.: Enchanted Forest Gathering :.

Ishka Lha Art @ Branhces Mobile Gallery

Enchanted Forest this year was pretty phenomenal. I am really seeing it mature into its own. And as with any festival, your experience is really what you make of it. I didn’t go near the electronic music stage to dance once the entire weekend, but you could find me in the gallery, or on the live music stage, playing with my little munchkin somewhere, or by the river in small community gatherings and ceremony. For me, this year nourished my creative spirit in many many ways beyond words. I exhibited art at the Branches Mobile Gallery again, AND played music from 4am til dawn every night on the main live music stage. I was very nocturnal with my beloved, as you can imagine!

Aiza came with us, and luckily we had grandma AND a nanny to help us out with her to make sure she was taken care of and having fun while me and papa rocked out. We slept most of the day til 3pm or so, to make sure we were well rested for our evening affairs. I brought out a large print of my newest painting to share with the community, which had many clusters of people gathered round it throughout the weekend in awe and wonder. I worked the gallery 8pm-midnight two nights, and felt so utterly nourished by my interactions with the festival goers and their experience with my art. One of my favorite things to do is hang out in there, and when I find anyone who seems to be really engaged with a piece I’ve created, I strike up a conversation. Sometimes these conversations are about technique, sometimes about healing and deeply personal shares about how my art is affecting their life in a really positive and impactful way.

One instance that really struck my memory was from Saturday night. I walked out the gallery to see several people gathered around my newest painting in progress, a piece I had out by all the live painters. One of those people turned out to be an old acquaintance of mine whom I hadn’t seen for a couple years. She shared how she just couldn’t take her eyes off my piece, and it really grabbed her from the crowd. She shared all kinds of details from her life with me, and how this painting was calling her to action to live her truest passion. As we sat there, immersed in deep conversation, another woman I recently met walked out the gallery with a smile to say, “Ah, hello Ishka– I had to go in there again to get some darshan from your painting, thank you for that.” She joined our conversation, and the three of us sat in a really sweet sister circle, speaking on love and living in community housing, and how we can continue to grow and change, and relinquish old parts of ourselves that just don’t work anymore. Many topics worth looking at.

A couple moments later, a man walked out with a print of my new painting. I nodded at him from our circle and said, “Ah, I see you’ve found a good piece there! I painted that.” He sat down with us and went on to say it was his favorite painting in the whole show and that the one I was working on outside was his other all time favorite, and he was going to get a print of it as soon as it was finished. He is buying these art pieces for his niece and nephew. He asked me if I grew up with art on the walls, and I said yes, my father’s actually. He went on to say, “Well then, so you know what it’s like to grow up with certain images that affected you since conception, images that you carry with you your whole life, ones that you have every shape and line memorized and whose stories shall never be forgotten. These works of art you are doing are the works of art I wish to have the children in my family grow up with, so that they carry them in their heart wherever they go.”

I had never really thought about the art I grew up with in that way until he asked me that question.

And, that whole concept he presented brings me to tears just thinking about all the beauty of it.

Art can have such a profound impact on a person.

These festivals are essential for us visual artists to have the opportunity to engage with MANY people about our art. As any in a field where you are generally hermiting a bit in your own little studio world, these big outings with the works we create in that little world are absolutely essential to our creative spirit. Art needs people, otherwise it is meaningless. People need ART, otherwise they are starving for inspiration, and perish.

It’s an ecosystem.

If you make art, share it– with anyone. Your mom. Your boyfriend. Your class. A gallery. A festival. The internet.

Get it out there!

It’s important.

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