Judy Shintani and Healing Art

Anyone who has lost his home to a climate of fear has a deep understanding of mankind’s capability for blind betrayal. The father of artist Judy Shintani was an American teenager when he and his family were interned at Tule Lake Incarceration Camp during WWII. Click here to read more.

 

 

Processing the overwhelming world

Sometimes ugly thoughts, disappointing feelings, overwhelming emotions get stuck in me. They come in from social media, from conversations with friends and family, from the radio, standing in line at the store, at work, holding space for others, my own mind. I try to let them rollover me, to hold my own space, and to remember who I am. But it doesn’t always happen automatically.

How do I process these feelings? What do I do with them? I felt frozen. I stayed with those feelings for a while and tuned into where they were sitting in my body. My heart felt constricted. My breath was not flowing. My throat was closed. The message I got was. “Express and release”.

I decided to paint but cleaning a space on my studio table would cause more stress which I didn’t need right now. So I went outside and set-up a place to paint on my fence. The action of creating a new painting area felt positive. The sunshine felt good.

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I selected large leftover packing paper and red and black colors to work with. As I stood back to look at the painting area before I began, I thought it looked like an archway and seeing that, I felt curious and hopeful.

The paper was hung like on a clothesline and as I painted  them they moved around, floating up with the breeze and moving with each 30043019542_dc6d9d1562_zbrush stroke. I thought about how life is sometimes – how thoughts and information float and move – it is not always easy to be steady and still in the midst of what’s happening in the world. I liked making the large black strokes – moving my body up and down the length of the paper.

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Next I added the vibrant red with slashing brushstrokes. The way the color stood out from the black was satisfying. I then splattered a mixture of the black and red and it looked like purple flying color. For me, purple is a sacred color and it came about serendipitously.

I noticed my emotions were shifting as I was creating. My throat was no longer clinched, I breathed as I worked, my heart felt open again. I no longer felt heavy and weighted down – as if I had purged what I had been too full of and what I did not want to hold and carry around anymore. I could see it was outside on me now and in the painting.

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I looked at the paper archway and realized I had created a portal to travel through to the other side of where I was and to another place. I took a big breath and felt free.

 

 

 

 

 

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If you are interested in learning more about creating in this way and would like to work with me one-on-one or in a community class please go to my website for more information:

http://www.judykitsunestudio.com/

 

Ordinariness

Spent the day turning the soil and adding compost after finding the last few hidden potato jewels, bathed away the sweat and dirt, and put the used art materials from yesterday’s creating back into their places. Dinner was left over sausage pasta made crunchy by oven reheating. A mystery movie and a quick beginning reading of “Buddha in the Attic” before a sinking into a cozy bed. It’s been a precious day of small joys strung together to make a necklace of summer memories.

Impermanence: Embracing Change, Hodges at Moon News Bookstore, 2/28/09

David and Ha-jin Hodge, Impermanence: Embracing Change

imperm1_150x132Saturday, February 28, 7:00 PM

Moon News Bookstore
315 Main Street
Half Moon Bay, California 94019

ph 650-726-8610
fax 650-726-8611
website moonnewsbookstore.com

What does it mean that we are constantly changing? How do people confront ideas like death and change? Asked to contribute to an exhibit celebrating the work of the Dalai Lama, local multimedia artists David and Hi-Jin Hodge interviewed over a hundred people about impermanence and change in their lives. Their subjects ranged from philosophers to gardeners, economists to spiritual leaders, doctors to patients. The result was incredibly moving. The Hodges’ installation consisted of a large, circular arrangement of mounted iPods on which the interviews played simultaneously, each on its own screen. Now this unique record has been made available for a wider audience; it includes both a book and a DVD so that the interviews can be viewed as they were seen in the original exhibit.

The Hodges would like to invite all participants that were interviewed for this project to share with those of us at the event what has changed in their lives since they were filmed in 2006. What was impermanent for you?

David Hodge and Hi-jin Kong Hodge are internationally recognized artists, designers and filmmakers. Their artistic video installations explore a diverse range of topics, typically blending editorial materials and innovative uses of technology to explore complex human and social questions. The Hodges live in Half Moon Bay.

“You are looking old today”

I’m reading a book right now called Healthy at 100” by John Robbins. He writes, “The advancing age wave is the most significant demographic event of our life time and is taking place in every industrialized nation in the world”.

Robbins talks about how so many Americans do not look forward to old age because the model here is sickness, helplessness, and loneliness. He talks about other cultures where old age is revered and the elders are not called “old” they are called the “long living ones”. That that makes such a difference in the mentality and health of the whole community. In Abkhasia it would be considered an insult to be told that you are “looking young”. They compliment each other by saying “you are looking old today”. They mean that the person is wise and beautiful in their maturity.

The other cultures he writes about are in: Vilcabamba, Hunza, Okinawa. I’ll report on what I find out about these place next.

“When nothing is sure…”

“When nothing is sure, everything is possible.”

— Margaret Drabble (1939-) English Novelist

I think it is interesting that most of us do not think this way. We want to “know” what is going to happen. It is uncomfortable when we do not have a clear direction or answer. I wonder if this is an American pattern? Or is it a human way? What do you think?

Dad the Doer

In honor of Father’s Day I’m writing about my dad today. My dad just turned 80 years old last month and I think he looks young and handsome for his age. For his big birthday, some of the kids wanted to take him out for a nice dinner with some of his friends, but dad had something else in mind. He wanted to gather his kids back at the family home to shore up the backyard fence. This meant putting in about 15 new posts with cement and bracketing them. All this work was done on our neighbors’ side of the fence and meant that their swimming pool drainage system had to be moved and then reassembled again – as you can see in the photo. I thought it was weird that the neighbors never even came out of the house during all the activity, at least while I was around. My dad said it was better this way because they would have just slowed the whole thing down.

I was a little worried about going to the family home in Lodi. You see none of us really live there anymore. After my parents decided rather spur of the moment to move to Reno due to my mother’s Alzheimer’s condition three years ago, none of us spend much time there. Yet you know it was fine. It did not seem all that strange. We all barbecued a lovely dinner with too much food (so typically “Shintani”).

This ended up being the best party for my dad. He is such a doer. I think having his three sons, son-in-law, and nephew all working together to fix the fence and the daughter and daughter-in-laws in the kitchen, ended up being a perfect way to celebrate his 80th. It actually ended up being fun for all of us! I guess father does know best.

Thanks dad, for all the things you do, and who you are!