Friday, March 11, 2011

Contrasts and Compliments

I won't be at the lecture tonight that my family will be giving in CA, in lieu of my attendance I have written this...

Contrasts and Compliments
A theory of life in a Creative Family
Nalii Padilla-DeLap
It is thought in some circles that artists bridge the gap between the earth and the ethers of the universe.
 Artists facilitate the connection between these two seemingly distant worlds.
It is the job and objective of an artist to not only remind human beings of whence they came and where they will inevitably return, but to find the pulse of human consciousness and social relevance of the time in which they live. 
On top of that, they must seek to challenge, comment on, bring light to, and work to evolve these ideas towards and into the physical world.   
 The artist is in constant dialogue between two realms.  They must live in that place of vision and inspiration and then also inhabit the world of canvas, lighting, paints, brushes, dinner, laundry, bills and family.
In my family,  as in many creative families, there is not one artist, but many.  
At the helm of our creative family, my father Stan Padilla has been fulfilling his life’s work methodically while simultaneously raising a family.  A task made possible in part by my mother Roz Padilla, an artist in her own right.  With the love and practical support of my mother, my father was able to practice, hone, and envision his art and bring it to life.  As a sounding board, critic, friend, peer, and partner my mothers role of balance in my fathers work was a steadfast pillar of comfort, trust and respect.
From a place of great strength, his art and his work has evolved and continues to evolve in a bold, bright, and clearly  envisioned fashion.  As if arising from a deep sense of purpose, his work is revealed to the world in an assertively powerful display of crisp color, strong form, and enigmatic themes.
The work my father has done throughout his life has been varied and eclectic.  From teaching, public speaking, artistic collaborations, writing and illustrating books, to mentoring youth,  he has consistently been involved in his community in an attempt to help art permeate not only frames and walls, but every aspect of our lives.
Continually working to discover new frontiers and ideas, he can be found at the forefront  of cultural, social, and educational ideas.  He is always driven by a thirst for new, different and alternative ways of living and being in the world.  His art reflects these interests and his ever evolving quest for new, outside of the box ideas.
Just as my father worked to build a community through his work in the arts, his artistic ideals were at the forefront of our family life growing up.  My mothers work, our education orbiting his ideals for us as a family.  Through observation and exposure to art, culture and aesthetics, growing up, each of us in turn found our own outlet for living our life in a creative and artistic way.  
 As the parent to three creative, strong willed children, my father may not have guessed the joys and pitfalls of what his life within our family would encompass.   With a family of willful individuals, the dinner conversations were lively, the laughter abundant, the ideas ever flowing and the butting of heads inevitable. 
Many of my fathers ideas and much of his wisdom have been planted within the lives we each live today.  I clearly recall my father telling me,  that art isn’t just something hanging on the is all around us, it is in the way we live our lives.   
Art can sometimes be a messy process with spills, drips, rips, breaks, cracks and the ever present “mistake” culminating in a beauty and eloquence that sometimes only we can see. Similarly, our family has always been and continues to be...a work of art.  
As a piece of a creative whole, each member of our family stands apart as an individual yet also contributes an essential element to who and what we are collectively and individually.  And as is often the case when we take a moment to reflect, we see that it is no accident that we are in this life with these people.  We have much to learn from them and they have much to learn from us.  And as is also often the case, what we see as contrast in relationships and in life....really turns out to be complements. If we let them.
As my own personal creative piece, I live the life of an artist and mother in Eugene Oregon with my husband Marcus and our children Kai, 15 and Sophia, 13.  I work in a multitude of mediums, most prominent in my life currently are my work with wool, and silversmithing.  I also teach art to 7th and 8th graders at a local Waldorf inspired charter school.  In addition, I am  the the author of a blog entitled The Art Filled Life which can be found at 

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