Hello, I’ve been working on art and boundaries lately. I want to show you this dragon I finished. I was working on it for a while.
It’s a fire dragon based on a stone engraved picture of Quetzacoatl that I found online. I feel proud of my work. My friend Ariel cheered me on. She asked me if I looked at a picture. I looked at a picture when I did the head–then I understood the concept and embroidered the rest of it.
Long ago I learned about Quetzacoatl and other deities of Aztec culture in a Chicano art class I took circa 1997 at UC Santa Barbara. That’s where I saw Frida Kahlo paintings for the first time. It was so exciting–I learned so much.
It’s the only art history class I ever took. I thought memorizing exact years of paintings was kinda pointless. Otherwise, I loved seeing all that art and getting fresh ideas in my head. The other students in the class seemed totally bored and not into it. I felt like a weirdo, floored with excitement, in this class of uncaring young people.
Then when I almost died three years ago, Jaguar came to help me find my way out of the jungle I was hacking through, when I was in the hospital. The Aztec deities became important to me. My mom told me that my dad went to the jungle when he had a near death experience also.
The dragon is late for the January artalong. I wrote the prompts for the second half of the month, so dragon was a prompt I thought of. I like being late–feels liminal. My pace is valid. I’ll finish in time outside of time.
I’m finishing the January artalong as I do the February one. The February one, I’m doing sharpie on reclaimed product packaging cardstock. Here’s where I’m at.
My friend’s kid made the prompts for this one, and most of the prompts are about favorites. Here’s the list. Sorry I forgot to invite you!
The orange slice represents my favorite color orange. The microphone represents my favorite art, rapping. These days I don’t see movies, but when I was a kid, my favorite movie was Labyrinth. I watched that movie 50 times, and I have much of it memorized. So the mask is the mask the Goblin King wore in the ballroom scene.
The diamonds on the left represent how I feel when I listen to Sufjan Stevens, my favorite musician. Like diamonds are shimmering inside of me, more and less dense. I made a playlist.
Been thinking a lot about boundaries lately. I started doing this February friendship artalong while I was swept up in other things. It was February first, and I was overwhelmed, but I didn’t want to let down the kid who made the prompts. But I was too pressed to plan and be intentional.
I grabbed this reclaimed product packaging cardstock that I’d painted yellow with orange and drawn a security camera on–a half-done art that sat around for months with unknown destiny. That’s why a security camera is in the middle of this art. I hope to incorporate it in future prompts.
This makes me reflect on boundaries because I was too busy, overwhelmed, and unprepared to do the February artalong, but I couldn’t bear to hurt the feelings of the kid. So I did it anyway, in a haphazard way that’s working out great. Maybe I should have had stronger boundaries, said, “I can’t do this right now,” and just said no. But saying yes means I’m making art I never would have made otherwise, and I love it.
That’s a good example of my confusion. I feel like I’m on earth to say a lot of yes, to enjoy this human birth. But I need to protect myself also. I need art and boundaries. So here are my questions lately.
- What do I need to learn for my own self-preservation?
- What in me could change, so I could learn how to set boundaries that work better for my well-being?
- How do I protect myself?