Thursday, February 17, 2022

Creative Jump Start


Inspired by artist Swoon, zinnia with Monarch butterfly wings for petals.

Talk about help from my friends, I just finished a free 8 day course (15 minute motivational videos each morning) that was a real inspiration and just what I need to re-define my focus on this project.

A little background on Donna Iona Drozda the creator of the 8-Day Jump-Start Challenge. I met her a number of years ago in Lynchburg, Va when she was coming over from her home in Virginia Beach to teach art classes for kids at the Maier Museum of American Art at Randolph College. We became fast friends and I continue to learn fascinating things about her courageous, adventuresome life. I am in awe of anyone who has managed to make it to Tibet. Iona is an accomplished artist and educator but more than that, a kind, compassionate person.

Each of the 8 days of the challenge had a theme. I’m going to run through these quickly because you may find this approach helpful…even though we have all done it a thousand times unconsciously. My responses follow the daily prompt in blue.

Day One: Identify Your Dream

Express and share the beauty I see in the natural world around me; specifically visualize the connection of all life on Earth

Day Two: Envision; See in your mind’s eye what that looks like

I saw the tree of life as an icon that could express the connections of life.

Day Three: Actively Engage with Research

I reconnected with the treasure trove of Tree of Life imagery and essays. I consulted with artist friends about their own artwork that expresses the idea of the connection of all life and their ideas about other artists work that accomplishes this task.

Day Four: Act, start building

I started working on a series of drawings that included imagery that consisted of objects made up of other creatures with butterfly wings, leaves with feathers. I began combining them in a composite of a Tree of Life image that would reference our connections.

Day Five: Evolve; Have confidence in yourself and keep moving forward

Ok, I'll do my best. I got a film festival rejection email today....everyone does. It's part of the game. What's important is to not let that alter my path or my confidence.

Day 6: Points of Resistance

This was especially enlightening because I have done every one of these with this specific project. Any of these sound familiar to you?

  1. Too busy
  2. Procrastinate
  3. Scared
  4. Defer to someone else
  5. Loose interest
  6. Forgetful…I meant to do that
  7. Disorganization
  8. Space out
  9. Paralized
  10. I can’t because
  11. Impatient, taking too long
  12. People say it’s a waste of time
Very helpful to have to own up to playing this game with myself.

Day Seven: Our doubt limits us. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. 

Hello, thank you for this reminder. I am the captain of my ship.

Day Eight: Grow Up;  Put forth Your Gifts

I have a unique voice and vision.  Even if only one person hears me, it's worth it.

The Tree of Life, version 1,  Kristin Reiber Harris

The is the current iteration of my Tree of Life/we are all connected imagery and the script is in the works. Thank you,  Donna Iona Drozda for sharing your gifts with me.

This is the link to the landing page where one can register for the series:

Learn more about my work at or @kristinharrisdesign


Sunday, February 6, 2022

I Am Getting Help from My Friends: Old and New

As my research continues for my short film "It's the LIttle Things that Unite Us" I am reaching out to friends and they are responding. I want to share their thoughts with you.

Artist Jeannine Bardo is a very special person. She has introduced me to the arts community in Brooklyn. I met her soon after I moved to Bay Ridge 3 years ago.  It is through Jeannine that I met, among others, BWAC president Alicia Degener and Bay Ridge artist Ellen Izzo Coleman. 

Jeannine and I share an intense love affair with trees, which is a real testament to the trees of Bay Ridge, her home town. I grew up in the woods, I have an excuse!

When I asked Jeannine to identify artists who had created work that visualizes the connection of all life on Earth, her answers really surprised me. Or rather caught me off guard. I was aware of the work of these artists, but only tangentially. 

What I was starting to “see” with these examples provided by Jeannine, is my tendency to be very literal. That in and of itself is not good or bad, but an approach and a way of thinking I need to own. 

Agnes Denes - Wheatfield

With great effort, Agnes and assistants removed rocks and garbage from a landfill. It took 200 hundred truck loads of dirt to prepare the site. Denes then planted and harvested a field of wheat at that location. It was within the sight of Wall Street. Denes explained,

"Wheatfield was a symbol, a universal concept; it represented food, energy, commerce, world trade, and economics. It referred to mismanagement, waste, world hunger and ecological concerns. It called attention to our misplaced priorities." 

Elaborating, she said “Making art today is synonymous with assuming responsibility for our fellow humans. We are the first species that has the ability to consciously alter its evolution, even put an end to its existence. We have gotten hold of our destiny, and our impact on earth is astounding. Because of our tremendous ‘success’ we are overrunning the planet, squandering its resources.

Jeanine's other example was Mel Chin's Revival Field.

Mel Chin, Revival Field, photo by the artist.

I was fascinated by what he had to say about this work. He sees Revival Field as traditional sculpture.

"If that [pollution] could be carved away, and life could return to that soil and then a diverse and ecologically balanced life, then that is a wonderful sculpture. I think there is a profound aesthetic in there, and it’s really simple. But we have to create the chisels, and we have to create the tools, and we have to isolate the problem: where the block of pollution is, so we can carve it away. It became very clear to me that it (Revival Field) would be a sculptural project worth engaging in. And I set upon to finding out more, whether datura could do this—jimsonweed is common."

This is Jeannine's work.  

She feels that all of her artwork reflects our connections to the natural world and to each other. Here is her "Monster 1" as it was being painted at the park and the finished piece.

She states "
I love knowing that there is no separation, that everything is connected" We share the joy and comfort in that knowledge. Thank you, Jeannine for a shift in my vision. This brings me to the Tree of Life as an icon.

More help from my "friends" continues to come. Stay tuned as I am educated and inspired by Darwin and Swoon.

My Anim8Nature showcase on Vimeo is a great way to learn more about my work. Your thoughts always appreciated. 

@kristinharrisdesign    @anim8nature    

A Plan Comes Together

It fascinates me that sometimes when inspiration comes, it's everywhere I look. I like that! My challenge to visualize the connection of...