Friday, July 31, 2009

there and back again

Some of you know that I am recently back from Orvieto, Italy, where i lived and studied art for a little over four months. There are many stories, laughs and pictures, Italy is a place of immense beauty, but being there also made me realize just how beautiful and special home is. Italy's food, incredible, the people, friendly, the simple life style of a small town in Umbria, refreshing.
Orvieto is a medieval town surrounded by a stone wall and gate, situated on a cliff in the center of a valley, part of its wall is craved upon the "tuffa" it sits on.

It is impossible to sum up that experience and what it meant to me in an email, let alone a long conversation, and but i can say without hesitation that it was one of the best experience of my life.

Orvieto challenged my expectations, challenge my presuppositions of what art is, why i make art, it changed the way i see the world around, it changed me.
Even as I try to type a millions things rush to mind that I should tell you, but i barley know where to start.

Orvieto became a place that redefine me, a place where I wrestled with myself, with my spirit through the making of art, a place of intimate community yet a place of beautiful solitude. As i sat in the streets, covered in charcoal from head to toe, working on large drawings, or when i ran among the olive groves on twisting paths, when i stared intently at my model, observing the different colors in their faces, as i sat on the edge of the cliff looking out unto a beautiful countryside, i found an incredible peace there.

It was a place of intense community, yet intense solitude, it was experiencing the great importance of being, and not just doing. The professors/Matt and Sharona and their family, and my peers helped define this experience in many ways. Yet my trip was also greatly defined by the time I took to myself, the times i was in the studio, walking or running, the times i looked at art, the times i observed the world i lived in. Community and Solitude define the experience.

Art defined my experience, both the making and looking at, through art i wrestled with myself, the making of art transcended the literal making, it was a dialogue, with myself, with my God, with the past, with the material....
It was a process of opening my eyes, wider and wider, about learning to do more than look and listen, but a new way of seeing, slowing down, connecting and engaging with, seeing it how it is, not what i project on it. getting to know it, seeing in such a way that you discover something of yourself by observing
Art became a way to discover...i am still wrapping my head around it all that words fail... in Orvieto I found again the need to make art, and its importance to my purpose,
I struggle with finding my voice, regaining lost confidence, of continuing the discovery of who I am-with a sense of self
the word of my trip, "chiaroscuro". light and dark. Orvieto was both times of revelation and joy, but was also time of hurt, doubt, and brokenness.

There was a lot I took with me in my heart to Italy, brokenness. I thought I would go there and I would find answers to questions, lay certain things to rest, but questions were not so much as answered as explored. I realized that no place or people could "fix me", in fact there is nothing to fix, past struggles and hurts can not, nor should not be erased, but is an important part of who I am.

i love Orvieto, my heart is with the place and the people I left.
our director Matt said to take at one thing back with us, fearlessness.

much more could, should, and hopefully will be added.

i have never felt freer than i do now, i feel like the world is in front of me, i can go anywhere, do anything, i can be myself, and freely follow my passions. i have no strings attached to my limbs, dictating where i should go, or whom i should be. i don't have a plan, in fact i have never disliked plans as much as i do now....i have to continue to trust and love.