By Brie Klein-Fowler
Brie is a therapist and new mom of two in Greensboro. For the Body Project, Brie is artistically investigating the humor BLOOD.
"Me? You want me to contribute a piece of artwork to your project? Surely you have me mistaken with someone else, anyone else."
Nope, she was talking to me. My amazingly talented friend was asking little ol' me to contribute a piece to her show. Cue me feeling way out of my league!
Me and art have a complicated relationship. Yup, click that button on Facebook, there's no other way to describe it.
As a child of an extremely artistic mother, I was always provided with art supplies and encouragement to create. In Kindergarten I even had a piece shown at a local art gallery (portrait of a windmill in ripped paper. It was a colorful mix of abstract, landscape, and wishful thinking). That marked the apex in my art career. My mother eased off of pushing for me to be a visual artist and instead worked to nurture my dance and music expression. To say it didn't go well would be an understatement. She wisely switched to allowing me and my left brain to run free, and hung all her right brained hopes on my brother. I think we were both considerably relieved.
In high school I decided to pursue photography and was so unbelievably bad that I still remember my kind hearted teacher's notations on my image: "Hi, Brie....Boy, you tried hard, didn't you? But the subject is bloodless and your negative was so dirty I can't really see the image that well. C+"
Devastated, I resolved never to attempt to create a piece from scratch ever again. If I felt the spark of creativity, I would collage and ultimately learned to knit, but never dared to start with a blank space and fill it only with my own brushstrokes or ideas. I experimented with scrapbooking in college before settling down with knitting as an adult. Knitting has been a safe, stable partner ever since. Not too dynamic, but reliable to settle my mind and help me through tough times.
So when my friend asked me to contribute to her project, my first instinct was first scoff, then create a Brie-shaped dust cloud in the other direction. But I stayed. Perhaps it is my people-pleasing manner, but I agreed. Haunted by my high school professor's declaration that my work was once "bloodless," how interesting to be given the prompt of "Sanguine." As a therapist, I know how beneficial it can be to embrace the very thing that has haunted me for so long, so I did it.
I can't say that I'm in love with what I have done, but I am in love with the fact that I did it. All the prompts reminded me of my new baby girl, so she is the subject. I spent lots of time just layering bits and bobs from my "It's Complicated" relationship with art. Her skirt is layers of ripped paper in a nod to my first art show. Her top and flower crown are leftovers from my brief dalliance with scrapbooking. Her belt is a quick cable knit that I actually made first as a warm up to get myself comfortable with creating. Her picture itself is probably off center and too fuzzy, but my subject definitely isn't bloodless.
I have already found that this has led to more invigoration and lively curiosity. Just yesterday I felt compelled to scour magazines like I did as a teenager and whipped up a quick collage in about an hour that is just about as interesting as the portrait I worked on for weeks. And I loved it. I stayed up late to work on it. I had to force myself to stop.