India Cruse Griffin
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Spiritual Connections

In my opinion, all that we experience in life and all that we prepare for is and has always been right there in front of us, in plain sight, from the day we are born. Soulful connection is one of those experiences in life that we all can relate too. We come to it naturally from different elevations, but we all have it inside of us. Some may want to ignore the connection that ultimately looks over our everyday decisions, but honestly, you absolutely cannot. For me, missing out on the small things, the everyday things that give me pleasure could be devastating: The hum of a bird, the falling rain, waves rolling across the water. I cannot even imagine living without that sort of feeling way down deep in your soul that lets you know something is or isn’t right: you simply just know that you need it. 

My personal inspiration comes from the everyday things that make and keep me happy, family, faith, music, and art. I do not take for granted the spiritual connection I have to art. It is not short-lived or simply temporary fulfilment, it is my life’s journey, it has been right in front of me all this time, and shows up in many forms.
A spiritual connection can be found in all areas of the arts. The rhythms of music that naturally cascade through the song, bring about the same feelings when heard, as it does in the rhythm of physical works of art. The musician and the composer work together to give the ultimate hearing experience for a symphony or music for pop culture. Art is delivered in the exact same way. The artist orchestrates their artwork, mixing paints and colors to please the eye. Subjects that draw you closer and potentially make you emotionally a part of the art.

The curator of the exhibition brings the viewing experience to a museum using the inspiration they receive from the artwork. Senses are enhanced by the lighting, color of the walls and arrangement of the artwork. The special way in which it is presented takes lots of thought on the part of the artist and curator. All involved make sure every individual has the opportunity to interact with the art. The rooms are generally kept quiet enough to hear a pin drop, to give the viewer a calm experience and intimate time alone with the art. This allows for the personal connection to happen and begins the spiritual ability to connect with the art.

Given the opportunity to experience art at this level promotes creativity and thought through the inspirational experience itself. All of this furthers the soul-provoking relationship to art. Museums have been known to align both music and art together to create a whole different art experience. The rhythms of the two dancing together, bring different perspectives to how you see, feel and hear the work.

I do not  know how many times I have taken my own sketchbook to a museum. Backpack propped up steadying my sketchbook in place. Sitting on the floor legs crossed, with an intent look on my face, to gather all that I could from the work. Other interested budding artists sketch away blending in and looking like a piece of art themselves. Looking at every detail, exploring the small curve of a back or the sharp edge of a collage. 
The art is there to inspire us and give us pure joy and entertainment. 

So much is to be obtained from simply observing a piece of art. I know from experience as you can guess I have seen several exhibitions over the years. I personally had and was lucky enough to view one of my favorite artists, Romare Beardon before the pandemic shut everything down.
“These are the days”… 
  We were able to view the exhibition in a “first showing” for Black History Month last year. Something Over Something Else: Romare Bearden’s Profile Series at the Cincinnati Museum of Art. It was exhilarating and awesome to see his journey through art. I found that our journeys, although in different time periods, mirrored each other in so many ways. I have no real intention to compare our works, but I do find his work an inspiration to me. Our family life and culture inspire works, several artists works, and the use of collage does as well. We can be inspired by anything at any time that moves us. 
The use of large hands and small heads is a technique I use from studying many artists. It tends to provoke space in my work to bring the viewer closer into it, so the viewer can be a participant in the game of hopscotch or jump rope and understand the feelings I am trying to express.  Distorting the eyes and face plays a huge part of the soulfulness and connection most artists want to create in their work. The spirit of connection sweeps me away…

Painting for me is pure uninterrupted joy inspired by so many things. It is here on my canvas the realization of my inspirations happen, and that the happiness and calm I seek is found in my art. It comes from life: everyday living, the hard stuff, the good stuff, peace and no peace. I draw from experiences that run in and out of my life. Colors come before my eyes and match with a feeling I’m having or seeking. The emotions of the day have a picture. Everything in my life is represented in my mind as a color or object, then I transform myself. Those pictures in my mind become art. 

For me, true creativity, and spiritual connection lies in the things that push us, test our spirits, and question our soul. The hard stuff, the bitter stuff, the good stuff, stuff to work for. Nothing comes easy and no one wants to encounter it alone. Art can be a lonely process that really pulls at your soul as it does every time I create my art. I just get inspired and follow it. 

I encourage you to not only to be inspired by what I see in my work, but be inspired by what you see. What inspires you and your experiences?  
Spiritual Connections and inspirations go hand in hand. They inspire us and guide us to feel something brand new. Embrace those feelings, you learn from them.

Be well my friends
Always India

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