Hello, hi, heyyy. I know it's been a while. I first want to say thank you for being here. You could have been anywhere in the world, but you're here with me, I appreciate that (Jay-Z voice). Welcome to my new subscribers (it's a lot of y'all too, heyyy). Welcome, welcome.

So let's play catch up:

I have spent the last several months working, but most importantly self-sabotaging (I wish I was kidding). As I struggle with feelings of worthiness, balancing my time, and better understanding my art and purpose, I truly have been scared to release the 7th Artletter. Aside from this fear, I have been dealing with the hardest thing I think I will ever go through, watching my mother, my mommy, fight for her life during this battle with cancer. I have found myself overworking, spreading myself thin in my art and work, avoiding this terrible reality of possibly losing the most important person in my life, my best friend, my pillar of strength, my mother. 

I have been grieving. I have been struggling to find the balance between my family, my career, my art, my friends, and just surviving for real. But as I have said in previous Artletters I always find myself turning to art in my time of pain and confusion. Art has and continues to save my life, my soul, my spirit. It has been the only consistent thing that I can turn to, where I know it will wipe my tears and hold me in my most vulnerable moments.

I know what artists to connect with when I feel hopeless, (Christo + Jeanne-Claude, Senga Nengudi, Carrie Mae Weems, Ana Mendieta, Charles White, Faith Ringgold, just to name a few). I know where I need to go when I'm crying uncontrollably and I can't see past the day (the museum). I know when it's time to shut everyone out and turn inward to myself to create and make the work that reflects those moments of pain and grief - even when I don't want to. These things give me a moment to breathe and simply be present.

I know I say this a lot, maybe too much, but I love art and I love the true healing power it has on the mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional selves. These Artletters offer a space for reflection and healing for me. It forces me to sit down and really think about what I've been making and creating and what it is that I want to share with my community. 

As I find new ways to create and share my art resources (shows to see, art in review, curated by ciarra, art books + films, this Artletter!) and as new opportunities come my way (t.v. shows buying my work, selling some big art pieces, curating future shows, photographing my inspirations, hosting art talks) I am learning how much I can give of myself and when I need to take a step back.

I hope you are present (and on a computer) when you engage with my art and Artletter. I hope you know I really do everything I do out of love and the betterment of our people and our communities. Because we deserve to know about art and access its healing powers - access and healing we have been denied for so long because of our gender and race. We have to break down these gates and we have to call out those gatekeepers. As artists, our alliance is with the people, not the institutions. And that is something I have had to remind myself time and time again. My alliance is with y'all. Forever.

I hope that my visible healing process offers you space to heal as well. And like always, I hope you find the power in art - seeing it, talking about it, making it, being it, all dat.

In the words of George Condo, "Art is a truthful experience."

And in the words of Ana Mendieta, "My art is the way I re-establish the bonds that unite me to the universe."

Art shows me who I really am and reminds me of my purpose on Mother Earth. Thank you for supporting me through my process. Y'all really have been holding me down, I appreciate that. 

With love always, 

Ciarra K. Walters 

p.s. I started a Patreon (finally). See details below.

I sustain this Artletter entirely from donations. Please consider supporting with your dollars.  
(you can also send a one-time donation. See details below).

Since December of 2020, I have been developing and performing my newest body of work, Temporary Sculptures. I was inspired by Eva Hesse's documentary, learning about her use of everyday materials in her sculptures - materials that weren't meant to last through time. It was that temporariness that struck me.

For weeks I envisioned myself wrapped in wire. For several months, I tied, wrapped, squeezed, and bent a thick metal wire around my body. I had this desire to be bounded and restricted. Each time I performed I didn't understand why I was doing it, but it felt right and felt like something I needed to do.

As time has gone by and I have let this piece of work live - exist - and as life has pulled me back to Maryland, to support my mother as she battles this awful, awful disease, cancer, and as I crave to rewrap myself in this wire and live in it during this time of stress and grief, I have come to realize the meaning of this series in parts... 

Read + see more of Temporary Sculptures here

You already know I recorded my performance, Temporary Sculptures. The actual video is 14 minutes long, but I uploaded a preview (the beginning of the performance).
Watch me struggle with the wire

Desert X is a yearly art exhibition with site-specific installations in the desert, featuring work from artists around the world. My first experience at Desert X was in 2019 and it would forever change the way I see and make art (thank you Michelle for taking me there). It was the sculpture, Dive-In, where I performed for the first time ever and would be the start to the many performances in front of sculptures. 

I love how Desert X merges nature and art together, although I personally believe the two are inseparable (nature is art, art is inspired by nature). This year's theme (from the installations I saw) seemed to deal with belonging, land ownership, and immigration. I loved how these installations forced me to think about the land I was standing on and my right (or having no right) to be there. Some complex emotions for real.

Like my visit in 2019, I performed in front of these art installations in Desert X and captured them on camera. I also did a few mini-reviews/reflections on the works that I saw. 

See Desert X here.

Photograph: Self-portrait in Eduardo Sarabia's The Passenger.

For the last three years, I have posted my gallery + museum visits, highlighting exhibitions, artists, and artworks on my Instagram. Suddenly this year, friends were constantly asking me for art show recommendations.

Then it hit me, I could post a list of shows I either wanted to see or had already seen. I intended it to be a one-and-done thing but noticed that my friends and followers didn't go to art shows because they didn't know about them. They wanted to see art but didn't know where to find the information.

This has lead me to post a weekly list of art shows on my Instagram. After three months of sharing shows on the gram, I am changing it up and sending out the list through my Artletter. Each list includes links to shows, viewing dates, and a google map of galleries for that week. 

Every list is carefully curated and created with love. 

tell your friends. see previous lists here. 

A Reminder: There are no promises as to when I will drop these lists and how often, I am an artist first! I am doing the best I can with everything I do! Please be mindful that I do this work for free.99.

A Special Shout Out: To who keeps me in the loop about art shows and events in LA. To find a complete list of art shows and art events, visit their website + support them here!

I tried doing Photos of the Month and realized that it did not work for me. I am still learning what works for me and what doesn't! Right now this new photo blog, The People + Places I've Seen, is working for me. This photo blog will be updated randomly with my favorite photos from my developed film. 2021 has been been a year of seeing old friends and visiting my favorite spaces in a few different cities. I'm just here to capture it all and share with y'all.

See The People + Places I've Seen 

Photos Above: Essenceh
, Jihaari and Ozzy in their home in Los Angeles.
Christo + Jeanne-Claude art docs are documentaries that I have rewatched over and over, turning back to them when I am in search of inspiration, motivation, and hope. It's the process, dedication, and their "never give up" attitudes that are admirable and keeps me coming back for more.

Christo + Jeanne-Claude's ability to transform everyday atmospheres and architecture into monumental pieces of art is mind-blowing. They are a constant reminder to stay true and persistent with your visions. 

Watch Christo + Jeanne-Claude's documentaries on both
Criterion + Kanopy. Learn more about Christo + Jeanne-Claude here

Releasing Temporary Sculptures and my Desert X experience I knew I had to highlight Land Art, an art movement that started in the 70s and shook up the art world. Artists were tired of making work for the galleries and museums and wanted to free themselves of the white box, venturing out into Mother Nature, creating temporary or long-lasting works. It is an art era that has inspired much of my own practice and is important to know!

Learn more about the Land Art movement, the artists who started it, and why land art is art in this 10-minute video here. 
Earlier in the year, I watched a fairly recent interview with the artist, the legend, Ms. Senga Nengudi. Nengudi is known as one of the pioneering artists in the Los Angeles art scene and as The Denver Art Museum put it, "a prominent figure of the 1970s Black American avant-garde." I would correct them and say of the 1970s American avant-garde. Her work may deal with "Black" issues and existence, but Nengudi's work is universal.

Most recognized for her abstract works using pantyhose, Nengudi has found countless ways to use the body and everyday, recognizable objects in her work. Seeing Nengudi's work has inspired how I make and think about art (see Temporary Sculptures above)!

Early this year, The Denver Art Museum showcased 40 years of Nengudi's work in the exhibition,
Topologies. I was not able to see the show but watched her interview about it on Youtube (bless Youtube, truly). This is hands down one of my favorite artists' interviews. Nengudi's calm, before her time, spirit is memorizing. I love how she describes her work and her process making art. She is important to know! The best part of it all, she is alive to tell us about her work and her memories and experiences in the art world. 

Watch Senga Nengudi's 7-minute interview here

On Saturday, July 17th, I will be hosting my second workshop with Daisie, a London-based platform, offering a ray of workshops for creatives worldwide. I will be talking about the art of inspiration - my artistic influences, my creative process, and how to pay respect to artists we learn from, and the work that inspires us. 

R.S.V.P. here

I couldn't wait to wheat paste my work in a city I considered my home: Los Angeles. For months I thought about the work I wanted in the community and I kept thinking about my 2017 series, Boys in the Front Seat

Boys in the Front Seat is a very, very special series to me. It is a body of work that is constantly showing me new things and reminds me of old things, four years later. Not only was this shot in LA, but this was also the series shown for my first art exhibition and gave me the courage to start saying I was an artist. It also featured 20 men who literally changed my life and until this day, are still some of the most important men in my life.

To pay tribute to this moment in time, I brought a few photos out for Art in the Streets Pt. 2. I ran up on the Arts District in downtown LA, Larchmont, and a few neighborhoods in South Central, including my old neighborhood (an experience that changed my life, I love you South Central). Big shout out to everyone who pulled up and posted my work on their socials!! 

Also, also, one of my favorite t.v. shows bought three works from Boys in the Front Seat for their upcoming season! Look out for that. 

See the work in the streets here.
See and read about Boys in the Front Seat
Art Talk
In late May I taught my first workshop for Dasie. In that workshop, I talked about the history of street art, the importance of art in our communities, and my experience wheat pasting in four cities. Thank you to those who RSVPed and those who attended. I couldn't believe the amount of support I received. Thank you. You all continue to validate and affirm my vision. Look out for the recorded conversation soon.

I first met the collector, Joy Simmons, at UTA's 2019 exhibition, Dreamweavers. She was wearing a Black Panther's "Free Breakfast Program" t-shirt, a shirt from A Soul of Nation, and I knew at that moment that I had to say something to her. She had a welcoming, bright smile and spoke with enthusiasm about art and her collection of works by Black artists.

Fast forward two years later, I was asked to shoot Dr. Simmons in her home for Cultured Magazine. I immediately said yes, obviously. I couldn't wait to see her collection and reintroduce myself.

If someone told me there were Black art collectors a few years ago, it would have been hard for me to believe. How many Black art collectors do you know? Years ago, I certainly didn't know any. 

When I walked into Ms. Simmons' home, I came face to face with all the artists I loved. You name it, she had it. I had on a Carrie Mae Weems'
Kitchen Table Series shirt and I looked up and saw an original print from that same series. I couldn't believe it. This shoot was more than a shoot, it showed me the house and collection I could have one day. They always say you have to see it to believe it. Joy Simmons made me believe it. 

It was an honor to document and preserve a moment in time of this amazing woman and her dazzling, star-studded, art collection. 

Read Joy Simmons' interview with Dominique Clayton in Cultured Mag here.

In February I released a list of my favorite gallery and museum exhibitions of 2020, highlighting four museums and seven galleries. Each review includes a short write-up and photos. A few include videos and one has a performance by me!

Artists include Noah Davis, Luchita Hurtado, Glen Wilson, Rodney McMillian, Donald Judd, and many, many others. 

Check out the exhibitions and artists
I finally started a Patreon!!! Patreon is a monthly membership financially supporting artists and creatives. As a patron, you are supporting a consistent flow of work. That includes this Artletter, weekly lists of art shows, art critiques, art talks, and most importantly creating new work! Become a Patron here :) 

View past ARTLETTERS here.
I sustain this ARTLETTER entirely from donations.

Please consider supporting with your dollars.

Send a one-time donation here or venmo/cashapp @ciarrawalters

This ARTLETTER is intended to educate and promote the arts to everyone.

Always free, always for the art.
Copyright © 2021 Ciarra K. Walters, All rights reserved.

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