Tag: artist on art

Chaos and Course Corrections – Getting Lost in a Chaotic Cultural Crisis

"Chaos" abstract painting social commentary by BZTAT

Bill walked up to me in my tent at the Canton First Friday Art Walk, and he reached out his hand towards me. “Are you Vicki?” he asked. I replied that I was, as I awkwardly shook his hand, a bit surprised because most people refer to me as BZ in my art circles.

“I have been looking for you,” he told me with a reserved sort of eagerness. “Didn’t you used to have a blog?”

“I still do have a blog,” I told him, “although I haven’t written in it for a long time.”

Bill proceeded to tell me that he had found my blog online at some point, and that he had read a post I had written about the Canton Arts District. He said that the post helped him understand the movement to utilize the arts to help revitalize downtowns, and it helped him understand the potential hazards of gentrification. He had wanted to meet me for a long time.

I don’t know exactly which post he was referring to – I have written a few on the topic – but the fact that it had been of such value to him startled me. I often wonder if, 1) anyone reads what I write, and, 2) if anyone cares about it if they do read it.

I used to write a lot. I don’t do it so much anymore.

It isn’t because of laziness that I stopped writing. It isn’t writer’s block either. I stopped writing on purpose.

In the past, I wrote down ideas that I wanted to share with others because I had something to say, and because I thought I had a unique perspective that could benefit others. I still have a lot to say, and my perspective is still sage in some respects. I wonder, though, does sharing my perspective benefit anyone? Hmmm.

Let’s face it. The internet has made it possible for anyone to share an opinion about anything in an instant with millions of people. Cottage industries have developed out of making internet stars of people who post images and videos of gratuitous junk. Prospering from impulsive outrageousness is big business, making intelligent reasoning seem quaint. Trolling and harassment tends to destroy any opportunity for civil dialog. Propaganda and conspiracy theories dominate our cultural landscape with a ferocity that squelches any legitimate debate.

What room is there in this chaotic ethos for an artist and writer who carefully considers her world and comes to thoughtful conclusions? Can I even come to any thoughtful conclusions when our present day culture is so tumultuous and upended?

My dearth of writing of late has been a course correction of sorts.

Previously, my art and my blogging was an intentional course of commentary on the world around me. I was marching towards understanding, and I was sharing my discoveries along the way. Something changed on that path, though. Somewhere on that journey, it became clear to me that the sort of understanding that I had been seeking was no longer a reachable goal.

All I was discovering was chaos. Nothing was understandable. The things that mattered to me previously seemed either irrelevant or insignificant, or they no longer made sense to me. When nothing made sense, writing no longer seemed apropos to me on any topic.

How does one chart an intentional course of commentary, when you can’t even find your way through the mist?

I honestly had no answer to that question. So I changed course. As I floundered in my course of seeking meaning and purpose in my life, I stopped sharing literary commentary.

My circumstance could be called a “midlife crisis” or some other function of age. I am getting older, and that does change the way you experience things. I believe this is bigger than an individual emotional upheaval, however. Our world is in crisis, not just me. My reaction to that crisis is my path, as I have always been one to reflect upon the bigger picture in my life as an artist. It is both a gift and a curse.

Could a new course correction be coming?

Bill and his daughter at Canton First Friday

Something changed in that moment that Bill walked into my art tent. The fact that he had sought me out because my words in a previous commentary had been meaningful to him – well, that shook me up. He helped me see that holding back my thoughts serves no one, especially if there are people wanting to consider them in their own life journeys.

Writing right now is painful. It does not flow. It does not conclude. Everything is up in the air and hard to grasp with a definitive statement. Is that enough reason not to do it? Or is it reason enough to summon new energy within myself to find a new course?

 I live each day of my life by my motto, “Life is an adventure!” I try to approach each new experience as something to be explored and not just endured. Some adventures are not enjoyed, but the exploration reaps benefits, nonetheless. I need to keep reminding myself of this.

Thanks for stopping by my tent, Bill. I am glad that you found me. And thanks to anyone else who has happened to have found this piece of writing. Share your own thoughts, if you wish, in the comments below.

Perhaps your thoughts might trigger a new direction for my adventurous journey.

Life is an Adventure!


I have a secret.

Top Secret Stamp by Artist BZTATI have a secret.

I must, right? I am an artist, and artists create things that no one else can create. We have insights and methods that are outside the reach of others, and we do things that inspire comments like, ” I wish I could paint like that!”

There has to be a secret if others cannot grasp it, yes?

The funny thing is, I don’t feel like I have a secret. What I do is just what I do, and I just go about doing it every day, enjoying the process most of the time. Sometimes the process is a struggle and not exactly enjoyable, but I do it in pursuit of an outcome that is ultimately satisfying.

Some of what I do is a matter of skill that has been carefully honed over the years. It is not so secret. Many of my processes are easily analyzed and revealed.

Other aspects to my process, though, are more conceptual and intuitive. They are less obvious and more oblique to the casual eye. I guess that these aspects are what intrigue people the most. They are also what make my work uniquely mine.

My point in musing about all of this is to let you know that none of my artistic “secrets” are intentionally guarded as such. I don’t purposefully create a mystique about my creative process and prevent others from trying to duplicate it. I am secure in my ability and my unique perceptions, so I do not fear that others will copy and achieve identical results.

That is the real secret.

Each person has their own personal identity that ultimately shines through in their art, so even purposefully attempted copies of another’s work reveals something about the actual artist and not the one imitated.

I like to help others discover their creative selves, and I enjoy sharing about my own experiences to facilitate that process for people. I am very open to sharing my techniques and processes in the hopes that others will use them as a way to explore their creativity and try new things.

So if there was one “secret” that I could reveal to help you in that process, what would it be?

Ask away in the comments here. Future blog posts will take up your questions and hopefully help reveal the secrets to your own creative potential!

Life is an Adventure!


Revisiting an old painting and creating something new

whimsical painting by BZTAT
Painting by BZTAT

I painted this painting several years ago, well before the days when I started signing my work BZTAT (c. 2001). It was purchased by my doctor from a gallery that no longer exists. At the time, I had not seen her but for a couple of times, and she did not recognize that she had bought a painting from a patient until she took it back to her office.

Now I, and her other patients get the pleasure of viewing it when they come to visit. Lucky for me in regards to my health, that doesn’t happen often.

My doctor has purchased other paintings from me since then, though. An avid dog lover, I have painted her pups’ portraits. And now, she has asked me to paint a companion piece to this one. How fun!

I used to paint and draw patterns and symbols like this a lot in the past. I am looking forward to giving it a go again.

Stay tuned!