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Dilettante: a person who cultivates an area of interest, such as art, without real commitment or knowledge

I used to paint purely from the heart. It was pure madness. I had no technical skills yet, but I had heart, and really that’s all you need, right?

Girl with Bow Reading a Book, Anna Stark, 2019

During this time of my life, I was obsessed with Picasso. I know…so cliché. I loved him, I hated him, just like everyone else. He was a real piece of shit, but damn, his paintings, drawings, carvings…they changed the way I looked at art. I’d stare at his works for hours. Studying his lines, colors, shapes. It was so childlike, so innocent, so easy. My Picasso obsession was a critical step in my art journey. His work allowed me to think, “I could do that."

I was sort of losing my mind at this time in my life. I was buried deep in a religion I would later turn my back on. I was convinced that because I was trying to grow closer to God, that I was under attack by the enemy. Everything seemed to be haunting me and it showed through my paintings. Picasso opened up a vulnerable place in my heart and showed me how to express it.

"Art is not made to decorate rooms. It is an offensive weapon in the defense against the enemy." – Pablo Picasso

Top Left: Look Up Child, Anna Stark, 2019

Top Right: The Attack, Anna Stark, 2019

Bottom: Warfare, Anna Stark, 2019

With no higher education in art, no professors, lectures, or curriculum, I was free to discover Picasso in my own way. I was a baby in a highchair eating solid foods for the first time. Painting was like smooshing an avocado with my bare hands and smearing it all over my face. These were my first steps - exploration at it's finest.

Woman with Unibrow and Crown, Anna Stark, 2019

Fernande, Olga, Marie-Thérèse, Dora, Françoise, Genevieve, Jacqueline. Picasso's muses. The brave, talented, beautiful women that Picasso would paint and distort and I would become enamored with. These paintings were so simple, and yet so mature, so profound.

I drew a series of women from the Bible. Like I said, I was involved with a strict religion at the time. One where women took a backseat. I wanted to learn more about strong women in the Bible, maybe find some proof that women were equal.

Mary, Eve, Ruth, Mary, Delilah, Esther. My muse's.

Perhaps I was drawn to Picasso's twisted paintings because my view of the world was also very warped. They made sense to me when nothing else made sense.

I had a art show with these paintings. I was so excited to show off my new, edgy works, and be seen as a real artist.

I sold nothing. Not a single print. I sat in my chair for 3 days watching people stare at my weird paintings from across the room. One lady said "God, I'm glad I'm not in your head."

I kept telling myself, "this isn't about sales, keep your chin up." I was pouring my heart out and nobody wanted to look, let alone buy. I felt lost and embarrassed. What was I doing wrong?

I was approaching everything backwards. Picasso once said, "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist." I was breaking the rules with the confidence of a seasoned pro, without truly understanding them in the first place. I had no skills and I lacked a distinctive style of my own.

My untrained heart was naïve. I was in a sacred place of exploration and uninhibited expression. Looking back on this time, I can see now how sacred it was. But I can also see how it was holding me back. If I wanted to be an artist and not just seen as one, I was going to have to respect the process and learn the craft.

Anyways, Happy painting!



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