I came across this article about a woman attacking a painting by Paul Gauguin at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., while screaming “THIS IS EEEEVIL!” The woman was clearly delusional, as she was also claiming to be in the CIA and have a radio in her head.
My first thought was that if my artwork was violently attacked by schizophrenics, I would feel flattered. Then I remembered that something like this actually happened to me once. Not by schizophrenics, but by a wrathful ex-lover who burned a painting of mine and left a fragment of it in my mailbox. The feelings I had at the time were mixed: Sadness that this person was trying to hurt me, but also excitement about the new experience of something I created suddenly not existing anymore. I held the fragment in my hand and knew that what I had to do was give it new life– let it be reborn after being burned, like a phoenix rising up from the ashes.
I glued it onto a new canvas and turned it into the painting below, depicting the tower of Babel. I picked the “Babel” theme, alluding to miscommunication + humans trying to connect but just being a little off so they can’t understand each other.
Now that I’m married and have a baby attached to me 24/7, the drama in my life is of a much different flavor. I sometimes miss the freedom I had as a wandering young traveler, but right now I am reminded of the sorts of craziness that go along with it and appreciating where I am now.
The idea of “eco kosher” emerged within Jewish Renewal circles, inspired by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. People have begun to ask questions like “Is it kosher to eat something that uses tons of non-renewable resources in packaging + shipping?” or “Is it kosher to use plastic plates that end up in landfills?”. Supporters of the idea of eco-kashrut realize that instead of taking G-d’s gifts for granted, we can live more sustainable lives and be in sync with nature.
I had been incorporating this idea into many aspects of my life beyond eating, and eventually realized that it also needed to merge with my artwork. I have begun using only recycled materials, to create “eco-kosher artwork”. Combining elements from embroidery, painting, quilting, and collage, I’m now creating unique pieces of art that invoke a feeling of divine energy and sacredness. For me, creating artwork is an intensely meditative and spiritual experience, and this feeling is only heightened for me now that I know my artwork is helping instead of harming the planet.