My recent Work in Progress is really becoming something special! I have been experiencing much personal emotional growth, and really am expanding my horizons! The featured Image and this top one are my current work in progress, and the following three images are of my last year’s entry into the Insights II Bipolar Art Exhibition. I was proud to win a spot alongside the other ” founding” artist members of The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundations’ permanent collection, and my piece, “Crossing the Delaware, Well Aware” garnered more than it’s fair share of attention!
This year I again have the honor to have one of my works displayed in “Insights III” at the Zolla/ Liebermann Gallery in Chicago, on October 24th, 2019. I am working like crazy to get there this year as well, I just refuse to miss this show!
I am so pleased with this little beauty in progress, some wondered if I were a “one hit wonder” and this piece gives the resounding “NO! I have so much MORE yet to give!”
Yes! We all want to be a great “success” in our chosen field, and many artists have a clear idea of what they need to be successful. Speaking for myself, I thought success would mean the end of financial struggle, to a point. As a person with mental illness (Bipolar Disorder and PTSD for starters) and physical handicaps (use your imagination), I felt that my “happy day” would come when I could pay my bills and buy my art supplies, and eat what and where I wanted, with a few more bucks to put by.
I’ve been working toward that end for over 50 years now, and while my life has been unusual (to put it mildly), I fancied that with all my obvious creative talent my art would be sought after. Notice that I did not say “highly” sought after. No, I tried to be realistic-it would take some time to get well known, etc… Well, that day I envisioned, that “happy” future success day has not come. Big sigh, and big pity party…
. Wait. Just. One. Minute…
What am I talking about? All of my life I dreamed of a time when I could create my art whenever I wanted! I dreamed of pursuing My artistic vision! Did you, also? I have made that time for myself, I have chosen to pursue my artistic life no matter what my life circumstances. No time to paint? I get my paints out at 10 pm. some days. No where to paint? I live in a single wide mobile home, crammed to the gills with projects I’m working on! No money for canvas? I find things in the trash, at thrift stores, on ebay-cheap things that no one wants anymore- and I find ways to make them unique, colorful, extraordinary …
. At this very moment, right now, I have no bread in the house. No bread, about a half cup of milk and some ramen. (Not the “Cup o Lunch ” kind with the veggies either.) Not to get too personal, but 2-ply T-P. (Feel your little butt tighten up?) Am I crying the blues here? Making myself seem a martyr? An arter-martr? (sorry, I just had a silly moment…)
. No, I am telling you that I AM a success. I AM AN ARTIST SUCCESS STORY.
. Let that stew a moment: A 50-something improperly-art-educated-disabled-crazywoman-in-a-run-down-trailer-park-in-a-flood-zone-with-no-homeowners’ insurance-no-coffee-using-2-ply-TP is a SUCCESSFUL ARTIST?!?
Woop woop! Yup, that’s me!
. I have no looming prospects of fame, of a sudden, amazing “breakout” work, or even of a teeny weeny inheritance, but I am as happy as a clam in mud, happy as an accountant with a pen that works, happy as a rotund, pink, rather hairless, animal who squeals in a pile of feces!
I have chosen to live my Artist’s dream, to get up each day and paint a stroke, glue a something together, write a poem. I am not too broke to go get a gallon of milk or decent toilet paper, neither am I well off enough to buy the best brushes, or even decent canvas.
But I am an ARTIST. That is who I am, and that is what I make a conscious choice to do. Every day of my successful life. Hey, it’s wonderful to be on top, isn’t it?
. This is not just a litany of my own happiness with my art career, which I would define not really as a “career”, but as a life choice…No, I want to help YOU , dear reader, to see where your own happiness lies. What are you holding out as your carrot? What does your “success” look like? Are you, like so many, comparing where you are to what other artists are experiencing? Are you kicking yourself for not painting a still life, when that’s what Mr. Prize Winner painted in the last show? Were you let down when they announced the “winners” to the last member’s show you entered? (yeah, me too…) See what I mean? Are we longing for some recognition, some prize or award, another feather in our cap, while we miss the sensual sensation of paint flowing onto canvas ? Or the startling moment when that perfect shade of turquoise comes to life on our palette? Or, here’s one: The moment when you jump up saying ” Yes! I got it!” because the line you laid down is exactly where you want it to be?
. Yes, my artist friend, these are the true successes. I never want to be Michaelangelo wishing I was Davinci. Can you imagine? The creator of the “David” wishing he had painted the “Mona Lisa”? Thinking he was not a successful artist?
. Let us remember this wonderful gift we have now, and revel in it, delight in it! Then all of our art will be successful.
Detail, Crossing…Well Aware…Susan T. Martin, 8/2017
Detail, George from Crossing the Delaware WellAware, acrylic on Canvas, Susan T. Martin, 2017
Crossing the Delaware, Well Aware, acrylic on canvas, Susan T. Martin, 8/11/17
New Life of Hope!
One of the Standout Moments of me ENTIRE LIFE has been the honor and privilege of my Art being chosen in the Insights II Art Exhibition which showcases the work of Bipolar Artists. The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation held this show, to highlight Bipolar Artists and help reduce the stigma of the Disease. It was a Gala affair, and I travelled to Chicago overnight last October to be honored and celebrate all of our achievements. I met and was befriended by Dusty and Joyce Sang, truly visionary and selfless, who started the Foundation in honor of their beloved son Ryan, who succumbed to the effects of Bipolar Disorder’s Mania and Despair. Seeing my painting on the wall of the beautiful gallery, next to fellow artists who truly understand and have walked this lonely path, and feeling the WEIGHT of it all changed me.
The experience brought a lift to my heart and my step, it validated me as an artist struggling with Bipolar Disorder, and pushed me to higher ground creatively.
Although I am physically disabled and challenged financially, it was worth every sacrifice I made to go. I am a better person for it, and I want so bad to go this year!
Because, you see, I have a work in this year’s show!! Yes! Toot the tooters! Throw the Confetti! I am THRILLED!!! . However, there is a small matter holding me back….
I’d really like to know!
And I am afraid I must attend to pressing financial matters like Eating, and Paying Bills…But I was wondering, just hoping that perhaps someone out there who loves my work, loves someone like me with Bipolar Disorder, or is just wanting to help, might find a way to donate a few dollars to my trip. I could paint you a painting, send you a hand painted Vintage jello Mold, write you a poem… Just let me know! And I am going to put a little payment button on my post…
This is the Artwork that is in the Insights III Bipolar Art Exhibition on October 25th, 2019
Spring Hearts Jello Mold
2019 Entry Insights III
I had priced the trip including a round trip flight and overnight in the Found Hostel on Expedia back in July, and it was around $375.00…
I will have about half I hope, I’m trying desperately to sell some things on Ebay, and on here, but it’s very slow going… I get mixed up so easy! Anyway, here is another Jello Mold I have ready right now!You can even name him yourself!! Thank You in advance just for reading!
Ultimate Jello Mold “Rooster” and free shipping!
A Physical Work of Art, "Rooster Jello Mold" mixed media on Vintage Copper Mold, by Susan T. Martin, signed and shipped
A Physical, Original Signed Artwork by Susan T. Martin
9″ x 11″ Mixed Media Painting on Board, Unframed…free shipping
Boom. Just like that! I pushed a button, chose the business plan, and I’m up and running… Why don’t you come run with me for a while? You can see me falter, catch my breath, take a few more steps, laugh, get a stitch in my side, take another step or two…and then give it up and fall down in a heap of knees, elbows, sweat and laughter!
Cause, I have to tell you right now, I’m a funny duck! You are going to have quite a time as you get to know my quirks, my Bipolar moods, my PTSD and paranoia, my traumatic brain injury forgetfulness, and all the scarred psyche that my dysfunctional upbringing left me with.
“I am glad you are here. I want you to see me fall, see my imperfections, see my glaring “human-ness” in the unforgiving overhead light of reality… Because I am an artist, and ultimately, I am my art: An Ever-evolving, morphing, learning and growing, beautiful and fleeting image, A mark left on the page of this Tiny Giant Life!”
So, unless otherwise noted, all the Art, Words, Photos, Poems, Thoughts and Visual Musings you see and feel here are the sole creation and copyright property of me,
Susan T. Martin.
I make Out Of The Gutter Art.
Enjoy yourself, wander around a bit, have a drink if you like ( but don’t throw any plastic away, I recycle) Rest if you are tired, eat if you are hungry, but never the last Oreo…that baby is mine.
TRIGGER WARNING: While I do not create pornography, my art is often adult in nature, and can be disturbing for some viewers as it often stems from my memories and flashbacks of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. I use artistic means as a coping mechanism, and therapy and find my art is a soothing release from the horrors of my past. It is my hope that by getting the pain and trauma out of me and onto canvas or other media, I can find peace and the ability to live in the present as a loving, caring, healthy and healing, whole person. Not a victim, but a survivor. And not just existing but thriving!
Of all the people who love me and have helped me on this journey, my utmost gratitude goes to God, who drew me to him from a life buried in the mire. He is the one who pulled me Out of the Gutter.