Living in the Dash – Sharing the Story

Living in the dash sharing stories

Our life happens in the dash.

It is the journey between birth and death. It is the “and”. It is everything we experience for good or ill. It is what determines our beliefs and interactions. It is the pause between the start and the stop. It is what happens between each breath.

This is a project for an exhibition, ultimately about sharing, growth, compassion and understanding.

As a part time job, I transcribe statements for a public service agency. People telling their stories and besides the person in that agency, I am the first witness to their experience. As I listen to these people, describing their trust, their betrayals, their cynicism, their strength, their hopelessness, I think because I listen with compassion and empathy, some healing has occurred in my own life.

The one thing I can tell you for sure is never listen to anyone who says “oh get over it” or “stop living in the past”. Those kinds of statements are insensitive and ignorant. They indicate a lack of understanding of you and your experiences. Don’t listen to them.

This is a project that surrounds people and their lives.  People sharing their story. You can tell whatever story you want. All anonymous. You can talk about it, you can write it.  You can tell your story as you lived it, or as you wish to have lived it.  It’s not all about the bad stuff you did, or such, it is whatever you want to talk about. Your biography, your hurts, your joys, whatever. It is open to your interpretation. It can be as long as you wish or as short as you wish. It can be your entire life, or it can be what happened yesterday. Whatever is important to you.

Audio – Record your story – Save it to your desktop then send to me.

Written – Record your story

Part Two – What I Will Do and the Show

Living in the Dash – Writing the Story

Part two:  What I will do

Writing the Story

I will transcribe your story and become your second witness. The recording, whether audio or written, is the first and the act of recording validates whatever it is you say.  When you record or write, consciously think about this as you go through the process.

If you choose to do an audio recording, I will be transcribing – writing the story for you.  Your name is not important unless you choose it to be, but your story is. I feel that there is healing in this process and there will be a healing and compassion in the process of my transcribing. There is healing in telling the story and healing in writing the story. When I do any transcribing, I always say a little prayer for each person regardless of what was done or received.

Audio – Record your story – Save it to your desktop then send to me.

Written – Record your story

So how will the show look?

The show itself would look like this. Part one would be the visual: Everyone’s story, printed out, papers, 8 1/2 x 11 would cover the walls of the art gallery, all through the art gallery, everywhere. You wouldn’t be able to get away from it. All of your stories. All double spaced stories. Part two would be the recorded audio: Stories would be told on continuous loop, all stories one after the other, different people talking, in various places throughout the gallery. Part three would be recordable audio: There would be places for people to record their own stories if they have not already or to add if they already have. Part four would be tactile: there would be a place for them to write their own stories. Part five, and the most important: the people who come in to the gallery become the witnesses, the validations of all these stories. That validation creates connection, understanding, empathy and compassion. There might be a part six, which would be people in the gallery telling their stories in person.

I believe that there are many in the community who share the same experiences. Maybe in others seeing and hearing what is said, there will be healing in them too.

This is all anonymous. No identification.  You would need to give permission to have your stories used in a public setting, but this would be implied by the very fact of submitting it. I am thinking that a book could also come out of this, because there is something empowering by seeing your words in print. This I can tell you for sure.

It’s about healing, partnerships and compassion. We can do this together. I believe it is the only way.

Audio – Record your story – Save it to your desktop then send to me.

Written – Record your story

I seldom use an eraser

Charcoal-Drawing-Trops

I seldom use an eraser, and when I do use one, it is at the very end of the drawing session, sometimes even a few days later.  The reason for this is, I believe a mark laid is a mark played.  The essence of the expression is intact and pure, the lineage of senses and expression maintained.  The lack of eraser forces me to be efficient and clean and direct.  It is about the honesty of mark making in my practice.

Before the eraser … (please excuse the colour differences, as this one was taken by my iphone during drawing session, and the lights were dim. Interestingly, the colour is more correct in this image than the second image.)

Charcoal Drawing Trops
Before- Charcoal Drawing Julia Trops

And after the eraser …

Charcoal-Drawing-Trops
After – Charcoal drawing Julia Trops

The editing is slight, and only because I felt that the drawing was telling me to do it. Sounds strange if you aren’t an artist yourself, but my fellow artists will know exactly what I am talking about. The editing was done three days after drawing session was finished. This work and others are available for sale in my online gallery. This link will open a new window.

No More Styx and Stones at Penticton Art Gallery

Acrylic Painting Bullying

Artist Statement for No More

Like many others, I have been the recipient of physical, mental and emotional bullying all my life. So many times I wished those watching would stand up for me and say “hey, wait a minute…”, but no one ever did. Even now, in the Okanagan, I have first hand experience of how loyalty to one’s friends supersedes what is morally right, or kindness to another. Over the years, through processing my own experiences and exploring my identity, I became aware of patterns of behavior, not only in myself as victim, but others, both the aggressors and the bystanders. In becoming aware of my own personal triggers of perceiving myself as a victim, I have developed thought processes to re-route my
previously traditional response. I re-vision scenarios where I am no longer the just recipient, but instead, I am a witness trying to understand the source of anger or sadness or lack of education that provoked that aggressor’s hate. Hate is an expression of pain or anger or being threatened, and I understand now that hate directed outwards is not personal, but symbolic. This understanding has made me aware of what a gift it is to both myself and to that aggressor, in witnessing and acknowledging their pain along with my own, and this act of witnessing is transformative and powerful.

In any action, positive or negative, there are two types of people: the bystander, who witnesses, and the participants. Witnessing can occur before, during or after a situation. Even those bystanders who choose not to participate cannot avoid becoming part of the scenario. By making that choice, bystanders become the witness, and they stand by and share in what they see and hear. I believe that bystanders can choose to be the people who say “no more”, and these are the people who become heroes, who stand up and effect change for both the aggressor and the victim. I don’t think anyone is determined to be a hero. I believe heroes are reluctantly so.

What if Charron, the ferryman across the River Styx, said “No more”? What if he, the bystander, decided he was not going to participate in his traditional role of taking those condemned over to Hades over the river of hate?

I have always had sympathy for Charron. I’ve always imagined Charron takes up the mantle of pain for each person who uses his ferry, and that he can see through to their pain, the pain and anger that caused these people to be evil, but can do nothing about it.

He is a witness to both their crime and their past. Instead of traveling the river of hate, what if he were to examine it? What if he employed empathy and he, as a witness, was the cause of their transformation? The ferryman Charron, a bystander, a witness, previously thought to be powerless, a victim in and of his role, becomes the most powerful of all.

Acrylic Painting Bullying
No More 9×36 Mixed Media Julia Trops

Gold leafing workshop at Opus March 22, 10 am to noon

Gold leaf oil pen original artwork julia trops

I am once again making an appearance at Opus on Saturday March 22, 10 to noon.  This time I will be discussing gold leafing and mixed media.  The Opus staff did a far better job of doing the write up, so I will just copy and paste what they have on their website.

http://opusartsupplies.com/how/demos/gold-leafing-and-mixed-media (will open popup)

Anyway, here is the write up.

Location:  Kelowna
Date: Saturday March 22 2014, 10 to noon

Note – March 5, 2014: This demonstration is now full and no further registration will be taken. Thank you for your interest!

Gold Leafing can add a unique and engaging element to mixed media works. Julia will be demonstrating the water gilding gold leafing process on both paper and wood panel, getting them ready as surfaces on which to paint and draw.

Using a variety of art materials, from pens and markers to acrylic and oil paints and mediums, Julia will demonstrate each step of the mixed media process through a number of works in progress.

Space is limited to 30 attendees and registration is required.

Gold leaf mixed media painting on mounted panel Julia Trops
Gold leaf mixed media painting on mounted panel 6×6

Charcoal and Pastel Drawings – 2014

Charcoal Pastel Drawing

Some people are automatic writers; I’m an automatic drawer.  I respond with mark making, and it doesn’t always look like what I see.  I’ve had clients and friends telling me they see faces and people and angels in my work, and I never really looked until this weekend.  There’s quite a few in this one.  I’m not sure where they are coming from.  This is actually a female figurative nude based on magnificent model Donnalee, 12×16 watercolour paper.

Charcoal Pastel Drawing Julia Trops
Faces in the crowd Charcoal & Pastel by Julia Trops

Ryan Robson’s Lady-like exhibit at the College – my take

Recently, a number of people asked me to comment on Ryan Robson’s “Lady-Like” exhibit and what happened in those subsequent weeks.  I’ve taken some time to think about the events and the subject and for what it is worth, here are my thoughts.

If you aren’t familiar with it, the story is documented here:

http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/240912791.html

and here:

http://infotel.ca/newsitem/Controversial-art-exhibit-stripped-from-Okanagan-College/IT7297

and here on CBC is the interview with Ryan about the show (7 minutes long):

http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/Local+Shows/British+Columbia/ID/2430385542/

From the infotel.ca link:

“After receiving a number of concerns, we thought the time frame for this exhibit maybe should be left at two weeks. During that time almost all of our college community would have had time to experience the art,” Lister says.

So here are the facts as I see them:

  • Ryan Robson is a local Vernon artist.
  • Gallery Vertigo, an artist run gallery, has an agreement with the Kalamalka Okanagan College satellite campus in Vernon to have artworks on display for one month, so by my math, that is four weeks.
  • There was no financial cost to display the art.
  • Robson creates sincere and genuine works with the intention of helping herself, and helping others by opening a dialogue on a very distressing and confrontational subject.
  • The artworks are on display for a very, very short period of time (days?) before complaints come in to the Okanagan College administrators.
  • The artworks are no longer able to be up for the agreed amount time with the administrator citing the “complaints”.

Based on the actions of the administrators of Kalamalka – Okanagan College, my take is the following:

  • The Okanagan College failed in its role as a centre for expanded learning.
  • They don’t understand the value of art as a vehicle for education and understanding, compassion and empathy.
  • They see art as “conditional” rather than a “necessary”.
  • They should have stood up to the complainers and stood up for the art.
  • I believe that as long as the art is landscapes and flowers and fairies or objective abstracts then art is welcome on their walls.
  • Ryan Robson is a local artist.
  • Local artists are not taken seriously or their genuine work is seen as valid.
  • If this was an outside exhibit that they had to pay to display then the artworks would have been up for the agreed amount of time.

The College had an opportunity to expand consciousness and understanding of such a highly charged area of human life, and I am certain sexual molestation happens to more children and people than we know.  I am sure they could have taken advantage of this artist’s sharing by having her come and speak to the psychology classes, or other subjects they teach.  Speaking from the experience of someone who is coming to terms with my own identity and exploring the same in my work, the actions of the College are reprehensible considering that this area purports itself to be so culturally aware.

Instead, they shut her down and gave the message “we don’t want to see that”, or “we don’t care about what you went through, it isn’t valid art”. Regardless of what was said, actions speak louder than words, and that was the message, very clear to all.  And again, I think it is because she was a local artist.  If this was an artist from Toronto, or Vancouver, or if they had to pay for the exhibit, then this outcome would be very different.

Too bad the College succumbed to squeaky wheels and whiners instead of telling them to stuff it.  They could have made themselves the example of strength and leadership by standing up for the principle and needs of art.

But they didn’t.

 

 

Okanagan Erotic Art Show update

Okanagan Erotic Art Show Love Story Julia Trops Oil painting on canvas

Many of you know I do my own webwork, and manage four websites: my own, my new art gallery, Livessence.com and OkanaganEroticArtShow.com.

Earlier this month, my web service provider GoDaddy rearranged a few things for me, and while everything is running much smoother, I have some work to do to get it all up and running as it should.  The transition was kind to Livessence, which is now completed, and thanks to Postie, it gets its updates with the emails that go out to the members.

The Okanagan Erotic Art Show is next on the list.  I expect it to be up and on its way in about a week or two.  In the meantime, I’d like to share what I am contemplating the theme will be for 2014.  Steamy, a play on the idea of the beautiful Wellness Spa Resort at Sparkling Hill, and a steampunk influence, is what I am leaning toward.  You all know I have some sort of byline so that the artist does not feel restricted in their creative process.  Once that is finalized, I will post it all on the Erotic Show website.

I am looking for jurors for the show, so if you have any ideas, do send them along!  The process for the jurying will be the same as last year:  blind (no names), image + title + artist statement.  Yes = 1 point, No = 0 points, and Maybe = .5 point.  Artworks with 2 points are automatically in.

I am also looking for sponsors for any amount.  If you would like to be involved in any way, let me know!

If you have any questions, I’ll see what I can do to answer them.  I expect the Call to Artists to come out Nov/Dec timeframe.  Some small changes have been incorporated, and as you know every year I try to make the show better.  We had a fabulous year this year, so the challenge has been set before me.

Check out the facebook page for updates as well:

http://www.facebook.com/EroticArtShow

New online art gallery and shop

After so many years on Ruby Lane, I have opened up my own art gallery online at http://www.juliatropsart.com.  It’s really new, less than a month old, and the works from the residencies in Italy and Spain are available here.  Because I am so prolific, it did not make financial sense to keep paying the fees on Ruby Lane, but I will keep that art gallery open for a little while longer, probably til the end of the year, or to mid 2014.

During the transition, send me a note if you are looking for a specific artwork and can not find it.

Payment can still be done the regular way, online through paypal or if you want to call me with payment information, I am set up for that as well.  Any questions, by all means, let me know.

Thank you for your interest in my work!