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There are three elements that compel the production of art for me. The first is a sense of mystery. I never know what will appear as I am working on a piece of art. I may begin the process with shadowy notions, but in many respects it is the force of curiosity that holds my attention captive. It is like reading a “whodunit” without the structure of a crime. I want to carry on until the conclusion. Which isn’t to say that the work completes itself, or arrives with ghostly aid. But there is still a riddle to be solved, an equation to be resolved, a conundrum to be settled that I find more compelling or absorbing than any other activity in life.

I have no formal training or instruction in art. So the second element is invention. I test an idea, use whatever materials may be at hand, incorporate found objects, papers, detritus. The risks of failure are perhaps no different than any other pursuit, even with the benefit of instruction. But stubbornness trumps failure and I try until something works, at least to my own satisfaction.

The third influence for me is the power of story, both my own and that of others. Embedded in memory, or swimming in our thoughts, we all replay the narrative of our lives, perhaps to make sense of it, perhaps to extract threads of meaning.

I am now retired from a long career as a health care provider.  I had the privilege in that role to be eyes and ears, gathering data, stories, and recognizing strength and struggle. The world is wildly entertaining and instructive. I continue as much as I can to absorb stories, irony and the humor that is just beneath the surface. That humor feeds me and infuses my artwork where I have the lucky opportunity to celebrate and laugh.

© 2017 Marsha Balian. All rights reserved.

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