Archive for the ‘mother artist’ Category

MAN – A brand new mother artist (PG rating)

BEFORE:
“I feel very much like I am calmly walking towards an abyss of sorts, into the dark indeed.
I have so loved the MAN festival these people’s work/life and the day-to-day accumulations.
Oh it starts to make sense, I start to see a way”. Alexandra Harrison.

8+months+pregnant,+Mumbulla+Falls-1

8 months pregnant

Last week
Kicking, belly down
(me in the pool,
the it in me)
Waiting for the introduction
For a sign, for a ray
Meanwhile,
A choreography of meltdowns
And small revivals
Yesterday I was ready
Today I am begging for time
This build-up is not curated
Oh there is a date
But give or take
Or give and take
Yet? They ask me
Yet?
Anticipation is pressure

And the artist is worried
The artist is lost
Or,
The artist is gardener
The artist is cook
The artist creates order
The artist cleans and cleans and cleans
The artist is still, sometimes,
Backyard dancer
And the artist falls apart
The artist does not know
How to keep every moment holy
Nor leap fences like she used to
The artist is barely a lover
The artist is not a mother
Yet

(Before the 23rd of December)

IMG_7775

Alex working on her artist’s response for the Child Artist Response Project that will feature alongside the provocations of Ruby, age 12 in the pages of Issue 4, Into The dark.

AFTER:
Rainer Mallee – born 23rd December 2012, named on Christmas day.
“A manchild, long and lovely, 55cm, and 4.1kg. These numbers seem important and make the eyebrows of the midwives shoot up. All’s well, we’re out of hiding, but going slow.”

Newborn

Newborn

Rainer in his BIG designed romper for Mini And Maximus taking in the fans at the National Dance Forum!

on Mar 28, 2013

The MAN Festival Day 6 – Multi-Tasking Mother Artists

In a permanent state of multi-tasking, as mother artists we are often overwhelmed by the conflicting demands we feel from family and artistic lives. And each of these twin selves also contains its own conflicting needs and demands. Despite all these competing demands we continue to undertake creative work because if we didn`t we would be denying ourselves and depriving our children of an essential aspect of who we are.


Each feature in the MAN Festival has shown how these twin selves can also feed into each other augmenting and developing rather than dividing and destroying our parenting and artistic roles.  


As mother artists we live in an alternate time frame to the rest of the world. Everything takes longer despite the fact that you are moving faster than you have ever gone before. I am very drawn to Frank Partnoy’s idea from Wait: The Useful Art of Procrastinationof  how we ‘manage delay’  in order to expand time:

The best time managers are comfortable pausing for as long as necessary before they act, even in the face of the most pressing decisions. For good decision makers, time is more flexible than a metronome or atomic clock.

PAUSE AND ENJOY!

Viv in her Looking Glass project


In wrapping up this week with the BIG MAN, I have truly enjoyed spending some virtual time with each of the artists featured in the Festival and all the other artists I have come across in the process. What a rich and multi-dimensional experience! Ideas are coalescing and a Phd proposal is making its way onto paper to be submitted at a time somewhere in the future. Virtual presence is being reassesed so I too can participate in the magnificent community of artists of all disciplines who dance the weft and weave of motherhood and arts practice.

Thankyou to Jo and Lilly for providing a platform to connect, discuss and celebrate art, creativity and motherhood.
Bravery is…  accepting change

Imagination is… core to resilience

Generosity is…  allowing your self to expand
Viv juggling rehearsals for her Quiet Spirit film project
BIG Editors note:
As two mother artists we live all of it at once.  BIG was built in the sleep hours and habits of our littles. You cannot undo being an artist or a mother. You just are.  Scroll through the posts below to find a week of links to mother artists and projects inspired and true. There are many more coming. If you want to join the MAN party send us an email to info@bigkidmsagazine and we will do our best to position you in the mix of our next curated MAN Festival early next year. Here we extend our huge thanks to Vivienne Rogis who has done a wonderful job working within our immediate and madly responsive BIG process as guest editor. We look forward to welcoming you into the blogosphere Viv ;) 

The brand new issue (3) of BIG kids Magazine just been released called Game On! We have a feeling both you and your child just might love it! We also thought to point you Into The Dark in the hope you might like to CONTRIBUTE a little something side by side with your child. 


See you there, Jo and Lilly xx


The Mother Artist Network (MAN) is an initiative of Jo Pollitt and Lilly Blue and BIG Kids Magazine. This inaugural mini MAN Festival has been curated in collaboration with guest editor and mother artist extraordinaire Vivienne Rogis
on Nov 9, 2012

MAN post Fest Emma and Christine

Christine McCombe The Music of Motherhood in the Age 


It is an irony that is not lost on many mothers; how, as the child’s world grows, they find their own shrinking; while their offspring lose themselves in a timeless universe, their parents become more harried and scheduled. Creativity can become so dried up that a spark of imagination is mistaken for madness. Kathy Evans

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/music/the-music-of-motherhood-20111110-1n99d.html#ixzz2BjamRP2b
Her blog Spaces Between about creating things and the spaces between creating things. 


 ————————————————-

Frontliners is a project that documents what happens to passions and homes when a child arrives in the mix. By photographer Kata Varga and writer and stylist Natalie Walton, we particularly love the series on Emma Magenta as we are currently working with her on something special for Issue 4 – Into The Dark. 

 Frontliners – image from the house of Emma Magenta 





on Nov 9, 2012

The MAN Festival Day 5- Artist Lily Mae Martin


Lily Mae Martin is an artist, mother of a two-year-old, and nomad who after being based in Berlin has moved four times since her daughter Anja’s birth – from Cardiff, to Melbourne, back to Berlin, and most recently back to Melbourne.



In her drawing and writing project Berlin Domestic  Lily Mae, like Mary Trunk‘s work, has drawn inspiration from the everyday, actively seeing her life as mother & artist, weaving them together as she can,and sharing it with the world through the blogosphere. Her recent article on Motherhood and friendship appeared in Killing Your Darlings and her blogs Berlin Domestic & Lily Mae Martin explore the territory of the mother artist with insight. She was featured on The Rachel Papers just last week and here she contributes her experience to our MAN:

I think ‘a Mother’ is seen as something a woman becomes – 
A woman before she has a baby is everything she is then she becomes a Mum and that is all that she is. Which isn’t true, Motherhood isn’t an end. It’s just change, a beginning.


Images from the project Berlin Domestic 
While I was pregnant I had no idea what to expect and I was afraid I would stop making art. However when I became Anja’s mother I found a new and stronger voice- I realised that art was a great way to express everything about motherhood- the pain, the joy, the fear, the sleeplessness, the isolation. I decided to start Berlin Domestic as I needed to work out a new way for me to draw, a way I could draw when I was with my daughter. It also helps me because when I feel completely overwhelmed and utterly alone, I know that someone out there will read my writing and see my drawings and connect with it.
My creative process is something I have been developing and refining for years. I’m mostly interested in drawing but lately I have been exploring painting and writing as well. Being an artist is tough, there are a lot of set-backs and it`s very undervalued, but I enjoy it. 


After I recovered from Anja’s birth and could focus enough to read a book I read The Divided Heart. It was so interesting hearing about women so driven by their practices and a lot of them moving away from their families with a small child, like I ended up doing. 

I have to admit it took me some time to really understand the book. My baby was only a few months old and while I still managed to make some work I didn’t have any artistic demands. When we moved back to Berlin, when Anja was only 6 months old, that was when I began to understand the division. I had to fight to get time to make my work, to get the space to make my work. And I encountered more issues with this as well. People were seeing me as a singular entity and demands were being made on me to participate in things on a level that does not work when you have a kid. I thought; there must be a better way to do this, so I left my studio space and began working from home. As a family unit we’ve all learned to balance this, it took 18 months to work it out!

I think MAN and BIG are great ideas and places for women to no longer feel alone. I struggled a lot with becoming a Mum and still being an artist. I felt a lot of the time Anja and Mothering wasn’t something I could bring up in regards to art things. I did a few interviews after having her where I don’t even mention anything about pregnancy, birth, babies, poo – you know, the things that my life mainly consists of now. So finding groups and networks that do talk about this is refreshing. Being able to connect with more parents who are artists is enriching. Being able to talk about concepts, paint, process and nappies, sleeplessness – it’s a lifeline. 

Bravery is… following your gut.
Imagination is… crucial to a person`s development.
Generosity is… being able to accept things, even if it is different to you.

The Mother Artist Network (MAN) is an initiative of Jo Pollitt and Lilly Blue and BIG Kids Magazine. This inaugural mini MAN Festival has been curated in collaboration with guest editor and mother artist extraordinaire Vivienne Rogis  to whom we are so grateful! 

The Mother Artist Network is a place that invites BIG ideas and discussion about creative practice and motherhood. Through a forum of ongoing blog posts the MAN will feature voices of mother-artists at all stages of artistic engagement and motherhood.  We very much hope you will contribute to the conversation by commenting below or emailing us at info@bigkidsmagazine to add your story to the mix.   

on Nov 8, 2012

The MAN Festival Day 4 – Independent Producer/Dance Artist Sandi Woo

Mother Artist Sandi Woo is an independent producer/dance artist based in Broome WA who has had a wildly productive and creative year with many upcoming projects set to continue her amazing mix of art and motherhood.

Sandi Woo and son Eddie Mailer Photo by Kathryn Santospirito September 2012 – Broome, WA

What do I have to say about juggling arts practice and parenting? More like – what don’t I have to say and where do I begin?

I’m currently in the ‘gearing down’ phase of the busiest year of my life. I have delivered two community based projects in Broome and the Kimberley. YouTube Me Dance 2012 & Gallery Moves. Which are also written about here & here.

I am currently working on my third project for a local organisation – Theatre Kimberley – called Staircase to the Moon. A locally written, produced and performed music theatre production that will christen the newly refurbished Broome Civic Centre in early November.

Exciting. Exhausting. Exhilarating.

I have been doing plenty of soul searching about how to balance my creative yearnings and my family responsibilities. One thing I knew was my creative desires were more powerful BECAUSE of my family. But they were also the ones most affected by the ‘busy schedule fall out’ and stood right in the firing line of one frazzled and exhausted Mum.

Two young boys call me ‘mum’. Dear, sweet Eddie (4 yrs) who we think is forming strong aspirations to be a breakdancer, but is probably more of a contemporary performer. And Frank (1 year) who at this early stage is showing signs of being either a professional boxer, or just a school yard bully. Either way he enjoys moments of contact improvisation with his brother.

It would not be possible to write about juggling motherhood and creative practice without crediting my husband as the real reason I am still standing and the family is still (relatively) happy and healthy! Seriously. After starting work at 5am, he finishes at 2pm. This allows me to get a few hours of work in at the end of the working day. He hangs out with the kids from 2pm and helps to complete a large portion of the home duties too. It frees me up for rehearsals, meetings and important bonding time with my computer. He is also the sounding board for all the good and bad twists and turns we go through on the ‘project super-highway’. Oh, he’s a reasonable copy editor too! Thanks Darl!

Karli Linaker, Susan Rush, Sete Tele Photo by Abigail Workman(Man at Work Media)Sept 2012 – DACOU Gallery, Broome

 

As hard as this year has been logistically and administratively, it has been the most creatively fulfilling year of my life. Possibilities feel endless and the rich and fertile community I’ve started to work with seem at the ready. All these wonderful elements converging and I have never been more ‘time poor’ in my life! It’s amazing how much you get done in 2-3 consecutive hours of uninterrupted work time. And lets not forget all the thinking time in between hanging out washing, folding washing, cooking dinner, feeding the chooks and packing up the toys (over and over again in a day). Not a minute of the day is wasted! Hang on, is Facebook time wasting?

Really, it’s not surprising that motherhood and creative practice go so well together. Both provide amazing, life changing moments you cannot plan for. And both require a ‘concept plan’ of some sort – an overarching vision – but you kind of work out the details as you go. You ride the ebbs and flow, you find yourself in a difficult moments, which make you relish the joyful bits even more.

My next project combines motherhood and creative practice. I am exploring the relationships between children and their parents/grandparents. I want to test my own notions of parenting by building a creative environment where the children lead the parents. Why? Because of the seemingly constant requests I make of my toddler to live his life at an adult pace. Also, I have been inspired by the work of BIG magazine. I want to provide other parents (and grandparents) an opportunity to have a creative experience that is shared, led and centred on their children. I’ve conceptualised a project so I can play in the studio with my own children. I will be mentored through this project by inspirational and talented Mother Artist- Felicity Bott.

My stomach backflips at the thought of what lies ahead next year. And, after reading Sally Richardson’s MAN article, of what lies ahead in the years to come. I amgoing to the post box everyday to check if my copy of Rachel Power’s The Divided Heart – Art and Motherhood has arrived. Excited much?

Thank you BIG Kids Magazine, thank you MAN.

Bravery is … stepping out into the unknown and enjoying the ride

Imagination is… a wonderful gift

Generosity is… putting others needs before your own

The Mother Artist Network (MAN) is an initiative of Jo Pollitt and Lilly Blue and BIG Kids Magazine. This inaugural mini MAN Festival has been curated in collaboration with guest editor and mother artist extraordinaire Vivienne Rogis to whom we are so grateful!
The Mother Artist Network is a place that invites BIG ideas and discussion about creative practice and motherhood. Through a forum of ongoing blog posts the MAN will feature voices of mother-artists at all stages of artistic engagement and motherhood. We very much hope you will contribute to the conversation by commenting below or emailing us at info@bigkidsmagazine to add your story to the mix.

on Nov 7, 2012

The MAN Festival Day 3 – Flim-maker Mary Trunk

Mary Trunk is a Film Maker with a history of creativity that also includes Visual Art & Dance. Mary has just finished her feature length documentary film called, Lost In Living, whichexplores the lives of 4 mother artists over a seven-year period.

As a budding film maker and social researcher myself Mary’s work is really exciting. As we all know, the soundtrack, visual & physical coherence of our lives is irrevocably changed when we become parents. Film is a great way to explore & perhaps more importantly show this, in its noisy, often chaotic reality, to each other and the wider world. To see the creativity in everyday life, as Mary discovered, and to find our own way of embracing that.  

Here Mary tells us about her own journey into the life of mother artist and the genisis and realisation of Lost in Living.


Mary’s Story

After a childhood full of responsibility for young children, as the eldest of 7, I had made the hard and definitive decision that kids would never be a part of my life…

Until I turned 38…

I thought I would give it a try, nothing would happen, and that would be that.  I got pregnant within a couple of months and then miscarried at seven weeks. Which is one of those experiences, much like birth itself, that you have absolutely no clue about until you experience it yourself. It threw me into a major tailspin of frantically wanting to get pregnant again.  How one can go from being dead set against children to ambivalence and then crazy desperation is beyond me, but I did. Everywhere I turned there were news stories about how difficult it was to even conceive at my ripe old age.

Then…
Two weeks after my mother died from a sudden heart attack I managed to get pregnant with my daughter, Nuala, and gave birth at age 40.  I was never so happy and so sad at the same time.  My daughter, Nuala, is now 10.  She is the utter delight of my life. The baby and toddler years were relentless, often excruciatingly boring and mindless but oddly I managed to be more productive than I thought I would. I was so afraid I would give up everything for the baby and never be creative again, not realizing that I had cultivated and nourished my creative self for forty years and that wasn’t about to disappear quickly. 

What did change was that my daughter became the priority in every way. When I was much younger, success and recognition and ego were more wrapped up in the creative work than they are now.  Creativity for it’s own sake, the act of expression and just putting the time in (when you can get it) have a value that defies outcome, product and “making it.”  Frankly, it’s a relief when I can be in that place while I’m working.  And the work seems deeper and more complex.

We moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles when our daughter was one and a half. My husband worked long hours and I spent my days caring for Nuala, trying to finish a film and attempting to keep up on the domestic chores that were quickly getting out of control.  I joined mommy groups and play groups, met some other parents, commiserated about baby stuff and still felt lonely and isolated.  I was drowning and needed a life raft.  So I turned my video camera on myself.  I videotaped ten minutes of my day, every day.  Sometimes it was ten minutes of my daughter sleeping, other times it was me folding laundry, one time I was giving my screaming daughter a much needed antibiotic and another time it was my husband and I arguing.  All moments that can occur in every person’s life.  I did this faithfully for an entire year, every single day.  Somehow by sticking to this routine it occurred to me that I was finding meaning and drama in the ordinariness of my life.  I was redefining the mundane world of caring for a baby, managing a house and seeing it as art.  Not only did this help me to finish my film, it sparked the idea for my newest film, Lost In Living. How were other mothers defining and shaping their lives as parents and as artists? 



Women don’t diminish as artists when they beome mothers.  On the contrary, they see motherhood as nurturing the artist within and their art life nourishes them as mothers.  Both identities can seem like a burden or a state of grace and both are necessary to understand and feel compassion for others.

I eventually found four women who not only represent some of my own struggles and achievements but have also taught me how the richness of their lives enriches their art.  Through intimate verite scenes and in-depth interviews, this film illuminates how the choice of being a mother can affect not only one’s art and approach to creativity but also parenting expectations and failures, issues of friendship, marriages, domestic routines, age, feminist ideals, and most importantly who we are in the world.    


Having the opportunity to discuss our lives as mothers and artists with other women who straddle those same identities gives me the courage and inspiration to keep working and continue to find value in that work.

Bravery is…exposing your vulnerability
Imagination is…using your weaknesses as a source of inspiration
Generosity is…allowing others to be who they are
See Mary’s blog for more on her projects, experiences and the stories of others.
The Mother Artist Network (MAN) is an initiative of Jo Pollitt and Lilly Blue and BIG Kids Magazine. This inaugural mini MAN Festival has been curated in collaboration with guest editor and mother artist extraordinaire Vivienne Rogis to whom we are so grateful! 
The Mother Artist Network is a place that invites BIG ideas and discussion about creative practice and motherhood. Through a forum of ongoing blog posts the MAN will feature voices of mother-artists at all stages of artistic engagement and motherhood.  We very much hope you will contribute to the conversation by commenting below or emailing us at info@bigkidsmagazine to add your story to the mix.   

on Nov 6, 2012

The MAN Festival Day 2 – A Calling

For many of us Rachel Powers work The Divided Heart – Art and Motherhood is an inspiration and support to the continuation of our own creative parenting lives; a document we can identify with and learn from and that brings to light important themes and issues we all face.
“What strikes me most about The Divided Heart – Art and Motherhood by Rachel Power is that each and every woman sees her creative work as a ‘calling’.  As an integral part of who they are in the world and not just some separate identity.  They all seem to understand that the creative self and the mother self are fluid and move in and around each other”. Mary Trunk 
In some recent research I undertook into life transitions I came across some research by Deidre Anderson (2009) looking at career transition in elite athletes. I found it interesting because Anderson suggested that many elite athletes understand their occupation as the core aspect of their self-identity, something more than what they do. A way of being in the world and expressive of who they are, just like artists do. The suggestion in this research was to encourage a broader view of the self to ease points of transition but also to improve performance in their chosen field of expertise or ‘calling’.

What I have found most inspiring (but not surprising) as guest editor of this BIG Mother Artist Network Festival is the innovation, determination and depth of work created by mother artists. Not to put us above artists in other contexts but to acknowledge the particular power of our own context. Having a child is a major transition in an artist’s life and the necessary broader view of the self as something more than (not other than) an artist not only gives rise to new ways of approaching artistic practice but, taking the suggestions of Deidre Anderson, may in fact boost our ability to move through future career or life transitions.

Below are some links to blogs, websites and projects of mother artists making vital, powerful and incredibly interesting work. Responding artistically to life and all its twists and turns. Take some time to really see and let the twin selves of these artists reveal themselves through their work.


Flannery O’ Kafka - photographer, blogger of melancholy merry making and mother of five 
Kristina 1 from MOTHER - A series of portraits of mothers sans their children by Parisa Taghizadeh 
Amelia Carson  artist, blogger, mother
The Mother Artist Network (MAN) is an initiative of Jo Pollitt and Lilly Blue and BIG Kids Magazine. This inaugural mini MAN Festival has been curated in collaboration with guest editor and mother artist extraordinaire Vivienne Rogis to whom we are so grateful! 
The Mother Artist Network is a place that invites BIG ideas and discussion about creative practice and motherhood. Through a forum of ongoing blog posts the MAN will feature voices of mother-artists at all stages of artistic engagement and motherhood.  We very much hope you will contribute to the conversation by commenting below or emailing us at info@bigkidsmagazine to add your story to the mix.   

on Nov 5, 2012

The MAN Festival Day 1 – Guest Editor Vivienne Rogis

After introducing the Mother Artist Network (MAN) to BIG readers almost a year ago we are happy at last to kick off the first of our mini week-long festivals that will become a regular feature on the blog.  Here we introduce Vivienne Rogis  who has been a WONDER in working with us as guest editor for this inaugural mini MAN festival. We hope you enjoy this window into the lives and insights of the inspired mother artists featured here each day this week. Over to you Viv!

There is a growing rumble as we highlight, through communication and story, the gap between the ideal of a woman’s ability to ‘have it all’ or make their own choices in life and a lag in social structures and thinking to effectively support this.

I am an independent dance artist, perpetual student/researcher and a mother of two boys (ages 3&6).

Six years ago the birth of my first child fractured my being in unexpected, delightful and difficult directions. At that time my academic and creative life were moving along well together, feeding into each other, and I had achieved some of my life goals in art and learning. Surely then, I was ready for the next goal in my life to occur, or so I thought.

Intellectually, as I began my journey through motherhood, I understood that there would be adjustments to make, but I had not expected the wholesale deep change that occurred.  Most overwhelming for me, post birth, was the immediate shift in my understanding of myself and time. The time it would take to be a parent and the overwhelming responsibility and desire to be that parent clashed with the undiminished need to continue as advocate, artist and researcher of dance. My transition to mother artist was by no means an elegant one. I complained about and fought the sudden re-evaluation of my artistic self for quite a while. But in the process I learned a lot about what was important and where my limits were.  Parenting a child is one of the most unflattering and educative mirrors to yourself that I have ever experienced, but what the mirror shows up, the process of parenting and continuing in arts practice refines and shapes.

It’s messy, awkward and incredibly wonderful!
Making work about being a mother was not the way I responded to the role of mother artist but I have found watching the boys process, and participate in, what mummy does, with joy, fascination and a healthy dose of frustration.  As they interrupt, demand and divide my focus they share generously of themselves and offer new perspectives on well-trodden pathways in my dance practice.  I have made choices that have lead me in new directions and made new connections that are both exciting and fulfilling. Working locally, accepting sudden changes in the best made plans, structuring and re-structuring projects to find the best possible mode of working and allowing time to expand so that I can fit everything in have been the routine of my arts practice. You can view a glimpse of my recent dance-film project here. And as a small exercise in self-observation I created a couple of videos in order to more consciously see how I have woven my family and dancing lives together through preparation and physical practice.

Bravery is … believing in yourself.

Imagination is … making the intangible real.

Generosity is … an open heart.

Connection with stories and experiences of other mother artists has been instrumental in maintaining the momentum and I am so very glad to have connected with Jo and Lilly through the MAN and their fabulous BIG magazine. I also want to acknowledge the work of Rachel Power in her book The Divided Heart – Art and Motherhood, as another key supporter and driver of my current passion to research and advocate for mother artists.
Each Mother Artist has a unique context and way of making the most of their twin selves and I am really looking forward to hearing the diverse stories and sharing in the common experiences of each mother artist who contributes to the Mother Artist Network. These stories are not just important for us but for everyone as an insight into an area of arts practice not usually discussed in open forums. Let the discussion begin!

The Mother Artist Network (MAN) is an initiative of Jo Pollitt and Lilly Blue and BIG Kids Magazine. This inaugural mini MAN Festival has been curated in collaboration with guest editor and mother artist extraordinaire Vivienne Rogis to whom we are so grateful! 
The Mother Artist Network is a place that invites BIG ideas and discussion about creative practice and motherhood. Through a forum of ongoing blog posts the MAN will feature voices of mother-artists at all stages of artistic engagement and motherhood.  We very much hope you will contribute to the conversation by commenting below or emailing us at info@bigkidsmagazine to add your story to the mix.  

on Nov 4, 2012