Hi. This blog is updated about once a month. I’m trying to post on a regular schedule and not rush. Please feel free to look at older posts. If you want something that’s more frequently updated follow me on instagram. I go by M.G.Osterman.
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Art is important to me because it is a way to connect to the communities that I am in and explore topics that interest me. I ask myself why I keep making art. What motivates me? Why do I enjoy it so much? I have spiraled down into dark holes thinking about it and it has caused me pain. It was from this pain that I stopped creating. However my creativity has resurfaced and I think it is from the connections that I have made to my community. Namely, I would say the bodywork community, my friends and family and different educational institutions.
I like it best when the art I make finds a home. This is easiest when I make the art about something or someone I’m connected to. I made a lot of art about yoga and have a connection to a number of yoga studios and people in bodywork. I’ve also done a lot of portraits of friends and family. These are the people who seem to appreciate my work most. I find these connections to things in my life and it makes the work I do more practical. I don’t get sucked into the “why” of making as much because I have people who appreciate my work and I don’t make things in a philosophical bubble. This is important to me because it keeps me grounded.
I do read a lot of books about art history and art theory. I don’t know how much it influences my work. It motivates and inspires me. I see that the art is about their lives and things close to their hearts. I also see that it is important to the times that they are in. It shows a shared experience. I was deeply moved by a book about David Hockney that described his paintings of flowers for different friends who had died of AIDS in the 1980s. It was his personal experience but also a shared experience with everyone suffering from what was an epidemic then. It showed me how powerful art could be. I deeply felt those flowers.
I think my greatest achievements so far in creating work that is part of community are pieces that have become part of schools. I have one drawing at Sandy Spring Friends School (SSFS) and two paintings at the Potomac Massage Training Institute (PMTI). I am not at SSFS so much so I am not sure of the importance of the work there. However I talk to many students and visitors at the PMTI about my paintings. I think they hit on something shared since the works depict different forms of the body and the people who see them tend to be massage therapists.
I have had some success with portraits as well. People want images of their family members. I would think photos would be fine but there is something about paintings that people like. These are the works that most people gravitate towards. They recognize the people in the portrait and their feelings create a connection. It is interesting because when I paint the portrait I am using my connection with the person I see. I think in part this is why I use snapshots. They are free moments that capture someone’s spirit.
In short my art is my connection to the world. It used to be very isolating to make and think about art but now I see that it captures a shared experience. I could not keep producing without the feeling that my art brings me closer to the people and communities that I am a part of.