It’s that time of year once again, where we look back on all the accomplishments, failures and creations that left their mark on us over the last 365 days. Despite the tumultuous economy, slashing of budgets and dismissal of art in society – it’s been a fairly decent year for art. We reminded the world that art is at the very center of our communities and the inspiration that drives innovation. We shared dreams, imagination and culture with our neighbors and introduced the world of art to another generation of children. We’re definitely on the right path.

 

How do you summarize an entire year of culture? This past year we witnessed everything from public art and graffiti, multimedia and political statements to classic and experimentalist revivals in the world of art. There was controversy once again over restorations and cleanings, bringing Leonardo da Vinci’s work at the Louvre into the spotlight. Forrest Gump was entered into the Library of Congress Film Registry as one of the greats. And science came to the forefront once again, proving that science is beautiful at Princeton’s annual “Art of Science” contest.

 

To name just a few...

 

But if we take an honest look back at art, what we really see is that it’s timeless. It doesn’t matter if your art was a trend that peaked for 22 days and was lost in the noise of Banksy shortly after. Your art will live on, in some form, somewhere in the world. There are basements being unearthed that are full of culture and creativity. Perhaps your art is stored like mine: in a dark closet, under a Darth Vader mask – one day these treasures could be shared with the world. The art itself will live on long after we have returned our atoms to the collective universe we call home.

 

Take this time to remember that the creativity that you share will live on forever. Touch one life with your art and it affects every life in contact with that person; every life that connects with those people – in an endless succession of expansion. Your vision could very well be the seed that changes the world. An inspiring piece could warm the icy hearts of scrooges or enrage the protestor we witnessed this past year to stir up change and improvement in human rights.

 

So instead of me telling you what to reflect upon this past year – take the time to look back, see the world of art and how it changed you. And look forward to 2012 with an open mind and open heart while sharing your imagination with the world.

 

Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

 

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.

Art comes in many different sizes, colors, flavors and emotions. There is without a doubt a general mood that is shaped by imaginative works found in museums, galleries and schools. You don’t need a high tech creative project like Stimmungsgasometer in Berlin to capture the general mood of art connoisseurs. A work of art can inspire, frighten, entice, disturb, please, wander and so much more. So this season I challenge you to create art that shares smiles.

 

There is without a doubt a plethora of dark art, filled with images that inspire dissent, rage or sadness. I myself am guilty of creating a series that captured the ‘darkness’ or ‘nemesis’ within my model’s portraits. These projects are important and come directly from our artistic inner voices, screaming our vision, emotion and pain to the world. Political street art, old-school government propaganda and the frightening images from our darkest minds play a role in shaping the human experience for sure. We are subject to each other’s feelings every day and artists find creative ways to always express them.

 

But we live in a world of duality...

 

For every dark image we find a light one. For every political piece of misinformation we find a someecard to make us smile. The shadows find their way into the light in the form of sarcastic humor, while light breaks apart the night with extreme contrast. Whether it is born from humor or love - the art that makes us smile fills our hearts with gratitude, joy, inspiration and contentment. Art that makes us ‘happy’ varies from person to person. So what makes you smile? What art fills your heart with joy?

 

Take some time this holiday season to share a slice of good old-fashioned happiness with the world. Offer art that inspires love and delight, without an agenda. Bring a smile to the world with some happy art. You’ll be grateful for the uplifting mood and turn that frown on the Stimmungsgasometer’s face upside down.

 

Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.

The holidays are upon us and signs of winter are blowing in. The season of giving inspired the artists of Sedona to donate their time and talent to many events this year. I painted a few “apples” for charity myself for the Apples for the Art Barn exhibit to restore the historic art barn where I work. One of my other local charitable favorites is the Festival of Trees at Tlaquepaque, where trees were turned into art by local artists and are up for auction all week. Galleries are embracing the spirit of the Season and creative gifts abound in small works shows, holiday gifts and inspirational festive works of art.

 

This is a fantastic reminder of the bountiful creative talents of local artists in Sedona. We are undoubtedly an artistic community, thriving in a land of beauty. Each artist pours their heart and soul into their work in hopes that it will find its way into the homes of collectors, art lovers and all of us combined. They rely on us to support them, cheer them, admire them and award them. As an artist myself, I experience firsthand the warmth that a supportive community or fan of my work can offer.

 

This holiday season remember to support your local artists. We’re fortunate here in Sedona to not be surrounded by the big-box-retailers that offer us plastic-molded gifts and gimmicky seasonal trinkets. Instead, we have local shops, beautiful galleries and creative artists who make a living off of your support. You can take home gifts that are handmade, personal and completely unique by putting your dollars down on art.

 

So this season, give the gift of art. And if you are an artist yourself – remember to make something fabulous for the ones you love. It’s not the worth of the gift, but the thought and love that goes into it. Personally, I can’t put a dollar sign on the gifts I give or get. For me, it’s all about the smile on the faces of the people I love. And if you believe in your art – your art can make people smile.

 

Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.

Here we are, once again at that time of year where we remember to be thankful for the little, big and in-between things in our lives. Some of us take the entire week or just one day to give "thanks" and recognize that we may in fact be lucky to be alive. It's that time of year to see the glass as "half full". The arts are no exception to this onslaught of gratitude as artist, musicians and creative thinkers alike thank the stars, their moms, the universe and evolution for the talents they have. Last year I tweeted, "It would be great if everyone was as 'thankful' everyday as they are grateful this 1 day! My glass is always full" - and you can quote me on that.

I am sincerely optimistic and generally take a light-hearted approach to everything that I do. My art can be dark and seem cataclysmic at times; however that’s just an expression of my creative genius. We use art to express our emotions, political views and love for others. Our art can be a movement a message or even a way of life. Whether you are adding the pepper-spraying cop, Lt. John Pike to masterpieces simply to express your outrage or even if you’re just uploading a picture to “{I Can Has Cheezburger – chances are you can see something in the way of hope for the future.

I see hope. I wish others well while giving, sharing and creating unconditionally. I love my children, my family, my job and my friends. I make art not war. I give art as gifts and have the gift of art. This holiday take the time to share you expressive creative freedom with the world. Craft something dark or mysterious, political, humorous or beautiful and share it with everyone. Offer up a freebie to your family and friends. Take the role of the child making a birthday card and make something for the ones you love. The gesture will inspire and it just feels fantastic to give a little piece of ‘you’ to the ones you love.

So this holiday I’ll be sitting down to my vegetarian feast thinking about all the wonderful things I can do for you (the world) to make it more wonderful. I’ll start with art and a smile. How about you?

Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.

Earlier this week I wrote about my creative process, which is fantastic for starting the masterpieces that will undoubtedly be unearthed one thousand years from now and studied by anthropologists. Today I would like to take one step back and discuss creative freedom. We all love freedom - free speech; free rides; freedom of or from religion; free shipping; free opinions; and even free ice-cream is always good. But as artists we sometimes find that it's a rare commodity when trying to sell our art because freedom always has its price.

 

In ancient times, a quarter of a century ago, I was painting anything my pigments would stick to. I created elaborate murals and works that were grand in design and magnitude. Night clubs and 50’s themed restaurants didn’t stand a chance against the compressed air that pelted their walls with my colors. I scaled scaffolding and extension ladders, repelled from water towers seven stories high and was once almost blown away by hurricane force winds. I loved creating, painting and sharing my work - but there was one huge problem...

 

Freedom


Any artist knows that you have to compromise every now and then. When working on a commissioned piece we (more often than not) have to surrender to uncreative, sometimes ridiculous design concepts imagined by left-brained individuals that needed to hire us in the first place. These can range from cartoon elephants ice-skating on the moon to hockey players riding horses (no lie). Or perhaps you have heard the stories of screenwriters’ works being shredded to pieces by producers who just had to have aliens in the film. All in all – the process of commissioned work can be detrimental to our creative souls and in my opinion, does no one any good.

 

So I say – BE FREE! Strike down preposterous requests and stand up for your rights as creative souls! Be critical and let them know that their idea is not in alignment with your process. Say no to ice-skating mammals and yes to your vision. You’re an artist! Demand nothing more than the chance to share your vision and design the way it was first intended to be by your beautiful right brain. Compromise where you must: but let your foresight lead the way.

 

And to those who commission us artists... remember why you hired us. We are the creators, the visionaries, the masters of our trade. You may know what ‘sells’ but we know beauty in a way that runs deep within our very being. Our words, music, and art are what make up the world around you. Give us freedom and a chance to let our spirits shine. Leave the art to us and we’ll leave those numbers to you. Because you most certainly won’t be disappointed when you let a true artist spill their vision onto the world around you.

Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.

We all have different techniques to get our imaginative juices flowing... And we all feel at times that the world of art is designed specifically to create roadblocks, walls and barriers of various kinds. The artistic process can most definitely flow effortlessly, but sometimes we need a little push and some encouragement to unleash the torrent of creativity locked within us. I’ll share with you some techniques I use and you can share with me your fabulous art.

The first thing you have to do is remember that just because you have a creative block, it doesn’t mean that your talent, drive, determination or creative genius is in serious question. It just means that you are like everyone else who lives in this world of distractions. (Not a bad place to live when you really think about it...) But here are a few things you can do to beat your creative block:

  1. Begin. Whatever it is you are doing, whether you are writing, drawing, painting, creating a video montage of your favorite 80’s moments... Start it! If you are stuck at the beginning, just start jotting down notes, lines, paint, etc to get started. You will be amazed at how your work can evolve and transform into something you never expected, just by going through the motions.
  2. Relax. Bet you tried that already, right? The last thing you want to hear is that you should relax now, but you really should. Try meditation, try yoga (a wonderful moving meditation) – it will help if your mind is calm.
  3. Do something boring. Sometimes you have to step away from your project to regain perspective, determination and drive. Walking away, watching a documentary or playing angry birds can make it easy to come back to your art.
  4. Music. Listen to – no scratch that, absorb music. Writing a screenplay? Throw some dramatic soundtrack in to inspire your scenes. Painting? Play music that suits your theme – for instance, I was painting a cactus and listening to mariachi. I never painted so fast in my life.
  5. Switch mediums/art forms. Writing a novel? Try drawing. Sculpting? Play an instrument. Switching art forms will allow you to continue the creative process and open you back up to your originally inspired piece.
  6. Location. Change your location to change your perspective. You would be amazed at how moving your art space or just turning around will help. Stand on a desk and see the world in a new way. Hey - it worked for Robin Williams.
  7. Sleep. You read that correctly. Sleep on it. Take time away from your project, give it no thought whatsoever and rest. (Unless you have a deadline, then stop reading this and get back to work!) Seriously, rest will open doors to new worlds – and sleep will allow for dreams. Don’t underestimate the power of your subconscious mind! Dreams sometimes tell the most fascinating stories.

The most important thing to remember is to not be too hard on yourself. Everyone experiences a creative block at some point in time. Don’t be afraid of imperfection. The universe is in perfect harmony thanks to imperfection. In fact, nowhere in all of nature and physics will you find perfection – so you can just toss that out the proverbial window now. Embrace imperfection and the moments where you can’t think of one brush stroke or word to write. It’s during these times that some of our best works are born.

Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.