about the blood: part III • feminist anger

Generally speaking, I’m an intuitive acrylic artist. Over the years, intuitive painting became my sanity–as I left my emotionally abusive marriage and through the subsequent fallout, learning to cope with my anxiety and depression. During those transitional times creating was calming; the heaviness of life momentarily lifted. Art is healing, something reliable when everything else feels irrevocably fragile and terrifying.

I’m much healthier than I was at 19, with my sterilized x-acto blade. But I still feel the intense emotional pain of others. I’m much stronger than I was at 28, lost in a controlling marriage. But I still have intermittent anxiety attacks in new relationships. Now, as I’m navigating the world in my mid-thirties, I feel more myself than ever with healthier coping skills. However, the more I educate myself to be understand being a woman while also working to be better ally for people of color, those in the LGBTQ+ community, etc. I’m filled with more anger at the intentional systemic oppression of basically anyone who isn’t a wealthy heterosexual white cis-male.

Text heavy art styles from inspiring feminist artists like Barbara Kruger and Jenny Holzer have influenced my approach to the series. For the first time, I’m comfortable creating work that might make others uncomfortable. In fact, good. I want people to sit and reflect on that discomfort. If the fact I’m using blood is what causes the strongest reaction in the viewer than they’re missing the point. As a country, we’re past polite accommodating conversation. Other people need to be heard, and all of us need to listen. I know I’m a passingly heterosexual white cis-woman. I’m college-educated, financially stable, physically healthy, and have a loving family as a support system. I realize that I have privilege.

My point is twofold. I recognize my privilege is an asset and it’s my responsibility to use it to help those who are disenfranchised and oppressed by our society. In turn, I’m still a woman. And that alone, means I experience the world in a different way. I have to work to be seen as credible, a luxury that cis-white men receive by default. My art is automatically considered “feminine” and that implies “lesser-than”. Women don’t have constitutional equality. We live in rape culture.

Personally, I associate menstruation with my life experiences as a woman. (Again, it’s important to reiterate, menstruation by no means defines a woman/womanhood/female/femininity nor is it only experienced by women. Because, the thing is, we are all amazing beautiful unique individuals, and there is no one thing that epitomizes women, or the essence of femininity, or an ideal feminist.) Bloodwork articulates my female perspective in ways that are hopefully relatable to others. I’m also able to express my heartbreak, discouragement, and outrage at the social injustices faced by others who don’t share my privilege. We are all interconnected, and empowering others helps all of us move forward toward a more just and compassionate society.

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