Two decades ago, if someone were to pose the question, "What is art"?, I would have said it depended on the artist, medium, style, theme, title, and if it would look good in my living room. If prompted the same question today, I would say art is an enigma that lives and breathes inside every human being, waiting to be fostered into various modes of expression. Regardless of whether it's something heard, seen, smelled, felt or even dreamed, art is an inspiring force void of physical representations. Art is a response, from both the artist and the viewer. It is personal and unique and that is what makes art so difficult to officially define. Art is what each individual makes of it. Whether it summons a faded memory, fear, vision, inspiration or even a simple nod and a smile, art is born when the gratification of the artist's intent is met with the personal response of the viewer. Nevertheless, the soul's response is what ultimately defines art.
I found my inspiration to paint after experiencing the work of Andrew Wyeth. His detailed yet barren landscapes stirred something in my that I couldn't quite explain, yet I was mesmerized. It wasn't the subject matter in his paintings that inspired me, but rather how I responded to them. I found a connection within my soul. Time stood still, I was lost in my being, and it was when an unexpected tear rolled down my cheek I had an epiphany. It wasn't the physical beauty of his work, but what they represented to me as an individual. Wyeth had his own reasons for creating, as I had my own reasons to become so emotionally involved. That moment was the first time in my life when I felt like I was beginning to understand who Joelle Cathleen was. It was then that I wanted to do the same with my work; not necessarily help every person who experiences my work to have the same personal awakening I had, but to arrest motion for a moment. Everyone has an art critic inside and when YOUR critic subconsciously responds to any work, try to not only hear but listen to what is being said. Find that driving force, and when you do, you'll come a little closer to finding your own definition of art. It is the force that compels one to contemplate, to feel, to remember, to act and react. It recounts past experiences and moments, guards one's intimate thoughts, and provides the key to open the door of a multitude of memories.
I don't expect anyone to look at my work and try to interpret what I was personally feeling at the time I created it. I invite free thought. My motivation in being an artist is not to express what I am trying to say to the world, but what you, the viewer, say to yourself when you experience what you see. I anticipate a silent response. One that no one can hear but you.
My purpose is to communicate. To reveal something new in what we as a society see, hear, think and feel around ourselves every day.; to make a spark that ignites a thought and burns a once forgotten memory into your soul.
There is a hidden path beyond the images I create.
Not everyone finds it or even cares to search for it.
But if you're one of those who do, then my purpose as an artist is fulfilled.
What you find on that path is your own fulfillment.