You know, just once I’d like to do something meaningful in life and not have it tie back to my mother. Why? I don’t know, just because. Sometimes I worry my family, friends, and regular readers at WYG are going to wonder why I’m so darn STUCK, but I assure you I do not walk around giving griefy Hamlet-esque monologues on a regular basis. It's just a topic that tends to come up a lot because I write a grief blog and I draw on my personal experiences – duh.
I say all this because I just finished a photo project for a college art gallery, an opportunity that I mostly lucked into. The project was really just a culmination of photos I’ve been taking of my girls over the past year – one that seemingly had zilch to do with my mother... until I sit down to write an Artist Statement and BAM there it is, I find myself writing about grief again.
My husband says he’s going to buy the URL www.whatsyourhappiness.com to counterbalance our house's emotional feng shui (Uh oh, someone already owns it). But he did get me to thinking: Does grief keep popping up because I'm predisposed to see it? Perhaps, I could have just as easily left my mother out of the Artist Statement and written several paragraphs on the joys of motherhood and my desire to photograph it; but honestly, I would have only been telling half the story.
Creating art requires one to dig deep into the emotional undercurrent of their life and in my experience, part of what drives me to capture a moment in time is a memory of what I have lost. There’s a lyric by the band ‘The Head and the Heart’ that goes:
10,000 weight in gold, never feels like treasure ‘til you lose it all.10,000 Weight in Gold, The Head and the Heart
Right, exactly. I lost the treasure and now, when I see reminders of it in my own maternal life, I want to grab it. So sue me, what can you do me? My mother made me, molded me, and her memory meets me at all of life’s ups and downs. She’s here, there, and everywhere. I could go on all day.
Art inspired by grief is pretty common. Occasionally, its influence is obvious... Occasionally, it's more esoteric... Occasionally, it's unintentional... And occasionally, it's merely our projection. Anyhow, for the two of you who aren’t already bored by me, here’s the link to the aforementioned Artist Statement and my full series 'Mother/Daughter Life' (I've also included a few photographs below).
And here are grief inspired photo projects by some real artists....
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