The video at the bottom of this post is something I’ve watched and listened to several times in the past few months just to ENGRAIN it into my mind because it is chock full of such wisdom for artists. And when this Connecticut Tragedy occurred, like everyone, I was struck in the heart from the news of twenty innocent little children gunned down along with their guardian angel school teachers and caregivers.
In the video below, Neil Gaiman states (beginning 9:43):
“… remember that whatever discipline you are in, whether you are a musician or a photographer, a fine artist or a cartoonist, a writer, a dancer, a designer, whatever you do you have one thing that’s unique. You have the ability to make art.
And for me, and for so many of the people I have known, that’s been a lifesaver. The ultimate lifesaver. It gets you through good times and it gets you through the other ones.
Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do.
Make good art.
I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn’t matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.”
I’ve decided to take Gaiman’s advice in light of this Connecticut tragedy. I’m the mother of two kids, age 5 and 7. My heart aches just imagining what it must be like for the parents of those lost children. I’ve cried, I’ve gotten angry, and I’ve felt hopeless thinking there is NOTHING I can do to give any kind of peace to the ones who are suffering most through this time.
But there IS something I can do, as Gaiman has said.
I can make good art.
I was recently inspired over the weekend by a friend I call “Angel Katie” who had a great idea to gather a collection of handwritten notes and send them to the families.
Ever since meeting with her, ideas have been brewing about what I can do to help – not only the suffering families, but also my own soul which needs healing as a parent and caring citizen.
I’ve seen how much people appreciate my caricatures, and I’ve gravitated away from them a bit this past year, but I know how a joyful image of a loved one can give a smile. And with caricatures, I have never made fun of people. I CELEBRATE the individual. That’s the way I do caricature. I emphasize the beautiful, the cute, and the divinely quirky.
So that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll be sending caricatures to each one of the victim’s families. It might take a month or so to get them all done, but I suppose that’s okay.
If there are other artists out there who would like to do something similar, I’ll share my resources with you:
HERE is is a great page to view photos, as well as character descriptions.
And I’ll be sending the caricatures to:
Newtown Youth and Family Services, 15 Berkshire Road, Sandy Hook, CT 06482.
For more details on how to donate, call Newtown Youth and Family Services at (203) 426-8103.
If you would like to donate or volunteer in other ways, visit HERE to see how you can help!