My Delusional Childhood in the 80s

Image to the left: This is How I Wanted to Dress in the 80s.  Image to the right: But, This is How I Really Dressed in the 80s acrylic on canvas 24"x36" (2 panel) ©2011

Image to the left: This is How I Wanted to Dress in the 80s.
Image to the right: But, This is How I Really Dressed in the 80s
acrylic on canvas 24″x36″ (2 panel) ©2011- Not for Sale

In the beginning, I thought I was a typical child. I was full of hopes and dreams and I truly felt invincible. And then life happened…

Come to find out, I was an awkward child to say the least. I was taller & skinnier than the average bear for most of my younger years and my thick glasses did not help my cause either. Buying clothes and shoes was always an adventure and it required much compromise on my part & I often had to resort to wearing boys clothing & boys shoes.  I had lots of trouble trying to convince adults that I was not older than I appeared and I would often hear comments like “They shouldn’t let her do this Easter egg hunt with the little ones, it’s just not fair to the other children.” or “Aren’t you too old to be trick or treating?” And who can forget the kids who felt the need to constantly be pointing out what they thought were my “flaws” with colorful imagery & loving phrases like “hey Olive Oil!” “Nice coke bottle glasses!” “Long Legged Grasshopper!” “Where did you get your clown shoes!?” etc., etc., etc.

I experienced a lot of unsolicited ridicule for stuff I had no control over.  It definitely took it’s toll. It caused low self esteem issues, I felt undervalued & that I would never be “good enough”, whatever that meant? This teasing led me to avoid eye contact, I developed a serious problem with slouching so I wouldn’t appear taller than what I was, and I preferred to be a wallflower than be recognized or pointed out along with many, many, many, other repercussions…

But, somewhere along the way I realized, there wasn’t anything wrong with me, I started to embrace my quirks, feel blessed that I could reach stuff on the top shelf without a ladder or chair; grateful that with the advancement of technology I was able to wear comfortable contact lenses; overjoyed with the fact that I could walk long distances with my larger than normal feet; content in knowing that my happiness & self worth belonged to me because regardless of what anyone thought: I was, I am, and I will always be “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) and so is everyone else on this planet. We all have value and worth and it breaks my heart when I hear someone devaluing or dismissing someone else because they are not “hot” or physically “attractive.” It’s amazing that so much more value is put on the beauty of the superficial as opposed to the beauty of the inner heart. A dark heart full of much judgement, ridicule, and hate is way less attractive to me than a few extra pounds, a blemish, crooked tooth, birthmark, or whatever.

When I completed the painting above, it was done with a desire to show that regardless of which type of child I was, a high fashioned trendsetter or a tall quirky kid,  that both versions of me should of been acceptable and not met with unrelenting ridicule by some of my peers. Beauty comes in all different shapes and sizes, but more importantly, it comes from within. Our differences should be embraced and celebrated so that we can be allowed to grow up in a world that empowers us all to be the best person we can be. So smile, life is good, you are beautiful, and never forget to take a deep breath and remember that you are all fearfully & wonderfully made 🙂

 

-Y

NOTE: in Sept. 2019, I got diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome. Looking back at many of my childhood stories and paintings, I realize how this genetic disorder personally impacted the narrative of my life. I’m now hoping to raise awareness of this disorder through my art, stories, and through my #MoosieContemplations instagram campaign.

If you feel inclined, please share theses stories and/or donate to my fundraising page for the upcoming #WalkForVictory on 12/7/2019 with the Marfan Foundation.

 

One Spark meets #IMJAX

So, there’s this little event coming to Jacksonville known as One Spark. Chances are you might of heard about it, and if you haven’t then you may want to consider moving out of your cave because you might just miss out on one of the biggest things to hit Jacksonville. In a nutshell, it’s a festival that invites and encourages entrepreneurs, creators, and innovators alike to showcase their ideas to the masses to connect with a $250,000 crowd-fund plus additional capital investments and individual contributions in the hopes of making their ideas become realities.

And just so you all know, I am officially a One Spark Creator and will be showcasing my idea at the Hemming Plaza Skyway Station. You may be asking yourself, “What is your idea, Yvonne?” In which, I will graciously respond to you, “That is a fantastic question, and thank you for asking. As an extension of my Operation: Bring Art to the People project, without further ado, I present to you: #IMJAX.”

Poster 8x10

#IMJAX is a public/social art project that focuses on & celebrates the people who make up Jacksonville. Everyone who lives in northeast Florida can say with confidence “I Am Jacksonville.”

As everyone knows, it’s everyday people who make up a great city and this is an opportunity to highlight those people. My project will entail photographing people throughout our region, taking those photos & transforming them into life size silhouettes, those silhouettes will then be mounted throughout the walls of downtown. Each silhouette figure will have a QR code that when scanned, takes you to a small bio for that specific person. We often complain about how vacant and lonely our downtown is after 5 pm & on weekends, but picture hundreds of these silhouettes covering the walls of various downtown businesses and even throughout the abandoned buildings. With the figures in place, it will give the feel of a busy bustling downtown. In essence, it’ll be a precursor of what our downtown will begin to look like as we continue to grow. With hundreds to thousands of people from all walks of life directly connected to this project, the word of mouth buzz will be infectious, the excitement of seeing yourself in a piece of public art will drive people to bring themselves, friends & family to our urban core. It will re-engage that feeling of pride we had as children when we got to be part of something bigger than us.This project can also be extended to include these figures scattered randomly throughout the city that when scanned, they give an informative glimpse into the full scale project housed in our downtown along with that particular figure’s bio. This project can also incorporate a large scale interactive mural in the center of downtown that will elaborate and give a more in depth illustration of the vision behind the project. It will encourage people from all walks of life to participate, along with local heroes, public officials, and even our beloved pets. Due to the nature of the figures being faceless with little identifying characteristics, it’ll help to spread the message loud and clear that we are ALL important and vital to our city and that individually we can say with confidence: I M JAX 🙂

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OPERATION: Bring Art to the People- the Donna Marathon 26.2 Edition

So last year, my 17 year old athletic younger sister told me that she was going to start training for the Donna Marathon in February 2013. At the time, it seemed so far away, but before I knew it, the big day had arrived.

As her big sister, I did what any supportive non-athletic artistic person would do: I made her this awesome poster…

The Dingo Loves The Donna Poster :)

The Dingo Loves The Donna Poster 🙂

As you can see, the Jax Dingo made an appearance, sporting pink, wearing a ribbon, & covered in glitter to show his love and support for breast cancer awareness and my little sister.

So with poster in hand, we made it out the door before the crack of dawn, into the freezing cold temperatures, to witness history in the making. But to our surprise, we hit some pretty massive traffic in Ponte Vedra. The clock was ticking, my sister was getting very impatient and after what seemed an eternity, she yelled as she bolted out of the car, “I didn’t train for months and pay all that money for nothing!” She ran 2 miles just to get to the starting line. She made it just in time.

Then the race had began. As she commenced her 26.2 mile journey, my mom and I hopped a shuttle and proceeded to the 10 mile mark. We anxiously awaited my sister as we cheered on random runners, as we people watched,  as we sang, as we danced, as we jumped up and down to keep ourselves warm, and as we entertained ourselves, then we finally saw her…

Lil' sis at mile 10 :)

Lil’ sis at mile 10 🙂

Usually, a very serious runner, her face lit up when she saw us (and the fabulous poster of course.) We yelled & cheered “WAY TO GO ANGIE!!!” as she flew by. We were so proud, but now we had to wait for her to loop back around so I did what I do best when left to my own vices: I shared some free art 🙂

Shared some art love at Sun Dog Steak & Seafood 207 Atlantic Blvd.

Shared some art love at Sun Dog Steak & Seafood 207 Atlantic Blvd.

Random bench on Atlantic Blvd in Neptune Beach.

Random bench on Atlantic Blvd in Neptune Beach.

Shared some art love at Sun Dog Steak & Seafood.

Shared some art love at Sun Dog Steak & Seafood.

Then, it was back to the race and guess who we saw at mile 17 looking as fabulous as ever? 🙂

My lil' sis at mile 17.

My lil’ sis at mile 17.

That’s right, my little sister shining as bright as the sun! Now it was time to make our way to the finish line so we hopped on another shuttle and made our way.

My lil' sis crossing the finish line of her first marathon!

My lil’ sis crossing the finish line of her first marathon!

We couldn’t of been more proud of her as she crossed the finish line with a time of 04:29:31. Such a huge accomplishment for such a young person. It really shows that if you set a goal and work hard, you can accomplish almost anything! Or at the very least, get an awesome Dingo Love poster made in your honor 😉

GO ANGIE! YOU ROCK!

photo 2

#ILOVEJAX … Part 2

As many of you already know: I love Jacksonville! I spend much time and energy promoting our fabulous city (for free I might add) through my website, facebook, instagram, face to face interactions with everyday folks and I even make art about our fabulous city too (check out the Dingo Loves Jax series). It seems that a while ago, Jacksonville had some pretty major problems and has since been marked by many of it’s locals as a horrible & dangerous city lacking in any arts & culture and with nothing to do. Which is so far from the truth!

I will agree, we still have several issues that need to be addressed such as: the increased violence, murders, and drug crimes that run rampant in many parts of our city making us one of the worst in the state; the ongoing issue between the need for separation between church and state at our city council level; and then there is the desperate need for better & safer pedestrian/cycling infrastructure throughout our city. This is just to name a few.

But I digress, it’s important that as a community we continue to voice our opinions and concerns, while still embracing and celebrating and not forgetting all that is awesome and good about our city. Here are just some of my latest adventures for you to continue to live vicariously through or get up and get in on the fun:

JAX 2025 is a community owned and driven initiative to envision and develop Jacksonville into the city it wants to be by 2025. Anyone can join in the conversations and meetings so be sure to check out their website, just click the the pic. I’ve been to two of their meetings already and the flow of ideas is wonderful. Definitely get in on this or pass along to a friend.

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On January 31st, One Spark held their 2nd town hall meeting at the Florida Theatrer It was so exciting to hear all the great and wonderful creative spirits that live and breathe right here in our very own city. If you don't know what One Spark is, click the link above to get in the know and get involved.

On January 31st, One Spark held their 2nd town hall meeting at the Florida Theater It was so exciting to hear all the great and wonderful creative spirits that live and breathe right here in our very own city. If you don’t know what One Spark is, click the pic above to get in the know and get involved.

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My friend and one of Jacksonville's most prolific artists, Mr. Overstreet Ducasse, did a wonderful One on One artist talk at the Ritz Museum on Jan 22nd. It's always great to hear what goes on inside the mind of an artist. To see and learn more about Overstreet, click the pic and visit his facebook page.

My friend and one of Jacksonville’s most prolific artists, Mr. Overstreet Ducasse, did a wonderful One on One artist talk at the Ritz Museum on Jan 22nd. It’s always great to hear what goes on inside the mind of an artist. To see and learn more about Overstreet, click the pic and visit his facebook page.

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Photo Jax 2013 was a 4 day event (Jan 24-27) spread across 5 venues, celebrating everything that is photography. Part of the event, which is my favorite, was the Instagram Community Response Projection (#PhotoJAX500) which allows everyday Instagram addicts like myself to showcase our goods. I had about 5 of my images selected and projected in front of MoCA during the event along with 495 other lucky participants that got selected. Pictured above, is none other than Gambit (aka the Jacksonville Dingo). Click the pic to find out more about PHOTOJAX :)

Photo Jax 2013 was a 4 day event (Jan 24-27) spread across 5 venues, celebrating everything that is photography. Part of the event, which is my favorite, was the Instagram Community Response Projection (#PhotoJAX500) which allows everyday Instagram addicts like myself to showcase our goods. I had about 5 of my images selected and projected in front of MoCA during the event along with 495 other lucky photos that got selected. Pictured above, is none other than the Jax Dingo (aka Gambit). Click the pic to find out more about PHOTOJAX 🙂

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Earlier in January, a very famous local dingo (aka Gambit) was spotted at the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens. This is one of Jacksonville's best kept little secrets. With a beautiful lake right smack in the middle of it and tons of beautiful trails all around, and as an added bonus it's totally dog friendly. Absolutely worth checking out. Click the pic for their website.

Earlier in January, a very famous local dingo (aka Gambit) was spotted at the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens. This is one of Jacksonville’s best kept little secrets. It has a beautiful lake right smack in the middle of it, tons of beautiful trails all around, and as an added bonus it’s totally dog friendly, too. You  absolutely want to check it out. Click the pic for their website.

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A few weeks ago I visited Big Talbot Island and got lost in the beauty that is Boneyard Beach. Not only are there hiking & bike trails around the area but this beach is an absolute gem! Definitely worth the drive, hike, and climb to get to it. Click the pic for a link to their website.

Then there is Big Talbot Island. I got lost in the beauty that is Boneyard Beach. Not only are there hiking & bike trails around the area but this beach is an absolute gem! Definitely worth the drive, hike, and climb to get to it. Click the pic for a link to their website.

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And last but not least, Jacksonville's spectacular sunsets! This one was caught on A1A near Hannah Park.

And last but not least, Jacksonville’s spectacular sunsets! This one was caught on A1A near Hannah Park.

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Not included but also part of my latest adventures in Jacksonville include but are not limited to Hanna Park, a Jacksonville Giants basketball game (which btw is a WINNING team 22-1), & a trip to The Museum of Science & History.

*If you would like to follow my adventures on a daily basis, be sure to follow me on instagram or facebook.