🖤Aliza and Her Monsters x @revolutionscoffee, Aug-Sep 2020.
After people, animals are a relief. I’ve been making the same painting ever since I was a kid. I didn’t have the most wonderful family dynamic growing up: a very broken home from a young age with very angry parents. There just wasn’t a whole lot of space for my sister and I. Painting animals was always the get-away from how awful people can be to each other. It became a visual language for what I don’t have the vocabulary to write about.
I return to a lot of the same subjects, my monsters, and find a lot of comfort being able to revisit them when I need to. Sometimes it helps. Other times, well, shoot, other times you just feel like a raw pulverized garbage ball of emotions and you simply cannot paint your way out of it.
If you can paint something well enough, in a small way, it can never die. We are doing a fine job, here. The world is being totaled, our connection with the natural world of the wild all but disappearing. Animals are being lost, the earth is burning and our oceans boiling. I want to respond to what I see, particularly the things that break my heart or spark me up in such a way that I can't help but also tell my own story in the paint.
And maybe that’s what this is all about. This is me holding together and keeping alive the fragmented parts of the world and myself.
This is me in my small world, with my big paintings and hard feelings.
And, most importantly,
all my monsters.
I hope you can go see my first ever show.
🖼 curated by @analogsomer , frames by @kenkreisman , packaging stencils for everything by @glowfrienddesigns
Limited edition, signed prints (size options) of this piece, “Stay Wild, Moon Child” now available directly on my website: http://www.alizaandhermonsters.com
Portrait of me and all my monsters by @analogsomer 🖤
⚠️ALIZA AND HER MONSTERS X @revolutionscoffee , hanging until October ⚠️
Today was a big one. Currently, I’m still struggling to come up with the right words. So, for now, while *IM* speechless, here’s what my twin sister @analogsomer had to say, after earlier whispering to me in hushed tones while curating the entire show “I’m concerned we have too many left facing tigers”😆:
“Several months ago, I was in @revolutionscoffee , sipping an americano and checking out the art on the walls. @aliza.and.her.monsters had been regularly churning out large, beautiful paintings at this point. Suddenly, something clicked. What if these paintings I was looking at were… hers? I asked the barista for the appropriate contact info and quietly slipped Aliza the information. A gentle nudge. I saw a wave of apprehension wash over her as her expression dropped, “but who would want to see my work?”
My heart sunk down into my stomach. In her response I saw myself, an insecure art student who quit before she even really started just at the idea of not being good enough. I didn’t push back on her question, I just listened and waited. Good things take time.
Watching her hang this show today, with each piece inspired by so many hard feelings, brought me right back to that moment of looking at someone who was unsure and filled with doubt. Well, here we are. Aliza turns broken things into very beautiful ones. I hope you can make it to see her (very first) show. I could not be more proud of her.”
.....🙊I’m not crying, YOURE CRYING. More later 🥺
The force of your work is directly proportional to the way you either hold back or put everything you have in to it. When you hold back, the work becomes anemic and shrinks itself, but when you commit
it comes on like the blazes. 🔥#More fire.
Art and fear. Read it.
The Riot of Flowers is Incessant” baselayer on canvas 30x40”
After life of pi
Don’t push the river.
After throwing the book at the latest lion piece, I found myself completely spent. Did I finally out-paint myself? The following days I was idly mixing paint around but it wasn’t making it to the next canvas. What’s wrong? Am I done for? Is the spark finally out? Where did that bottle of lightning go??!!
Confused by this, I asked a very dear friend who is an exceptional painter what this was about, what are you supposed to do? Push through? Force the paint?
The answer was simple. “Don’t push the river.”
And so I didn’t. I started reading Life of Pi. It wasn’t until I got to the line “the riot of flowers is incessant” did the switch flip back on.
... here we go again.
WORK IN PROGRESS, acrylic base layer on canvas. 30x40”.
Acrylic and metallic nickel / gold / copper on canvas
Nothing lasts forever, not the good nor the bad.
Winter in Seattle, without fail, with her short days that are often bone-chillingly cold and gray, buries me head first, tail tucked, deep into a foxhole.
Down here, I hold my breath. I am frozen and numb. But atleast down in the dark, I can’t feel how cold it is above the ground.
I can’t feel... anything.
The numbness thaws at pace with the season, and I start to feel a warmth I am certain the sun knows nothing about.
I notice the days are becoming brighter, the gloomy winter sky welcomes back her sun.
I look up from the dark safety of my burrow where I have nearly forgotten what the sun feels like.
Nearly forgotten what anything feels like, for that matter.
Above ground, I see the cherry trees have started to blossom and the sun gets back to work sweeping the last of the winter frost away.
I can breathe again.
After a hard winter, I exhale.
I can feel again.
⚠️WORK IN PROGRESS⚠️ Oil on canvas, 30x40”
All is not OK all the time. I do my best work when
my mind is in a bar fight with my soul. In periods of uncertainty, the one thing you can be certain of is failure in a painting. Every painting of mine fails before it gets better. The other thing you can be certain of, is it will get better. Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo. It’s important to me, as human and painter, to experience the entire rotation of life’s challenges. You have to experience everything in order to report to the world accurately.
As I go through these seasons, my work evolves. My approach to light and form and subject changes. At the end of a day spent at the easel, the only thing on my mind is “was I loyal soldier? Did I move forward, even just a little bit, the things that truly matter?
Too often, success is mistaken with popularity. If your work can connect with one person, then you have succeeded.
Our job, as I see it, is learning to wake up every morning with a rage for life and to go out on the boardwalk and walk in a straight line like there is no wind and there is no rain.
Stephen King describing his writing:
“all novels are really letters aimed at one person.” I don’t see much of my work much differently.
Letters are perhaps one of the most sentimental things a person can leave behind them. I think maybe that’s what I’m doing. I’m finishing my letters. The ones that are most important. What a better moment than a pandemic to push me to get as much accomplished as I can while I am here, should I get sick, or worse yet, you. I am leaving unwritten everything you already know.
Right now I’m finding the visual language for all the things I never knew how to tell you.
“Post script”. letter 1 of 3. 24x18” oil on canvas.
This one has taken me quite some time to figure out how to properly sign off and whether I was ready to send it.
All that to say,
I hope this finds you well.
“Stationary.” letter 2 of 3. 16x20” oil on canvas.
Hi, it’s me again.
This one I had signed and sealed. I never sent it. I was too scared to say it at the time, scared maybe you wouldn’t write back. At that time, it probably mattered and you deserved to know how I felt.
I don’t know if you saw my last letter, but I’m sorry it was a bit harsh.
By the time you read this letter, these words will be those of the past.
Forgive me, I was afraid, but instead, I told you I just couldn’t decide on the stationary.
All my love,
“Even Every Sunday.” Letter 3/3. Oil on canvas 16x20”.
I know we didn’t talk after I left.
But maybe the best part about not seeing you anymore
is I can still write you these letters. Even if all we had left were Sundays, I’d still write. Because maybe these aren’t even letters anymore than they are the story
of how I found myself.
I don’t think I need to send this one, after all.
"Each must enter the nest made by the other imperfect birds.”-Robert Bly.
Aliza and Her Monsters