Art Out of Anger
April 22, 2020
Dear Allyson,

 I love your mind, and your work, and the idea of chaos and order. To be honest, I feel the chaos in me more. 

My name is Anushna and I am from India. I know we are so far away from each other but someday I am going to make it to New York and learn from you. 
 You know, I feel so much inside me, you could call it chaos. There is chaos in my mind, but I also feel it in my body when the mind takes over (anxiety). Theres so much anger for what the world is today, I don't feel a part of society for what it is. I don't want to be angry. Today I was angry at the world and I cried and tore what I was wearing right off my body and there was destruction. 

 When I try to put my thoughts into my art I feel like there's a block that's coming in my head. After finishing my artwork, I feel like so many things, the hardest things, are left unsaid. Maybe I have to study art to get rid of that block, which I'm looking forward to, but that's not before sometime. I am learning how to express the good things, but not the chaos, which is what I need some advice on. How can I begin to let that chaos out into my art and not into destruction. 

This is one of my artworks where I have tried to portray the chaos, but had so many blocks. I did feel so damn good after making it. 

This painting is called “Don't Fuck with the Feminine.”
It was about this volcano erupting inside me.

Ask Allyson Image
Don't Fuck with the Feminine by Anusha
Dear Anusha,

Thanks so much for writing and for sending a picture of your painting.

You say you “may have to study art... but not for sometime.” 
Here is your painting. You ARE studying art. You just have to be your own teacher.  
Art school gives you the obligation to make art, with grades, deadlines, project completion expectations, review boards. 
Art School can offer feedback and resource — a print studio, nude models & set-ups to draw, knowledgeable & experienced teachers... 
Art school can push you to evolve your art practice. 
Art school is not mandatory for being an artist.

Putting off being an artist may be involved in you wanting to rip your clothes off from pent up frustration over suspending your creative life.
Now is the time for your personal creative life to bloom. When quarantine ends, you may want to be a better painter. Now is a good time to practice making art everyday. Practice, by the way, is NOT getting it right. It’s doing it over and over again. When we have neglected yoga for some time, the first sessions can feel awkward. Usually, that uncomfortable phase cannot be bypassed. Art is like that, too. 

Next time you feel like performing an act, like ripping your clothes off, consider planning a video recording of your private performance. 
Keep a record of that act, even if it is just for you. Performance is cathartic and you will appreciate having that document later in your art career.
Creative expression is a really good place to put chaotic emotion. It makes the subjective, objective. Turns inner thoughts into outer things to be observed. Practicing observation is a road to enlightenment AND the road to being a great artist. 

Let’s talk about the painting you shared.
Here is a simple method for studying art when you have to be your own teacher.

Looking at your painting, ask yourself three questions:

Question #1:
What works for me in this painting?
What do I like about it?

Question #2: 
What does not work for me in the painting? 
 Could be something you would like to do better, say, perhaps, “I’d like to improve my skill at painting a face or figure.”
 Might be how paint is applied. Could be the color, design or subject.
 [Check out my blog post on “Creative Discontent.”]

Question #3: 
If I started THIS painting over again, what would I do differently?
Bigger? Smaller? Different materials?
More advanced planning? 
Design? Composition?
Different or better References? 
 or. …What?

Exercise Suggestion #1:

 Paint this painting again. Take your time. Make sure you are using the best brushes, paint and painting surface you can afford. 
 Paint this important painting concept until you are satisfied.
 The piece may evolve into a different and better painting.
 Use what you learn from each subsequent painting and drawing “assignment” that you give yourself.

Exercise Suggestion #2:

 Accept feedback about your work. Set up one painting or arrange a few pieces around your room.
 Invite trusted others to look at the work with you and answer those three questions. 
 Listen for their altruism. Ask for their honesty.
 Take their responses to heart knowing that YOU are the final decider of YOUR art. 
 Only you know what is right for your painting.

Exercise Suggestion #3:

 Practice drawing from life everyday. 
 Draw your self-portrait, your hands and feet, your family. Ask them to sit for you.
 Do spontaneous sketches of the family watching tv.
 Drawing is a spiritual practice, whether you are alone drawing quietly or with others. 
 Experience “Loving Awareness" when you are drawing.
 If you are alone, play music you love and sink into the drawing practice in silence. 

Love to see your next painting or performance.

In loving service,


Read part 2 of the conversation here
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