings, the click of a button and the twist of knob you could capture these little moments in time. What made me really excited was the idea that you could manipulate that moment, either through lighting, exposure, posture or just a simple twist of perspective and capture it in such a way that even if 100,000 people were there, you forever preserved this perfect moment in a way that no one else saw it. For the brief moment that you do it and you know you got it, it’s entirely yours, you are the only one that knows it exists and you created it. That is where the magic happens for me.  I think that is where the magic happens for all artists.

Painters, musicians, writers, dancers, photographers…. All of us get that moment when we’ve created something. It is that sweet moment before we share it with the world to be judged, compared, praised or ridiculed, for just that brief moment it’s completely ours and to us, it’s perfect. Those moments are the reason we do this.

I am so crazy lucky that I get to do what I love and actually squeak by making a living doing it. Holy shit Universe, let me take a big ol’ moment here and say THANK YOU! I really am a blessed and lucky bitch. I get hired to make other artists vision a reality. Collaboration is very gratifying in its own right and I love it. But whether its me working on a solo project or a collaboration with someone or a very specific vision for a client, it’s impossible to do my job without that “sacred revelation”.

Growing up in my house wasn’t super easy. Actually, growing up in my town wasn’t easy. I was the weirdo. I listened to weird music, I read weird books, I liked weird pictures. I’m still the weirdo in my family. They all think I am nuts and always have. That’s ok. West Texas is a very specific place. The living conditions are harsh and the people are tough. It’s stuck out there in the middle of nowhere. Like literally nowhere. It’s 400 – 500 miles to the next big city. That is a big stretch of road to get to the kind of culture a large city can offer. Most people don’t have the time or money to make those trips often, if ever.

It’s an oil town. I don’t mean like oil tycoons live there, fuck no. I mean like the rednecks that bust their asses on oil rigs all day live there. Depending on the commodities, its either feast or famine. One year everybody is rolling in money, housing is scarce and the next year, lawyers are working at Wal-Mart, your house is worth nothing and you couldn’t sell it even if you wanted to.

It’s the desert, The Permian Basin, and its nothing but dirt and rock. It’s flat, barren and for the most part tree-less. Even the weather is brutal; it’s either blazing hot or freezing cold. It’s a harsh place. People don’t have the time or patience to fool with artistic notions when it’s 106 degrees outside and your 12 stories in the air, risking your life, on a oil rig and any minute they might shut down it down and you are out of a job.

Odessa Texas - Aerial view... Nothing for 400 miles either way

Odessa Texas – Aerial view… Nothing for 400 miles either way

Here a link to an album of photos I took a few years ago when I went back for a cousins wedding if you are so inclined. ~

I was an oddball for sure in that place. I studied Warhol and read Bukowski in a home where scenic landscapes & taxidermy were the only art on our walls and Field & Stream Magazine and the Bible were pretty much our reading options.

That was a long time ago. Where I am now, I am no longer the weirdo. I am just another artist in a city of artists trying to find my place. And right now I’m tapped into inspiration in one of the most spiritual ways I have ever been.

I’m about to undertake the biggest, most important project of my career. I’ve had this particular concept in my head since last year but I’ve been inspired to tell this story for a long time. That being said, it’s one of those things I talked about doing but never really thought I would do. Not out of self-doubt, but out of time constraints, money constraints, and lack of not only a willing subject, but more importantly, the right, willing subject. It was one of those things I wanted, it was out there in the ether but not really tangible. Then the right person showed up and said “Yeah, let’s do that”.

Ever since they said yes, I have been jumpy and cranky and irritable. I’ve been uncomfortable and awkward in my skin. Hell, just read last week’s blog. This week, I have been trying to process what I was feeling and then the other night it hit me. It’s not just the time of year, or the cold or any of the other stuff I thought it was. I was just old school scared shitless. All my old “ I’m just weirdo kid from West Texas” fears had crept up on me and I was doubting my ability to be an “artist”.

There is a lot on the line with this. This isn’t just something going down on my resume, this isn’t one of those things where when it’s done, I can just have it for myself and think it’s perfect. The nature of this project means that I am putting another artist’s life out there with me. I don’t take that lightly and I don’t think until the other night I considered the gravity of that or how I would react to it. Instantly, when I realized not just that I was afraid, but of what it was that I was actually afraid of, it all went away.

All of a sudden, the realization that another artist, an artist I respect and admire, would put that kind of trust into me as a fellow artist calmed every doubt that I had. This person is opening their life to me, and trusting me to capture a long series of those “just for me” moments for the whole world to see. That realization was a beautiful moment for me. I can live with the fact that I was scared of that for a couple of weeks and even in some weird way be proud of it.

I am at the perfect place to do this and to tell this story. Everything about how it came together is divine influence and I am so excited to make this happen. It’s going to push me out of my comfort zone, test me, teach me and give me a voice to tell a story I have wanted to tell for a long time. It’s something to nurture and grow. I know it will have a mind of its own but it will take me all kinds of unexpected places physically, mentally and emotionally over the next couple of years. When it is done, my hope is that it will inspire all people to look for the artist inside themselves.

I know your next question will be “What is it?” I’m not ready to expose that just yet. I will when the time is right and things are really starting to form and come together. Trust me, it’s not something I will be able to keep to myself entirely. But for today, this moment is just for me.

Inspiration is a beautiful thing. Sometimes you can look all over for it and not find it, but sometimes finding it can be as simple as facing your fears.

You see man seems to think The world was made for him And that might be true But there’s is a crack in every side walk Where the grass breaks through ~ Todd Snider – From: “Doll Face”


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