“and NOT vs.”

by Lydia Rose

© 2021 Lydia Rose

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Describe your painting:

All parts of society, even the parts that can seem conflicting, contribute to the beautiful rainbow of life. We must learn from and celebrate our differences to find joy as a community.

As you journey around the central sun in this painting, much as our home planet travels around the sun, you pass through the rainbow (ROYGBIV) and a collection of ideas that are often pitted against each other:

  • sun AND moon;
  • black AND white;
  • heads AND tails;
  • science AND religion;
  • nurture AND nature;
  • music AND math;
  • flora AND fauna;
  • ones AND zeros; and
  • man AND machine.

In the past you may have heard, “head vs. tails” or “nurture vs. nature”. I invite you to replace ‘versus’ with ‘and’ as you step back to admire the entire piece and see that they each cannot exist without the other.

What inspired you?

This piece was fully created FOR our local community to spread joy, love, and connectivity. I wanted to respond to some of the pain in the world without inciting anger or sadness, but rather joy and beauty. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best when he said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” 

What is your background as an artist?

I never had any formal art training. I was home schooled and grew up painting, drawing, making beaded jewelry, and forming creations with Sculpey clay. I filled many folders full of artwork and poems as a child. However, in our household, excellence was prized over enjoyment – I wasn’t showing signs of being the next Picasso, so eventually art got left by the wayside.

Nearly two decades later, after focusing on engineering and science for years, I picked up a paintbrush one day and started painting things around the house to make my space more beautiful. I found that creating art brings me joy and helps me process life as I think through how to represent it visually. I realized I don’t have to be an engineer OR an artist and that I AM an engineer AND an artist. I don’t have plans to set my paintbrush down again anytime soon! My favorite medium currently is acrylic on glass. I love creating layered glass paintings that change when the light shines through them.

Do you have a connection to Garner or did you learn anything new about Garner as a result of your painting?

I moved to Garner mid-2020 in the midst of the pandemic. Getting connected with the Downtown Garner Association has given me an excuse to immerse myself in my new town. I am excited to be a part of this project and even more excited for the future of the arts in our small downtown!

Additional Info from the Artist:

Fun Fact #1: I wanted to incorporate currency from several different countries into the heads and tails segment to reinforce the idea of our global community. Each of the coins in the piece was donated by a member of our local Garner community (as were the pacifiers and the tiny cymbal)! I love the cohesivity of including our global community through support from our local community! It’s almost as meta as including this piece in progress in a fabricated newspaper included in this piece.

Fun Fact #2: The included quote, “We have to live together. In order to live happily we must respect each other’s traditions. I really admire other traditions” by the Dalai Lama is from ‘The Book of Joy’ by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams which I was reading with my book club while creating this piece. I already had the concept of the piece worked out when I read that passage in the book. I hadn’t planned to include a quote, or any words, in the piece, but I just kept flipping back to that page. As you can see, it encapsulates the meaning of this painting so much more eloquently than all my ramblings to this point. In the end, I had to include it. I hope this painting brings you joy. Have a beautiful day!