Reflections on a Body of Work, art in 2018

 “Floored”, oil on canvas, 2018

“Floored”, oil on canvas, 2018

A terribly difficult year is about to end and I couldn’t be happier. Not that I need a New Year to refresh my perspective but this year my changes need a good, solid reset button.  Why not add the champagne?

When I went over the art works I completed this year and I about fell over in self shame.  I won’t discuss my personal disappointment with low production.  I’m certain my recent challenges are justified in such failure but in competing with myself, 2018 was a downer. There will be no December show this year.

However, other good things will come about instead.  I’m going for a February show instead but not specifically ART PORN themed because I won’t be able to make enough paintings for it.  I posted some new works on my website recently, some of which will be included in the new show unless I kick ass here soon and create replacements. I also have two large paintings I was working on this spring and haven’t been able to return to them so I hope they will find themselves on a wall completed by February as well. Lastly, I am currently working on a new piece I began this week- because I just had to. I had an idea and needed to get it down before I forgot or lost excitement for it. I boxed up the oil paints that had given me so much trouble this year and pulled out my acrylics and I’m truly loving having my artistic process back, something familiar and somewhat comfortable. My process just doesn’t work the same way with oil paint. What an interesting and frustrating discovery.

While I attempted to continue in my ART PORN vision for the next show, I found it difficult to produce those images this year.  I didn’t like any of my results for my ART PORN themes and that’s awful, when the artist doesn’t like their own work.  In frustration I simply painted what I felt driven towards even when it didn’t make sense – and a lot of it didn’t.  However, when I look at the totality of what I created this year, I see what I needed to see and feel this year wasn’t meant to be a show for others but rather a display for my own eyes.

When living and creating through intuitive processes, the level of self-trust required is elite and it’s just plain difficult, I won’t lie.  In my case, I give myself a gold medal because it was excruciating not succeeding in creating any ART PORN paintings to completion while knowing week after week that I was in no way going to be able to create the show I wanted to because I wasn’t producing enough good work — and, I can’t really explain why they weren’t good enough other than they felt off.  Trusting the creative process when the direction you’re going isn’t making sense is the most difficult thing to surrender to.  I really tried very hard to go into the ART PORN direction but it didn’t work.  Every painting was such a struggle and a place of negative emotion that the paintings and the process itself just wasn’t satisfying on any level.  I had to stop. Instead I followed other visions, an intuitive voice rather than my “this is what I’m supposed to do” voice and focused on how art needs to make me feel rather than on how art needs to feed my goal based objectives. That is, in fact, the original source of ART PORN’s creation back in 2015.

I’m pleased with the results of this year’s paintings both individually and as a body of work for the year but I didn’t finish too much so I can’t show them and there isn’t the kind of cohesiveness you know from me. What is most bold and delightful however, is seeing the large technical improvement in my art skills. This lends me to further exploring my creativity.

 Dec 2018, “Dangerous Woman”, oil on canvas, 12x16 inches

Dec 2018, “Dangerous Woman”, oil on canvas, 12x16 inches

Only when I surrender to this strange inner pull (or slap) and take the time needed for my creative process does my art come out beautiful to me. That process requires as much thinking/reflection time as it does research time as it does painting time. Ultimately all that equals alone time and too much alone time in the middle of managing life’s unexpected traumas is a recipe for bad mental states. I found new survival skills to cope this year but they didn’t involve a lot of personal art time, which usually is my personal savior.

I spent the majority of my days this year teaching art and running life drawing classes while taking as many workshops as possible. This allowed me to not dive too deep internally and focus on the surface areas that needed improvement. As a result, I’ve been bathing in art, just not “mine”. That’s about to change!

Since I have grown as a person, I’ve also grown as an artist.  I definitely feel a shift in my artistic direction but not a drastic one.  I think I’m in a place where I will hone my vision. It’s a good goal for 2019. That and more completed art work! :)

- TvT

New Art: "ShowTime"

I’ve finished the peacock painting I've been working on the past 3* months. I'm happy she's done and I can finally post something new after too many months of nothing.  I worked hard to not compromise her quality for wanting to get her done before December's end. 

 "Showtime", acrylic on canvas, 24" x 30"

"Showtime", acrylic on canvas, 24" x 30"

This painting developed when I was sketching out some possible ideas from photo references.  I was in the beginning of reigniting my erotic zone of thought and vision for a new show. I wanted to begin with something simple (it wasn’t), approachable and mostly, something I could use to promote the subsequent work which would most likely be banned from most social media and marketing options due to (intended but not necessarily promised) pornographic content. So far I've not painted a cock just peacocks. 

The peacock feathers were an attempt at establishing a representation of "The Look", a concept from Being and Nothingness by Jean Paul-Sartre.  I've been fascinated by the concept from the moment I learned about it in college philosophy class. It's turned up in my art over the years and I keep going back to it.  It's simply the object-subject dynamic. There will always be an object to look at as there will be a subject to look and then there will be an emotional response. Think voyeur-exhibitionist or audience-performer.  Sartre goes on to describe how when we become conscious of the fact that we are being looked at, we become aware that we are in fact, objects to the other.  This, of course, affects the way we view and thus behave for ourselves and the other. Very simplified version there.

I don't follow into Sartre's depths of existential despair but this concept of looking, observing and the interaction of the object and the subject has often caught my attention and intrigue.  We look and pass through momentary changes of emotion based on that "look" of and by others all the time.  I am mostly intrigued by the performance - the "show" -  and the willful exchanges that come with that more than the peeking voyeur exchange and emotion.  I think Sartre sits in that domain more, the voyeur peeking through the keyhole and the "subject" and "object" getting caught and the emotion aroused by that catch.  I'm more interested in the examination of a willful look exchange.

When it clicked that the peacock feathers looked like eyes, I thought it would be the best representation of this look concept surrounding this nice, latex shined ass, which is the objectified focal point.  Within that objectification space, it is valued (or judged) by the subject.  The value is relative to the development of the subject's psyche but the act of placing a value on the object is human nature. The moment we look, we emotionally respond. That can be a mighty moment. 

Looks like "Showtime" to me!

 

*correction from 2 months. i went back to my records and I began her early November. why is time so quick in hindsight?

Welcome to the New world

So, another year ends.  That always brings a variety of thoughts and emotions to people.  For some it's just another day and for others it's the first day of the rest of their lives (or the first few weeks of effort).

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It's been a difficult year for me personally and for the first time (and last) I'll touch on exactly why.  Heavy stuff: this is the year I accepted my marriage has ended and the family I fought to give my best to didn't make it through the challenges we've been given.  Truthfully, I couldn't have given more of myself or my efforts and upon that realization I hit the wall. I found love had a boundary.  We all have a boundary but sometimes we don't know where it sits and we continue on even with the challenges' pains until we find it hurts too much, until it awakens us and forces change. 

2017 has been about managing emotions, accepting the end of a passionate marriage spanning one and a half decades and restructuring my life's plan because starting over at midlife wasn't in that plan.  I could be angry (and I was for a little while) but I think the best lesson here is sometimes people grow apart and to truly honor the another person and the self is sometimes to set each other free.  If you cannot grow together you must grow apart or you will wilt. 

Sometimes the best answer is the one we don't want but need.  In marital vows we tend to hold on to the romanticism, our history and the commitment's dream of the story rather than face the reality the story truly offers.  Life is a twisty-turvy adventure that society manages to fuck up with its straight arrow views.  It's all a damn roller coaster ride: life, marriage, family, parenting.  Nothing prepared me. And that's the perhaps what makes life so interesting. How boring would the straight path be?  Depends on what adventure and life mean to you.  Everyone's story is unique but the generalizations are all the same: love, health, finances, spirituality.  What did I miss?  It's always different than "they" say so listen to yourself and follow your intuition.     

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Michael and I were a beautiful love story led by passion and intuition and with that I know it was right because it led me to some fantastic experiences; however,  unexpectedly we had a time limit and thus this love story turned into one volume on the shelf of my life's library. It took a lot of grief and growth to get to that simplified and elegant sentence. I'm clearing rumors and offering my words on the matter. The unique story is mine and I will not share it perhaps ever, but on the generalizations, I am maritally separated and a divorce is imminent, just like a good number of friends of mine at this stage in their lives. We can view that as a sad mid-life reality or we can view it as an empowering new journey, a gift. 

My main focus is raising my youngest child well and to continue evolving as an artist and person.  I've honestly struggled to keep focused on the painting this year, very disappointed with how much I didn't do but keep in mind that I did accomplish a lot and I did finish all the art for my Back It Up art show and my exhibition at the Erotic Heritage Museum this summer. Plus, I drove cross country and connected to the beauty and misery of what America is.  I'm very grateful I took such a journey (thanks to a great friend who joined me) because it altered some of my views and opened up my mind and I think it helped bring me to a solid place despite an uncertain future ahead.  I expect these elements to turn up in my paintings.

This year I managed to keep myself as happy and positive as possible despite the major life changes and I didn't give into the "quit" seductions whispered in my ear by fear itself.  Honestly, it's hard to get right back on the saddle of artistic creation when something so big and consuming as a big art show and marriage are over, (that almost deserves a "duh") so we'll see how I regroup and refocus and perform artistically in this new year.  I see greatness ahead and I'm happy the holidays are about over so I can focus on what must be done.

So, to continue on a positive note, this is what will keep me going in 2018:

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-    I've been developing some very awesome art pieces in my mind, a bit different from what I have been doing, much of it dictated by storytelling and the influences Savannah has had on me and I'm feeling very compelled to go there but apprehensive at the same time. These new paintings will challenge my skills because the backgrounds would need detail work. That's usually a big wall for me but I think it's time to climb over it. My cathedral painting that I'm still working on in its grisaille layer and that can be tracked on my Instagram, was an exercise in how I could deal with detail work and keep focused. I'm doing well enough to keep going.  I don't love it but it's part of the story so it must be there.  The paintings I dream require it.  

-    Also, I've come to the direction of the new erotica collection. I had several ideas swirling for months and it began falling together - kind of suddenly so I know it's time. I'm excited to see how this paints out. Of course, this means I have to research images. Not sure I can do it.  I haven't looked at porn since late spring so it's almost like going back into the muck to find the pearls. ;)  

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-     The work in progress art piece to your left will probably be the first  of the new collection.  I'm struggling with the peacock feathers but the title "Showtime" feels right. I had hope to have it done by the New Year but that didn't happen so the new timeline is mid January.

-     I've been looking at the calendar trying to see when I can realistically put seven to ten paintings together for a local show unless I reach for something bigger, which feels daunting actually.  I'm months off track for this already.  There's no real hurry but there's momentum and when that's lost it's extra difficult to step back up into it so I'm looking to set some ambitious yet realistic deadlines to keep myself going. I know the moment I choose a date, I'm committed and you know what that feels like, don't you?  Commitment?  It's when the adrenaline hits.  

I haven't made any resolutions other than "Do what must be done and do it everyday". As a goal oriented person, I'm always making new "resolutions" and modifying them through the year.  I am always aware where I am on my journey.  What must be done is different than last year or the year before.  What must be done will be done and the results have to show it and that's what you will see.  End of story.  

I'm wishing you all a wonderful New Year and all the good things life can bring. I'm moving forward into a new mindset this year which is both frightening and exhilarating and I welcome you to follow along in this new stage in my life because I think I'm going to some good places.  I'm stepping it up mostly because I cut my own strings, found self love and got into the driver's seat of my own life not just the car. Through that view, 2017 has been very successful indeed.  Perspective is everything and perspective is what we can control.  May you control yours and thus yourself.

A very Happy New Year to you!

Tatiana vT

Down the Hibiscus Road

...a few thoughts about the show's content before the show:

Sexuality creates life, nourishes love and provides pleasure.  How this can be shameful is only by mere construct of Human based fear and control. 

Typically I'm somewhat of a worrier rather than a warrior but over the past few years I've been working to change that and to a large degree, I've succeeded.  The freedom that comes with not giving a shit when you can't change certain circumstances or people cannot be overstated: worth the effort.  With it, however, comes pain because there's a process of having to feel - and thus to understand - the difference between truly not giving a shit to just not giving your time to the worry that will often hardly change anything.  It's not an easy road. A slippery slope took my foot in 2011 and it's really never been terrific since.  In 2014 I took control in a flow kind of way: I trusted the intuitive and passionate path no matter how crazy it seemed, and that path led me to creating the ART PORN collection.  I swear I was shocked at my commitment and completion and terrified at the thought of its exhibition but it all flowed rather well.  

Since I'm in the American South for this 2 day sneak peek show before it heads to Sin City,  I'll say it: "I'm doing God's work."  This is valuable to be understood when "in Rome" to do "as the Roman's do".  If one wants to be understood, one must speak the correct language and to me, sexuality is a universal language except my environment has ear muffs on -- so, I follow my intuition and strong sense of spirit and I listen to the voice within and here I am, backing it up, in Savannah, again.  Sexuality creates life, nourishes love and provides pleasure.  How this can be shameful is only by mere construct of Human based fear and control. It's undeserving to all of us.  I still stand with my original view of porn when taken to its core basics (yes it can be more complex but you've got to accept its naked truth before you put on the clothing to manipulate its meaning): 

Sexuality is universal, and pornography acts merely as the unedited documentation of sexual behaviors.

I certainly don't want to only make pornographic and erotic content for art but there are way too few female artists who do and so I step up to take that challenge on, to contribute a feminine view of sex, porn and eroticism to the supersaturation of porn out there.  It doesn't have to be in your face but it doesn't have to be hidden in the closet nor should it break marriages apart. It's a part of ourselves that needs a tweak of a peek, not shame or banishment.

I make art that represents our most primal acts, that require elegant representation in an era of raunch culture (and I consider this merely an evolutionary state derived from feminism but that's an entirely different post) as well as an era of virtual porn where truth isn't hidden by eroticism or romanticism: "Just fuck me" as one might say.

My take on sexuality or pornography is no less valuable than anyone else who projects their take but to be added to the avenue of choices is the road less traveled by women -- and even less so by women who live in conservative landscapes.

I look forward to meeting everyone at the show this upcoming first weekend in June.  Here are details if you need them.

Tatiana von Tauber