“seeing the doubleness of work”

According to French cultural anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, things that matter happen along binary lines.

Do you agree with Levi-Strauss? Record the binary pairings in your work. Does duality clarify direction?

As I grow older, I do not believe in binaries. I see concepts in a circular fashion. Like a circuit, concepts exist in moments around a topic or theme. Sometimes, that circuit is more like a sphere, other times it’s like vapor.

I believe words can exist in a binary, but “things that matter” are in a space with far more dimensions.

Binary pairings in my work: birth/death, break/mend, build/destroy, random/rhythm, chaos/harmony, invisible/visible, honest/closed, public/private.

Plain and simple, I do not believe duality clarifies direction. For me, understanding concepts the way I previously described allows me to best understand direction. Progression exists the same way, though some concepts are more viscous than others.

“alphabetical list as inventory”

Review “key words,” “matrix map,” and your collection of writings. Create an alphabetical inventory.

action

art

artist

assumptions

capital

children

collective

communication

community

contemporary

context

culture

design

develop

discussion

ecological

education

engage

environmental

expectations

experience

explore

generations

greate

history

identity

inclusive

justice

learn

lesson

local

materials

narrative

nature

opportunity

order

personal

practice

process

program

project

public

research

self

social

space

specific

students

understanding

visual

voices

youth

“pairing words and images”

Make three word/image pairs that draw out and bring to light core ideas in your work. One is harmonious, one is a collision, the third is a combination of a word and image.

Collaborate:

Section of a student designed, facilitated, and created mural at one of Cat Beaudoin’s former schools where she taught K-6 visual arts in Phoenix, Arizona, United States.

Breathe:

“Practicing Mindfulness in a Dying World,” Collage. 2019. 14 x 8 inches.
(This is not) “The Treachery of Images (This is not a Pipe),” Oil on Canvas. 1929. 23 3/4 x 31 15/16 x 1 inch.

“visual hopes”

What are the greatest sources of pain and suffering in the world? Your community? In your country?

World: the climate crisis is exasperating other conflicts and problems around the world. Climate shifts and intensifying storms are projected to lead to minimization of food production, accelerating desertification, flooding, and exacerbating the spread of disease. With declines in water, food, and substantial shelter access, an increase in “environmental refugees” and climate-caused violence are plausible outcomes. In fact, we are seeing these issues arising across the world and in our own country.

Your community: when I consider “my community,” my heart truly lies in Arizona. I think of a failing education system, underfunded and undervalued by the state government. I think of the crisis at the border and a lack of empathy for refugees and asylum seekers. I think of a lack of environmental regulations leading to overuse of water, rapidly decreasing air quality, and a lack of renewable energy alternatives.

Your country: for the most part, I feel like the issues listed above are absolutely part of the U.S.’s greatest threats. The education system doesn’t work for all and is not helping our youth have the difficult conversations we need to have surrounding our nation’s history in relation to racism, enslavement, and genocide. By sweeping these conversations under the rug for over 200 years, these tensions continue to grow and divide Americans into tribes. Tribal politics are creating gridlock and continuing to foster systems of oppression and a lack of action (and recognition) of climate change being the greatest threat to humanity.

“becoming threshold without a map”

As we explore the idea of mapping, we must also turn our attention to moments that take us away from the map, when our creative process is unclear. According to Gunta Kaza, becoming threshold “is the process of finding and losing, seeing and not seeing, pulling, stretching, and reflecting.

How do you understand the state of becoming threshold?

How has your working process opened you, surprised you, refreshed you, or frightened you?

One night in Phoenix, I was hired to live paint at an open mic night for freestyle rappers in the city. I was so excited for the event, but I was anxious about set up and clean up. Upon unpacking my space, I realized I only had one paintbrush- a large angle brush I never used before.

How could an artist who strives for realism possibly create with one brush, let alone an angled bush?

This is one of my clearest recollections of “becoming threshold.” What became apparent was my need to rely on my instincts and trust my motion. I found myself riding rhythms across my canvas.

That night, I was painting for myself while in a public space. I have increasingly grown comfortable with this concept. My body, my mind, and the creation of my art all exist- nothing more, nothing less, but sheer existence.

“narratives of place”

Step One: Recall a place that has figured prominently in your life. Consider your relationship in all senses. How has this place affected the making of your work?

For some reason, I feel very compelled to write about my childhood backyard. All the days and nights spent playing in that magical slice of earth formulated my love for nature and actualization of what makes a strong community.

I recall doing homework atop a modest swing-set my father built. Sometimes, I would lie back, close my eyes, and see how light and shadows danced over my eyelids. I distinctly remember the symphony of rustling leaves and creaking timber.

Each season had a different smell. Fall smelled like damp foliage, prominent evergreens, and dewy grass. It was the smell of autumn that I missed most when I moved to the desert.

The raw nature of my experiences in this space infused into my being. Although I was a child who followed expectations and mostly avoided getting into trouble, I would frequently sneak into the woods at the yard’s end. The bruises and scrapes achieved along the way taught me lessons of perseverance while hinting at the power of the natural world. Nothing puts you in your place like getting lost. Having these moments to learn, play, and explore in solitude heavily influenced my lifelong dedication to the natural world.

In retrospect, my foundations in these excursions continues into today. When any of my wells run dry (emotional, creative, social, etc.) I reorient myself with the world around me.

Step Two: Many artists live transient lives. Ideas of belonging and connection emerge alongside themes of dislocation, displacement, and nomadism. Are such themes prominent in your work?

The concept of being a transient person is now a part of my being. I am absolutely a nomad. I currently reside in the fifth state I have lived in. Nonetheless, I don’t intentionally incorporate these ideas into my work. Life isn’t a progression or a destination for me. Life is simply existence. I am both completely alone and ever connected. These perceptions are my reality. Therefore, I have never considered representing this in my art.

“silence”

Does your work break silence?

As you will likely know by now, my work in the past was made to disrupt the status quo concerning the re-victimization of survivors of sexual assault. My work broke silence forced upon me by my school and my college community. During my senior show, I was empowered to own my own narrative in a public space. The content of my work established boundaries for the viewer to process and choose whether or not to acknowledge it.

Untitled. Pen on paper. 2014. 8 x 10 inches.

Pivoting to my work in community arts today, I incorporate a common theme to my work by asking:

“Who is missing?”

“Where is the greatest need?”

In relation to this prompt, silence relates to those missing in community spaces. As a community arts administrator, my primary goals include accessibility to programming and diversifying our community body. I hope to continue growing professionally to make progress in this much needed work.

“ambidextrous wordplay”

After writing subtle, minor words with my non-dominant hand and then bold, powerful words with my dominant hand, I was then instructed to pair the words I wrote.

Image includes words from prompt.
  1. Lost – Know
  2. Reservation – Determination
  3. Gentle – Strength

The next set of instructions asks for three project descriptions. The first project incorporating words from my subtle list only, the second, only using commanding words, and the third project should be a blend of the two.

Subtle Project Description:

A quiet moment of gentle solitude might be lonesome, but meditative practices can bring harmony and balance to a distant, muddled mind. A project where participants lay or sit quietly, experiencing the faint nuances of the natural world. After a brief period, participants will be asked to create a visual representation of their experience using a variety of found, natural objects. This project will explore the ways in which the natural world whispers inspiration, or if some participants feel lost in relation to their artistic process.

Commanding Project Description:

After observing the natural world through movement, do participants feel connected through their actions and the space they inhabit? Participants will be asked to visually represent knowledge gained during this process using found, natural objects. Does a period of action influence participants’ determination to connect with the space through gentle use of materials, or will certain activities correspond to the level of force justified during their artistic process?

Combined Project Description:

Does the way we move through a natural environment correspond with our use of natural materials? This project studies the responses of participants as they lay, walk, dance, and force their way through the natural world. Does their use of gentile restraint or determined action alter the way they express the space artistically? After a brief period of movement, participants will create a work of art using found materials. This research project examines if specific types of movement justify destroying found, natural objects, or if certain actions cause reservations in how they employ the natural world in personal expression.