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This week is an important one in my life. It is the first one that I am no longer working as the Creative Director of the Diabetes Hands Foundation, the non-profit organization I co-founded, along with my husband (Manny Hernandez) five years ago. I have been preparing for this change for more than a year, and the last few weeks, have been very emotional and challenging for me in many ways. But, I am ready now, I am letting go...
I am very grateful to now have time to create new work and follow my passion for art making without the tiredness of having two demanding jobs. I am sad and nostalgic to say goodbye to the day-to-day work we had been doing at Diabetes Hands Foundation for the past few years of my life. My work at the foundation deeply changed me, and I hope it also positively touched the lives of many people living with or around diabetes, including my beloved husband, that has LADA (a form of type 1 diabetes). Building this organization by his side has been one of the most important things I have ever done, and I will always treasure what it has taught me. For me, it has been another form of art making, that has, literally on occasion, materialized in the form of community-generated art programs, like Word in Your Hand, No Sugar-Added Poetry, and Diabetes Supplies Art . I am so proud of where we have gone in only few years, and very excited where Diabetes Hands Foundation wants to be within the next few years.
As for my new life, I know in my hearth this is the right time for me to take on this new challenge, and want to let you all know that the in next coming months I will be giving all that I can to make my professional art practice sustainable and worthy. There is a lot I need to learn and explore as an artist, and to do that I need time and peace.
When painting alone in my studio, I find myself in medium that comes naturally to me. Even though I am alone, I am not (alone), and I pour myself into the lines, the colors, the dots, textures, forms and shapes of what I am creating, I hope to succeed in connecting with others, and also hope to find myself again and again in the process. Since I am rather an introverted person, art, is like water to me, a fluid without constraints and with many contradictions, but contradictions are fine in my art world :)
Art-making can be (and sometimes is) an isolating profession, and sometimes a very selfish one too. After working (and loving) the nonprofit world, I want to be aware of the big hairy goal I have as an artist. I want to see my practice evolve to involve new media, from Interactive Installations like the Bubble Wrap Room or In The Forest, to public art projects, and community-generated projects. But I recognize first I need to work on painting as my main priority to have a good inventory and approach new galleries and people. So I will be painting, drawing and printing a lot... I have new series in mind, and want to complete some that I already started. Once I have a winning collection(s), I will look for ways of collaborating and grow my practice to new media and projects that involve our community and impact positively it.
I would like to share a poem by Walt Whitman I have read (and re-read) since I was a child. There is a verse I memorized because it struck me deeply. I don’t think I knew then what it meant, and I probably still I don’t know, but I feel I am closer to exploring its meaning than I have ever been before. If I believe in destiny or the power we all have to follow our dreams, I have to say, I think it is all connected:
First, in Spanish (how I first read it, I am not sure if I have the right one in English, so short :)
HOJAS DE HIERBA
CANTO A MÍ MISMO
(Song of Myself)
Yo mismo me celebro y a mí mismo me canto; Y mis pretensiones serán las tuyas, Pues que cada átomo mío también te pertenece.
Vago y a mi alma la incito; Vago y holgazaneo a mi antojo, contemplando la brizna
de hierba estival.
Mi lengua, cada átomo de mi sangre, formados de este suelo, de este aire,
Nacido aquí de padres, nacidos aquí de padres también aquí nacidos,
Yo, ahora de treinta y siete años de edad, en perfecta salud, comienzo,
Esperando no cesar más hasta la muerte. Credos y escuelas a la expectativa, Retirándome por un momento, teniendo suficiente de lo
que ellos son, pero sin olvidarlos nunca, Yo ofrezco abrigo para el bien o para el mal, Yo dejo hablar a todos a la ventura, La naturaleza desenfrenada con la energía original.
Now, in english:
LEAVES OF GRASS
SONG OF MYSELF
(Canto a mí Mismo)
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
My tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their
parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.
Nature without check with original energy.
.................... .................... ....
So, I am 35, not 37. Not so sure of my perfect health, but with the plans to reclaim it... Now, I am not planning to “loafe” because there is a lot to do :)
Wish me luck! Thank you again,