You can ask me any question, and I could get so flustered, self-conscious, and choked up that I could hardly keep my composure. PTSD and Social Anxiety Disorder have held a firm grip on my throat for much of my life. But ask me about my art, and I naturally stand taller. With or without the academic structure that I so longed for, I can talk about what I do, why I do it, how I do it, with no worry…no fear…no vulnerability whatsoever.
But vulnerability – something that has had a hold on far too much of my life, is very often what my work is about. If I am successful in any piece, I have tapped into something pure and energetically sound, and have held that energy throughout its creation. What this process does for me is nothing short of magic.
I’ve said it before; I don’t paint for anything or anyone but myself. What I do is not a job…it is not work…it is a gift. My art has the ability to heal me in ways that nothing else can. My process involves such intention and focus…it is story-telling…it is a direct link to my heart and soul – and I don’t use that term lightly. My work gives me strength, and through my process I power through so many deep, dark, thoughtful and poignant memories and experiences…and I heal.
There will always be things that make me feel vulnerable. Even the strongest structures in the world have vulnerabilities. If we are lucky, in this lifetime, we are able to recognize where our weaknesses lie, and we learn to pivot and bring the focus to where we are strong. This is a skill that I actively work on, and my paintings are the best things to direct my focus upon in times when I need to work through my stories, heal my pains and heartaches, find my strength through the tear-blurred lens of vulnerability, and grow. My gratitude for what I do runs deep. – René
This piece is about shyness – something I struggle with at times, even as a grown woman. I don’t know what the triggers are, but sometimes I find it all but crippling; it’s uncomfortable. I have many emotions that fuel the works that I create, and the individual figure is representative of the fact that we interpret feelings and emotions in a completely individual way. The single figure is not so much about aloneness, but more about the uniqueness of our perceptions. Chance is an ethereal, in and out of the surface, kind of figure because this is how I chose to portray that feeling of being timid. If you’ve ever experienced it, you’ll understand.
Murello was a really cool (and really big) painting that I created a few years ago. This piece was intentionally about the feeling of stage fright. Indirectly, my inspiration came from some personal family matters that left me feeling isolated. This painting was damaged beyond recovery by a gallery that used to represent me on the west coast, but at least the image lives on here. I still love it.
Do you ever feel so delicate? So vulnerable? So utterly worn thin that you might crumble at the next mere word?
We all have those days, and I was compelled to capture one of them in this piece. On the one hand – I wanted to hide or fade out of view, and on the other – I knew I needed to stand tall, maintain composure, and hold onto whatever grace I could muster.