For me letting go of the past has always been hard. I will play over events in my mind for days, sometimes even weeks thinking of how I should have done differently. It’s a hard thing to do letting go. We all need to learn how as nothing will hold you back more than yourself. One day my dad told me I was like a hot air balloon and if I didn’t let go of these sandbags used to weigh me down then I won’t be able to fly. That is what I have thought about every day since, and I hope this show can inspire others to let go of their sandbags.
This show is very personal for me for this reason and features some artists I have admired greatly. Terry Urban, Ash WOLFDOG Hayner, Jeremy Brown, Baku, and Revolue were all asked to think about letting go and what that means to them. Read everyone’s responses below and explore the works they created for this theme. View the show here.
What is your personal belief when it comes to dealing with conflicts and issues in your life?
(Ash)I’m a firm believer that we are in control of our own destiny. I think manifesting and setting intentions are important, however, not nearly as important as simply putting one foot in front of the other. I have had to overcome some big demons in my life and found access to strength I had no idea I had — a huge part of that was just deciding to do the work.
(Terry) To be honest, I’m terrible at facing conflicts. You could say I pretty much am incapable of expressing myself verbally. Hence why I paint, it helps me express myself in ways I cannot express verbally.
(Revolue) Meditate, read and learn with the old masters that lived here and left good and inspired life stories to guide us.
(Stephanie Lamontagne of Baku) Time is our best ally, it allows us to take a step back and reflect. Often, when a conflict arises, emotions take over. Taking time allows us to understand them adequately and make the best decision to ultimately come to a solution.
(Jeremy Brown) I try and focus on personal growth, and sometimes the greatest growth comes from moments of conflicts and hardships. I always try and look at things from a birds-eye-perspective and acknowledge that there are always two sides to every story and many factors beneath the surface. If a conflict or issue has exhausted its growth potential, it’s time to just let it go.
How do you forget about the issues or do you continue to dwell on issues of the past?
(Ash) I think it’s important to hold space for our past and learn from both our wins and losses, but not let it delegate our future. I’ve found in my life that I have a fantastic ability to waste time in the “coulda, shoulda, woulda’s” rather than look forward to what I can actually change. Staying present has become more and more important to me as I’ve grown the last few years.
(Terry) I can be an “easy come, easy go kind of guy” but then if there is an issue that affects me tremendously… I choose to keep with me at all times. To prevent it from hopefully never happening again.
(Revolue) I let it go, of course, it’s the most difficult thing to do, it takes time and practice but once you realize that only NOW that exists, things become clear and simple.
(Stephanie Lamontagne of Baku) Significant problems can’t really be forgotten, at least in my experience. Rather than forgetting them, it has been important for me to address them and see them as a learning opportunity, and the way I have sought to move forward in the face of these adversities has played an important part in the person I have become.
(Jeremy Brown) The past is the past, I just try and learn from it, while focusing on enjoying the present moment.
Is your art a way of getting out your feelings and processing the world around you?
(Ash) For sure! I think for me, the magic is mostly in the creation of the work. I’m super meticulous, especially when finalizing a piece — the level of focus and ‘zone’ I enter becomes super meditative and clear for me. I think being in the studio in general gives me the alone time to process and weigh issues that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
(Terry) Obviously. It’s my way of expressing how I feel. Painting has become very therapeutic for me.
(Revolue) Is totally the opposite. My art is a way to tell everything I see and experience in this life. All behaviors around me is part of the creative process.
(Stephanie Lamontagne of Baku) It allows me to escape from the anxiety I may feel about certain problems. When I paint, I only have my painting in mind.
(Jeremy Brown) Absolutely. I use my paintings as a way of taking notes or journal entries, as I navigate the human experience.
When it comes to art how do you handle your ideas that don’t work out?
(Ash) I used to get super bummed when things wouldn’t work out — to the point where I wouldn’t want to try new things in my work at all. I think a lot of that stems from this over-arching of failure I’ve had to force myself to grow out of. My mentor and friend Greg Mike used to always tell me “There are no accidents with paint because you can just paint back over it”. It took time to realize as simple this is, it’s really the truth. There is massive freedom in making mistakes and being okay with it.
(Terry) I paint over them.
(Revolue) I don’t keep them with me, I leave my ideas free to go, and based on what I experience in life I just start drawing and the best of me at that moment came out.
(Stephanie Lamontagne of Baku) This can really hurt, but I firmly believe that it comes as an important learning experience. When it happens, I usually take a step back and move on to another project and come back later.
(Jeremy Brown) If you never try, you’ll never know. Even if a concept or idea doesn’t work out, there will be lessons learnt that will eventually lead to ones that do work out.
Is it hard to let go of a work of art you love? What are your emotions when you see it leave for a new home?
(Ash) I think it can sometimes be tough to see work that I love go — especially if it was made in a time or place that was emotional or heavy for me. At the same time, it’s such a wild honor to have someone want to purchase my work and live with it in their space. Once the work is done, I have really gotten what I intended out of it and it’s time for someone else to enjoy it.
(Terry) Nope. There are only a few select pieces that I will keep for myself. However, the rest of them need to be enjoyed by someone else. I’m very stoked that people actually wanna hang my work in their homes.
(Revolue) It’s the easiest process. It also keeps me learning that what I do is for the universe, is for people having it and feeling something when they look at it. If there’s a reason for me to paint beyond express myself that’s exactly have all my works out all around, making people feel and think.
(Stephanie Lamontagne of Baku) In all honesty, it’s not really hard for me. I prefer the creative process, rather than the piece that was generated by it. It’s always nice for me to start a new project. Also, the idea that my art is appreciated to the point that it is displayed in another person’s home, fills me with joy. All in all, for me it is a positive event. Dom is a little more nostalgic on that hand and has a harder time saying goodbye to our creations ahaha
(Jeremy Brown) I love seeing my work head out into the world. It’s the creation of the art that I thrive off of. When I’m asked if I have a favorite painting that I have made, my answer is always whichever one I am currently working on.
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