One of the images that I submitted in my portfolio for SAIC was Adaptation. The Balsa wood was a scrap piece. At the time I was studying a variety of aquatic biology specifically in reference to translucency. It was a period of time in my artistic process where the see-through nature of perception held great personal meaning. Jelly fish have a bright bell, through which humans often view a glowing quality as the gut and tentacles beneath the bell and around the mouth create a more saturated, solid color for our viewing. The textural difference between the smooth bell and the oral arms is something I found appealed to me. The bell and tentacles move like a dancer in the water, but the mouth and oral arms are central to the survival of the creature, and what we can visually see most readily. I used layers of watered down gouache to create an echo of water around the jelly and let the lines of the tentacles flow off the piece.
This work still speaks to how I operate as an art therapist and as an artist. I ask that participants look for resonance in the world around them, which is often difficult when participants struggle with isolation. We are not jellyfish, and yet I can connect to this jellyfish. I ask them to consider how adaptation occurs in their bodies when changes happen. The acidity of the ocean is a boon to the jellyfish but is deadly to aquatic mammals. I ask that they use materials they enjoy, they want to work with, they want to explore; hoping that we can draw connections between how small moments of enjoyment or small risks without consequence can help us find temporary shelter in a world that often does not offer them shelter of any sort. I ask that we use whatever materials are around us, that we take fine art materials, expensive equipment into the same consideration we do scraps and found objects. I ask that we find value and make valuable whatever we have around us. This is one small symbolic way to begin to re-imagine the world around us, particularly during times of scarcity or self-loathing. These are questions I pose, they are not answers. No one needs to provide an answer. No one needs to provide the same answer twice. Many questions in life and many things that are asked of us are beyond what we can answer. That too is an important part of creation.