artist profile – BJ Long!

artist profile – BJ Long!

I have been waiting for eons to do this Artist profile… without wanting to sound patronising – I am so very proud of this wonderfully creative multi disciplined artist and the journey she has been on – I can still remember the first time I met her – she was so raw and passionate and sightly kooky – I just knew she and I were destined for a truly great friendship…little did I know just how great ….
BJ has been an actor since the age of 7 – she went on to study drama a NIDA, and I suspect her early life was one of great imagination and escapism…. Im going to talk about BJ then follow on with her own words as she tells the story so well …
But firstly, let me describe her. Tall, striking, beautiful (inside and out), sometimes gangly, sometimes regal – my first impression of BJ was one of awe – but very quickly the first thing that really struck me was her humility and her total and complete insane sense of humour. I first thought her humility may have masked a lack of confidence (which every artist suffers from by the way) and there may be an element of truth there – but she is incredibly humble. And that as a virtue is very hard to come by these days …. She is an infinitely creative being – her first experience with me was in a collage workshop – and like me, collage seemed to open a portal into another world for BJ…. I understand this – cutting and paper and gluing it could actually be the answer to the worlds problems. She took off like a bird – like a phoenix rising from the ashes – she blossomed – always however with her trademark 1/3 of the way in melt down…. She loses her way (or so she thinks) and then pulls a visual story out of her imagination and brings it to life on the canvas with a raw, naive colourful expression. BJ and I envisioned the Creative Activists and established it as a not for profit umbrella to create diverse events and exhibitions – our motto was bloom where you are planted… it was about supporting artists and giving back to the community or causes on need. We dreamt up and created two huge 30 artist events in Brisbane and raised a lot of money for very worthy causes… it nearly killed us such was our passion and commitment before we realised what we really wanted to do was to make art – not create an empire and be bogged down with administration…. The challenge of the creative person is that they are gifted with so many ideas – the fuel for their creative projects is never exhausted – only the body lets us down as we realise we are not invincible!
I have been very proud of BJ’s journey – not only as an artist, but as a woman, a writer, a performer and a friend. I love her immensely as much for what she has bought to my life.
And how in her own words as no-one should tell BJ’s story other than her…..
“A little over Six Years ago I started with Shelley in Sherwood and she made me feel like a creative genius. I tried out a mixed media class and a little intuitive bell rang… I was hooked…I followed Shelley like a faithful dog to The Creatology Studio. (how could you not she brings out the best in everyone around her) I love Mixed Media- Collage ,Paint and crayons, watercolours and doodling pens but never just paint I get bored as batshit with just paint… there is an internal unrest until I tear up self created designs , glue impasto gel on my fingers and slap it all together like some random mosaic puzzle like thingy! Im always wanting to add more depth and collage like layering….often I have quite verbal epiphanies….I love Buddha though I think Im a little irreverent I once did a painting called ‘Buddhas Babe’ which was Buddha in a pink Bikini, I also love painting Sacred Women and their Mythological story . At the moment I am creating the Maiden ,Mother and The Crone works they appear in many cultures and weave the thread of destiny through the fabric of existence for each brand new soul coming into the world. I have Golden thread twining through each piece.
I have worked as an Actor, Speaker Mentor and Creative Activist. My favourite quote is from Martha Graham, “No artist is pleased. There is only queer divine, dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than others”.
My taste in art is eclectic and here a few influences and faves…I love primitive wall art, the power of Mandalas, Frida Kahlo, Chagall, Gaugain, DaVinci, the sacred work of the Pre Raphaelites’ and the ginormous paintings of doodle/zentangle artists….I also love brightly coloured visionary Chilean paintings you know the ones that look like the artist has had a drink of some Shamans ayahuasca and gone on a trip of a lifetime. I am also partial to a great still life …I am also interested in Women Visionary Artists like Kusama from Japan and Solange Knopf from Sweden but I also like the buxom sleazy burlesque characters by Australian artist Wendy Sharpe…I also adore art on deerskin drums. I believe my love of art is steeped in my love of the theatre. Yoga and its teachings influence my work, as well as honouring the Sacred Feminine, mythological storytelling with metaphor and symbolism
….Aaaaaaaart for me is not just the picture …it represents metaphor, story, poetry , spoken word, song, sensuality, music , emotion and a way of setting intention, it is a type of meditation and prayer it has also helped me to process parts of my self that are not always easily communicated.
This year I am doing my 3rd exhibition this time with two other women called Dreaming into Being…as I started this process which involved a lot of research I was also inspired to write a women’s event called “I am a Circle” which will be performed later this year for women only set in Sacred Circle…my creativity is not linear…
Creative process energetically influences every aspect of my life and art is now the starting point … I am so fortunate to be able access that part of myself and have the freedom to do so…
My art community is very important to me I love my fellow artists at The Creatology Studio many of us have forged deep and meaningful friendships over a long time often coming from different cultures and backgrounds and painting styles. However the space is always generously open for new people. We have held space for each other in times of pain and can be totally irreverent with each other …most importantly there seems to lay a deep trust and care for each other….
And we all adore our Shelley. She has given us all so much… (thank you xx)
Editors note: Please come along to the Percolator Gallery for BJ’s exhibition “Dreaming into Being” April 5-9 = Opening night is 8th of April 2016.
Website or facebook URL:

https://www.facebook.com/Buddha-Birds-and-Babes-by-BJ-112150918844258/?ref=ts&fref=ts
https://www.facebook.com/events/1383603865294457/

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