Artists usually deal with the subjects that preoccupy them most, and what bigger preoccupation exists besides one’s own kids? Therefore, isn’t it conspicuous that children are mostly absent from their parents’ art? In this film, I set out to explain this phenomenon. Determined to make a very nice, fine-tuned piece, I sent about 4 different drafts for review to friends with an art or film background. My good friend, Cindy Choung’s comment on my premise was that it’s:
“…not true. If they have them, they often do–artists like yourself make art about their life and their children are a piece of that life. I think some people make conscious decisions to shield their children from their art, but that’s entirely different. Also I think the issues you present in the video about having Shmaaya as a subject aren’t necessarily different from issues that arise in most subject matters (such as the subjectivity of your fondness for him), which leaves me wanting.
That said, I think there’s a powerful concept in there that just needs to be fine-tuned and stripped of extraneous matter. It’s a great way of working through the concept of motherhood and art. You know, there was a line of sociological thinking in the past that held the belief that women haven’t been great artists in the past because we’ve been so creatively (creationally) fulfilled by pregnancy and motherhood. Men on the other hand longed for that creative power we have through childbirth and so they have been the ones that traditionally sought out to create using tools and imagination. Anyway.. thanks for sharing! Happy new year!”
Two drafts later, I still hadn’t succeeded in addressing this challenge. None of my previewers had any complaints about my subject matter- Shmaaya- so I realised that perhaps Cindy had hinted at the real issue here for me: my difficulty making art about ANYTHING AT ALL, now that I’m a mother.
I uploaded “My Child In My Art” as it was, and very rapidly after that, without any feedback along the way, cranked out a piece I’m actually pleased with, “Your Mommy Was an Artist.”