Ceramic Artist Denise Greenwood Loveless speaks purposefully through her art. See more of her amazing work by visiting her website.
I have always been in love with self-expression through art. I was number ten of twelve children. Our mother would work with the five “little girls”, teaching us to make paper dolls & design clothes for them. We had shoeboxes full of paper doll “haute couture”. In my first year of college, our family home burned down. Those paper doll shoe boxes, that’s the the stuff you really miss. You can never get it back.
After college, I sort of “ran away” from art. I still can’t say why. I suspect losing everything I had created, in my short lifetime manifested itself in that way. It felt like fear. It wasn’t until eight years later I realized I was tired of working in an office environment. I was teaching myself metalsmithing from a book I’d found. I just up & quit my job to try making jewelry for a living. About the same time I sort of stumbled into art directing film & video (another story altogether). Film is what paid the bills back then. Then, about eight years in, a friend had me sit down with a lump of clay. I made seven little heads. I was completely smitten.
My work is a bit whimsical, but I work at being dark, edgy. (A couple of years ago, a friend said ‘You are one of the happiest people I know. Why are you always saying you’re trying to work darker & edgier?’ All I know is it’s what works for me. It’s right where I feel I belong. Maybe it’s the balance thing.) I try to avoid ever hearing “cute”, though I sometimes still do. My work is sculptural, with emphasis on faces & figures. I have come to resent the image, or idea, that Hollywood has tried to sell us, that “normal” equates to beautiful, to ‘perfect’. I grew up with a brother who has cerebral palsy, a learning disability, & he is deaf. He has taught me invaluable life lessons, as a big brother should. I do believe “normal” is different for those of us who grew up with a handicapped sibling or other disabled family member. Who gets to decide?
I will sometimes create figures with missing limbs, holes in the heart or belly. To me, these “deformities” speak more to the emotional than to the physical. I also like to think there’s a spiritual element to my work.
I am always exploring the line where dark & light meet, trying to form sentences about human frailty, & imperfection. Not attempting to make any sense out of life, or arguing for any particular point of view, rather, to probe the act of seeing, & of being. To look inside, past the physical, to see what there is to see, & to feed the curiosity of viewers of my work, but mostly my own. Getting a feel for life, & dancing just beyond the demarcation of what is often the dark side of who we are.
There’s a real purpose & longing in my need to write this specific story, as there is to continue reading what I have managed, thus far, to get down: the characters, the setting, the plot & the conflict. I am learning volumes about myself as I continue to make art for a living. What could be better really? If I’m only going to be here on this planet for a short time, I might as well get a feel for what it means to be here.