A World Without Categories...Art Is Why I Get Up in the Morning...You?

An S.O.S.: Calling Upon All Angels

Joy Matters*

*Passion & Compassion*

Seek out, seek in...always seeking, always on a journey to bridge the world within with the world around.

Knowing that so many are hurting and alone when there is no need.

If we could just pause long enough to turn the tide.

We are a force of nature because we are nature.

Even when the oil runs dry, the sun will still fuel us. All the panic takes us further away from our natural state, our connection to the creative force, and to the brilliant power of simply being alive. 

Enjoy the ocean if you can and work toward it.

I aim to use my time to add to the creative rather than destructive forces vying for the Earth's resources.

I have found over a million Earth angels on the same mission: to create sustainable beauty out of life.

Let this be a prelude and not the exception.

I honor the lights of this great city as a power point for change, as the center of art, and as a vine of near-ripe revolutionaries.

Artists, women, good people of the Earth rising: rise some more. 

*Revolution begins with personal evolution...

Bless & Be Blessed*

Friday, January 18, 2008

One of the more raw interviews from this summer. ps. is using the word "bastard" when talking about my mama really ok? pps. i am a bastard child, too

It is interesting to me how media shapes us, how it boils a lifetime down into a single page, exaggerating some points, using hot-button words, some beautiful understatements thrown in for balance. Nothing we ever read is accurate of a life. Still, we try and we try. It is this attempt to explain and deliberate on our humanity that intrigues me...

trauma to transformation. we do not have a choice in what happens to us in this life. but we do have a choice in how we react. i think art transforms raw emotion into something more useful. i am not ashamed to paint my face or hide behind his black and blue marks, to cry rivers until the soil is ripe with fresh fruit and the rebuilding, the rebirth comes like sweet unexpected relief. i seek joy, understanding, and honesty. the rest i leave behind.

Layla Love - Photography baptism by fire
By Bessie King
Layla Love may be categorized as an up and coming artist for her photography, but to those who know her past, she is better seen as a warrior. Using her camera as therapy after her tumultuous upbringing during which Love has been raped, beaten and diagnosed with a neurological movement disorder, her art is understandably hard-fought.

Love’s mother, an Irish gypsy, was a bastard child forced to work as a farmhouse worker after being separated from her mother in Northern Ireland. She got pregnant on a trip to America, giving the artist no specific cultural roots like her mother. She moved and lived in more than 30 countries before turning 18. While still an older teen, she decided to leave home to travel across America and Europe. Struggling for money and stability, Love took refuge in art at age 12 trying to channel her emotions to create something hoping to make people think and grow. Photography became the means for her creative expression. Her first photo expedition was on her 21st birthday in Darfur.

“I was with an anthropologist who had been following a group of women who self-mutilated as a form of protection, a practice which began with the colonial slave trade and still continues today,” Love said.

Her expedition into Sudan and Chad influenced her desire to keep traveling and exposing people’s stories from across the globe. She has traveled to Africa and the Middle East. She has gone to all parts of Asia, reaching Japan, China, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. Her residences on her voyages have ranged from orphanages to churches and even jails at times. Love has called Australia, London and New York home and has collected thousands of pictures from her travels.

From July 31 to August 4, Love had the chance to debut her work in a solo exhibition of 100 pieces from her extensive portfolio, showcased at the World Culture Open Center in New York City. The exhibition, “Representing Woman - Unbreakable Surrealism,” documents the combination of chaos and order within human life. Photographing the masses and the esteemed alike, including Gloria Steinem, Ani DiFranco, and the Dalai Lama, Love creates a fusion between a photojournalistic approach and the capturing of fantasy.

“In my life, thus far the only thing that remains constant is my obsession with recording life as honestly and openly as I can,” she said. “I only hope that in sharing my work people will stay open to make their own voice real.” Although peaceful in nature and more than willing to chat, one may wonder if a difficult background is the only reason why this woman has a ‘flower child’ personality. But as she explains, there should be no stereotypes of prejudices because they may shock those who employ them.

When growing up Love was exposed to rich and poor environments alike. Her father, of Russian descent, has a stable life and economic means. This gave Love chance to mingle with diplomats and models, learning how to act in any situation with comfort. In the midst of her disjointed upbringing, Love was also diagnosed with crippling Dystonia, a neurological movement disorder in which sustained muscle contractions cause twisting and repetitive movements or abnormal postures.

Adding to the turmoil of dealing with a movement disorder that affects a quarter-million Americans, Love has also been raped and beaten. After the incident, the first thing she reached for was her camera. She chose to videotape herself while making calls on her phone, trying to get help, as it was the best way she could process. Eventually, Love was able to create with what she lived through.

“I have always lived in chaos, knowing I was loved. Love and chaos…if you want to trace me to my roots, that’s what you will find,” she added.

Her photographs are as direct as she is in explaining her history. Featuring young and old, in portraits or nudes, each photo tells a story. Whether it is a child looking intently at the camera or a beautiful sunset by the ocean, art aficionados saw a variety of pieces from fine art to surrealism in her New York exhibit. Featured in the exhibit was the work of Allison Kramer, whose photo-essayist approach documenting Love’s life and career reflect their mutual passion to produce art. Kramer covers the progressive stages of Love’s illness, vulnerability, and most intimate relationships. In regards to relationships, Love admits that marriage and single-hood are only labels.
A self-described passionate woman she is torn between wanting ‘the other half’ and enjoying her independence. While still learning about Love, the woman, who does not acknowledge age in her life, admits that she will continue to meet possible soul mates.
“In every country [I visit] I make sure to do three things: visit the holy places, read the papers, and have friends and lovers who are locals,” she said.
What the future may bring for this survivor could be as unexpected as her life has been. Although she is a college graduate, with a bachelor’s in journalism and visual communication from the University of California at Santa Cruz, she wants to continue to educate herself, relying on her instinctive character. Other projects are also in the works with four books ready to be printed, but waiting for a publisher. Most importantly, she wants to excel and help others know life is, after all, beautiful. “I am ready to share…I draw my inspiration from God, by a higher power. I am looking for gallery walls to fill, for people to work with [and] I am an unrelenting optimist,” Love said. Love is a member of the arts collaborative Red Monsoon, where artists embrace a shared spirit and create works that bridge on their experiences. To see Love’s art visit http://www.lovephotography.org/.
Bessie King is the Entertainment Editor for Blast Magazine. A Mexican-American Texas native who resides in Boston, she has worked for Spanish and English media alike. She can be reached at king.be@blastmagazine.com
In Culture, Features, People, Photo Stories, The Blast Interview September 3, 2007

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