Writing and drawing began by age six; as confidantes.
Middle and High School art class were safe-secret harbors.
In College home was where she had always been; art.
Today, art is experience.
A Kindergarten Story: I had quite a vocabulary and could already write. Staring out, I pointed to a group sitting at a small round table. Each person had a recipe box, and in those boxes I spotted words. “I want that group!” I exclaimed. My words fell on def ears until I pitched a fever-fit long enough and loud enough. I got my recipe box full of words.
A High School Story: “Are you staying in the art room for lunch?” I ask my teacher. “Yes.” she replies. “May I stay here and work on my project?” I ask. “yes.” she replies. A safe respite from life at school. A safe respite from life period. Sometimes the conversation goes like this. “Connie, I have an extra sandwich, would you like it?” my teacher asks “no thank you.” I reply. “Connie, I am going to the cafeteria for some milk, would you like me to bring you something?” my teacher asks. “no, thank you” I reply. I go to the library for awhile instead. Later to return to my art room.
A College Story: “You are in the art department?” my professor asks as a statement-question. “No.” I reply. “Have you thought about being an art major?” she asks. “No.” I reply. That was all I needed. I dropped everything; signed up for all the art classes allowable, and the rest is history. I was home in a place I had always been; never thinking I would be an artist by profession.
I wrote in order to breath. Writing letters to myself, I taped them underneath my clothes; next to my body. Safe, protected, I tore them to bits and dumped them in alley way dumpsters. I lived with the aftermath of rape, molestation, psychological torture; believing I was nothing more than property.
“When did you become a real person!” she exclaimed clenching my artist statement with her fist. With tears in both our eyes, we hugged, and she walked away (2007).
Today, beyond the ash of torn bits of papers past rises drawing as living beings. Breathing as phoenix in redemption song. Exquisite stories of texture and shape; anxious and methodical lines of reflection and observation. The pieces move and have their being within the context of their environment.
Read more from We are individuals published in Crossin(G)enres (link opens in new tab).
At any given moment you will find me either in the studio or out in the landscape. I find no safer place than immersed in my work. My anxieties find solace and voice.
Most of my life I was a shadow; wrapping myself so tightly in the images of others I sacrificed any dignity just to breathe (Brave House Secrets, 2014).
At 33 I found my person! I say I was born in my 30’s; leaving belief I was property behind.
In 2008, two weeks after becoming officially engaged, I was diagnosed with cancer. My doctor stared at me with tears as she said, “Connie, you are the last person I want to have to say this too; after what you have been through. . . you have cancer.” Well, I beat cancer.
In 2014, a mass discovered. Thankfully, a benign tumor the size of a large orange impinging on my kidney and intestine.
September 2015, hospitalized completely paralyzed, I found myself in the middle of a new norm of a yet otherwise idiopathic, systemic, auto-immune, neuromuscular disease. With rehabilitation, I regained only to lose again in a cycle of hope and grief.
Choosing to see the gift in adaptation; of process and life. Wheelchairs walk; utensils write and draw; friends and family share the load; husband sands and builds.
The phoenix rising; I stand before you naked; how I ampray/ most useful.
There is no, one story within my work. Line quality is created out of experience. Composition emerges as the woven motions of a heart’s beat.
There is always more to tell. . .
We each are rich in story. . .
We are more alike than we are different
I educate and speak publicly on topics relating to art as vocation, rape/abuse, visual prayer/meditation, and landscape/historical preservation; all through the sense-lens of image and word.
Paint much love, always,
Connie Karleta Sales
a.k.a. This Crooked Little Flower