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Art & Life with Pomegranate Muse

Today we’d like to introduce you to Pomegranate Muse.

Pomegranate Muse, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I can’t say precisely when I started “being an artist.” Perhaps it is something inherent…some innate calling one is born with that can either be fed or suppressed. There have been many times in the past where I’ve blatantly stated, “I am not an artist, not a real one.” One of my earliest art memories and one of my family’s favorite stories to tell is me at the age of about three shuffling around the border of my room, crayons in tow. I was designing beautiful wallpaper for my mother and covered the lower two feet of the wall circumference of my bedroom. My mother, being the clean freak and perfectionist that she is, was initially infuriated. However, as the steam cooled and she took a closer look at my Crayola mountainscapes, grassy hills, trees, and birds her anger dissolved and she was completely taken aback.

My passion for the arts continued into my elementary and junior high years. I entered every art competition I found out about and played with every medium I could get my hands on. I started getting more serious about my style, what I wanted my pieces to convey and practiced professional techniques I learned by studying artists I admired.

Over the years (from about 2013 to mid-2018) there were many devastating family losses, emergencies, full-time work, full-time college, and in general, life just got turbulent and in the way. My dedication to and enjoyment of art started to wane. I finished college and jumped into an “adult,” “professional” job to pay the bills. Occasionally I would attend a First Friday art walk or visit an art museum but did not create much of anything of my own.

After a particularly crushing year, sometime in Autumn of 2018, a spark was reignited. I couldn’t tell you what the inspiration was, but there was an ember still burning somewhere. My easel made its way from the dusty depths of the shed back into the house. It sat unused for a while, then a blank canvas found its way to the easel ledge. The paints and brushes eventually came out from their hiding places as well. I started doodling again in a notebook I carried around in my pocket and shared little things here and there with friends and on social media outlets. Around this time I discovered Instagram art challenges (Doodle-a-Day, Sketch-a-Day, Draw This in Your Style, etc). I did not think it would amount to much, but there was a deep ache to dip my toes in the art ocean once again so I joined in a few and experienced a creative explosion.

Within the month I was participating in First Friday art walks, hosting interactive painting events in downtown galleries, and I produced more artwork in a matter of months than I had in years. I had been so afraid of “wasting time” or taking time away from the “important things,” I lost sight of the fact that art is therapy, art IS one of the important things. I’ve since produced several series of watercolor paintings that have been displayed downtown, I am currently planning a large wall mural for Wild Girl Wellness in Tempe, and have more projects in my idea books than I’ll ever have the time to complete. I’ve come to integrate the “non-art” aspects of my life into my work and draw on everything in my environment to create pieces that have meaning for me and will hopefully invoke emotion or alight creativity in others.

Realizing life had only become more complicated and melancholy with the absence of creative expression brought me to accept the fact that yes, I am indeed an artist. To Descartes, one must think to be, “Cogito, ergo sum,” (I think therefore I am), however, I will share my new mantra with you: I CREATE therefore I am…an artist.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
Pomegranate Muse creates out of her home studio in the Heritage District of Gilbert, AZ. She is self-taught and has been a passionate, eclectic creator from the time she was old enough to pick up a crayon. Much of her subject matter is drawn from the sciences, dreams, and sui generis experiences brought to life through the strokes of a paintbrush.

I have degrees in psychology, anthropology, and nursing and am a certified yoga instructor. I love learning and can one minute be observed studying classic literature and the next gazing at the stars through a telescope. Both the sciences and the spiritual are common motifs in my work. Each one of my pieces is unique and many have vastly different stories and inspiration. When the writing bug bites, I’ll occasionally take the time to share the backstory, but I feel art is always going to be subjective. During its creation, my work completes whatever internal process was needed for me at the time. When it goes out into the world, art viewers and patrons see/feel/need something different and they may get it from my work, thus there is no need for my agenda to overshadow the patron’s interpretation. One of my most recent Instagram posts sheds a little light on this idea and I’ve included it below:

Sonoran Moonlight Sonata
I finished this piece last week and it has become one of my new favorites. No, it was not written while listening to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, but that was part of the inspiration. Here’s the story: This posture is Vrschikasana, also known as Scorpion posture. 1) It is a heart opener 2) You are upside down so you get the calming, stress reduction, and improved concentration benefits of an inversion AND 3) it is a backbend and can be invigorating. So not only is it complex in execution, the benefits are complex too. Calming yet invigorating? I’m balancing precariously on my hands in this one, but it’s supposed to reduce stress? What!?

Like Beethoven’s good old No. 14, Vrschikasana is a complex combination of all these facets in a delicate balance. The brooding, moody (perhaps even gloomy?) beginning, the graceful transitions, the energizing, and powerful lifts…see where I’m going here?

And there’s more…

Moonlight Sonata was originally labeled as Sonata quasi una fantasia, Italian for a sonata of “fantasy” or “improvisation” and only several years after Beethoven’s death was it labeled

 Mondscheinsonate (German) by the music critic Ludwig Rellstab. Rellstab got some MAJOR backlash from a camp of critics as many of them did not appreciate the potential “romantic connotations” the title implied. However, a brilliant critic, Compton Mackenzie, is said to have commented on the absurdity of this outrage by stating “what these austere critics fail to grasp is that unless the general public had responded to the suggestion of moonlight in this music Rellstab’s remark would long ago have been forgotten.”

And therein lies my art philosophy. Each observer’s experience is subjective and unique. While I may have a purpose, an inspiration, or a message I am trying to convey, I often keep it to myself. Patrons may respond to a piece of work for a reason completely different than the artist’s intention.

Do you love yoga? Arizona? The mountains? Scorpions? (Oh come on, they can be cute…)

Classical sonatas? The simple beauty of a silhouette? Did you have a life-changing experience practicing yoga by the light of the moonrise? How does my art speak to you, what does it suggest? If my art evokes something in someone, it doesn’t matter what the reason is. Have your gloom, your romance, your love, your sorrow, and relish in your personal interpretation.

How do you think about success, as an artist, and what do quality do you feel is most helpful?
This is a tough question. Success is another one of those subjectively defined concepts that, even though you feel you may have a firm grasp on what it means to you at the moment, a year, a month, or even a day from now that definition may evolve. For me, right now, success as an artist is defined by my continued ability to create pieces I can channel life experiences into, pieces that help me process, pieces that have meaning for me. Regardless of notoriety or financial gain, as long as I am creating, creating for ME, and can maintain a creative spark, that is a success as an artist. When it comes to essential characteristics, I always tout tenacity. As an artist you will make mistakes, you will fail, you will have shows where you don’t sell a damn thing, you will create some godawful shit that you want to burn…but being brave enough to put yourself out there, to keep trying, to keep creating even though you’ve had major setbacks and the sky may be falling down around you, all of this is wrapped up in tenacity.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I have pieces on display and for sale in Twisted Yoga Studios in Tempe and am working on a mural and studio re-design for Wild Girl Wellness (also in Tempe). I go a bit radio silent in the summer (red-heads tend to do this, haha), but do have a few shows on the calendar for Autumn. I will be a guest artist for the Beer N’ Bones event at the Arizona Natural History Museum on October 18th and may set up pop-up shops at a couple of the Gilbert and Phoenix Art Walks. The best way to keep up with my shows and events is to check my social media and my website for updates. The best way to support my work is, of course, to buy it! If you see something you like, but don’t see that I’ve posted it for sale, don’t be afraid to shoot a message over. I may be an introvert and exceptionally awkward in person, but I am usually quite chatty via email and am good about responding to inquiries. I presently have an Etsy shop named Milledulcia with original art, giclées, stickers, and other fun stuff for sale year round. Sharing my art is also another fantastic form of support. I’ve been able to build up a network of artist friends all over the valley and the outpouring of support I’ve received from other creatives has been unbelievable. Artists support artists!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Casey Olsen
Mark Geenawalt

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