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The Mind of an Artist

The Mind of an Artist

An artist is born with a particular kind of mind, a mind that thinks outside the box...not just some of the time - most of the time. They are not given to the occasional "ah-ha" that many people experience when their defensive armor accidentally falls off for a moment and they are able to experience something outside the "norm". They are given to constant "ah-ha's" and yet somehow try to focus on the here and now and think inside the box so that they can make enough money to survive in this physical reality.

Many artists barely survive and are true to their calling, giving in to their real identities and living on ideas solely. I felt a neurosis to "fit in" the herd and be "normal" and so pretended much of my younger life to be a "normal" person. I never felt normal and anything that I thought about or talked about was seen as "she has such an imagination, that one", as though that was a bad thing. So I tried to keep quiet and do all the stupid pet tricks and go along with what the herd was discussing. I felt more and more "different" as time went on and eventually could deny who I was no longer. I "came out of the closet as an artist", so to speak.

I may still appear normal (I don't know - do I?) these days but I am admitting to my true identity as an artist and embracing it now. Though you may not see me standing outside in the war protest groups or spending time with activists groups (they can be herd-like too), you will see my own signature on expressing my futuristic, spiritual, mind-bending ideas in my artwork, which I exhibit only in the most creative and holistic venues - venues without pretension - that are not making breaking news by mimicking some idol or fleeting idea of the "herd".

 

Posted by Virginia Erdie on 3/30/09

Me_for_website Dear Diane
I'm sorry I didn't see your comments earlier. Thanks so much for your sharing...I think it takes a lot to teach and still do your own art. I am no longer an art therapist - for various reasons but mostly because I couldn't stomach the staff at the State psychiatric evaluation centers because they acted a lot worse than the patients just off the streets who were hallucinating and on drugs. I'm not really cut out for maintaining my cool while people are being mean and unprofessional. Anyway - are you on ArtSlant or is there somewhere I can view your work? I just had an art opening in the Miami Design Art District so maybe all those decades of carting around that heavy artwork and staying true to myself will have other benefits as well. Thanks again. Virginia
20141106054710-diane_on_terrace_15_st The Mind of an Artist
Dear Virginia, I read your statement on The Mind of the Artist and looked at your profile. I love your work because it is definitely not part of the herd. Your art is unique. Glad you now have the strength to call yourself and artist and live according to your own dreams, goals and feelings. I think being an artist and living true to yourself makes you whole. It is the driving force in my life and thank God I have never considered myself a part of the herd in a way that it made me feel restricted or not myself. Life is too short and the one thing I have learned all my life is to be true to myself, surround myself with people who understand and nurture what I do and always make the time for my work. I have seen so many students create and a few years after they graduate no longer do their art with the passion they originally had. Those are the people who have joined the herd. Creating is not about being the next 'art star' or making a ton of money. It must be something you need to do or else you don't feel complete. Virginia, are you still working in art therapy? I have been teaching at NYU since 1995 and hold a full time job at NYU as an administrator. I do what has to be done at the day job, but my office looks like a gallery and I still paint 4 nights a week and all weekend. I refuse to have outside forces ruin what is so important to me. Stick to what you love and your own holistic ideas. It's your life and you are responsible for the happiness you can attain. Go for it. diane



Belden – Diamond in the Rough and Lou-Lou

I was so skinny and wild then; just out of art school during the recession, when art therapists were not appreciated (still are not). I bartended 4:00 a.m. bars and went out partying at 6:00a.m. bars after work with the gang....can you say, "Jagermeister"? I didn't eat and couldn't get food stamps because I was white. I was always living on the edge, looking for excitement and denying reality (still do, the latter).

He was the most gorgeous guy living in that loft building in Chicago. His eyes were almond shaped, emerald green, and he was tall and thin and so sure of himself. He wasn't afraid of anything or anyone...he was an outlaw. I guess I turned to him because of all of that and because he was the only one who was mostly sober; and he was crazy about me or perhaps competing for attention because I crushed on two other guys there who never paid any attention to me. All of the others in the building were hooked on heroine or crack. Even my best friend, who was a fabulous photographer, didn't come out of her room for days while doing heroine, playing the Cheryl Crow CD over and over and over - that kind of put a damper on our best friendship.

The usual Friday and Saturday evenings would find about 10 of us sitting on the rooftop of the Belden loft building, which was inhabited by mostly artists and musicians in preparation for the yuppies that were soon to throw us out and do some rehab on the building. There were so many starry nights with kick-ass music being played by real musicians. There were real artists there...myself included...talking about philosophy and life and death and love. Sometimes the girls would sit around the long table and smoke dope and do shots and talk about their issues and their lives. Though I didn't partake of most of their drugs, I did drink (my grandfather being American Indian and all and being a bartender and a certified soak), but I figured I would never make it back from any kind of hallucinogenic drug trip so I did very selective choices and experiments with the popular drugs.

One night, while my "diamond-in-the-rough" boyfriend and I were trying to sleep while everyone else was up "cracking", playing loud music and acting like what they had to say was so important, Lou-Lou, the bipolar girl, came downstairs naked and said, "Who's next for a B-J? I need some crack". I loved that she was so honest. I used to go out with her because she was so gorgeous and had all the guys around buying us drinks. I stopped doing that after she "borrowed" my leather jacket with my car keys one night and disappeared - with my car - for a few days. Anyway, one night Lou-Lou slid onto the couch with me, naked. She professed her love to me. I was flattered and tried to let her down easily. I felt bad for her. Immediately afterwards, she slid into bed with my rough boy and begged him to have sex. He was a rough boy but was very gentle then, picking her up while she was kicking and screaming, and physically removing her from the loft. She stood outside the door, banging, screaming and kicking for about 15 minutes but probably was off to greener pastures soon after.

 

Posted by Virginia Erdie on 3/30/09 | tags: tales That MUST be told stories urban life




Tank Girl afterthoughts

Thankfully I was ignorant of my own fear; that's the only way I accomplished anything. I was the dark-haired girl with low self esteem that Lori Petty beat into sensibility with her ignorant brevity. Lexi Quay showed me all there was to show about Chicago and it's rich, oppressed and dangerous ways. She was the icon of courage and the metaphor for emotions. I took her around in my cheap, hatchback Pinto to all the finest nightclubs in the early 90's only to come away in a fine limo with "wanna-bes" who threw us out for drinking their fine champagggggnee. She was from an "upper-crusty" background, dying for a breath of fresh air from the mundane and I was from a dirt-poor,  starving-artist background, seeking sanctity in the Magnificent Mile. It was a match made in heaven.

Why did we not pursue the path? Perhaps too many nights begging for the Pinto back when it was towed away to the local impound zone?

Regardless, Lexi and I have remained friends for decades and I am on a continuous path to figure out the meaning of reality while she has since lived the American Dream of raising a brilliant child and managing a brilliant family...

Interestingly enough, my best friend from Chicago is back on the warpath, making and producing music as though she never left her role in "Tank Girl' and I continue to make "fine" art.

 

Posted by Virginia Erdie on 3/30/09 | tags: edge life urban stories tales




Monopoly in Appalachia

It was so great that I finally found a girl friend in that one-horse town. It was so lonely out on the farm....I was the only little girl in the mile radius and all the older boys were always pawing at my privates.

Later on in my life my therapist told me that, in other cultures/countries, it's really not such a big deal that little girls get pawed at at such a young age. That makes me feel much better about what I'm about to divulge.

That friend that I told you about earlier...she was a fews years older than I, and was borderline IQ. I used to go visit her on the weekends, as I remember it. When I first walked into her house, her parents were on the couch watching TV but, upon closer observation, they were sort of having sex. Well, I had never really seen anyone having sex before because my parents kept all of that secret, but these folks must have been from a different culture because they weren't embarrassed at all. They said "Hello" and everything but really didn't want to be bothered by anyone, so my new girl friend and I went upstairs. I was ever so enthusiastic to see her room. They had such a nice, modern house and I figured she would have the latest in technology and stuff.

She did have a nice room and she was really nice. She made me feel so welcome. Then she suggested we play Monopoly. I had never heard of that game but I am always eager to learn something new! I didn't know the rules but she certainly did! She told me that, upon every house I lost to the bank, I would need to take off an article of clothing. Well, I thought that to be an odd thing but she knew way more than I did because she was older and had played the game before. So after I learned that I had no business sense at all and after I had lost all my slum buildings, I also realized that I had also lost most of my clothing. She sure seemed to know this game well. She kept telling me the consequences of my poor skills and what I had to do next because of it; before you know it, she attained way more than Park Avenue!

Funny thing...I was always so ashamed to mention any of this because Appalachians are very proud of the fact that they are so moral and proper and all, and I figured I would be ostracized for my outlandish behavior, so I kept my mouth shut about it for a long time.

When you think about it, it's really not such a big deal...two young kids "playing doctor". Yet, the very people who would tell you it's not such a big deal had much bigger skeletons in their closets.

So I thought I would share this with all of you in case you were ever made to feel ashamed for something so trivial.

 

Posted by Virginia Erdie on 3/30/09




The Trip Home From Baltimore

I made very few trips home from art school in the 80's, partly because I really didn't want to go home and partly because my pinto hatchback could hardly make it home each time I took the 4-1/2 hour drive.

I am recollecting one particular trip home from The Maryland Institute, College of Art, driving home in the ice and snow through the Appalachian Mountains. The roads were cut into the sides of the hills and they curved around the mountain. Elevation levels varied greatly and oxygen levels waxed and waned, as well as the ability of the 4 cylinder hatchback to make it up and down the hills.

On this particular evening, it was very dark, very foggy and my night vision was limited due to the fact that the Pinto had one headlight, no heater and the windshield wipers didn't work. I had tied the muffler on at a previous point, so the car was vibrating wildly.

Digressing, I tell you that on the previous trip home, my muffler fell off and I stopped alongside the road, grabbing a coat hanger to twist around the pipe and the muffler. A nice gentleman stopped to help me - told me he was a Chaplain. I was still sitting inside the car and suddenly got creeped out by some bad karma. I told him "thanks anyway" and he tried to get into the car. I drove off, him still holding the car door handle, dragging him along a little ways.

Back to the trip home, I could see nothing ahead of me and the roads were curving sharply so I became some kind of intuitive machine, following only the reflectors on the edge of the highway, knowing that the drop-off of the edge of the mountain was infinite. I could see my own breath since the heater was broken. The steering wheel was rattling and vibrating. When another car approached I slowed way down and hoped for the best. It was a 5-1/2 hour trip that night.

When I got home, my mother and her best friend were very angry that I was late. They were sitting at the small kitchen table at the house that my father had built. He was not there anymore, having passed away before the kitchen cabinets could be completed. My mother and her friend finally calmed down and asked me how the trip went.

 

Posted by Virginia Erdie on 3/30/09




A Little About Me

The Mind of an Artist

An artist is born with a particular kind of mind, a mind that thinks outside the box...not just some of the time - most of the time. They are not given to the occasional "ah-ha" that many people experience when their defensive armor accidentally falls off for a moment and they are able to experience something outside the "norm". They are given to constant "ah-ha's" and yet somehow try to focus on the here and now and think inside the box so that they can make enough money to survive in this physical reality.

Many artists barely survive and are true to their calling, giving in to their real identities and living on ideas solely. I felt a neurosis to "fit in" the herd and be "normal" and so pretended much of my younger life to be a "normal" person. I never felt normal and anything that I thought about or talked about was seen as "she has such an imagination, that one", as though that was a bad thing. So I tried to keep quiet and do all the stupid pet tricks and go along with what the herd was discussing. I felt more and more "different" as time went on and eventually could deny who I was no longer. I "came out of the closet as an artist", so to speak.

I may still appear normal (I don't know - do I?) these days but I am admitting to my true identity as an artist and embracing it now. Though you may not see me standing outside in the war protest groups or spending time with activists groups (they can be herd-like too), you will see my own signature on expressing my futuristic, spiritual, mind-bending ideas in my artwork, which I exhibit only in the most creative and holistic venues - venues without pretension - that are not making breaking news by mimicking some idol or fleeting idea of the "herd".

 

Posted by Virginia Erdie on 3/20/09 | tags: virginia Erdie about The artist





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