Abby Junge is a multidisciplinary artist currently living in Holland. This is her third installment in a four-part series as Artist Strong’s Artist in Residence.
You can view more of her art on Instagram @abbyjunge or visit her website at www.abbyjunge.com.
This week flew just right past me! and I love it! Carving and just having to finish this print, feels like something I never stopped doing, which is a big deal considering my forced sabbatical of about 3 years. But also the other side of being an artist feels familiar and I just know exactly what has to be done. This week, for example besides advancing on the carve I have been working on, I reached out to a local artist community that have art vending machines, and a local artist circle.
I often tell people being an artist is 60% creating art, 50% networking and making connections and 45% getting rejection letters… and math is for accountants.
This series that I’m working on, is a series in progress. It’s subject is grief. It is not grief of crying, or pain, but more like the small gesture made in an attempt to not let go. To any other person, these scenes are just normal scenes. but to the person that I am telling the story about, it is a lot more. I can tell you about this image I’m working on because its my own.
When my grandfather died, I was heavily pregnant with twins, and not allowed to fly. I could not say goodbye to my grandfather (who was in the hospital before he died). After he died the family held Shiva for him: 7 days of mourning in which friends and family come by to give their condolences.
One of the things that I find most fascinating about Shiva’s is that the first couple of days are somber and sad and painful, but often, the last few days, there is laughter heard, and stories of the deceased, and just fond memories overall. So there I was on the other side of the world, having to mourn “alone” and not being there for/with my family.
I would call the home number, and ask my mom to just set the phone on speakerphone on the table, and leave me there. To hear the chatter in the room, to hear some story and even some gossip, basically a fly on the wall. Sometimes someone would pick up and say hi, sometimes I sat there quietly crying, but not by my self; or it felt less so.
I am enormously thankful that I have not had many situations like this. I have however seen them with close friends; A small action that has a gigantic meaning for that single person. A plate of walnuts that can’t be thrown out, because it belonged to that person’s mother. Or a widow, doing her hair like her husband used to like it, – one last time- .
Acts of kindness and showing love without some one to receive them.
This is why this series is a long process, I hope I never have more inspiration for it. But I will.
Every month, 1-3 artists show up in our Artist Strong community to share their artistic process, journey, explorations with us over the course of a month.
The goal is to normalize the MANY, VARIED experiences of being an artist.
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Abbey, your series on dealing with grief is so very touching. Thank you for sharing how you sat Shiva long distance for your grandpa.