Peculiar Events Lead to Artistic Revelation

It was a normal thing to do on a Saturday afternoon. To go run. I needed to pick up a prescription for Mom, so I went a little further than usual. I was passing Linekona School, now known as the Academy Art Center. Linekona has a history of being many things (mostly educational) and is now primarily an art school and a place that hosts small art exhibits. This charming building sits across the street from the Honolulu Academy of Arts.

Linekona School Entrance

Now, on Saturday, while passing this historic-looking building, I was a intrigued by a large camel on the lawn. “What the heck?” I had to investigate this. Well, it seems that this camel was… well, just there. I was informed that there had been other camels on the lawn too but that they had already fallen over. There was an art exhibit going on but that camel had nothing to do with the exhibit on display. It didn’t matter, this peculiar dromedary, which was about to collapse like the others, was what led me inside.

Camel on lawn at Linekona School

It turned out that the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce was sponsoring an art exhibit. The entry to the exhibit was free and the room was air conditioned so I decided to take a peaceful walk through and gaze quietly at what was there. It was interesting because most of it was mixed media (oils, watercolors, ceramics, fabrics, photography, whatever). It’s fascinating to see the things that artists put together and use to create a statement.

Commitment to Excellence banner

Yeah, I wondered about that sign too? Is it a code? No, the first word is in black letters and the second is in white. This was the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce’s 29th Annual “Commitment to Excellence” Art Exhibition & Sale.

As I started to walk around I responded with what I would consider “the usual” reaction. You know, the thoughts that go through your mind like, “That’s interesting.” Then you walk on. “That’s pretty, I don’t know what it is, but it’s pretty.” Walk on. “That’s strange.” Then, moving around one wall… I just stopped… and stared.

I was peaceful and calm, until… until I saw this drawing of a young girl who looked like she was about to lick some ice cream off of an ice cream cone. What she was about to put her mouth on, however, was barbed wire! At that point I shifted from relaxed to angry. Art is supposed to invoke an emotional response, right? That one worked. “Well, that was potent.” Okay, round the next wall…

Another piece of art called, “Confessional.” But, it was an angel there. Why does an angel need to go to confession? Okay, then I was troubled. Right next to it, another piece, same artist, called “Was a Blackbird and Red Hibiscus.” Was? You could see a shadow of forms that used to be there. They were there but now they’re gone. Why are they gone? At this point I’m beginning to feel very emotional.

Okay, nevermind, what’s on the adjacent wall? Pills in a row? A picture next to it was of an open pill capsules with the powdered contents spilling out. Drug problem? Between them was a black piece of nothing… except on the bottom… in barely visible letters it said, “THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND, THIS LAND IS MY LAND, THIS LAND WAS MADE FOR YOU AND ME.” That’s it. Nothing more. At that point, I lost it. I couldn’t stop the tears. I wasn’t sweating anymore so I couldn’t disguise them either.

I just smiled at the host on my way out and said, “This is how I know if a movie is a good one. Obviously this art show must be a good one.” He smiled and actually seemed pleased. After I left, I felt a little silly.

When I got home and checked email and blog messages, I saw something I couldn’t resist — a fairy! I love fairies! But this was a special message. A message about The Blog Fairy. She’s gone. She passed away. We lost a blogger! For this reason, this post is also listed under the “In Memoriam” category.

Francesca Faerie was known by many as the fairy blogger who gave out blue ribbons to blue ribbon bloggers whom she felt were deserving. I corresponded with one of those bloggers. I wanted to find out if the content of the site was going to remain. I hadn’t seen it before. I was told that it would and that her daughter, Gracie Belle, will carry on as the Blog Fairy II.

My responder was a poet blogger! I should say, poetess. Her blog says poetress. This lovely woman has a heart of gold and wears it on her sleeve — she is the nom de plume at her blog, “Binding Ink”. Even the name of the blog is poetic. I left a comment. She kept it. I found lyrics in her blog that she used to make a point. She feels it. She gets it. Words are just another media!

Timing is everything. The far-reaching passion of this loss to the blogosphere and the artistic nature of this writer inspired me to talk about the art at Linekona and talk about the Blog Fairy I never met. “She Walks in Beauty,” the site says. May she walk in grace and beauty where she is now.

Poetry is just like those pictures. It’s an art form designed to invoke an emotion — poets do it with the picturesque use of words rather than the creative use of paint and clay. But, the effect is the same — you may not know what the author had in mind, but the meaning is all about what it means to you. The art at Linekona is all about how it impacts the viewer.

I’m sure that whatever it was that I “read” into those pieces at Linekona School, it had very little, or nothing at all, to do with what the artists actually intended. It didn’t matter; they worked for me. With poetry it’s not always clear what the author intended either. It’s all about how much impact these art forms have on the reader/observer.

It didn’t matter. I had to go back to Linekona. I had to match the names of the artists with those creations! I did. The host didn’t recognize me. He told us about a lady that had been there the day before who left in tears. I was able to laugh at that point when I told him, “That was me!” When my mother had little or no reaction to the art, I figured out at that point that yep, I am crazy.

The Artists

  • The young girl with the barbed wire was an “Untitled” D. Print by Diana Jeon
  • The “Confessional” and the “Was a Blackbird and Red Hibiscus” works were both mixed media by artist, Romolo Valencia
  • The last straw for me was actually a three-piece-in-one work from which my mind extracted the center piece. It was titled, “Morning.” The medium for that one was Dirt, Pills & Tape on Plexiglas, all pulled together by artist, Maika’i Tubbs

I always say to people that, “I may not know art, but I know what I like.” I didn’t like that art. But I am so glad that I was fortunate enough to experience their impact. To lock them in a house would be sad. I think that any museum, exhibition venue, library, or any place that is a public place would be a fine owner! Even someone who sent the art out on loan! The public needs to see them. Those pieces made me angry, they bothered me on the inside, they made my cry… now THAT is art!

Was this a revelation? Of sorts. It revealed that I am a lot more sensitive to things than I realized and that I can appreciate art for the what I can draw out of it. No pun intended. I also learned that much of the blogosphere is sensitive to creativity and to each other.

My heart-felt condolences go out to the family of the Blog Fairy and my deepest gratitude goes to the “Poetress” at Binding Ink for her inspiration and aloha from across the sea. Many thanks to Gracie Bell for keeping that blog up and running.

Mahalo to the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce for making this experience possible. Apologies and mahalo to Wayne Kato, host and member of the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce and president of Painter’s Warehouse, Inc., who allowed me to retain my dignity by acknowledging the art’s impact. To the artists I send thanks and appreciation for a job well done. Maybe someday they will share the part of their hearts or minds that went into their creations.

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5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Nom de plume The Poetress -Jeane Michelle Culp // Aug 30, 2007 at 10:49 am

    Hello Sprite; such is the fun of being a Writer, we get to toy with words, rearrange them, invent them! Hence with a Poetic license I deemed myself Poetress, a Mistress to words forever more. Whence I first read your comment on my site Binding Ink about our endearing Francesca Faerie, Blog Fairy the 1st, I recognized your Writing talent immediately and was aw-struck; wondering where you had been hiding all these years in the blogosphere. Now having read this Post of yours that draws the Reader into your mind and heart, makes us want to almost dance on the edge of a canvas with art – truly I have found a place to visit with my cup of coffee; amidst a talented Writer such as yourself. Thank you for your kind words about myself and ever so gratefully for the remarkable Woman Francesca Faerie and her loving Daughter, Gracie Belle the Blog Fairy II whom will carrying on her Mom’s mission of love.

  • 2 Evelyn // Aug 30, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    Jean Michelle, my dear woman, I am supposed to follow that comment how? 🙂 Thank you for those colorfully-kind words and for not leaving me out here on an artistic limb all alone. The blogosphere has become like the Internet as a whole I think… whatever topic you’re looking for, you will find a blogger who talks about it!

  • 3 diana jeon // Sep 13, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    Thank you for the complimentary mention of my work! I am very flattered that my work affected you!!! Making art is a difficult proposition these days, what with the lack of funding and the lack of venues here in the islands to show the more gritty contemporary work, such as mine usually is. And once you leave school, you have little feedback. So thank you once again for noticing my work, and mentioning it here.

  • 4 Evelyn // Sep 14, 2007 at 6:58 am

    Thank you, Diana, for your comment! It means a lot to me that your work’s impact meant something to you. I understand how it can be difficult to not have feedback! Artists, of all kinds, give of themselves and get little in return. Someday you will have to tell me about what cultural or media event happened that prompted that piece! I would honestly love to hear about it! Your names will be fixed in my brain for a very long time. I can’t tell you what happened in there. Psychological short circuit! 🙂 Hats off to you! I liked your website too! I think that’s worth another visit or two!

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