6 Melinda Matyas Mama, I’m coming home

Dialogue with myself

by Melinda Matyas   Artist: Melinda Matyas My artistic preoccupation is mostly based on existential explorations of the human condition. Very much interested in the intensity of sensation experienced from ...


Postcolonial Thoughts: Thoughts on Pedagogy of the Visual Artist Continued (Color)

by Christopher Hutchinson “Postcolonial Thoughts: Thoughts on Pedagogy of the Visual Artist Continued (Color)” is a followup to “Postcolonial Thoughts: Thoughts on Pedagogy of the Visual Artist.”   Note 5-It ...

enlarged for featured photo Amy Oliver-Disjointed Fore - aluminium wire mesh

Fragility of Self

by Amy Oliver   Artist: Amy Oliver I have a particular interest in issues surrounding mental health, social and political conditions, and women’s rights and identity, and tend to theme ...


Creative Thresholds will take off the month of September.

Dear readers,

I’ve been struggling with many health issues recently and finally decided I needed to take some time off to try and fully recover, which includes taking time away from Creative Thresholds this month. We’ll be back next month, though, with some really amazing work by both visual artists and writers. It’ll be worth the wait. I promise.😉

Thanks so much for your continuing support! You guys rock!


Melissa D. Johnston
Editor/Curator Creative Thresholds

Dialogue with myself

by Melinda Matyas

The red curvature (dyptich)

The red curvature (dyptich)

Seven days (dyptich)

Seven days (dyptich)

Hope, the thing with feathers

Hope, the thing with feathers

I’am going to be a pilot

I’am going to be a pilot

The Silence of Animals

The silence of animals

6 Melinda Matyas Mama, I’m coming home

Mama, I’m coming home

The wind blows where it pleases

The wind blows where it pleases



Stopping by woods on a snowy evening

Stopping by woods on a snowy evening

And the walls were restless under chalk drawings

And the walls were restless under chalk drawings

I’ve been here before (dialogue with myself)

I’ve been here before (dialogue with myself)


Melinda MatyasArtist: Melinda Matyas

My artistic preoccupation is mostly based on existential explorations of the human condition. Very much interested in the intensity of sensation experienced from the subject’s presence, I’m looking beyond the body, discovering that beyond our well-lived triviality in each individual the spirit is made flesh, under its surface in each one the whole creation breathes. Though the starting point is always personal, emerging out of my obsessions and the emotional intensity which flows through myself and through people living around me, this intensely personal content of the work invites a reciprocal identification on the part of the viewer.





Postcolonial Thoughts: Thoughts on Pedagogy of the Visual Artist Continued (Color)

by Christopher Hutchinson

“Postcolonial Thoughts: Thoughts on Pedagogy of the Visual Artist Continued (Color)” is a followup to “Postcolonial Thoughts: Thoughts on Pedagogy of the Visual Artist.”


Note 5-It is not a style and it is not new

(noun) – A tint is a color to which white has been added to make it lighter. Take pink, for instance. Pink is a color, but it’s also a tint of red. Sometimes tints are referred to as “pastels.” While this is technically inaccurate (pastels are a type of crayon), it’s such a common phrase that it’s worth noting here. http://arthistory.about.com/cs/glossaries/g/t_tint.htm

The bad habits developed by so-called illustrators filter into the model for every other pursuit in art. Usually these poor traits, when challenged by a professor, yield a common response: “its just my style.” The harsh reality is that it is not a style and it is not. It is just lazy. The poor understanding of value gray scaling in drawing has been transferred to color. Where color has an even more demand for tint and shade.

Many of these illustrators employ a “style” of the easiest, laziest color palette possible: primary colors squeezed straight out of the tube. This is readily identifiable by artists as remedial, nowhere close to being an original style. Using colors straight out of the tube is not an artistic choice and it does not lead to a personal expression. The only possible outcome is mass marketed expression. For the non-artist all one has to do to see the proof of this is look at the difference between Ford company white versus a Mercedes Benz white. They are not the same. Using a manufactured color off the shelf is the equivalent of identifying with Walmart as an expression of “my personal style.” The most generic as special. This may be the point for instance in Pop art, but if that is not the point, then you have actually achieved a banal, mundane expression about something you care about.

(noun) – A shade is what one ends up with when black (or some other dark color) is added to a pure hue. Suppose you had some green paint and mixed a bit of dark gray paint into it. The resulting paint would be darker than (also known as a shade of) the original green. Think of a dazzlingly sunny day with intense color all around, then picture the way the light and colors change when you place yourself under the leafy shade of a tree.

The opposite of shade is tint. http://arthistory.about.com/cs/glossaries/g/s_shade.htm

The first painting does not use shade, tint, value, or any formal element to suggest a reason for the viewer to entertain this image for longer than a millisecond and then move on. Yet somehow this artist/non-artist is content to present this image as something other than generic.


Note 6- Ugly color

It is a misconception that complimentary colors are harmonious. They are actually the violent. All one needs to do to confirm this is look at nature. The most vibrant complimentary colors reside in all the poisonous animals as a warning not to proceed further. Complimentary colors in abundance are actually violent and should be used with the utmost care to make sure your concept is not overshadowed by violence. That violence is ugly.

The attraction to the highly contrasting and violent color schemes by these “artists/non-artists” are directly related to the lack of patience required to master the many levels of gradients skipped over in their drawing practice.

Pedagogy 3

Primary Colors: Red, yellow and blue
In traditional color theory (used in paint and pigments), primary colors are the 3 pigment colors that can not be mixed or formed by any combination of other colors. All other colors are derived from these 3 hues. 

Secondary Colors: Green, orange and purple
These are the colors formed by mixing the primary colors.

Tertiary Colors: Yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green & yellow-green
These are the colors formed by mixing a primary and a secondary color. That’s why the hue is a two word name, such as blue-green, red-violet, and yellow-orange. http://www.colormatters.com/color-and-design/basic-color-theory


Note 7- Still flat

A plane surface is a flat surface, and any distinct flat surface within a painting or sculpture can be referred to as a plane http://en.mimi.hu/finearts/plane.html

The flatness achieved by the painting above is also achieved by the way the color is applied. Certainly the lack of tint and shade also attributed to its flatness. Here the focus is on application. This flatness can be attributed to the mechanical pencil and the sharpie. The mechanical pencil to pen to sharpie is rough.

If the upper right hand corner and the lower right hand corner of a painting has the same color and color value it might as well be a solid sharpie line around the image. You have successfully flattened the image. If every color is also evenly distributed through the piece from top to bottom you may as well have the background blank, because you have now suggested the entire piece was completed at the same time. Same time equals flat.




Many of these students are allowed to keep their bad habits while passing through the high school years and are confused why they have difficulty on the collegiate level. Artists calling themselves artists without ever hearing the term “formal elements of art.” Considering all the formal elements of art are the very basic understanding needed to actually begin to understand your identity, pallet, and purpose as an artist.

Christopher Hutchinson 2Christopher Hutchinson is an accomplished Jamaican conceptual artist, professor and contributor to the art community as a writer, critic and founder of the nonprofit Smoke School of Art. He is a Professor of Art at Atlanta Metropolitan State College and has been featured as a lecturer including prestigious engagements at University of Alabama and the Auburn Avenue Research Library. For two decades, Chris has been a practicing artist. His works have been exhibited in internationally recognized institutions including City College New York (CUNY) and featured at the world’s leading international galleries such as Art Basel Miami. He has always had an innate passion for creating spaces where Africans and people of African descent contribute to an inclusive contemporary dialogue—ever evolving, not reflexive but pioneering. This requires challenging the rubric of the canon of art history, a systemic space of exclusion for the Other: women and non-Whites, and where necessary he rewrites it. He received his Master of Fine Arts Degree in Painting from Savannah College of Art & Design, Atlanta and his Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Alabama.


Fragility of Self

by Amy Oliver

Sleeping - wire and aluminium mesh

Sleeping – wire and aluminium mesh

As I turned... Print on canvas (close up of Beneath my Mask)

As I turned… Print on canvas (close up of Beneath my Mask)

Disjointed Fore - aluminium wire mesh

Disjointed Fore – aluminium wire mesh

Silence me - print on canvas (mannequin and masking tape)

Silence me – print on canvas (mannequin and masking tape)

Complete - wire and aluminium mesh

Complete – wire and aluminium mesh

Disjointed 3 - heavyweight paper, masking tape, ink and fire!

Disjointed 3 – heavyweight paper, masking tape, ink and fire!

Disjointed Too - aluminium mesh

Disjointed Too – aluminium mesh

Beneath my Mask - aluminium mesh

Beneath my Mask – aluminium mesh


Amy Oliver-Profile pic (June 2016)Artist: Amy Oliver

I have a particular interest in issues surrounding mental health, social and political conditions, and women’s rights and identity, and tend to theme my work around this subject matter. My intention is to create pieces that express vulnerability and instability but which also suggest the (often subconscious) core strength within, in an attempt to capture the fragility of self. In terms of the materials I use, I have an affinity with metals – more specifically aluminium due to its lightness, movement and energy. I enjoy responding to materials in unconventional ways and pushing their (and my) boundaries; and unearthing discarded, lost and forgotten items and using them to construct something else entirely, bringing a new dimension to their existence.

My work and style is ever evolving and I am on a constant learning curve. I didn’t start my creative journey until 2013 when I undertook a 10-week Figure & Portrait sculpture evening class at The Art Academy, London and this led me, at age 44, onto a part-time one year Certificate in Sculpture with the same school in 2014/15.

I am drawn to and inspired by the subjective work and language of artists such as Schiele, Dumas and Emin, together with a myriad of unknown/lesser known artists and have been lucky enough to connect with many via social media.






Current & Upcoming Exhibitions | Shows:

11 – 14 August 2016

Blair Zaye Presents ‘Exposed’Ben Oakley Gallery, Greenwich, London (showing ‘Complete‘)

15 – 29 October 2016

East Kent Open House weekends

Previous Exhibitions | Shows:

9 – 13 July 2015

The Art Academy Graduation Show, London

30 April – 19 June 2016

Artiki Eventi | Breakfast in Beirut, Treviso, Italy (showing ‘Beneath my Mask‘)


Art is just feelings…

by Juan Barquero









Juan Barquero-meet













Artist: Juan Barquero

French. Born in Chile. I live and work in France currently.
“Everything is spontaneous, without sketch or scenario. Just feelings.”

Celebrating the gentle contours of the female body with fine, sensual, fluid lines that reference an unrestrained dance, Juan’s drawings provide a seductive entry point to an intense oeuvre, introducing enduring themes of sensuality, corporeality and temporality.





The Figure as Metaphor

by Tom Bennett

Barely Resolved Inoffensive Nude, oil on canvas, 2016

Barely Resolved Inoffensive Nude, oil on canvas, 2016

Fatigue 4, oil on paper, 2016, 16" x 22"

Fatigue 4, oil on paper, 2016, 16″ x 22″

Fatigue, oil on paper, 2016, 12" x 9"

Fatigue, oil on paper, 2016, 12″ x 9″

Fatigue 2, oil on paper, 2016, 20" x 16"

Fatigue 2, oil on paper, 2016, 20″ x 16″

Fatigue 3, oil on paper, 2016, 16" X 20'

Fatigue 3, oil on paper, 2016, 16″ X 20′

In the Hold, oil on paper, 2012, 18" x 9"

In the Hold, oil on paper, 2012, 18″ x 9″

Muddy Company, oil on paper, 2012, 16" x 20"

Muddy Company, oil on paper, 2012, 16″ x 20″

Quiet, oil on paper, oil on paper, 2015, 19.5" x 27"

Quiet, oil on paper, oil on paper, 2015, 19.5″ x 27″

Mannered Nude, oil on paper, 2015, 9" x 24"

Mannered Nude, oil on paper, 2015, 9″ x 24″

Memory Loss, oil on paper, 18" x 14"

Memory Loss, oil on paper, 18″ x 14″

Sleepwalk Redux 2, monotype, 12" x 12"

Sleepwalk Redux 2, monotype, 12″ x 12″

Sleepwalk Redux 17, monotype, 12" x 12"

Sleepwalk Redux 17, monotype, 12″ x 12″

Sleepwalk Redux 24, monotype, 12" x 12"

Sleepwalk Redux 24, monotype, 12″ x 12″

Witch 18, monotype, 2016, 12" x 12''

Witch 18, monotype, 2016, 12″ x 12”

Witch 21, monotype, 2016, 12" X 12"

Witch 21, monotype, 2016, 12″ X 12″

These Things don't Mean Anything, 2012, 18" x 9"

These Things don’t Mean Anything, 2012, 18″ x 9″


Tom Bennett-me at silvermineArtist: Tom Bennett

Tom Bennett, born in Ridgefield, Connecticut, grew up in a household of artists and was influenced by his father, Harry Bennett, an award-winning painter and illustrator. His father’s version of Dante’s Divine Comedy was seminal in shaping Bennett’s early aesthetic.  He grew up spending much of his time experimenting with a wide range of art mediums, but particularly, drawing.

He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting at the University of Connecticut in 1982 where he worked under the noted  painter and photographer, Bill Parker. He also studied design and color under the award-winning Paul Zelanski.

Tom had his first one-man show at the Ridgefield Guild of Artist Gallery in 1983, and a few months later moved to New York City to further pursue his painting.

In 1985 Tom spent seven months traveling alone through Western and Eastern Europe— into Hungary, East Germany and Yugoslavia—and Africa, sketching while traveling and absorbing new stimuli. His visits to sites like Dauchau and occupied East Germany left him with renewed connection to an inchoate subconscious iconography.

Subsequently, travelling into northern African countries like Morocco & Algeria provided fresh, non-western- centric experiences that ultimately had a subtle, yet profound impact on his art making.

He returned to Spain and resided in Barcelona. Tom lived on the Spanish Mediterranean coast painting, where he exhibited locally in solo and group shows. Eventually he returned to New York and moved to Brooklyn, where he has resided ever since.







Postcolonial Thoughts: Thoughts on Pedagogy of the Visual Artist

by Christopher Hutchinson


noun, plural pedagogies.

1.the function or work of a teacher; teaching.

2.the art or science of teaching; education; instructional methods. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/pedagogy


This opinion has developed from years of experience teaching visual art on the collegiate level and recognizing that there are an increasing number of  students that want to be art majors–and the majority consider themselves illustrators.   Most of these students come to introduction art classes ill-equipped and advised.  This article is an exploratory investigation into such a student’s attitude and pedagogy.

This trend was confirmed recently during a visiting lecture to a mixed media classroom of high school students that overwhelmingly wanted to be illustrators.  The classroom of students had their portfolios and every student had the same bad habits that they will have to unlearn to become successful in the average college visual art foundation courses.

Note 1-Illustrators struggle in drawing class


Many of these high school students believe that illustration is an easier, freer, and cooler path to eventually produce their own cartoon/manga. In the very beginning of a student’s visual art journey, one should be open to many mediums and processes.  Elementary  through undergrad should be a fertile ground of experimentation with everything visual.  Each medium and field has its champion or interest that leads to further development, a development that cannot be fulfilled with just illustration. Any young artist that has not explored these with the same lust for creating is missing out.  Settling on illustration/animation in 9th grade is the equivalent of saying “hotdogs are the best food ever and there is nothing you can say to change my mind.” In the high school years students should become a fan of art and other processes.  They should be open to receive and consume all aspects of art to eventually make informed decisions.  Experiment with everything such as watercolor, etching, oil paint, drawing–especially drawing.

Note 2- Doodles are not drawing studies

In art, a study is a drawing, sketch or painting done in preparation for a finished piece, or as visual notes. Studies are often used to understand the problems involved in rendering subjects and to plan the elements to be used in finished works, such as light, color, form, perspective and composition. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Study_(art)

Many of these self-proclaimed illustrators/animators cannot draw and have a very difficult time in introductory drawing classes on the collegiate level. These students often do not perform as well as students who are taking the course as a elective.  The elective students have not built up years of bad habits.  Elective students have not built up years of ego so they have the patience to receive proper information.


By focusing on illustration/animation as a student’s initial point of interest, bad habits get ingrained and affirmed for years.  Students are actually training themselves to have extreme contrast as a form of reality, but in reality contrast is not nearly so common.  They end up using super black sharpie markers and mechanical pencils, with no understanding of the many levels of gradation and value there are.

Sharpies and mechanical pencils are not the tools of someone interested in drawing. This problem is evident when these students attempt a a simple value scale.


At best, the years of copying their favorite X-Men characters leads to lineweight.  But surprisingly, many of these students’ linework also lacking.

Lineweight is a term that describes the relative ‘weight’ – strength, heaviness, or darkness – of the line against the background or support. It is governed by the pressure on your drawing tool as you make your line – whether this is decreasing or increasing the pressure on the tip so that it leaves behind more or less medium – or altering the angle so that more of the tip is in contact with the paper. http://drawsketch.about.com/od/drawingglossary/g/lineweight.htm

These doodles might as well be scribbles due to the fact that learning the nuances are not learned, rather they are crude lines void of aesthetic.  The doodles of these students are not learning when the majority of what they are practicing is copying a flat image, not looking at life. Those doodles are not studies.

These students’ doodles represent another major problem on the collegiate level: not being able to finish a work of art.  They have many sketchbooks of doodles without a portfolio of large complete pieces.  The work for years without ever completing anything. The point of the study is to learn to finish.  These students end up with a huge ego and years of unfinished work.  Ego comes from completion, not hype.

Note 3- Copying a style is not creative or unique

Students that claim to be interested in illustration/animation are not actually interested in drawing or art making.  They are interested in developing a “style unique to themselves.”  This usually means they want to copy a specific type of style and change the accessories of the character to make it “unique.” Most of these students come with this in mind as a valid pursuit of a career.  This is a huge mistake.  Copying a style is not a creative or artistic choice and definitely not unique.

Note 4-Pedagogy

After a little critique and probing of the high school classroom portfolios, the real reasons began to emerge as to the motivation behind wanting to become an illustrator.  What came up was excitement about the narrative, the movement, and the color of illustration.  Here is where pedagogy can have a huge effect with some additional probing, some additional recommendations, and support.  If a student is more interested in narrative, they need to be more equipped as a writer.  If a student is more interested in movement, then what kind of movement–physical movement or illustrated movement? If color–interested in what kind of color–muted, saturated, color application?

This new crop of self-proclaimed illustrators and teachers have to explore and challenge what illustration really means.  Many of these students, when they come to to the collegiate level, end up changing majors due to being ill-equipped artists that believe the skill of copying is an art form. They are very impatient students and expect quick results. There is a reason art classes are 3-5 hours long. Artmaking is not for the someone interested in quick results.

Christopher Hutchinson 2Christopher Hutchinson is an accomplished Jamaican conceptual artist, professor and contributor to the art community as a writer, critic and founder of the nonprofit Smoke School of Art. He is a Professor of Art at Atlanta Metropolitan State College and has been featured as a lecturer including prestigious engagements at University of Alabama and the Auburn Avenue Research Library. For two decades, Chris has been a practicing artist. His works have been exhibited in internationally recognized institutions including City College New York (CUNY) and featured at the world’s leading international galleries such as Art Basel Miami. He has always had an innate passion for creating spaces where Africans and people of African descent contribute to an inclusive contemporary dialogue—ever evolving, not reflexive but pioneering. This requires challenging the rubric of the canon of art history, a systemic space of exclusion for the Other: women and non-Whites, and where necessary he rewrites it. He received his Master of Fine Arts Degree in Painting from Savannah College of Art & Design, Atlanta and his Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Alabama.

Without the Darkness We Cannot See the Stars

by Evre Başak

Evre Başak -01-the great Jupiter

Evre Başak-02-The Moon

Evre Başak-03-The sun

Evre Başak-04-Spaceborne

Evre Başak-05-Insider

Evre Başak -6-The Bound

Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset

Processed with VSCO with m3 preset

Evre Başak-09-Far-From-Hell

Evre Başak-10-Awaken

Evre Başak -11-Old-Man-of-Storr

Evre Başak-12-Stonehenge


Evre BaşakEvre Başak was born and raised in Istanbul, a grand old, culturally diverse metropolis in which exists a rare example of how antiquity and modernity can blend together in perfect harmony. She has been drawing and painting ever since she worked out how to hold a pencil. Since graduating from Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University 7 years ago, she has been a professional senior fashion and print designer. Meanwhile she has continued to refine her drawing and painting skills while maintaining a consistent output of original work. Examples of her work have been exhibited at The Marmara Pera Gallery, Milk Gallery, Mtaär Gallery and at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. In 2008, she won the international design award, “The Future of National Textile Design Award”.

Evre’s artistic passion is nourished by the mysterious power of Mother Nature, the animal kingdom, the universe; and the dark, fantastic romanticism and captivating characters found throughout history and in fairytales. She is trying to capture the positivity, beauty and romance of “the darkness” in order to show that without it, we cannot see the stars.

email: evre.basak@gmail.com

website : http://artofevre.com

facebook : https://www.facebook.com/artofevrebasak/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

instagram : http://www.instagram.com/artofevre/

twitter : http://twitter.com/evrebasak

pinterest : http://pinterest.com/evrething/art-of-evre/


Reiterating the Erotic

by Carla Aaron-Lopez


the great protector


Carla Aaron-Lopez writes regularly for Creative Thresholds about the experience of being an emerging artist. Her previous posts are: “Notes from kingCARLA,” “Notes from kingCARLA 2,” “Notes from kingCARLA 3,” and “That Moment When Artists Snap.” “Reiterating the Erotic” is a lecture she gave recently in Atlanta, GA for a Feminist Symposium called “A Bad Question: An Exhibition and Forum on Race + Feminism.”


The devil came wearing white today. And for the next few minutes, I want you to explore what you really think it means to be a feminist. I don’t burn bras. Men are not my enemy. I don’t have Sex and the City moments with my homegirls and I definitely don’t give a fuck about Susan B. Anthony and the suffragette movement. That’s somebody else’s history.

I am the villain who came to make you reconsider sexuality and sensuality using feminism and post-structuralism as my foundation.

Years ago, I wasn’t very moved by those I met that called themselves feminists. Either they were too contradictory, too hypocritical or too radical for my preferences.

Therefore, let me begin this conversation with the year 2012, when it fully clicked that I was going to be a mother to a son. When that realization finally hit home, I knew that everything I had been told, taught and programmed to believe was a beautiful yet hideously disgusting lie.

I truly believe that we live so far removed from truth that I began seeking a new story to tell, a new lie to believe. After my search, I was left with nothing fulfilling and I went into a sort of psychological hiding.

Hiding my thoughts, my fears, hiding who I really wanted to be.

I wanted to walk away from everyone and everything. I began wishing that stereotypes weren’t real because I was planning my great escape from this perceived reality. It was time for me to find a new hero. One that I could relate to in my dark, twisted and morbid little universe. But even that request didn’t hit on what I truly needed.

Ever since I was a little girl, the story of the damsel in distress has been shared again and again. The princess was always so sweet, so soft and so vulnerable that she constantly needed to be saved by a young prince. Growing up black, I also got sold that I needed Jesus to save me from myself and from the sins of the world. Yet another white man who needed to come save my ass.

As I became a young adult, magazines, music and movies told me that I needed to be saved still but in different and daunting ways. If I wear these clothes, he will be attracted to me. If I were this make-up, I will be cute for spring and winter. If I’m like this or that in bed, then I will drive him crazy.

To be honest, I’m still wading through the mess of my life but I’m here now. And to be even more honest, the power of motherhood and exploring the erotic has changed how I see and interact with everything around me. Our collective journey begins with that statement.

I began looking at myself differently from that point. I realized that nothing I learned was going to help the new journey that was unfolding before me. There was no man or woman who would be able to help me in the way that I needed. I could follow a classic framework knowing that I would be more broken on the inside than ever before. Some women aren’t meant to settle down but instead are meant to pierce the taut fabrics that make up your individual perception.

You will not find me in a church. You will not find me in a book club. You will not even find me at a Beyonce concert.

When the feeling came, that moment of clarity, I was standing in my room. The beginnings of my downfall from reality started right there.
And it was glorious.

It wasn’t late into the night but it was winter and it was definitely dark outside. I like the dark. I found myself in my favorite place at that moment. Sinking deep into my thoughts which is similar to navigating through a large warmed vat of thick, luscious, viscous Vaseline. It’s just as comforting as sunny Southern skies with lingering humidity in the air.

I knew this feeling very well and I automatically felt what it wanted to do with me. It started deep down low and seductively moved its way up to my brain sparking a quiet chaos throughout the rest of my body.

The feeling began to inform what I should do next with my life. At that moment, I could either be self-destructive, self-pleasuring or take that energy by its curly rolls and push it into another direction.

One text conversation with a friend later in the night brought back me to the mind of Audre Lorde and introduced me to her views on eroticism.  My friend sent me audio of Lorde sharing her essay, “The Power of the Erotic” (a recording can be found at the end of the essay). I pressed play but I wasn’t listening. Her voice was mesmerizing because I had never heard a woman speak with such confidence and comfort. I wanted to be like that. I wanted to inhabit that energy and share it with the people.

I needed to find the thing itself and print it out. The next day, I found her essay because I needed to hold her words and take them in while draped in silence. I needed to touch the papers and strike it with my pen jotting notes all over its margins. I needed a moment with those words and hear them with my inner voice for it to become one with my personal dialogue.

My reason for being so obsessive is because I needed for someone to put into words what I had been feeling naturally and solidify my reasons for working with such hypersexualized imagery. She flipped over and turned out everything that I knew about erotic and I, in turn, reconsidered how I defined the term. The exact same thing that I do with my personal work whether visual or written.

I enjoy looking at classic power structures and dismantling them in a way that I think is an improvement. I choose erotic imagery only because of the amount of negativity that surrounds being a sexual woman.

What if I flipped the perception and turned the eroticization of women into gods and titans? Who would they be to you then? Would they become something else? Would they influence a docile woman to become more than what she is? I don’t know but we’ll see as time passes us all.

I’ve learned that the erotic is a feminine energy and any person can come into the folds of that energy if they are seeking to re-establish his/her individual identity. For many years, I’ve gone on rants and lamented in many essays about the hypersexualization of women of color. Black and Latino women are often seen as aggressive enforcers of sexuality while white and Asian women are docile and submissive. Altogether, people will take advantage of a woman’s appearance, love and experiences. What I’ve learned is that if you just ask a woman what she likes, she might tell you. However, I’ve also learned that many of these same women don’t even know what to do with their sexuality because they are scared of it.

I don’t know why but I think I know a point of relativity. Most women refuse to examine the power within themselves because society says a woman should do and be whatever has been previously established of them from a patriarchal perspective.

For a long time that scared me to the point that I didn’t want to be anything like any woman and I refused to be seen as feminine. I preferred to be dressed in masculine energy and keep rappers as my alter ego to protect myself from critical world views on femininity. If you wanted a woman, don’t come to me because you were going to get a nigga in a dress. This is destructive thinking as a result of a sensitive soul reacting to mainstream images around me.

Ads tell me that I need to use certain products or else I will not be beautiful. I have never really been comfortable with agreeing to such a notion. They also tell me that I need to buy certain products or else my vagina will not be clean and it will smell. That’s scientifically dumb as fuck.

If advertisements aren’t telling me what I should do as a woman, then there’s entertainment showing me how I should act as a woman.

According to what we currently watch in movies, television and the internet, I should be a whore whose feelings are always abused because I’ve opened my legs to the wrong man throughout my adult life.

I should be taken advantage of due to the incredibly high amount of moving images that contain rape scenes and its various circumstances.

Or I should live my life docile and continue to wait for my fictitious white or light skinned knight in a well tailored suit because I am a good girl.

Fuck being a good girl. I don’t care about that anymore unless you want to re-enact a role play scene with me because you love me.

When women are denied the unlimited power and pleasure of being a woman, we create severe deficiencies within our quality of living and when she begins to accept denying herself as a result of our classic gender structures, she becomes the bitter bitch.

We all die a little bit when that bitch comes around.

Life without embracing the erotic is a life that is unfulfilled and obligatory, kind of like the bitter woman. To embrace the erotic is to examine a very wide spectrum of feelings emotionally, mentally and physically. We don’t even know all the words that we could use to describe these experiences.

From sharing joy with a loved one in complete silence to how we interact with the world around us. Have you revisited walking barefoot on wet grass after a fresh rainfall? Have you ever taken a deep breath of crisp air on the Blue Ridge Parkway in the fall? Closed your mouth and stared into the eyes of your lover? If not, I suggest that you do.

Free your mind and your ass will follow. Famous words by some very famous non-binary black people.

We need not confuse erotic any longer with female hypersexuality but give in to ourselves in order to enrich our human experience as a whole. I am a mother and there’s a woman halfway across the world whose language I cannot speak who is a mother, too. We can share in the joys of that experience. We can definitely laugh at its frustrations.

Embracing the erotic can bring life to our senses if we understand it as an extension feminine energy. It isn’t a sexual energy but a chaotic one that deserves our attention. From being constantly surrounded by sexual imagery, we confuse what that feeling is deep within us. Confusion leads to erratic thinking, poor decision-making and psychotic actions all blamed on the power of erotic.

If someone chooses to break the structure of what they have been taught as normal for their entire lives for the sake of their sanity and happiness then that is a person choosing power over oppression.

Politically speaking, right now, we, as global citizens, are in a stage of redefining and restructuring how we see and approach gender identity. Those lines have always been bent and crossed for a long time with no one voice as representation until now. Questions are being asked from all corners in regards to what defines male, female, man and woman. Of course, there is opposition and hatred to individuals that are creating new social binaries to define their sense of belonging.

It seems silly for me to live my life just for marriage and a man. Is that all my life amounts to because I am a woman? Shall I be in constant competition with another woman over the affection and attention of a man? Or shall I become the bitter woman spewing nonsense about being independent and not having a need for any man? NO. I just want to live my life. My life is not controlled by or in need of saving by any man (or woman).

I’m human and dysfunctional because everyday my heart and brain go through mini battles in the same manner that belief and reason do. All of those points lead to roads of abuse whether the abuse comes from the self or another person. There is no logic to that. There is no defending, upholding or supporting that. And because of that, I support embracing the power of erotic. I want it to drip from my skin, make a woman question her attraction to me and a man feel like I’m something to be cherished. All because I just want to be comfortable in the skin that I’m in and shine as brightly as I can until Death come to give me the sweetest, deadliest kiss I’ll ever encounter.

I find that exploring your own eroticism will lead to the identity and belonging we constantly search for as humans. To be erotic doesn’t mean that we do as want whenever we want. It also doesn’t give anyone the right to become sexually aggressive as a response to growing up in a Puritan patriarchal western society.

Being erotic is as simple as touching the skin you were born in and not having harsh criticism of its imperfections. Just touch it. Being erotic is finding joy and pleasure in things that make you peaceful mentally. And last, being erotic is taking the chaotic energy you were born with and manipulating it in order to enrich your above ground human experience.

Reading Audre Lorde’s essay has helped turn something that I thought was completely abstract into something that is concrete and tangible. She has given me a new life, new direction in defining how I can begin to comprehend my time on Earth because being erotic is in everything that I do.

From the air I inhale to the words that come out of my mouth.
From how I embrace my hair to how I enjoy a hot cup of coffee.

How I see my life’s work.
How I embrace my child.

I am no longer afraid to simply embrace my femininity. I think it looks great on me.

Any questions? Didn’t think so.



carla aaron-lopez 4Artist: Carla Aaron-Lopez

Instagram: @iamkingcarla

Twitter: @teachkingcarla

Humbled Artist

by Fei Alexander

Dance With The Wind White Color

Dance With The Wind

Paradise Of Holy Sakyamuni

Paradise Of Holy Sakyamuni



Silent volcano

Silent volcano

The Buddha

The Buddha

last supper 2

last supper

Memory Layers

Memory Layers



Red Echo

Red Echo



nervously relaxing

nervously relaxing

Red impression

Red impression





A Bird's Chinese Vision

A Bird’s Chinese Vision


Artist: Fei Alexander

Fei AlexanderAbout Fei:

from an Article in the “SOUTH BAY PEOPLE” magazine- issue 1, Pg10-11, April 2004
“Easy Reader” newspaper- issue June 24th, 2004 at the ‘Easy Weekend’ section Pg 41/ Pg 47
—- By Art Editor & Journalist Bondo Wyszpolski of the “EASY READER” newspaper & “South Bay People” magazine

The hardest part is facing the blank canvas… But those two or three hours staring at the bare surface are not wasted. The visualizing is a necessary part of the process, and during these moments of seeming inactivity Alexander is contemplating what forms to use, where they’ll go, and what colors or color scheme she’ll employ. The painting is then painted quickly. Except for the details, the piece is completed in less time than she spent working it out in her mind. It is a luxury to be able to paint in this manner…

Alexander does not limit herself to one style of painting, With some artists, it’s clear that everything they create resembles or seems a variation of their other work. But if one looks at Alexander’s work it seems, at first glance, to be a collection of pictures by a variety of artists. Without actually seeing these works, some people might assume that Alexander hasn’t yet found her true calling. What seems closer to the truth is that this artist is brimming with all kind of ideas and is not afraid to explore them.

For instance, about three years ago Alexander began experimenting with the canvas itself, breaking out of the conventional square of rectangular format and coming up with pictures that, physically, had rounded or curved edges. Other canvases she separated, and then realigned or over-lapped their segments. For this writer, there is an organic sense that emerges, as if the picture is liberated out of its usual confines- and more free, too, to actively engage the viewer. For Alexander, this experimenting is a part of her notion that ‘ the fading, the dust, the peeling of a painting as time passes are all supposed to belong to the life of a painting, just like our own lives.’ Suddenly, the frame- as a protective and a decrative [sic] device- is no longer so relevant.

Over the last year or so, Alexander has taken used frames and attached burlap to the back, which hangs down well below the bottom of the frame. Often, the burlap is then braided. This is a feature that again complements or plays against the canvas, but Alexander emphasizes that the focus is still painting as painting, not painting as craft. The current work outwardly, but much of it combines modern painting technique with traditional Asian spirituality. Her intention, as she said is to invite viewers to take time to glance at their inner soul, sensibility and thought. In other words, the quiet look within may lead to self-discovery. Alexander believes that art fuels living energy, that it comes from life and reflects life. She feels, also, that although artists have the creative ability to express their emotions from different angles, they need to work hard and be willing to risk more than the usual person does when they confront and engage their inner selves. The gains may be minimal, and sometimes can scarcely be measured but the reward is in the attempt to do the best. With what is available within.

Through her painting, Fei Alexander expresses vision and heritage, the physical form and its spiritual emanation.

Website: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/fei-alexander.html