It’s the end of the year and it’s been a couple of months since I’ve dropped in. I forgot to mention that from July to November of this year, I took a nice little hiatus from the workforce but work itself did not stop entirely. There was still infinite writing to be done. Still, it was a nice break from legal work that I never really wanted to do (or maybe got duped into doing at the tender age of 23 and have regretted ever since).
During the 4 months, I traveled to Georgia (AKA Sakartvelo, Russia’s neighbor) to attend a summer poetry workshop after being awarded a fellowship placement, befriended some amazing poets, wrote and read poetry, worked on my essay collection, hung out or caught up or (re)acquainted myself with girlfriends (here’s particularly looking at you fellow writers/artists: Eliza Gano, Stephanie Kreuz, Trinidad Escobar, Fides Enriquez, Jean Vengua, Adrienne Oliver, Lynsie Falco, Lyn Pacificar, and Panji Supapo, as well as those epic cyber/phone dates with Jen Palmares Meadows and Monica Macansantos), spent ample time with family in LA and Trinity, performed a couple of poetry and short story readings, caught up on sleep, a lot of sleep, and reorganized the home (particularly the art on the walls).
I don’t write to brag about this nice hiatus, but more so to remind those who can, to give oneself time to take a break. After working long hours at a law firm (sometimes until midnight and then 3 AM, only to face the day and be up at 7 AM for work again), it became necessary to demand a breath. For me, that took shape in a 4-month break to recuperate mentally and emotionally.
During my hiatus, a very dear friend, Stephanie Kreuz, who had gone through her own hiatus from the workforce in the prior year, had offered to do a painting for me. Only recently have I fallen in love with Steph’s paintings as I didn’t even know she painted when I first met her in 2010, back when we were MFA Fiction students at Mills College. Since then, Steph has emerged as a stunning abstract artist whose paintings distantly echo Impressionist and post-Impressionist painters such as Monet and Van Gogh, and at times the Expressionist Rothko, but bubblier, sensual, and cellular. Her style definitely her own.
As we got to talking about what my next painting would look like, I gave her a thought, “Not a quote but a thought for the postmodern artist and the next commissioned art piece: What and how does life look like when there are no obligations, restrictions, deadlines, brainwashed beliefs once so deeply ingrained, and expectations by people closest to you but don’t understand you? What if that were ALL GONE? Completely wiped away. What and how does that life look like? Beautiful, frightening, freeing, naked, vulnerable, powerful, exciting, shitty, frustrating, crazy, peaceful, terrifying, exhilarating, what, what? What does that kind of life look like?”
From that thought I sent her in August, Steph ran with it and painted my piece until December. She ultimately titled it, “Into the Deep with Reckless Abandon,” capturing what those months of hiatus felt like. It’s not an easy thing to do: capturing essence, but she did, so I share it with you here, serving as a reminder that we all need to dive into the deep with reckless abandon every once in a while if we are to emerge again – rejuvenated, whole, free.
MORE ABOUT THE ARTIST
Stephanie Kreuz grew up in Maryland and moved West in 2010 to pursue an MFA at Mills College. She graduated with a focus in Fiction and went on to work in educational publishing for several years. A creative at heart, she never stops thinking about her next project. She started Kreuzberg Design in 2015 as an outlet for exploring her artistic interests outside of her career. In 2017, she became a videographer and her hands went on to be featured in over 50 DIY videos. When she discovered that wasn’t her path, she resigned and took several months off before landing a fulfilling role in e-commerce.
Since her sabbatical, she’s nurtured her creative side and returned to mediums she had left behind including photography, jewelry making, and painting, among many others. Her latest focus is abstract art and she’s spent the last year defining her style. An avid photographer for over 12 years, she uses her keen eye in composition to lay the ground work for her art, creating shapes and forms that draw the eye across the canvas. Her inspiration often comes from shapes in nature including flowers, clouds, and the ocean. In particular, she’s drawn to complementary colors and tends to work with a limited palette.
When she’s not making art, she spends her time antiquing and watching Gilmore Girls reruns. She lives in Oakland, CA with 23 plants.