Promises. Promises. I’ve been wanting to talk about Buckley for a while now. Swing it open. Say that thang. But where to start? How to capture it? Inter-disciplinary, inter-media, multi-dimensional, extravagance extraordinaire. She draws?!.. Haha. Yeah, right. Like that says anything. No, Buckley dreams in media. Brush to canvas. Light to her lens. The work is her. Shouts from the Fourth-Wall Gang... And that's the daring part - that she has the audacity and assurance to take us with. Journeys with a cherry on top. Ha, I’m in! Both hands raised. I’ll await the brings. ..and her words, finally ;) Your floor, Ms B…
Where are you from originally?
What drew you to art as a child? Did you smear your mud covered hands over walls? Did you build sculpture towers with broccoli stalks?
I recently had a memory from when I was little, making art in secret, drawing a lot of women’s bodies because I was so curious about my own. I was always so impatient to discover what it was like to transform into a woman, to walk in her skin and speak through her lips. But growing up I was most connected to art as an observer, in awe of the masters and their impossibly perfect ability to express so vividly. I didn’t think much of my drawings, but I doodled a lot. I mostly identified with words, making lots of poetry and stream-of-consciousness writings. I was pretty introverted with my art as an adolescent.
Describe the art scene in Los Angeles from your perspective. It seems to be having it’s moment, finally.
Simultaneous coexistence of SHOCKING artists whose aim is to show value in perversity; the ever-trending SPIRITUAL artists reigniting the inner quest, awakening us with bright palettes and hosting tropical guru soirees; the EARTHY MINIMALISTS who masterfully whisper “less is more” through perfect use of neutral tones and well-placed plants; and COLLECTABLE artists who maintain the vibrantly strange elegance of yesterday’s art world with a stronghold on the formulaic auctioning and prestigious collector scene, doing whatever they please whilst reaching (and making) millions. Thank god for all of them. The Los Angeles scene is like living inside a kaleidoscope where fractured and colorful recombination of infinity make perfect and beautiful sense.
Your work presents a very realized narrative. You are definitely showcasing other worlds - parallel universes. How does your work speak to our community. What can we learn from the Buckley world next door?
The Buckley world is still one I’ve got my hands deep in my bag searching for the keys for; I can only hope to know a fraction of it before my time is up. The multiplicity of universes from which I channel messages for my hand to relay, is an adventure. It gives my earthly body permission to travel to unknown spaces. The work I make is candid and at once non-representational, really open to interpretation. I work to create without limiting thoughts to invite others to discard the ones with which they’ve identified. Stream-of-consciousness creativity is a celebration of our abundant cognizance combined with a much needed extension of childlike play in mature topics; a meeting of mastery and surrender, a reminder that the creative alchemy of the universe is built of equal parts logic and magic.
There is a clear embrace of the feminine: Hands. Eyes. Swirling form. Sadness and caring. Unconditional strength. What role does gender play in your depictions? Do you calculate this, or do you open the gates and let it flow?
The feminine symbols depicted in my work are representational of the greater femininity of nature, the nurturing experience of life itself. The hand: offering and reception, the eyes: emotion, perception, the breast: sustenance. The body is a metaphor for the great function of the universe; the female body, of perpetuating and holding life with fierce grace and care. My work is beyond gender and beyond the human vessel; my mind and hand just so happen to be perplexed by both.
I wouldn’t say there’s much calculation in my approach, more a discovery of patterns while operating in a stream state; guided by intuition rather than strategy. It is an intentional response to my soul’s inquiries, an expression of my joy to hear it calling! That expression is ecstatic, and I share the vibration of that expression as a potent medicine to encourage more people to wake up to their own intuitive brilliance.
What social issues matter most to you?
Broadly speaking, FREEDOM. Freedom to express; freedom to experience; freedom of thought, mind, body, speech; freedom from incarceration, both physical and mental; freedom to believe without persecution. I believe in cultivating honor and respect for our fellow man in the form of heart over profit, community over monopolized power, and love over violence.
I’d say the issues that I’m most connected with healing are unjust imprisonment/institutionalized slavery for the criminal, indigenous and mentally-ill populations. It is my dream to work with and empower these groups.
What is the role of the artist in this conversation? How can art give voice to these issues and make a difference?
Each and every person carries a creative power with potential to make a difference; artists are just the ones who decided to fearlessly approach that power within and cultivate it. That being said, an artist’s first role is to express their truth, and in sharing that, they’ve invited more truth to realize in the world. A really potent note in a symphony, a choice of color or texture in a painting creates a very specific vibration in the soul. In this way, an artist can help others feel things inside themselves that they maybe wouldn’t have otherwise. Art inspires us to RELATE to one another, to build empathy and to celebrate collective progress.
Pragmatically speaking, art can be integrated on the institutional level as both a preventative method (in formative education years to diminish criminal impulse or breakdown of the mind) and a restorative method (to heal and reconnect an individual to the world around him/her).
Artists through the ages have given a voice to injustice by being the first to step up and respond with how it makes them FEEL. This simple act moves masses out of apathy and inspires so many more to REACT to hate with dignity and creativity.
What gives you hope?
My understanding of the basic goodness of nature. Things are meant to work in a cosmic order. We are infants of consciousness, so new to our power. I see so many people waking up to this every day. I know we are all here because of an act of love, and so we are built of love, thus, we are all capable of love. This algorithm provides me eternal hope. We’re all just walking works in progress!
You’re stranded on a desert island with the most beautiful colors and creatures you’ve ever seen. On the other side of the mountain, there may or may not be dragons. You have to paint this story: the beauty and the unknown. Where do you begin?
Dada-esque creatures, some missing limbs….but it’s cool! Random body parts stream-of-consciousness shape shifting all so nice, just doing whatever they please. Sections of the water’s surface lead like a glass walkway to watch the horizon. The unknown world regularly corroborates with the known, but creatures from both sides are still mysteries to one another (to keep things interesting). Maybe nothing needs to eat because these supremely conscious beings can draw images of tiny nutrients on their belly-buttons and their truth alone feeds them. All are physically transient so that paradigm shifts are nice and easy. No attachments to one another as all existence feels completely whole. I think may have drawn this picture before…. it all starts with one line.
Name three heroes.
What have you learned?
I’ve learned that we are small, that we are sweet, that we are stories, that we are one, and that anything is possible in love. Also to HAVE FUN. When in doubt, enjoy. There is always something to celebrate!
What lies ahead?
Everything... My personal goals are to make large-scale public art; to spend time creating work while studying with indigenous peoples; and to work with incarcerated peoples internationally, specifically in jails and mental institutions. I will say, for myself and all sentient beings, what lies ahead is progress.
For 16 Days of Activism, MEANS highlights the artist Buckley, and her active work with groups like The Mirror Mirror Project.