We are thrilled to be connecting with Vickie Martin again. Vickie is a Mixed Media artist and musician and is also a content partner. Content partners help Voyage in so many ways from spreading the word about the work that we do, sponsoring our mission and collaborating with us on content like this. Check out our conversation with Vickie below.
Vickie, it’s been too long since we last connected. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts with our community again. Some readers might have missed our prior conversations, so maybe you can kick things off for us with a quick intro?
First of all, thank you for the opportunity. As a mixed media artist, I use my art to bring awareness to dementia, the only top disease that is not curable (at this time!). When my mother developed dementia, I began researching the power of music in relation to memory. Add that to the fact both my father and grandfather had a music store, and I play the piano, my art began incorporating musical themes.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your art work and how you use it educate the public about dementia.
Every piece I create is inspired by a particular song (I do both mixed media paintings and collages). In addition to researching the history of each song, I often sketch whatever comes to my mind while listening to the song and I also learn to play the song on the piano. With these tools, I find the inspiration to create a visual story. I often auction off a painting at an event and donate the money to research. I have held studio sales and donated 20% of the sales to research also. My future plan includes putting together a sing along to take to memory care centers. I don’t just exhibit my art, my goal is to make it an experience to educate people. I will work with the venue about putting together a panel discussion, do the sing along I mentioned, and because I taught art in memory care centers prior to COVID, an art workshop for those with dementia. I’m still coming up with inter-active ideas to educate!
In your view, what is it about your art that makes it unique?
I am always experimenting, I’ll try anything! My work is known for it’s texture, and I always look for ways to incorporate everyday material into mark making. I love to recycle everyday objects into art supplies. Things I have discovered that make great marks are straws, rubber bands, a cardboard roll, bubble wrap, cellophane, credit cards, sponges, clothespins, bottle caps, q-tips, leaves and vegetables – my process is constant exploration. I have experimented watching the effect of spraying alcohol into wet paint. Even though art making is serious business, I approach each painting with wonder and play. My collages tell a story, I use materials I collect while researching the songs I turn into a painting. Many of my collages use pieces of my own printed music and dress patterns that were used to making clothing for me as a child, making each piece personal to me.
How has this past year with the “Stay at Home” affected your art and your lifestyle? What have you learned?
I have learned it is best to have a routine. Most artists work alone, so I already spent alot of my time alone. At the beginning of the pandemic, I started walking, which led to exploring the world around me. In fact, I walked 2200 in 51 weeks – that is the length of the Appalachian Trail! In looking back, I believe I started walking because I was anxious, but it is the best idea I never had! Now I walk when paint is drying (really!) and also when I don’t know what to do next on a piece – the answer ALWAYS comes to me! In addition to walking daily, I also write my morning pages (this is from The Artist’s Way – three pages of free flow writing a day to clear out your mind), I play the piano daily, and I read daily. In the past year, the goal of educating people about dementia is more fully defined. Dementia is the only disease in the top ten diseases that does not have a cure, yet! Walking and really making an effort to take care of myself has given me a confidence I have never experienced before. I have met more people in the past six months by walking than I probably met in the past six years!
What advice would you give others about maintaining some sort of normal life right now?
Find a routine that works for you! Feed both your body and your mind with ways that work for you. With the internet, we have so many tools that past generations did not have. Look up something new each week! Learn something new! If one of the things you really miss is going to see live music, get a ukulele and make music yourself. Find and explore, and by searching you will probably find what your soul needs.
As you move forward with educating people about dementia, what are some of the things you want to tackle and/or learn to make your job easier?
Two things spring to mind, becoming confident with making videos and recording music. With this in mind, making videos could open another world – I would demonstrate some art and craft ideas I have learned people with dementia really enjoy. I would also demonstrate some of the crazy things I have done in my studio that would bring the idea of “play” back to many. Since all my work is centered around specific songs, I plan on learning to record the songs (to prove I actually learn to play them!) and eventually put the recordings on QR codes that can placed on the labels in my exhibit.
How have your goals changed during the past year?
My goals have been shifting a bit, but the basic idea is still there. My basic goal of creating art to educate people about dementia is the same. How to communicate has become more defined! One goal I need to work on is to send my newsletter out regularly (minimum of one time a month) and to blog a minimum of two times a month.
One thing I have learned this year is I work better when I set specific steps to achieve the goals, I put down the steps it will take for me to achieve a goal by putting them on a whiteboard, I mean EVERY SINGLE STEP no matter how small. As I mark them off as done, I see the progress I am making. It inspires me to keep at it!
Thank you so much again for sharing all of this with us. Before we go, can you share with our readers how they can connect with you, learn more or show support?
Visit my website at https://vickiemartin.net. While there sign up for my blog – I am going to do some giveaways in the upcoming months both there and in my newsletter.
Also – scroll to the bottom of each page on my website and sign up for my newsletter! I have put myself on a schedule to send one out once a month. Again, I will be conducting some giveaways in the upcoming months.
Connect with me on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/vickiemartinart/
Or if you’d like to learn more, use the good old fashioned way of email – Vickiemartinarts@comcast.net
- Website: https://vickiemartin.net
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Vmartinarts
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vickie-martin-0502962/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPr8Wdw2sKsIR0kX4FKKgQQ