Bee Natural – Art Swap Expo Day 1

Bee Natural by Kimberly RL Artocalypse Expo – Art Swap Launch Event

Okay, this was fun! It took me a minute or two, but I was able to let go of expectation and perfection and and and. This is our first art swap at Artocalypse, and Heather crushed it with this idea. We’ve never attempted this digitally before and there’s quite a few details to sort out. But that was the beauty of it. And such a fitting event in an expo about digital identity.

When I started this piece, I was thinking about the different aspects of life and how our digital identity ties into it all. It’s a tough subject. That’s also why it’s so good. You don’t realize how much there is to consider until you are addressing the subject directly. We kind of take for granted that we have this other world in our pockets. We communicate, pay our bills, post selfies (what’s that really about anyway, lol) anywhooooser, where was I, – work, play, navigate, learn, write, make and share all kinds of art and creativity, curate, organize, sometimes we even use it to compute. I know for sure I left out a lot from that list. What I am really getting at, is that the identity we express online, is a form of our very presence and essence. So I thought, what could that look like – artfully.

I thought about the natural side, the spiritual side, and then where does digital fit into that equation. By natural I mean instinctual, earthly, our flesh and blood and the earth, our ID of human nature. By spiritual I mean, the I AM, the heavenly, the mind, the conscience, the ego, the still small voice, the part of us that speaks and reasons and enjoys and laughs and dreams – no matter how you do it.

The words, be natural with your digital identity popped into my mind. A nod to the idea that you shouldn’t try to be something other than who you are. Be you. That’s the approach I’ve always taken, and it’s served me very well. You’re allowed to change and grow. The world, whichever one you’re in, digital, natural, or heavenly, will change as you change, and how you see it, will also change. And that’s just life.

For the art itself, the first thought I had was a garden. I decided on a garden planter for several reasons. One is the nature of this art swap and wanting to open with an idea, not a completed piece. I wanted to leave lots of room for collaboration and inspiration. Second, because of the way it can symbolize digital identity itself. I feel it’s a contained thing within our control, but we treat it like it’s only a wild beast we don’t understand. Which to some degree is not entirely untrue. But we can cultivate it, tame it, we can tend to it, and we can be intentional about what we put into it and what we consume from it. We can choose all the W’s and the H. It’s a reflection and extension of us in every way it can be.

With that in mind, I knew I wanted my contribution to the collaboration to be something resembling wild but manageable. A garden in a planter. Something we can not make ourselves – but having the ability to understand and cultivate beauty and goodness. Because it’s our birth right as human beings to do so.

Using Infinite Painter, the brushes I chose were a mix of very digital in feel, alongside watercolor and even acrylic and oil. I was going for the sharp and straight against the softness of plants and flowers that would grow in this garden planter. Then, I added a hint of an artificial pink along with very earthy tones to further express this dynamic of digital and identity. Something kind of cold and lifeless with something very real and personal.

This is day 1, and I truly can’t wait to see what my swap buddy Aspen will do with it. I don’t have any limitations or suggestions, I 100% want all the artists to use their full inspiration when working on my piece. I’m hoping for their presence in my art.

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