Long exposure portrait of artist Jennifer Kikia-Yang in her original costume design ‘Mother Nature’ at The Sharpie Gallery, Treasure Island. Light painting photography shot by Linda Costa Cheranichit in total darkness in front of a live audience and projected during the Pop-Up art event “A Night in the Garden” on 5/25/19.
Dream a little dream with me
Life on earth can be such blissful magic. The ‘real world’ may try to convince us that we are living in a nightmare at times. Yet, just like within our actual dream world, there’s a bit of us that holds on to the awareness that we don’t have to stay in fear. If we could just wake up and take the wheel, if we could remember ourselves and our personal power, we would all be OK. Waking up would find us out of that fear and safe in our beds, surrounded by love and our abundant lives.
Lately I’ve been wide awake, and somehow life couldn’t be dreamier. I’ve been on a long journey of self discovery and the results so far have been so surreal. The shift has been so potent that I often see myself proclaiming from a mountain top for all to receive: Love yourself and others, and Life becomes what you will it to!
Self love is hard, constant work. Often unpleasant inner struggle can lead us in untangling the many knots found within ourselves. Old beliefs can then be shed and new ones coded and hardwired into our hearts and souls.
Rituals of both body and mind are necessary to keep a consistent flow forward. These rituals remind us of who we are, what we believe in, what matters, what we are building and why. I’ve always loved rituals. As much as my personal ones have gifted me freedom from the stories that held me back, I enjoy communal ones the most, rituals shared with others circled around a mutual creative flame.
The opportunity of applying for this grant was one of the most cathartic rituals I’ve endured, one that propelled me forward with such speed and force beyond where I was that I’m still coasting ahead due to its power. Gratitude is a small word for how I feel about the gifts it has brought me.
The application process at times felt like a much needed boot camp, one that brought me incredible rewards. By revising my creative resume, reaching out to past collaborators and mentors for recommendations and words of wisdom, creating a team of angels who assisted me in choosing the right words, and helped me hand pick worthy works, and doing my inner work, I was left with a crystal clear reflection of who I am.
I couldn’t deny the image in the mirror: that I was an artist worthy of support, a creative community leader. The arduous struggle of applying to the best of my ability, baring myself to both friends and strangers, led to this priceless, impactful result: I understood myself, my values and my work better than ever before. I am so grateful for everything that has come from applying to Creative Pinellas, it has opened so many more opportunities than merely this valuable grant for me.
After being accepted I’ve allowed myself to leave a workplace that I had outgrown. I’ve recently become an art consultant at The Sharpie Gallery in Treasure Island. It has been a dream come true, one I’d never before dared to dream. This past weekend I organized and held a pop-up art event at the gallery, showcasing several talented local creatives. Our audience experienced live painting, a poetry reading, a DJ, a live band, and a long exposure Light Painting Photography demonstration which I did with a model who wore her own original costume design (pictured above). It was a magical evening, one of many yet to come.
This grant has given me the opportunity to apply for and receive another grant. I am now a member of Co-starters, the Tampa Bay Innovation Center’s arts business academy. Since my first class last week I’ve started networking with many of the participants on ideas of how we can support one another in our creative business ventures, and some of them showed up to support my pop-up event at the gallery. I’m excited to be building community with fellow art entrepreneurs.
Since receiving my acceptance letter I’ve outlined my visions for our Emerging Artists group exhibition in September. I’ve have been experimenting with and fine tuning these ideas into new works for a series that I’m excited to share with you.
I feel on track, abundant, and extremely grateful for this grant and what it is ushering into my world. I’m thrilled to have this platform to share the inner workings of my wild mind and my creative visions with our community. Thank you for reading and for supporting organizations like Creative Pinellas. When you do, they in turn support artists like myself who need their structure, resources and financial funding towards making a reality out of our creative dreams.