Sunday, October 31, 2010

Art shows and marketplace-What makes Jewish art?

I've been doing art since I was a child. Around June or so I followed an urge to start "doodling" again and stocked up on #2 pencils and sketch pads and started sketching for my own artistic pleasure. As I'm Sketching I have had some interesting thoughts on the subject of being  Jewish and creating Jewish art.
Is there a specifically Jewish way to paint? Is there a particular line, or shape, or color, that’s Jewish? That speaks to the Jewish soul? If klezmer music somehow shortcuts deep to our essence, is there a visual analog to that music?
There is an assumption that Jews came late to visual art. despite popular mythology, though, the Bible does not prohibit drawing human forms. “The rabbis in the Talmud say that only the worship of graven images is a problem, not the images themselves,”. So what is Jewish art? Often Jewish art is defined as work with overtly Jewish themes, and pictures of people in stereotypically Jewish clothing or holding menorot or Torah scrolls or stars of David logically might be considered Jewish.
Is there Jewish art? We take all the experiences in our lives, and they make us who we are. Everything I create is based on everything I know. I went to day school for years when I was a child, and I also live in the world and in the world of yiddishkeit. When I think of blue, I now think of techelet  the mysterious blue dye used for the fringes of the priests’ garments in the Temple. When I think of sacred spaces, I think of The Holy Temple that once stood in Jerusalem and on a small scale every Jewish home is a type of that sacred space, and at the same time I think of the "kodesh kedoshim” the holy of holies, the tabernacle that contained the ark. So in creating my art I want my work to take you to a higher place. I do not like the idea of mixing metaphors meaning the world mixed with Jewish. I wants people's mind to go to the Torah and see Torah in visual form. And when my art is hanging on someone's walls then when a person walk into that space they feel one way, and when they walk out they should feel better because it has created a holy space for that viewer.
My art goes beyond paintings or sketches, it aslo takes shape in holy garments. Silk has become my passion. The feel of it on my skin and the flow of paints and colors excites my heart and spirit. It takes greater Kavannah (concentration) in creating a piece that will bring joy to someone who will desire to  own it when they see it in the marketplace or art show. Then there is Tambourines Art my first love and my favorite outlet to capture the Psalms and the spirit of Miriam's heart to Praise G-d with such complete emunah.

My best expierences has been in the Art shows and marketplaces for which I hear stories of what a difference my art has made for them. This in turn lifts my heart and gives me koach to continue in creating my art. My children most of all  has been that strength. One reason is my son Izzy having to deal with a chronic illness of a bleeding diorder of Hemophilia for which there is no cure and will be a lifetime struggle for him and another reason is it being so cruical for me to be a stay at home mother for all my children. If  art is not touching people then it's not something that brings joy and light in people's lives so why do it especially Jewish art? Jewish art is simply to some creating the visual form of Torah, for some it is telling their story. For me it is both.