I’ve been doing a lot of reflection recently in the #theEJCollective (Emily Jeffords Collective,) that has been forcing me to dig and process until I’m truly in tune with my “why” in my art practice. I think this is broadening my vision- “turning on some lights.”⠀
Here is my reason as succinctly as I can say it: freedom. Painting is the very first thing in which I remember having endless imagination and very little fear. I like the final result- but not as much as I love the PROCESS. It sounds much more whimsical than it is- it’s actually very messy and gritty, but in the end it ties up loose, hanging wires of thought. It’s a bit of an act of rebellion, because it is a “no” as much as it is a “yes”- and in 2019, we have no shortage of things demanding our attention, requiring our intervention or management. Defying the noise is my freedom.
My other reason, is to be a sign-post to others that they too have permission—it brings me joy when someone comes over and wants to play in paint. When my boys were little, I kept a big industrial wire shelf right in our dining room full of art supplies. As unsightly as the messy shelves were, they could grab paper and paint at any time, and work it out. Creating an environment where art expression was readily available to them (not packed in a box in a closet) was important to me. Yes, they spilled paint and made a mess but I was teaching them to access relief from the day, and legitimizing the need to create. I don’t want anyone to wait until they’re retired to discover that they not only have a skill, but a passion for this process. ⠀
I knew I found joy there- I knew it was a form of therapy- I knew that holding space for creative flow was borderline sacred to me (so sacred, that I didn't even share my art with people until last year.) I have always had artists around my home and in my life- the pursuit of creative expression has always been as normal as breathing. What I hadn't known until I started naming things and giving this thing a framework, is that I have a deeply held, long-standing belief that art = my freedom. It has always been- I can't remember when it wasn't.
The temptation to grieve the years that I didn't give myself permission in this area is real- but even that's not an entirely true statement. I painted all throughout these years, I worked on houses in my 20's and painted on a ladder, I founded an interior design business, and I've raised three sons that also now consider artistic expression as a serious endeavor- necessary, even- because the world needs people who are willing to stand defiantly and continue to create beauty in the face of uncertainty, grief, apathy, hopelessness- I mean I could go on and on.
I think knowing my "why" is going to turn out to be a game-changer.
SAVE THE DATE: October 29th, Fido Nashville, where I will be releasing 30 new pieces. If you're local I'd love to see you! More times and details coming soon. If you're not already, connect with me on IG, which is where I tend to hang out the most.