Anyone who knows me knows this: I've been a fan of Willie Nelson since I first saw him at age 21. Now nearly 50 years later, I still love Willie. We have grown old together. I'm not one of those icky fans. In fact, after attending something like 50 Willie concerts, picnics, homecomings and who knows what else, I've never had the nerve to ask to have my picture taken with him. He wouldn't know me if he saw me. I might not know him for that matter. Where is this leading? I do have a point and that is that the titles of Willie and Billy Joe Shaver songs often inspire my art because I listen to them all day long while working. My lineup runs through Willie, Waylon, Billy Joe, Fromholtz, Michael Martin Murphy, Jamey Johnson, John Prine, Johnny Cash, Micky Newbury, the Dead, the Eagles, the Stones, the Beatles, George Jones, George Harrison, John Lennon, Kris Kristofferson, Aretha, Bobby Blue Bland, Freddie King, BB King, Stevie Ray Vaughn,Bugs Henderson, the 13th Floor Elevators, Leonard Cohen, Frank Sinatra, Nina Simone. You get the picture. I'm all over the place musically and I guess that's reflected in my art.
I like to work in layers. Layers of photos and images. Layers of time periods in the wrong place, layers of nuance and layers of texture. I think this love of layering and obscuring or baring a peek at something else is central to how I work creatively. I never, ever begin a piece of work knowing where it's going. I chose images by how they feel when I look at them. I find ways to combine images that please me. Sometimes it works out and someone gets a message or at least a chuckle.
The works highlighted on this platform were created about 2-3 years ago. My work has evolved from what you will see here. I'm doing more collages on canvas. I'm doing more multi-media work. I'm exploring the juxtaposition of architectural elements, of flower elements, and always of human elements.
So the reason I asked the question, taken from a Willie Nelson song, "just what the hell are we going to do?" because I cannot be an American citizen, alive during this time of constitutional crisis and deep division without echoing the political situation in my art. Some say, with a haughty tone, "I'm only about art. I don't believe in combining world issues (ie: humanity) with art." What a crock of bogus shit!!!!!!!! From the first artist to the last artist that breathes on this planet, art has been used as a form of human communication about both the inner and outer worlds. We can't separate art from life.
So, what in the hell I'm going to do? I'm going to live my life and make my art and speak out to try to save this democracy. My dad, a wise man, said "JoAnn, know how to pick your battles." He was right. He's no longer here in body but I know he would tell me that the battle to save democracy is worth fighting for in a peaceful and thoughtful manner.