“I’m not an artist. I don’t know the first thing about art.”
If I had a dollar for every time someone told me this, nobody would be callin’ me a starving artist. (But no one does.)
I am a thriving mixed media collage artist, teacher, mama, wife, AND ecologist.
Yup. I am all of those things – and more.
I’m sure you have your own unique mix of titles. And that’s what makes you so damn special. It kills me to think that so many of us have let someone else squelch any part of us – especially our creative expression.
I know just how personal creative expression can be. I understand how deeply connected our creativity is to our identity, self-confidence, and our intuitive wisdom. When an authority figure (be it a teacher, your mom, or a favorite auntie) questions or judges something you made, it can be soul crushing. And it can be enough to stop you from making art, playing music, dancing, singing, or cooking for years.
It can even make you question whether you can recognize “good art.”
I get it. I suffered from a similar complex for years. I LOVED art and making things. Growing up with family members struggling with mental illness, I found my deepest sense of safety, self-assuredness, and stability when I was creating and/or exploring the natural world. BUT I had also been led to believe that art and creativity weren’t valuable in the way that science and economic stability were. I was a straight-A student, super perfectionist, and major people pleaser. Basically, I’m an achiever through and through. So, I put my creativity on the side burner for years while I pursued a career as an ecologist in natural resource management.
I got a degree in biology (with minors in chemistry and studio art). Then I went on and got a master’s degree in environmental management. In other words, I took the “responsible” path and told myself that I could do art on the side when I had time.
I worked in natural resource management for almost 20 years. I LOVED spending time in the natural world, and it was super fulfilling for me to work to conserve our precious, limited natural resources. But it wasn’t honoring all of me, and I felt divided.
I felt like I was living two separate lives. During the day, I would work to conserve the environment – digging deep into grant writing, data collection, and land management. And in the evenings and weekends I continued making art – using repurposed materials (mostly paper) to honor my commitment to the planet. Friends even convinced me to try selling my art and I eventually expanded to regularly sell it through festivals, Etsy, and a few local shops. Eventually my work gained attention of more retailers and I was picked up by a sales rep group.
I felt like I was being pulled in four different directions – artist, ecologist, mama, and wife. And I wasn’t doing any of them well. I crumbled.
The natural world always shows me what I need to learn. And ironically, I had been creating deeply layered, intricate collages from repurposed materials for years. Much of my work focused on the amazingly interwoven connections found in nature. But it took me being pulled apart at the seams to finally wake up the fact that I am a multi-layered, multi-faceted being. All of the parts of my identity are inter-connected too. I can’t deny any part of me if I want to live wholeheartedly in this world.
So I left my job as a natural resource manager, and devoted myself full-time to my business – Found & Rewound. It is the place where I get to express all of me – making artwork and teaching classes that honor our connection to each other and the natural world.
I am finally honoring all of me.
And I have never been happier.
You are an Artist.
The truth is you don’t have to choose to honor just one part of you.
The world needs you to express all the beautiful layers that are you.
Trust that you DO know what good art is. You don’t need an art degree (or anyone else’s approval) to see it.
If you want artwork for your project or your home that isn’t just something pretty to look at, trust that. If you want something that has some heart and meaning behind it, that’s your intuition talking to you. Listen.
Maybe you want to have artwork that you develop a relationship with – you want to discover something new about the piece every time you look at it. You want something with lots of layers of depth and meaning woven into it – just like you.
I’d love for you to explore my gallery and listen to what speaks to you.
Maybe you want to tap into your own creativity again. You want to attend classes that inspire you to grow, make you feel in tune with yourself in a way you haven’t in years.
You want your kids to take art classes that encourage them to think creatively, solve problems, and trust their inner wisdom.
I invite you to explore my classes for adults and children. Give yourself the gift of creative play.
And if nothing else, I’d be honored to have your join my mailing list and give yourself the opportunity to be inspired.
When people see my work, they often mistake it for a painting. Once I describe the process and they get a closer look, they realize that it is a collage made from re-purposed paper (mostly junk mail and magazines). So I decided to do a little video of the process from start to finish to give you a glimpse into my technique of “painting with paper”. The collage video is about one and a half minutes long, but this piece actually took about 6 hours to complete and is done on a 10″x10″ canvas. (Yes, this technique takes time, but is so much fun!)
Copyright © Jordan Kim, Found & Rewound All rights reserved.
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