THE STORY OF AN ARTIST
An artist is a lucky dog they say, but to be a multimedia artist: painter/printmaker, canvas sculptor, singer, drummer and Poet is to be supremely blessed while also immensely hellacious. I often feel like a three-headed monster but then the silence comes in, and it’s just open space.
Creating for me is that open space, which is sacred – It is where I go to be filled to offer some sustenance. As conveyed in my poem “Reading At An Open Mic” in Raw Lips Melao…a Nuyorican Rhapsody, “Tell me something by which to tell you that would not leave me homeless, something where I too become the recipient of a grand surprise. A small black spider cocks her head to and fro sputtering her utterances, vague silver threads, a web in which I enter to untie these loose strings, loose stars, in making something organic enough for you to eat.
Being a multi-artist: poet, singer, painter/printmaker is clearly a challenge. The most significant aspect of art for me is in the creation. In some ways, my creation is about a different language, different mediums different journeys. Each requires specific adherences—language, voice, singing or poetry.
My art is a search for spirit and soul regardless if I am painting an expressionistic canvas, as I have done in the past, or creating a print, or as currently while having discovered sculpture art on canvas. My good friend Sevestet Sakar from Turkey introduced me to this new medium to bring spirit forward, that excites me.
In singing, I get to hear, and it feels to me that I am traveling in space without time or boundaries. past present and future merge. I started singing at 13 after hearing Billy Holliday. I began drumming by accident, the drummer went to the bathroom and I took over. I sing so I started singing with the drums and loved it. It helped me to control what the band was doing and also made a part if the band, not just a singer, which seems to often be put to the side. In my 2013 CD Imbued, I combined my love of improvisation, poetry and my love of the American Song Book. I started signing jazz with Barry Harris in his workshops since 1986 when I returned from Holland, on a spiritual journey with Osho and also as part of the Orgasmic Orchestra. Imbued brought many of these elements together, poetry, lyrics, improvisation and drums. I also sing standards in more traditional ways, although of late I have been working with distinct arrangements that make the music more digestible for me in today’s time and it makes it more interesting for me to sing. In all these years, I have heard most of the standards each hundred of times. But, my love affair with standards and folk tunes, all songs, my name uncannily enough means “goddess of songs” and was given to me by my guru, who didn’t know (at least I thought he didn’t know) I sang, and in fact, I had just begun singing in 2004 professionally. I love bebop and all the great masters that I’ve been privileged to hear, work and learn from. This love affair just continues.
As a poet, which I suppose was my first medium, as of seven years old when I got hooked after writing my first Hailiu and winning an anthology of American Poetry from school. “Silent ships that sail carrying our disasters, now melt in the snow.” Shock is the only way that I can describe the surprise – where did that come from? I loved being interjected by some force, some voice that joins me and jolts me, allowing me to bring back to others what I have experienced.
It sometimes doesn’t seem fair that I have been allowed access to all these roads. I have often feared I was a jack of all trades master of none, but the rewards in exploring and creating have allowed me to see and work with so many beautiful people and to be exposed to energy that has helped my soul and spirit to soar. I have appreciated those I have connected with and have been compelled to hear my work, see and buy my art and to listen to my words. In all said and doing, I give my gratitude Willie Correa, Nitza Tufiño, Marcos Dimas and all the creatives from the Taller Boricua for their guidance and inspiring support.