What does it really take to create what I do?
Hear this read aloud below
As someone who has experience with and appreciation for many forms of art, I sometimes take the value for granted. After almost 70 years of creating in one form or another, it has become like the ground I walk on. Invisible and at the same time essential to being alive on this earth. I only noticed this birds nest in my yard once I stepped back from my day to day and actually looked around me. I had been passing it daily without seeing it because the nature around me had become invisible. Those parts of our lives that we fail to notice on a day to day basis, are often the very foundation on which we create our lives.
I’ve been around artists and craftspeople for a very long time. I’ve run a successful business in the arts.
One thing I know for sure is that what goes into producing a piece of art, maintaining a studio, hiring employees, designing packaging and promotions, handling inventory, and not least of all, actually making the art itself, is so much more than I could have imagined before having the experience I have had.
Seeing the finished product it's easy to imagine that an artist just had an inspiration, went into their studio and magically produced something, as if it just appeared one day fully formed. What no one sees are the countless hours spent, the years of experimentation, the failed attempts, the training, and all of the years of practice that go into producing one thing of beauty that touches someones soul.
It is not an easy or an inexpensive process and running a business is not either.
I have been an artist all my life. I have worked on my art both directly and indirectly for over 60 years. The richness in my work comes from a lifetime of experience and wisdom, of trial and error and literally blood, sweat and tears.
To create what I do, I have to work on all aspects of my life.
I have to invest in whatever it takes to grant me access to the inner and external tools I use in the creative process. And I have to be committed to living a life that supports my creativity which doesn’t always fit “normal” life.
I do believe in magic and I often experience my work evolving as if by some magical means, but that magic has taken me a lifetime to cultivate. I find that I need more solitude than most. I need to be quiet and feel myself, feel the energy of the earth and recalibrate when I receive the guidance to do so.
For most of my life I painted in solitude with almost no one having access to my work.
I am mostly self taught and out of that have created my own processes, my unique way of producing what I do, often breaking the rules of how to use and combine materials.
When you see one of my paintings you are seeing all of the choices I’ve made to be able to paint it. What you don’t see is all that it takes to create it.
It's easy to assume that my work is like every other piece of art you see out there. Some artists can knock out paintings quickly. Mine take time to simmer and evolve like a fine wine. They grow at the rate of a cactus, not a weed.
My paintings are layer upon layer of textures, glazes, more texture, more glazes, some found objects, etc. Many evolve over months, not days. I use only the highest quality paints and mediums which ensure that my work will stand the test of time.
A number of years ago I began framing some of my work in steel which required an investment of time and equipment to be able to incorporate that into the work. I taught myself how to use the necessary tools and figured it out by trial and error. I hired a steel worker to make special brackets for me so that my pieces could hang on the wall. Then I began to incorporate wood in the framing along with the steel which lead to more investment in equipment and another learning curve. Each new process I've incorporated has added to the richness and uniqueness of my work and the excitement I feel when approaching a new creation. The possibilities are now greater than ever!
And then came textiles.
After years of painting, I invested in more equipment to be able to transform my paintings into pieces you can physically touch and hold.
I took them off the wall and brought them into your life in a way that you can experience daily. It was a dream of mine to work in fabrics, to create things that lit my senses in that way. I knew I wanted a more visceral experience of my creations and set about doing whatever it took to make that dream a reality.
This has required a huge investment in time, effort and money with a whole other learning curve. Many pieces have been thrown in the trash. Investment in prototypes, hours spent designing, fabrics ordered that have not worked out as planned, and new equipment have added up. This is a part of the creative process that most others don't see. It requires a commitment to a vision, a dedication to making possibilities a reality and a trust in Spirit to guide my hands in all that I do.
I am creating things that are unlike any other because my paintings are my own and what I design from them is an extension of all of the years of investment in being an artist.
When you purchase a piece of my art you are buying all that I am and all of my experience. You are investing in the medicine I have cultivated to offer the world.
You are also enabling me to continue creating the beautiful, powerful pieces that I do. You are saying that what I do matters to you. You are saying that you see and value all of the years of experience it has taken to be able to do what I do.
So thank you from the bottom of my heart for recognizing that.
You can find my paintings and prints at www.dkhillardart.com.
My fabric creations can be found at www.dkhillard.com.
And many of my pieces are now on my Etsy Store at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ComfortbyDKHillard.