Creating with Music

Star Trauth-Award winning artist, lifelong activist, published author, and cancer survivor

Complicated Dragon, detail

It keeps on coming, as it always has.

Star Trauth

The first time I created some thing that was referred to as art by another artist was a happy accident. I was looking to fill a fiddly wall space. Spending so much time buying art for other people I knew I wasn’t going to find what I was looking for. It wasn’t on the market. I was frustrated. 

In my frustration, I sat staring at the empty wall. After a while, my head began to pound. I leaned back against the opposite wall and closed my eyes, hoping for relief. My imagination began to churn. I sat still, and gave it the space to create. Otherwise there would be anxiety. Something beautiful began to form and unfurl. This ended in a clear and finished mental image of some thing that did not exist. Could I make it exist? 

It was a journey to find all of the pieces to this product of my imagination. It was both frustrating and exhilarating to manifest what a curator informed me was a little relief low relief sculpture. 

I had gone to university for fine art, and while we studied interesting outsider architecture, we did not touch an outsider art, which was a shame. I have since discovered some inspiring art and art movements on my own or in further studies at other universities. 

Now that I understood what I was doing, my imagination wanted more. It would scratch at the back of my mind. It would also scratch open tightly sealed boxes of trauma and pain. The trauma and pain were latching onto and taking ownership of the pieces being imagined. As I would create pieces, that pain became present and at the fore of my mind and tangible in my body. It was a searing ache.

Music, something that has been a salve to me throughout my life came pushing in to soothe me. A song or artist would fix itself to a piece just like the pain had. At first it would just play in my head. 

As I dug further into the process, I did not have the space to play the music in my head. I would need to actually play the music outside of my body. Letting the music play would hug my pain as I moved through the art process. I was creating but I was also healing. By the end of a piece, whatever trauma that had latched itself onto the art had shrunk as the piece grew. It had shrunk enough to be at peace with me. It was ready to be put away by the time the art was manifested. 

I had never really learned to heal from situations. I needed to survive, to move through, to care for my people, to push it down. Way down. Life came fast and the next thing would require my full attention. My soul was covered in Band-Aids, my heart repeatedly stitched up, and my mind busy boxing up things that couldn’t be attended to. My body? No matter the physical trauma I needed to move as soon as possible. I always need to get up and move forward. That’s what I do. It’s what I have always done. 

Now I had the music and art to hold my hands to solve pains of the past and the present. And in this way I could move on, move forward. 

I felt with this process I could do anything and I did. I experimented with all the art media I could get my hands on and I experimented with music I wasn’t familiar with. This worked opposite to my original process. I put on unfamiliar music and played in different mediums. I could feel it, boredom was approaching. 

Then I had a nightmare of a near death experience from my childhood. I woke up feeling as I had in that horrific experience. What was I going to do? This was when I began to experiment with homemade papers and cloths. The art that was born of that is the art I make most often. I refer to them as immolations because more often than not, I am physically burning the pieces while my imagination burns figuratively.

The process returned to imagination, pain, music, and manifestation. With addition of fire to my process I am able to better manifest my imagination. It also helps to focus this process just as the music does. Now when I look at my finished pieces I see healing and hear the soundtrack of the process, in my head exactly how it started.

Complicated Dragon, 2023, collage, hand and heat molded fiber, low relief sculpture.

I like my kind of beautiful. Something that I’ve never experienced and is wholly unique. Feed the Mountain fueled this piece. It ignites my imagination. It stirs and it soothes, not an easy task. I had to let this piece go soon after completion but I am privileged to always have the music.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Virtual residents