Holy Unicorn Glitter! It’s KHA’s birthday today :)
To celebrate, I wanted to share a snapshot of this past year’s journey: some lucky discoveries, some BIG life changes, some medical challenges and a whole lotta’ love for all of you.
I have always been a creative spirit. If you’re an artist, you just kind of know. You want to spend your time with people that think outside the box, and find pleasure in the unusual musings that tend to naturally arise. Though I completed a Masters Degree in Political Science, my thesis topic was inspired by the late Philosopher Theador Adorno, who made observations and predictions about the culture industry. He argued that the artist was at risk, as our natural expression had been stifled by consumer expectations. I called this feeling, or artist’s expression “the thing” and wrote a paper longer than your set of Encyclopedia’s from the 80’s about it. For my research, I interviewed a number of local artists of various disciplines and asked them a series of questions. Describe your thing; How do you cope with the industrialization of art?; Is your art still “pure” expression? It was through this project that I felt a sense of envy. I wasn’t sure I could answer the questions I was asking. What was my “thing”? Why couldn’t I find it?
My (musician) husband and I bought our first home two years ago. Magicland. It’s quaint and quiet and has a built-in art studio. It’s filled with inspiration and natural beauty and most likely, magical fairies. One night, I was fiddling around in my studio, not achieving anything all that extraordinary, watching “the Martian” with Matt Damon. (Side note - I like to watch cheesy movies while I paint sometimes … it’s like company I don’t really have to attend to.) I was experimenting with some blends and additives and discovered “fluid art”. It was an unexpected moment of joy and excitement! I had unintentionally found my thing.
Ever since, years of pent up “thing-ness” has been pouring out like a water balloon with a gaping knife-wound.
There have been some bits along the way that have posed challenges and brain drain, however. That Political Science degree proved useful, and I spent almost four years working in government. I learned a lot, met some wonderful people, gained financial security and made important connections. I benefited from a “behind the scenes” experience and now understand the nuances of government decision making and function. Neither are easy. I assure you, politicians work very hard, they are not out to destroy lives and they truly believe they are making decisions that are positive for the masses (at least the ones I know). All despite what you may think, read, or assume, they are not jerks who have an easy ride on the tax payers dime. Government employees also work incredibly hard, under stressful and demanding circumstances. I know because I was one. I worked long hours and knew that if I made a mistake, social media accounts belonging to people I didn’t know would all of a sudden feel entitled to write my biography. Filled with their educated, experienced and accurate account of my obvious laziness, or incompetencies.
Switching gears, let me now go back in time, for a wee bit of context. Seven years ago on a January morning, I woke up with a funny feeling in my left ear. It felt plugged, like it was full of water. I will share more of this experience and follow up in another blog, but long story short, I have been going deaf in one ear, ever since. I have also been plagued with 24/7 tinnitus. For anyone who is unfamiliar with tinnitus - it’s a loud, high-pitched, squealing noise that my brain has created and that I hear all-day-every-day. For Seven. Years. I cried everyday for the first month I had this. I thought I might actually be going insane. Some people do.
Why do I mention this now? For the past 6 months, my (worsening) tinnitus and hearing loss have been accompanied by dizziness, migraines, fatigue, imbalance and depression. I was trying to do a job where mistakes were unacceptable, while feeling absolutely dreadful… and unexplainably going deaf. I spiralled into a state of despair and unhappiness. I felt unhealthy and overtired and in spite of being insanely too busy, I was absolutely bored to tears.
I wanted passion and fire and freedom! And for my ear to feel better.
I had an MRI on May 25, where my doctor FINALLY discovered a reason for all of this. He was “90% certain I had a brain tumour” prior to this test, so you can imagine my impatience to hear (pardon the pun) the results. It wasn’t a tumour (phew!)…BUT, I was diagnosed with a rare ear disease called “cholesteotoma”. I was put off work and have spent each day since, focusing on my health, my spiritual-self and of course, my art. I am waiting on a surgery date and am hopeful that one day, I will be able to sit by the ocean and hear nothing but the sounds of the waves crashing …
Needless to say, a lot can happen in a year. Never did I imagine I would get to have my first art show at award winning Indie restaurant, “The Anchor” (http://www.theanchor.bar). Never did I think I would manage to build my own website, or have an Instagram account with so many positive supporters (https://www.instagram.com/kristenherrington.art/). Never did I imagine that European galleries would invite me to their roster of artists; Lift Gallery, Germany (https://www.liftartgallery.com/kristen-herrington); Draint Gallery, Sweden (https://www.draint.de/artist/kristen-herrington/), or that some awesome Nova Scotian galleries would want to share my work (Art Zone Gallery, Inverness Country Centre for the Arts, Kempt Lake Gallery, Many Hats, Willow Aesthetic Boutique). Never did I think I would have a catered art show at a recording studio, with live music and a beer sponsor, or an open house with almost 20 original works to see. Never did I imagine I would design a Yoga line (FLOW) with custom-printed leggings, booty shorts and mats. This past year has blessed me with organic opportunities that have all happened with exceptional timing and support. My friends, family and dare I say fans have been nothing but supportive and loving towards this journey I am on. Often, I wake up in the middle of night and can’t seem to fall back asleep. Not because I anticipate a dreadful day … not because I have to drive to work during rush hour, or have a a looming deadline. Not because I have to spend an hour getting ready in the morning to look “professional,” or because I have to try and pack 3 meals at 5am, knowing I wouldn’t be home until 10pm. Rather, my mind is racing with all of the beautiful, whimsical and magical creations I get to share with all of you! I can’t wait to make new designs and discuss custom painting orders and sit in the backyard of Magicland and write blogs to share!
Self-reflection allows us to remember how far we’ve come. Remember to give credit to all of the goals you’ve accomplished, exciting days you’ve had, places you’ve traveled, improvements you’ve made on yourselves. This may be the first time in my life, where I truly feel confident and capable to fulfill a dream. I suppose that’s why my “thing” has finally shown up to play.
Stay tuned for all that’s to come - I assure you, there is more! And thank-you to Jupiter’s moon and back for believing in me.