MAKE ART NOT WAR
WORDS & COLLAGE: KATE WEINER
I've been feeling especially full of fiery creative energy this week. Talking to artist and activist Garrett Blad (profile coming soon!) gave me hope for the climate justice movement. Watching my friends Laura and Kaison dream up a delicious new venture inspired me to think as well about ways I can more deeply connect to the natural world. Chatting with loamy love Nicole about our upcoming issue sparked in me a joy to make.
Because making art can be a kind of environmental activism. Loam isn't just about pretty pictures (although we do love a good sunset shot!) Our goal is to create a space that inspires fresh ways of connecting to, conserving, and caring for our environment—and by extension, ourselves. Creativity—that thirst to craft, that hunger to express—is the antithesis of capitalism. It's a way to enrich our lives that has nothing to do with mindless consumption and everything to do with intentional cultivation. Some of my most powerful environmental experiences have been through the lens of dance, music, and drawing. I feel most pulled to act, most alive with passion, when I can sense the dirt under my fingernails from making moving art with the people I love most in a place that I hold dear.
As Nicole and I get to work on Loam Summer 2016, we've been thinking a lot about the necessity of making art. For us, our environmental activism is inextricably interwoven into the act of creation. It's what injects us with life, motivates us to make sustainable changes. We fundamentally couldn't do one without the other.
And of course, we couldn't do what we do if not for your stories. Learning about your art and activism is what fuels Loam. So in the spirit of collaboration and connectivity, Loam is sharing our favorite tips for nurturing the fiery creative energy that's within each of us. When we make art, we grow our capacity to create change.
There are a thousand and one ways to be creative. Art can be many things; serious, silly, active, passive. Play with what kind of creative acts stir up the deepest sense of joy and juiciness in your soul and dive in. Loam believes that the barrier for entry into making art is non-existent. You don't need to be skilled to pursue a creative path; you don't need to have everything in place before you do. Sometimes, I'm hesitant to even put pen to paper because I'm afraid that what I create won't be very good. I am most able to switch off that negative voice when I approach making art from a place of playfulness. Because really, you won't ever know what will happen until you start making it happen (this is how Wild Walls came into being and by the grace of MAMA EARTH, I'm glad we went for it)!
ART DOESN'T NEED AFFIRMATION
It took me years to say I am a writer. And truthfully, I didn't feel entitled to claim that role until I started to get paid for my work. But art doesn't need external affirmation. It's enough to wake up every morning and doodle your intentions for the day and keep that diary all to your sweet, succulent self. That said...
Collaboration can be an incredible way to channel the creative ideas budding in your soul into a powerful plan for positive change. The work of The Beehive Collective and community-based choreographer Allison Orr of Forklift Danceworks are testament to this. Both the Bees and Forklift produce collectivist art pieces that speak to environmental issues and illuminate the energy of community action. Collaborative art can make you feel supported in an endeavor and inspired to truly act. At Loam, we're love-drunk on collaborations. Learning from and with somebody who is doing awesome work in the world? That's soul-lifting stuff. Because in many ways, our current climate crisis is rooted in a toxic system of individuality. When we collaborate with communities and invest our power in the people, we actively erode a capitalist structure that no longer—and never did— serve us. And that's when art shifts from an act of expression into a radical call for change.
EXPERIMENT WITH TOOLS
At a forum recently on youth environmental activism, a student asked Ryan Camero (muralist/activist/awesome human bean) and me about how we reconciled our love of art with the waste that using art supplies generates. Her question really encouraged me to evaluate the tools of our trade, as it were. Because it's true: all those used paint bottles and shrink-wrapped canvases add up. Moving forward, I've made it my mission to experiment with biodegradable tools and natural pigments. My art might not last forever, but neither will I—and there's something beautiful about knowing that what I create will go back into the soil.
SOAK UP YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Making art isn't just about the physical act of production. Collect inspiration wherever you go. As Alison Znamierowski reminds us, being a neighborhood naturalist is a simple way to soak up your surroundings. There is so much in this wild world that is worthy of our attention. Tune in.
What strategies inspire you to make art? Share in the comments section below or shoot us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. We always love to hear your thoughts and feels!