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Artists Urge: Break Limits, Follow Bliss

4471256-eef3c3854944a4592fc431921775ec2bWhen you are true to the things you love, the things that enrich you and share it with others, it all comes back tenfold. I also allow myself more freedom as time goes on… something I never regret.

– Julian Adair

That’s from Julian Adair, dancer, choreographer and photographer.

Her words remind me of Professor Joseph Campbell’s call to “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” I first heard this when I was newly graduated from business management and looking ahead to a life that wasn’t “me.” Armed with a practical degree, I took a U-turn, earning a Ph.D. in sociology. That leap into bliss has brought me both joy and achievement. Bliss-following has also worked for Ms. Adair and the many artists highligted in a new book called Les Femmes Folles.

Artists like Laura Burhenn, front-woman of the Mynabirds, Jamie Pressnall of Tilly & The Wall, ground-breaking poet and author, Marilyn Coffey, the multi-published author, Kathleen Rooney, the award winning playwright Robin Rice Lichtig, award winning filmmaker Kat Candler, fashion designer, Kate Walz and contemporary artist Alexandra Grant reflect on how feminism impacts their art and their lives.

Brooke Hudson is an event/fashion show producer who won’t let stereotypes, or anything else, block her way:

I embrace feminism as an ideology that all women should have the choice and freedom to pursue their best life… whether that be a doctor, lawyer, pageant contestant, fire fighter, accountant, entrepreneur, stay-at-home mom…

I’m keenly aware that being petite and blonde with a high-pitched voice working in fashion, with a pageant or two on my record, doesn’t necessarily add up to the image of someone who would be taken seriously in business. I could have let that notion turn into a fear that would hold me back from facing an opportunity that I’m well-suited for.

I realized that fear represented the very stereotypes the feminist movement had worked so very hard to dispel… the most important thing I’ve learned in that experience is that to be respected by others, we must first respect ourselves.

Artist, Jacqueline Bequette also knows that there is strength and support in numbers and that feminism can move us beyond the insecurities and resulting isolation and back-biting that breaks people apart and weakens them:

I want to do away with the competition model of relationships among women. We isolate each other when we see each other as a threat via attractiveness, status, having it all, etc. Comparison kills community.

And in fact, Les Femmes Folles emerged as a Nebraska community of women artists helped to buttress each other.

Les Femmes Folles is a beautifully illustrated introduction to feminist artists who are creating community, breaking through limitations and following their bliss.

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