The Artist Block

Artist Note: This series is very personal to me as it explores a very vulnerable yet a crucial turning point in my life. Please do not be discouraged from reading this. I recommend taking 10 minutes out of your day or save this for later to read! I have been wanting to share my series with the world for almost a year, so dive in and more importantly, enjoy!

Stage 1: Deny, Deny, Deny

Denial is the first stage of an ‘Artist Block’. It begins  with lack of motivation and inspiration to create. It is  a disconnect between the mind and body. You no  longer can connect the dots or paint the picture from  inside your head. Your hands suddenly forget how to  hold a pencil. The fear of never being able to draw or  create daunts over you. The painting concept and  composition I have in mind for the first stage, I  wanted to have my body laying down implying a  sense of laziness or lack of movement. I wanted to  use a single color but different ranges as my choice of  color palette which in this case is blue. I chose the  color blue because it represents order and calmness  which I was lacking during the first stage of my artist  block.

Stage 2: Inner War

The second stage of an ‘Artist Block’ is Depression.  Depression is probably one of the most gruesome stages as  this is where most people get caught up and stuck in an  infinity loop. It is a downward spiral going further and  further, until you hit rock bottom. You suddenly feel as  though you have no control and you want to get better, but  you aren’t sure how to do so or where to even get started.  Even when you try, you fail and when you fail, you become  discouraged. Thus creating a loop of spiraling downwards  towards depression and artist block. The infinite loop can be  difficult to break out of as it can make or break an individual.  For the painting concept I had in mind, I wanted to have  myself caught in two moments. I wanted to capture the  internal battle; a war and destructive cycle which only can be  solved by one’s self. I wanted to add a color that allows the  blue to stand true but also be able to blend. With that being  said, I chose the color pink. The color pink represents  strength, safety, higher thinking and self-empowerment.

Stage 3: Trinity

Realization in the third stage that follows. In this stage,  after multiple attempts of escaping the infinite loop, you  finally make a breakthrough. You take a step back, close  your eyes and breathe. You realize what it really takes to  break out of the Artist Block. You start to implement and  make the changes that you want to see in your life and  eventually you find that middle ground and mental zone  that brings you back to creating. It all begins with a little  bit of initiative and effort, not out of fear, but because of  the desire and the passion that burns inside. It is  important to remember to take baby steps and understand  that time is all you need to eventually break out of an  Artist Block. The painting concept for the third stage is to  have myself split into three frames. Each frame represents  the progression through the stages after realization and is  made distinguishable through the color. In this stage, I  added color to the blue and pink themes with purple. The  reason why I selected the color purple was to represent  the requirements to achieve the sense of realization and  add to the sense of an awakening. Purple represents  spiritual protection and purification, as well as it cleanses  one’s energy field of negative influences.

Stage 4: Evolution

The next stage that follows is Action. This stage is  quite important and crucial to breaking free of an  Artist Block. It requires more than just a physical action, you need to invest your heart and soul into  bettering yourself for you. This is the next step that  needs to be executed, but in order for everything to  go smoothly, you must plan each step! Without any  guidelines, it can be easy to lose a sense of direction and inevitably spiral out of control again. The  painting concept for stage four, was to have my body  in a ‘Work-In-Progress’ composition as though I am physically working and viewing myself as a work of  art that needs to be developed. I was also inspired by  Bobbie Carlyle’s ‘Self-made man’ when it came to  developing my concept for stage four. In addition, the  color I decided to add to the mix was green. Green also represents purity as well as it symbolizes  gentleness, nourishment, balance and harmony.

Stage 5: Resurrection

The final and last stage is the comeback, or as I like to call it ‘The Resurrection’. The word in itself explains everything that it composes and consists but it is more complex. It is a rebirth, an uprising and a  takeover. What makes this stage so great is the significance because it is more than a breakthrough.  The painting concept I had in mind for the last and  final stage was to have my body being pulled up by  “strings of paint”. The body appears to be levitating.  My intention is to create the sense of a resurrection  or an uprising. In addition to the colors, I decided that for my last choice of color, I wanted to add in the vibrancy of yellow because yellow carries a bold energy. It is so vibrant, it stimulates the brain therefore encouraging motivation and inspiration. It activates creativity, encourages self-expression,  enhances concentration and revitalizes the mind.

Fun Fact

Throughout the series, I used myself as a model in order to be able to showcase my concepts because if I were to use a different model other than myself, it would take away the personal depth and perspective aspect of the series. As the past few months  have gone by, I was progressively working on the independent study and it is a  developing series that builds and carries forward significant elements from one piece  to another. And if one were to pay close attention to the pieces, they should be able to  see that I draw my inspiration from old masters such as Pablo Picasso, in this case  specifically the ‘Old Guitarist’. The Old Guitarist is one of my favorite paintings ever as  it is so simple yet so powerful in meaning. I also draw inspiration from old masters  such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Vincent Van Gogh’s experimentation process, Salvador  Dali’s play on perspective, and Pablo Picasso’s style and color palette. 

Artist Statement

My name is Marlene, but I go by “Miilo” (pronounced as ‘My-Low’). I’m an Artist, currently based in  Charlotte, North Carolina. Quite often, people ask me, “What does art mean to you?” and my answer will  never change, art is a part of me. It is all I know, everything I am and want to be. It is the origin base of my  emotions and in my opinion, one of the best mediums of self-expression. I let my work to speak for itself. It  wasn't and isn’t easy pursuing the artist's dream with all the obstacles and downfalls but that is what makes  art worth all the struggles. 
With each stage in my Life as An Artist, one tougher than the other, the challenges presented helped me get  better. Most importantly, it helped me figure out my style, further enhance and cultivate new techniques that  can be implemented into my work. It took a lot of time and patience to overcome each stage without  completely relapsing and losing sight of my goals. Recently, I’ve found a groove that I’m slowly adapting to  and in good time, everything will fall into place. Throughout my college career, I learned so much more about myself and my art outside of college. There were so many times and instances where I learned something  new and managed to adapt that skill into my life for example, I’ve picked up and honed new skills like video  editing, vlogging, promotional techniques, website building and social media marketing. Each skill was  learned from an opportunity that presented itself. It broadens my perspective as well as enables me to apply  these new ideas, techniques, styles and impressions into my art work. I have learned so much about website  development and site hosting in the past few months.
As a creator, I want to share my art and part of my life with the world. I find it relieving and  empowering. It allows me to explore further into my life and personally. Every piece I make is a step by step developing process. I learn new things from each piece and try to apply it to the  next. Every failure, every success; all of these moments are crucial to the learning process. At the end of the day, I make my art for myself. I found a great source of everlasting inspiration  and I will continue to explore into the depths in the life of an Artist. I am my own muse; the  source of my inspiration, the heart and soul of my art. I am Miilo!