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Where You Goin Ricki Starr?

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Ricki Starr was my hero.  My mind is a little hazy but as I remember it, I saw him in 1961 in a wrestling match against Don Duffy at the Olympic Auditorium.  I was an 8-year-old scrawny, irritating, scared of everything little girl.  I jumped at any sounds and cried every July 4th.  July 4th. was a miserable day where I climbed into small dark hiding places as the first signs of twilight emerged.  I would sit in the dark,  hoping NOT BE FOUND till morning.  So my dad being my dad was always on a mission to figure me out and decided that seeing a wrestling match might be fun for me.  He took my brother Rick, a year older who had to put up with my idiosyncrasies and paid me back later during childhood play.  We now have the best relationship ever.  I’m sure my mom and older brother Ron were there but the only person I ever saw was my father Julian, who I worshipped.  When ever he tried to make things right, he’d lower his glasses, smile and gaze down at me with his large liquid brown eyes and raise his eyebrows to make it right.  This tall, paunchy in the middle, pre hippieish guy was my superhero.  Teary-eyed from the car trip over (yes, I was terrified of cars) I remember him carrying me down to our seats, junk food in his pockets.  Shortly after being seated the lights dimmed and an announcement was made.  Ricki Starr against Don Duffy.  Everything was slow motion as I watched the magic.  This beautiful man emerged from the back walking down the aisle towards the ring, escorted by beautiful blonds in glamorous gowns.  I was mesmerized.  The fight began and I was doing fine.  Maybe in my mind he was a superhero fighting the bad guy.  I sat forward cheering his name as he danced around the ring.  He was known for his elegant ballet moves)  He was killing it!  I was smiling from ear to ear, screaming his name. “RICKI STARR!! RICKI STARR!!”  He was winning.  At his high point I repeated the crowd’s words.  “YEAH, GET HIM RICKI, YOU GO RICKI STARR!!”  He moved eloquently, twirling his perfect body, me yelling, “Get him, you get him Ricki!!”  At that point, I knew that Gumby was out of the picture.  I would someday marry Ricki Starr.  We would have 20 little Ricki and Jodi Starrs and travel to different planets, in pursuit of justice.  At the moment of my highest prediction the tables turned.  He was now being pummeled and Don Duffy took the lead.  I became anxious and my dad’s triumphant victorious smile turned downward.  I felt that first tear threaten to drop from the outer corner of my eye.  Everyone in our section heard my scream.  That chilling high pitched musical note that reaches out and grabs the attention of every irritated adult within range.  Ricki Starr was bleeding.  In my mind that monster Villian (that Don guy) was beating the crap out of my future husband. I wailed, “THEY’RE KILLING RICKI STARR!!”  My dad struggled to “politely” carry me out.  I fought with all the strength I could muster, scratching my dad, twisting to try to see, even arching my back till I was upside down, as my wonderful sensitive father, smiling and making jokes, carried me out.  I do remember him saying, “Upset stomach, too much candy, and other lame excuses as the angry faces turned to gaze at this crazy little girl.  I could not stop crying.  When I was able to get a modicum of control, my tall patient father (who never put me down for fear of me running away and hiding somewhere) continued to hold me.  Two formidable characters in black with gold badges walked with us.  As I stared at the badges they seemed to morph into  crawly stingy sticky tentacles.  I quieted.  I was thinking, “Where is RICKI STARR?”  By this time, in my world, we were married.  Ricki wasn’t dead or bleeding  and now it was my turn to be the hero.  I was sure that he was being held on one of the planets.  I was already devising a way to figure out where he was.  My father was now a huge creature fighting alongside me.  My many children, each in their mini capes were devising a second plan, incase my plan didn’t work.  In my head we were all wearing the same Ricki Starr outfits and I had long hair and a magical sword.  At that moment in my story, I heard my father’s voice quietly in my ear, “Hey Jodi, look who’s here.  My dad turned me around in his arms and there he was, Ricki Starr!  Glittering light surrounded him.  He  was all dressed up and wore a beautiful shiny black cape. I couldn’t breathe.  Black shiny hair, dark eyes, fair-skinned, gorgeous Ricki Starr.  In my mind, music played as my future husband stood before me.  Ricki Starr grabbed my hand and I held tight onto his finger. All I could do was stare at him.  Ricki Starr smiled down at me and said, “Well, aren’t you a pretty little thing.”  I suddenly cried,  “I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD!!”  I looked for the blood as my tears began to fall.  Ricki smiled, “Hey beautiful” He said, “You want to see a trick?”  He pulled out this little packet.  He soothed, “Now, don’t cry, look.”  I watched as he opened it and red blood dripped out,  He said, “It’s not real.”  I asked,

“Did you get it from the monsters?”

“Yes.”

“Did you have to fight them?”

“No, we are all friends.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

Ricki gave me a packet to play with.  Leaning forward, he gave me a kiss on the cheek and whispered conspiratorially, “I’m going to go now but I want you to keep fighting the monsters.”

I didn’t cry, fascinated by the packet, and also sad, knowing that my future with Ricki had gone away.  I made my next decision to become a nun because I liked the clothes.  But that’s another story for another time.

I’m an LA artist but sometimes I think about my growing up and this was a memory I wanted to share.

I was born at the Queen of Angels Hospital in Downtown LA.  My maiden name was Feldman.  We originally lived in Boyle Heights and then moved to the Fairfax district where I grew up.   I’m a Los Angeles artist and have had an art practice since 1991.  I doodle and sketch and paint the stories I hear and the life I live. Sometimes I write when I feel like it.

This is a pencil drawing.  I used myself as a little girl.  I was always holding my finger to my lips, apprehensive about everything, always on the verge of tears.  I have since tamed my monsters or just put them in paint.  This piece sold at an LA Gallery three years back and  is in a beautiful home.

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Enjoy Your Trip

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I took an art break to go to an art talk of a friend of mine recently.  When asked about her work, she mentioned that she wasn’t into sketching.  There was a time that she had used small brushes, and a lot of detail in her work. During that time, she realized that the art process wasn’t fun for her and that she dreaded going into the studio.  A friend gave her a palette knife and her experience changed from dread to rapture.  I raised my hand and said that you don’t have to draw to be an artist. That if you find passion in the way you create your art, then do it. A few people spoke to me afterwards, surprised at my comment.  I love to draw and doodle and this continues into my work. but it is not for everyone.  Many times, before I begin a session, I doodle into my sketchbook.  I have many books.  I doodle, draw out of my head, and also use parts of photo images I have taken while out sketching.  This is my way.  My head is crowded with images and if I don’t draw everyday, I go down a rocky cliff, a low feeling that can’t be described.  I also walk Pickles, my dog, my trusted sidekick who stays with me while I paint.

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I also do a walking exercise on a strange machine called an elliptical machine 3 or 4 times a week.  After standing and sitting at an easel for 8 or more hours, I have to move.  I have these incredibly large earphones that I wear and I do the machine while listening to a DVD.  I love any kine of science fiction but am especially fond of superhero movies.  The length of the movie is my time on the machine.   This is what I do to ease all the stuff inside me.   All this “stuff” is a mix of memories from my growing up but it is also what makes me who I am.  The handling of the “stuff” is also who I have chosen to be.  It’s like choosing to sketch and use little brushes or picking up a palette knife.  We are always finding our way.  No one figures it out.  Some opt out but it is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.   The life part, managing on that shoe string budget, paying bills,  raising children,  and getting out of the “stuff”, keeps it real.   It is not easy.   I know from my own life that each one of us is struggling and succeeding and learning. Our creative endeavors help to make sense of the meaning of life here on planet Earth.

The best part of my life was when I became a mother.  I have always created art but did not exhibit until after he was born.  He is 27 now.  Odd to even say it.  The time flew.  I felt love on a level I never knew I was capable of.  I love being a mom and even though he is a wonderful adult, I will always happily be his mom and am proud of that. Seeing Spencer grow up was a joy.  I connected with other moms, cried and laughed and learned about love, forgiveness, acceptance of the things we can’t change and appreciation of what we can do and of what we  have. Through my life, I have worked. I have done electrolysis, worked as a nanny, did a short stint of hospice care , worked as a waitress, sold shoes, worked with autistic adults for a time,  taught art to kids, done commissions,  handled life emergencies of my own and others, exhibited my work,  attended exhibits of artist colleagues and on and on.  My growing up was a strange experience.  Let’s just say it was surreal.  As an adult, I have lived in the worst of places and seen things in life that were probably not the best things to see.

I  once lived in a boarding house in Plainsville New Jersey.  I was born and raised in LA so was not from there.  I went to visit a relative but didn’t have enough money to get home, so I took a job at the Blue Star Shopping Center as a sales clerk.  I was 19 years old and trying to cope with a few things, lol.   I was probably the only young woman in the boarding house that worked.  I would come home each night to find the same 20 something tenant on the front lawn passed out.  I and another boarder  would help get him to his room. We all go through things and no one can understand another person’s life completely.  All one can do is appreciate the good things in life and do our best.

I am a loyal friend.  I have friends from all walks of life.  I know artists, writers, curators, and have kept my childhood friends as well as my amazing mom friends.  Our kids are grown but we still hang out.  I appreciate and love the people in my life because they are family and continue to teach me how to enjoy my time here on this planet.  When I lose someone, I grieve for them because their presence made my life  and other people’s lives better. Their stories fuel my work.  I have learned the strategies mentioned above to keep the nightmares at bay.   All this makes me who I am and creates my doodles, my paintings.  I appreciate all amazing moments. and love when others succeed.  Their success is mine.   IMG_3162

These are my “Moms”  I have known them for over 20 years.  Not in the art world but an important part of who I am today as a person.

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I know so many creatives that it would take pages and pages of pictures to post all the special people I am grateful to know. Instead I post “Miles” , 48″ x 24″, a mixed media painting about an artist  with a gentle and loving demeanor whose work I admire, Miles Regis.

I take great joy in little brushes and doodling small shapes for hours and hours.  I love sketching.  It is not for everyone so be true to yourself.  Paint, photograph, write, act, sing, dance, and shout out loud  but do it because you are driven to do it and break the rules and live life. Just be who you are and the creating will be honest. ENJOY YOUR TRIP!!

Shows coming up:

“PARTITA”, a postcard art show and fundraiser for Durden and Ray

Curators: Roni Feldman, Alanna Marcelletti, Valerie Wilcox

Durden and Ray, 1206 Maple Ave., #832, Los Angeles, CA, 90015

Reception Date: Saturday, December 8, 6-9PM

“Kitsch-In-Sync: Art and its Opposite

Coastline Community College Art Gallery,

Curator: Bradford J Salamon

Reception Date: Saturday, January 26, 6PM-9PM

1515 Monrovia Ave., Newport Beach, CA 92663

Torrance Art Museum’s residency project immerses visitors into the creative process – Daily Breeze

Torrance Art Museum’s residency project immerses visitors into the creative process – Daily Breeze
— Read on www.dailybreeze.com/2018/06/14/torrance-art-museums-residency-project-immerses-visitors-into-the-creative-process/

Zombie Circus

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An Artist never knows what’s going to happen next. So if you paint a picture it’s sure to be hanging somewhere!!

Love the gallery and thrilled that my large red piece “Hive” is in this exhibit!

Do By Not Doing The Mind Game

Art Residency Torrance Art Museum June 1-30

An artist life fluctuates in a lot of different directions. My philosophy: Make Art every day that matters to YOU. Yes we are all balancing extra jobs and commissions but even if it’s an hour, go do it!! Over the years I have taught art, sold shoes, cleaned houses and actually done art commissions with my young son along. Sometimes I would go from one job to another- that’s just the way it was. During that time my first priority was to be a mother to my son and I enjoyed all the moments and learned a heck of a lot from the pain of raising another human being. The joy of being able to love someone with all your heart blows me away. Being a mother is also constantly being a student of life. There was no time to get into the mind game of whether or not my art was any good because I was busy learning how to love. The struggles of raising someone taught me a lot. That it’s not about me. And that it doesn’t matter what others think of me or my art. Each one of us is a part of all of us. We are intertwining branches for better or When I “do ” to get something, when I “do ” to matter to someone, when I want something to work really bad, it just does not work. You really can’t force it so “do it by not doing it”. Do the art and don’t do the game of “want”.

“ Patty Cuppycakes” Private Collection

Let go of that greener grass because their greener grass is never going to be your lawn. If you were craving with someone else’s lawn looks like you will dry out your on the lawn in the process I love nothing but weeds. Plant and water your own seeds and don’t look or steal your neighbor’s seeds. By ” not doing the action of beating yourself up, or wishing for other people’s successes to be yours, you become valuable to everyone. By not doing the self-inflicted mind game, by letting go of what other people think, you are free to create. You can’t be manipulated by anyone because the illusion of what you think you want will be gone. It has nothing to do with attending art shows if that’s what you’re thinking. The art shows when you can , (I discovered late), are part of being in our community. In the the last four years of being more social, I’ve made incredible friendships, I’ve had positive growth-filled struggles, and I’ve learned to be a little stronger than I have in the last 25 years of exhibiting my art in exhibitions. I am grateful to even be a part of this wonderful wacky and creative group. When I say ” do by not doing” let me explain. Make your marks quietly. Don’t take part in drama and work at your craft consistently. The drama of “doing what you think you should do to get ahead is drama that you cannot afford to have. Be kind to everyone at art shows and embrace their successes but please be kind to yourself and don’t get involved in your own mind game. The opinions of that gallery owner or that curator or that other artists are just an opinion, not fact. Doesn’t really matter what anybody thinks about your art or about you. Do your art! Quietly with loud music or a book on tape. Don’t let social media or Facebook consume you. Remember, “Do by not doing anything but your art”. Don’t do Facebook or social media when you are creating, unless it is to show video in your art process or is actually a part of your art medium. Then, get off line and get back to work! Of course there will always be a hierarchy and that sense of fruitlessness in a land of plenty. Do you work some of the fruit will be sweet and you won’t starve because you have chosen to plant your own tree and allow everyone to be a part of it. Let go of any expectations and just do your work and be grateful for any opportunities that enhance your journey. No one person is above or below anyone else. Keep the energy flowing to everyone. There is a brass ring here and there for each of us. Do your work and the brass ring will stay in your hand a while and then you can pass it onto the next artist. Be determined, persistent, disciplined in your craft and don’t compare yourself to anyone else and don’t give a darn about what anyone thinks. Something will happen. And I guarantee you that if you do nothing but drama and stay online you should be doing your work, nothing will happen. “Do by not doing”.