Fadwa Al Qasem
I Am what i art
Confessions. Art Journaling. Art. Writing. Poetry. Play. And everything life in between.
I'm told, no advised, constantly, as an artist, to stick to one style. One thing that becomes my thing. I think my thing is to keep playing and experimenting and obssessing and moving back and forth.
The only consistency I know is constantly changing. I fall in love, I get obsessed. I create wildly. Then I fall in love with something else... too. I don't leave my loves, I add to them.
I'm an art polygamist.
Lots of love
So philosophers have been trying to figure out what's the point of life for hundreds of years and you're looking at me now to answer that question in two minutes on social media?
I'm just happy my hair looks great!
Lots of love
Every Person in New York (by Jason Polan).
How could I not fall in love with this book? I bought it and I'm using it to improve my own skills of sketching people.
I've decided to fill a thick fat journal by copying his work and also by creating my own people sketches.
I will be dating the pages and noting and adding comments for fun and for documenting.
This is a long term project. The best projects are usually long. Time can stand by your side, egging you on. It doesn't matter if you're feeling down, you gotta practice. Practice can lift you up. Slowly. But it will lift you up nonetheless. And somewhere down the line you will thank your earlier, younger self for sticking to it. Simply because you won't be down forever.
I Am What I Art
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When you wake up in the morning and all you want to do is paint a face.
You don't brush your teeth. You don't have time to pee. The face is in your head. It's screaming: "Let. Me. Out."
It's never as good as when it was in your head. But most things in life rarely are - as good or as bad - as they are in your head.
But I think that's the point.
Do we delude ourselves? All the time. You're deluding yourself if you think otherwise.
Everyday we begin again.
For some reason we insist on carrying yesterday's luggage.
And the luggage of all the days before.
Our back hurts.
Yet we decide it's more heroic to keep the weight on our shoulders.
We dream about flying
As our feet sink deeper into the earth
And our wings turn to stone.
Acrylics on flip chart paper.
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Currently reading Wishcraft by Barbara Sher. Always loved her approach.
If you're like me and you live to do a gazillion things, this is for you and also look for What Do I Do When I Want To Do Everything (also published as Refuse To Choose).
Nuggets of advice on how you don't need to change yourself or have more will power or less interests.
You need a plan.
You need an ecosystem of support.
You need to finally accept yourself without judgement.
Strange to find that I have been doing much of what she says instinctively since I was 16. Which does not mean I am amazing, it is a testament to our instincts. Listening to ourselves. I did conform, and I did hear what others were telling me about Jack of all trades and all that, but I also continued to do what I felt was good for me to do .. make marks. Words.
Stop often - not to smell the roses- but to listen to the little you that lives like a shiny coin under piles of the dirty laundry that is self-criticism and self-doubt.
This is also what I Am What I Art is about - have a read here.
How many jars does she have in that house of hers? My father once asked out loud. I had no idea what he was talking about, of course, until I actually entered that house, and I stood dwarfed before their imposing presence. They stood on the shelves covering the walls, touching shoulders, looking down at me. Somewhere lost in their midst stood an old clock. Silenced. Uncomfortable. Awkward. All the jars contained what looked like scrolls of paper. White. Yellow, legal pad paper or yellowed by age. All except one, which had teeth. Hers? Behind me her bracelets clanged. I felt embarrassed to be caught so mesmerized. Her smile, although she tried hard to hide it, made me feel better and worse at the same time. I think it was because her lips smiled, a little, but in her eyes I swore (many times to my dad) that I saw tiny grains of salt shimmering under the moon that night.
Excerpt from a novel in progress.
If you ever lived in London UK, and got on the trains, you'd remember hearing "mind the gap" on the speakers at the stations. Ever since I became aware of me, I found myself living in this gap. The one between the train I was about to get on or off and the platform I was also about to get on or off. And the fear of falling seemed ridiculous when my constant thought was that I was already there.
Not belonging to the West and not quite belonging to the East, feeling like a gypsy, desperately protecting my lightness, my ability to remain me but able to get on wherever I am, but also highly aware of so much injustices in the East which tugs at my heart, too. Sometimes being happy is seen as a form of careless disregard for the pain and suffering. Even worse, as a form of treachery.
It seems at times that I've managed to collect everything that needs to be criticised in the palm of my hand: being a woman a Palestinian an Arab categorised as Muslim, being rebellious daring an artist and author who paints with and on her body and writes about taboos.
And inside, was this little girl who just wanted to be liked. For her smile and for her work. For so long I wanted followers, admirers, appreciators. I began to finally realize it's going to happen. It doesn't matter if it happens. I don't need it to happen. Simply because when I tried to stop writing or creating art.. I couldn't.
You're up late.
Silence all around.
You think; this is a good time to write in my journal.
An advert on TV. Some cleaning material.
It starts with a small tear running down your cheek to your chin, and settling wetfully in that groove in your neck.
You feel silly because you know it's a trick, the stupid-clever-cheesy advert tugging at your maternal instincts, making you all mushy and emotional.
You think you're crying because the advert reminds you how fast time flies, how far your kids are now or will be very soon.
But you're really crying for kids in general. All kids. Kids without parents, mothers, homes, clothes, food, shelter. love, caught in wars, dying, killed.
Then you're crying because you feel shame and guilt for being part of this world. For doing nothing big enough to change anything big enough.
For having a normal, comfortable life.
You can't sleep. You're bawling, nose running, the collar of your top soaking wet. It's hard to breathe.
You no longer question god, why, his existence, compassion or unknown reasons.
And you can't stop crying; you have an even more naive, illogical feeling that crying so much will absolve you, cleanse you, cleanse the world, change the course of things, make things right. That crying sends out so much soothing healing energy. That the tears of all mothers are God, and when the clock strikes midnight, wars will end, refugees will go home, and no one will ever kill again.
You fall asleep.
You wake up.
Something even worse has happened somewhere while your eyes were closed.
You get up and you move because things need doing. Or so you convince yourself.
You donate. You support. You sign petitions. You share. You talk. You give time and love to those you can give to. You think of the starfish story where the man saves one starfish at a time. You force yourself to believe. You dread another night. Up late and silly cheesy adverts.
And, worst of all, you dreadfully realize, upon reading what you just wrote, that it's all about you.
Dear Juicy Creative Spirits,
If you'd love to receive inspirations and know what's new for you here
to keep your mouth watering and heart singing,
then please send me your email. I promise not to give out your emails, spam you, or hard sell you anything. xxx
Fadwa Al Qasem
Email me if you are interested in purchasing my art.
(c) Copyright Fadwa Al Qasem 2015