Original Art



i grew up in a small town (population 913) in southern ohio, got married at 18 and moved to an old farm house in a beautiful, green valley accentuated by the east fork of brush creek, a meandering tributary of the ohio river. it is here, on this farm in the valley, that i learned how to plant half-runner green beans, sweet corn, and old dutch cabbage. i learned how to quilt and weave melon baskets. i learned how to pick wild blackberries and make a fine blackberry pie. i learned how to be a mom to three wise and beautiful children. i guess you could say i was living the creative life even then, long before i started making art.

pre-1978, i thought i was pretty open minded. actually i thought i was very open minded, until someone came along and unmasked my hidden socialized beliefs and prejudices and opened up a new world of possiblity. this someone i'm referring to is my daughter katie. when she was diagnosed with down syndrome it was like a wake up call. her presence in my life (and in the lives of others) has acted much like a light illuminating the promise of humanity and interconnectedness and, at the same time, illuminating the dark, forgotten corners of modern life, the status quo. since her arrival, she has kept turning the light on. its as if we're moving from room to room in a huge, old mansion, and she's flipping the light switch again, revealing even more insights and questions.

the funny thing or not so funny thing is that before she came along, i didn't know i was in the dark. i suppose that is that is the true nature of prejudice and ignorance. could it be that prejudice and ignorance are false beliefs caused by underexposure to the light of relationships?

speaking of revelations and insights made visible in new light, once upon a time, i believed that words were the only way to discover meaning, to express ideas or to reflect on experiences....... and then, just in time, someone came along and invited me to discover creative forms of expression, in particular creative forms that resonate.

resonate....?," i puzzled, "what the hell does that mean?" after a bit of research i learned that resonance had something to do with vibration or maybe sensations - like when a chord is struck or maybe resonance happens when the planets align. I really didn't know until I experienced it for myself. Now, i accept the fact that there's really no good way to explain it in words (because words are not the be all and end all of human expression) except to say, no shout exuberantly from this farm in the valley that i experience resonance when i create art.

it seems that most, if not all of my art originates from personal experiences and that most involves a question. not just any question, mind you, but a burning question, the kind that has few if any easy answers. what sort of question you ask? well... questions like what is community? what's love got to do with it? what's holding the status quo in place even though people are suffering and alone? what happens in relationship? how might our presence and participation transform our thinking? or simply, what is the meaning of this experience?

along with visual art, i also engage in the art of advocacy, the art of presenting, the art of teaching and the art of facilitating action learning groups, conversations and actions dedicated to creating communities, schools, organizations, and workplaces that embrace all citizens, including those whose lives are diminished because of continued prejudices.

my formal education includes a bachelor's degree in organizational management from wilberforce university and a most treasured graduate degree in adult education from antioch university mcgregor in yellow springs, ohio.

i am still married to the same guy i wed at age 18. gary is a farmer, carpentry instructor and an all round decent human being. we have three grown children - josh, katie, and megan, plus a daughter-in-law mindy and a new granddaughter bella - all bringers of light (switch flippers) in their own unique way.




All images Copyright ©2008 Candee Basford. All rights Reserved.