Guest blogger Teresa LeYung Ryan, Author of Love Made of Heart

Teresa LeYung Ryan asked me to paint her story from her memoir/novel Love Made of Heart in a bookcase for her a few years ago. I did, so when I made my film Art and Gift, a voyage begins, I included her story and her photo in front of her bookcase, as well as her words regarding her request in the film, about giving away my art.  I asked her what she thought of the film, and she answered with a poem and a blog entry, presented here:

January 1, 2012
Chandra Garsson asked me today: “Teresa, what did you really think about my film?”
As I was telling her, she said “Could you say it in your blog?”
So, here goes… It took Chandra 9 months to create her documentary Art & Gift 2011.  9 months of work–being the film’s protagonist, camera person, director, producer, editor. What impressed me the most about this film is seeing Chandra’s generous nature on the big screen.  She could have been the sole narrator, presenting the conflict.  But, she did so much more.  She interviewed over a dozen fellow artists and writers to give us a chance to express ourselves.  She presents a story with fairness.  She listens to the other side; she even gives the other side the spotlight so that we can hear/see the other side without any filters. In the case of her film, the other side was the landlord.
During our conversation today, we talked about theme.  I was telling Chandra about just having finished editing a children’s novel and helping my client identify the themes in her story.  Chandra said  there is theme in her work too.  Yes, in deed.
The first time I experienced her art was when the fabulous Kim McMillon orchestrated authors’ readings during the5-week long exhibition of  Chandra’s Insomnia [Awakening] at Pro Arts in Oakland. I still remember what poet Mark G said about Chandra’s big pieces (Chandra had painted stories on doors).  “She understands trauma. I’m a vet.” That’s my recollection of what Mark said that day.
The plastic baby dolls in Chandra’s exhibit hooked my attention.  She understands broken child-within, I thought.
We’ve been friends since.
Please take a look at Chandra’s  film Art & Gift 2011!  I’m proud of my friend and her powerful work. I’m honored to be in the documentary with Lucille Lang Day, Mary Rudge, Pedro, and all the other artists/poets/musicians/writers who were invited to speak to Chandra Garsson’s camera.

December 24, 2011
My praise on Chandra Garsson’s latest film Art & Gift 2011
birds’ songs
dog’s barking
haunting music
You understand sorrow.
eviction.  Your losing your work space–to paint, to create, to sculpt, to work
from 2,400 square feet of artist’s space to 400
Your Insomnia [Awakening]
trusting Chandra Garsson to paint my dolls my ego my childhood symbolism onto Love Made of Heartbookcase
Your growth, blossoming, working with your hands, with colors, sounds, shapes.
Your masterpieces:  art-making; book-making; jewelry-making; film-making

Teresa LeYung-Ryan, author of Love Made of Heart
Chandra Garsson says of her film:  “Documents the gift of a lifetime of art-making after eviction from art studio. Interviews with recipients of art, including landlord. My goal was to save art from the dump, and I succeeded.

        I am laughing in joy, Teresa, to read your praise. Thank you! Yes, it is true, after you presented me with the poem you had written in your blog about Art and Gift, I did suggest a more conventional essay approach to blogging. The poem sparked genuine interest in finding out what you were actually saying about my film, hence my suggestion of a more formal approach.
     I present here an introductory six-minute short film by way of paratext, or as I say within the film ‘paratextural’ information on the film, a play on ‘paratextual’ emphasising the textural qualities of the surfaces of most of my art: Paul Digby on Art and Gift, a Voyage Begins
      Believe it or not, I dove back in to create a second version very similar yet different from the feature experimental documentary Art and Gift, this called Art and Gift, a Voyage Begins: Art and Gift, a Voyage Begins
       And believe it or not I am still far from satisfied, as there are some technical flaws resulting from sound problems that could not be avoided, given my lack of experience making films, given the film software I worked with, given compression inevitable in the upload. Still and all, I am satisfied. I documented the gift of nearly all my art work, and I was able to realize my goal, that of saving my work from ultimate destruction brought on by the vagaries of the state of commercial real estate in the state of California, and eviction. Frankly, I was done, I wanted freedom from what had become for me an ongoing untenable situation.

Photos show bookcase Teresa commissioned me to paint her story on. Photo of me taking photo taken by Teresa.

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