Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Don’t Become an Isolated Griot!

Patricia Coleman Cobb & Ramona
Artists run the risk of isolation.  We can become trapped in our own creative minds and spaces.   Our studios are our sanctuaries, but sometimes they become our prisons.  We refuse to leave our safe creative space to venture into the world.  I heard an artist describe all artists as modern day griots.  Our art tells the story of a people, community, and nation.   But what good is a story if it is not heard?  What good is a griot who only tells stories to herself?
Patricia Cobb's fiber & clay dolls
We must open ourselves up to experience the creativity of other artists.  There are always art exhibits, openings and gatherings going on somewhere.  We must take the time to attend these events and talk to each other.  Online groups like Black Art in America  have helped begin this process.  As an art patron, I believed artists were reclusive, secretive, and mysterious.  I thought someone with such creativity couldn’t be easy to understand or befriend.  But then I realized, I was an artist and I’m none of those things.  In fact, I’m an open book with an ever changing story.  If this was my reality, then it must also be the same for other artists.
Danny Broadway & Ramona
At every art opening, street fair, or gallery show I’ve attended, I’ve encountered wonderful artists who fed my creativity with their energy.   A community grows as its members interact.  Sharing stories, asking questions, and cooperative dreaming is the fertilizer for its growth.  As a community of artists, we must seek out each other and challenge each other’s growth. We must not allow ourselves to become isolated islands.  Social networking is helping to bring us together but we must strive to expand our relationships into the real world.  

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