Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tucson Museum of Art and "Street Cred"

Breathe in Breathe out. Start again. I know. It's been a long time since I've posted anything here. I want to thank Barbara, Linny and Jala for their encouraging notes. I feel immensely inspired, edified and motivated to continue posting because of these artists' dedication and passion for art. Here's my little watercolor of happiness today (2 1/2" x 3" in moleskine notebook).

The Arizona Biennial '09 has ended at the Tucson Museum of Art and my little painting is back home, symbol of more than I can put into words. But...I'll try.

Since each of us live parallel lives as artists and citizens, when do we come to terms with being fully grown, both as humans in community and artists with credibility? Is it when we are famous (locally/nationally) as artists? Is it when we make money from our work, and how much is enough? Is it when we've spent years working for a stable neighborhood, participating as volunteers, learning and acquiring the tools to shape and change things for the better? We do this shaping thing with each of our canvasses and art careers, too.

My point, and I do have one (remember that line?), is that we decide, we decide, we decide our standing--through quiet reflection, honest assessment and healthy humility, irrespective of public acknowledgment.

That said, I was walking around our 'hood the other day, remembering all that we've worked on to make it better around here. It reminded me of the big event from last year. We were targeted by some gang members who decided to shoot up our place. We happened to be huddled outside at the time, up against the studio, in fact. Both of our cars took bullets and one to the house over my son's room.

Later, a friend said that our vehicles now have some "street cred." You know, we did chuckle at that. Why? How could we? Because we survived and eventually got the gang out of the neighborhood (major hard work). We won.

Art has been like this, too. It's been more than thirty years since I had my epiphany/vision to become an artist. There have been delays, setbacks, loss, wailing and gnashing of teeth and personal triumph. I'll bet you have experienced similar things.

I haven't achieved fame or fortune--yet (smiling here), but I have reached a goal by being in the museum that was pretty fantastic when I think of where I was way back then.

I'd say I've got a little "street cred."


Barbara Muir said...

Yay! Yay! Yay!

You sure do have street cred. I've missed your blog so much. I love your painting, your photos and your wonderful writing.

Street cred eh? Yes. You have it in buckets. Big time.

And you're also right. The real cred flowers inside us, until the outside world has to pay attention. I think that's what happened to you. You were always amazing.


loriann signori said...

You do have street cred Melinda and are one amazing artist. Each path is different. Always try to enjoy your own path, it's as unique as you are.
I sure missed your blog and I am so glad you are back!

Jeane Myers said...

indeed! more then just 'a little'! a whole bunch more!

Melinda said...

You are so kind, Barbara, and you're friendship means so much to me. Thank you for understanding. I admire your energy and your great talent very much. How I wish I could be as prolific!

I hope you see yourself as amazing as I see you!

Virtual hugs.

Melinda said...

Thank you, Loriann. I'm honored that you would think so well of me. Your work is exceptional, full of life and filled with a deep love and respect for nature.

I agree. Each path is so unique and one that we can seek without apology, even if it is different from others.

I've missed being here, too. I tip my artist's beret to you!

Melinda said...

I'm blown away, Jeanne! Thank you, thank you. Whenever I visit your blog, I am in awe of your beautiful work. And, your approach and writing always resonates with authenticity.

Karen said...

Oh I hope you haven't been in turmoil when you've been away! I was picturing you working working working in your studio! But I too am so glad to see you back.
I love reading your blog just as I love seeing what you're writing about.

Bad memories...but kind of like that you left the hole in the car.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I went to UrbanDictionary.com and looked up "street cred" and good news, you get 75 points (of said street cred) for getting shot up and surviving. But the bad news is it's minus 50 points if you speak proper English. I can tell you talk good on account of how ya write, yo. That leaves you with 25 points of street cred. Minus 35 points for smiling when getting your picture taken. I swear it says that, look it up.

But girl, you get 2000 points for getting into that bad *ss museum/gallery! So you win!!!

I've really missed reading your posts, Melinda. So glad you're back.

Linny D. Vine said...

Welcome back, Melinda! What an amazing year of accomplishments you have had!
You and your art are unique and special and YOU HAVE UNIVERSAL CRED, MELINDA!

Anonymous said...

I'll just add to the many funny and loving comments here that taking a bullet for your art is a resume eye opener, now isn't it!

Sometimes we get encouragement from other artists and other times, we give it, often unknowingly, just by sharing experiences.

It's always enlightening to re-visit your blog.

Melinda said...

Oh, I did hesitate telling the bad story, but then I realized that we have so many parallels between what happens to us and how we process the experience--how we relate it to other things. Thought it might be helpful.

That ol' car is a 1986 Amigo. Ironic, huh? We fixed the nicer car because it had six bullets and would have gotten rusty. I can't believe I just typed that...

I have been really busy working on the house, but I did complete a ginormous mailart for my college boy when not taping and scraping on joint compound in the strawbale room. I hope he'll let me post a portion of it someday.

Thank you so much, Karen, for stopping by.

Melinda said...

Silvina...I can't stop laughing out loud and smiling as I keep re-reading your comment. You is one funny lady, yo. I ain't always such a good speller or grammar queen, but 'roun here, I AM mas macho.

Now, I do profess that I rahther think that I mustn't get too many points, as I've perused the Urban Dictionary, of which you wrote, and see that, alas, I reside in the state of Arizona.

But, I be thankin' ya and hope to post more often in the future!

Melinda said...

Ooooh, I like that, Linny! Universal cred...hmmm I'm going to dream about that, not in an egotistical way, but in a good way.

Thank you!!

Melinda said...

Thank you so much, Bonnie! I wouldn't suggest anyone else try this at home, though. :)

You're right, visiting your blog and those of other wonderful artists has been food, medicine and encouragement. Can't do without you guys now!!

susan hong-sammons said...

Amen Melinda! You said what we all think, and feel, and toss about in our heads so well. I think we're just naturally artists because we also need that constant challenge. If it all came easy we wouldn't bother.
Love your happy happy painting. I probably won't see many blue skies until spring.
Happy Painting!!!!

aha moments said...

Hi Melinda. Really great post about art and the paths it can lead you down. Great stuff.

It reminds me of a story Dianna sent us a while back.
She was told early on that a career in the arts was impossible, so went a different more financially secure route. Then a little later decided to "chuck it" and pursue her true passion -- art!
Check out here story at the link below. Hope you like it.

Jeffrey J. Boron said...

So glad to see you back posting Melinda and being able to see your art.


Melinda said...

Thank you so much, Jeffrey. I appreciate your stopping by. Now I need to get over to your excellent blog and see what you're up to. It's getting chilly up there, isn't it? That will change your approach, yes?

kathrynlaw said...

You know, I read this post when it was new, and I was speechless--and somehow never got around to finding the words to tell you that I'm in awe of you! I think maybe Bonnie said it best when she said, taking a bullet for your art is an eye opener on your resume, or just about anything else for that matter. Wow. Did this gang have anything to do with that psycho neighbor?? o_O Sometimes you and Edgar must feel like homesteaders in the old wild west!

Seriously though, everything you wrote here about how WE decide our standing--THAT is what I needed to hear. It's true, indeed it is, but so hard to remember in those times of self-doubt when we look outside ourselves for affirmation. And by "we", I mean "I".

Melinda said...

Thank you, Kathryn. Yes, it does feel like homesteading in the old west sometimes. Lots of times, in fact. We live smack dab in the middle of Tucson, but this neighborhood has been around since the late 1930s.

The real estate boom stimulated a big sell off by those who wanted to move up or just on, which led to speculators buying up some of the old adobes and ranch houses around here. Subsequent rental activity with an absentee landlord caused our problem. Interestingly, the psycho neighbor refinanced into crazy town, went bankrupt and was foreclosed on. The place was snapped up recently and sits vacant.

I'm so glad you agree about the "I" that decides. You've got it. And, I know that you are in process, like me and so many others, of growing more confident as our paintings confirm what we already know.