Inspired: Who Does She Think She Is?

Maye Torres' artwork really resonated with me.

Two nights ago, I watched Pamela Tanner Boll’s documentary on female artists, Who Does She Think She Is? Though I was going dancing later that evening, I had a burning desire to watch the film right then. I sensed it had an important message for me, one I needed as I continue to seek my creative plumb line. It did.

Being a wife, mother, employee, church member is wonderful. But I am not just these things. I am an ARTIST. And it’s not pretentious or selfish for me to say it or live it—I’m simply being true to who I am.

Every woman who has the creative spirit should see this film. It centers on five artists—four who make visual art, one in musical theater—who are also mothers. These women earn an income from their work, and feel that what they do is very important. Yet they also make lifestyle choices that ensure their children have what they need. In fact, their children were often inspired to create their own art alongside their mothers. The film proves wrong the credo that you have to put everything else in life aside to be an effective mother—and the idea that women have to deny their natural desire to have children if they wish to make an impact outside the home.

It was amazing for me to see the difference made by the support—or lack thereof—of a female artist’s husband. It was also very sad to see the ways that some female artists suffer because others feel threatened by the artist choosing a different lifestyle, and antagonize their artistic efforts.

While it documents the personal struggles of these women, Who Does She Think She Is? also sheds light on the lack of female artists in the upper echelon of the visual art world. I was shocked. I know that women are not well represented in filmmaking, either.

Even as I enjoy my summer break from teaching, I still struggle with making time for my writing. Yet like the artists in Who Does She Think She Is?, I benefit from an incredible sense of well-being when I take the time to create.

If you’re an artist, or your partner is, you need to see this film. And, I would be remiss in not thanking my dear friend and talented painter Kadie for recommending it to me.

For more information:

~ by elenastevenson on July 5, 2011.

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