Monday, August 06, 2007

An interview


My artful buddy Holly asked if she could interview me and I enjoyed the process so much, I thought I'd share it here.

1) Can you please tell us a little bit of your background, the area you live in now, the people in your life that bring you joy.
If I think of my life as an book full of collages, the page I'm on right now has a "background paper" of a lovely, small fishing village here in Nova Scotia. I love this place. The Atlantic Ocean is in my back yard. I don't have to cross the street to put a kayak in and go paddling out to look as seals or moon snails or sand dollars. The human to more-than-human ratio here is to my liking, in favor of the more-than-human world. I can see plenty of sky, horizon, ocean, plant life and animal life. Another aspect of the background here is the wild women of Prospect. They are the best! They are the glue of this community. Actually I have learned so much from the women here, about how to build and maintain a sense of community, how to be kind to one another even if you may not see eye to eye on everything. My little life here and all the people and creatures in it as well as the environment bring me great joy and I am most grateful.

Oh, but maybe you were thinking about family? I have one darling husband, two loving Bergamasco sheep dogs, and two very charming cats all in a 150+ year old fisherman's cottage by the sea.

2) When you were growing up, what did you think your life would be like? Is your life better than you imagined or is there still work to be done?

When I was growing up in Taiwan, I never even heard of Nova Scotia. I had no clue about what turns my life would take. It's an unfolding mystery. Actually, as a kid, I thought I'd love to live on a ship, just travel around, see the world, and write on a ship. I thought I'd study nursing in order to be able to travel on a ship and write. The only draw-back to this plan was I really didn't like the sight of blood or needles. Living next to the ocean is just about as good as living on a ship and it's way more spacious. Another thing that I never dreamed of was how much fun grownups can have if they put their minds to it. I put my mind to it and my life is way better than I could ever have dreamed and of course we have no idea what is around the next bend in the road.

3) How did you become inspired to choose your career? What shaped your decisions and led you down that path?
Hmmmmm. Career is a really serious word. I gave up serious words mostly but I'll try my best just for you Holly. My training and post-graduate education has all been in art therapy. So I guess you could call that my career. I chose that as a career because I knew that when I was working creatively, I felt good, and I really wanted to understand how that worked. I wanted to know what specifically it was in the creative process that made people feel better. As an undergraduate I had worked with some kids in an orphan's home and they were happiest when they were drawing, making up stories, and creating little books. I felt like I needed to know more about how it all worked. So my motivation for the career was really curiosity about the creative process.

After working as an art therapist for so many years, I decided I'd rather play, do more art, and write more. So now I'm still focused on how working creatively is good for us, but it's a lot broader and more interesting than I ever thought it could be.


4) Tell us a bit about your art, how you discovered your talent and what keeps you motivated to continually share your passion?
My art is a pretty wildly eclectic bag of tricks, including puppets, dolls, book binding, jewelry, pottery, drawing, and writing. I wonder if I left something out? I've always loved narrative and art and have sought ways to work more of these things into my life, and also looking for ways to integrate the two. For a long time I focused on puppets and most recently I'm enjoying doll making and book binding. I see real potential for self expression in creating artist's books, art journals, and altered books. I have yet to find the perfect marriage of word and art but it's fun to search and experiment. One of my big motivations came from interviewing self-taught artists in Mississippi. I was coming out of a slighly stuffy, rarified atmosphere of academia in New York City. I had grown to believe that artists were people loaded with credentials, shows in SoHo, and reviews in all the best magazines. Then I talked with George Berry (http://www.arts.state.ms.us/folklife/artist.php?dirname=berry_george), L V Hull and others (check http://www.arts.state.ms.us/folklife/) I grew to understand that we really are all artists at heart. We really do love to embellish and enliven our environment with our own marks, that art-making is really good for us, and that we shouldn't wait for SoHo's stamp of approval to start or artistic life. Start right now!


5) Is there any art form that you long to tackle next?
Mmmmmm, well, I think I'll just keep playing with word & image and see where it takes me next.


6) How long have you been a blogging artist? Have you been able to meet and connect with fellow bloggers and artists?
I started my blog in Aug. 2005. Wow, it's been two years. I think artist's blogs are the best things. You get a real appreciation of other people's lives and you get to see what folks are up to artistically. Sometimes people read my blog and will write asking for advise or directions about something, or just to tell me a piece of their story. They kind of pull me into their story a little bit and I'm always curious how things work out for them. But I don't always get to know. I guess the unfinished story is a part of blogging too.


7) What do you see in the future for you as a person, artist and healer?
When I look back I'm always amazed at all the things I've done and seen, all the people I have met, and all the places I have been. I could never have predicted any of the turns my life has taken, so I don't think I'll start predicting today. It will remain a mystery!

Thanks Holly for asking these wonderful questions! It's probably a very good thing to sit back and reflect on the path that we call our lives.
Thanks Lani, not too tedious I hope.
Not at all!

I'd love it if you could send me a few pictures of your art and yourself.
OK, I'll see what I can do.

3 comments:

windy angels said...

Hi Lani, I read your interview at CaC and was so extremely impressed. I was excited when I looked at your website. I hope you don't mind I put a couple of links in a recent post.
Thanks for all your inspiration. I hope to be able to find moments to keep in touch and certainly to look more closely at your website.
Thanks,
Wendy

Judy said...

lani, what a wonderful interview - give me a great insight into you. Your art is so varied and such a feast for the eyes. Fabulous.

Lani Gerity said...

Why thank you so much, Wendy and Judy. Very kind words! Gives me heart smiles!