Category Archives: Creating

Notes From the 6 Train: Finding & Exploring Courageous Creativity

Courageous *the fist* Creativity *the other hand being creative* lol

Courageous *the fist* Creativity *the other hand being creative* lol

This past Sunday I went to this Dance Therapy Healing workshop. I spent all day dancing, moving, talking and crying with an amazing group of women.

The workshop, Courageous Creativity, is all about unblocking your creativity. Tatiana Zamir, a trained dance and massage therapist, encouraged this through simple breathing and body awareness exercises. We also thought back to time whens our creativity was not valued or recognized. And then we danced that feeling of unworthiness out, and then danced in a way that reclaimed our sense of ideas and voices mattering. It was therapeutic and healing, especially since moving and being in your body is an art form that many of us don’t tap into. Our bodies retain all the stress we put it through, both physically and emotionally, so it only makes sense for us to turn back into our bodies for answers and guidance.

A little solitary movement after the workshop.

A little solitary movement after the workshop.

Dance is something I love. I use it as a healing mechanism all the time, but to do it with a group of other women is quite special. During this workshop, I realized some truths that I have to deal with in order to move forward with all of my creative endeavors. I am excited to put them into action! Right before the beginning of school was the perfect time for these realizations.

All Things Color, Love & Fashion,
Ayanna Lane

Notes From the 6 Train: Visiting The People Climate Art Collective

Marchers make their way across Central Park South during the People's Climate March on September 21 2014, in New York. Activists mobilized in cities across the globe Sunday for marches against climate change, with one of the biggest planned for New York, where celebrities, political leaders and tens of thousands of people were expected. The march comes before the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon convenes a climate change summit of 120 world leaders .   AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. Clary        (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Marchers make their way across Central Park South during the People’s Climate March on September 21 2014, in New York. Activists mobilized in cities across the globe Sunday for marches against climate change, with one of the biggest planned for New York, where celebrities, political leaders and tens of thousands of people were expected. The march comes before the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon convenes a climate change summit of 120 world leaders . AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. Clary (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

The other day as apart of my summer internship with the Laundromat Project I visited and connected with several artists from The People’s Climate Art Collective. Remember that massive march that took place last year against climate change? If you attended, I’m sure you remember how much rad art there was. I couldn’t go because I had to work, but I know several who did go AND saw many photos from the March, and just from that I saw how the role art played in the march.

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This past year’s onslaught of viral videos of brutally has been particularly challenging for me. I often think about the importance of art in freedom movements and why it’s so necessary. It’s because people don’t need degrees or even need to be literate to understand certain imagery, and that’s powerful stuff. In fact, the organizers talked about how intentional they were making art a primary factor of the march from the beginning of the planning days. So it was incredible to hear that the major funders of the march believed in it also & provided money to artist to help make signs, do performance art, etc.

Demonstrators make their way down Sixth Avenue in New York during the People's Climate March Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014.  The march, along with similar gatherings scheduled in other cities worldwide, comes two days before the United Nations Climate Summit, where more than 120 world leaders will convene for a meeting aimed at galvanizing political will for a new global climate treaty by the end of 2015. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

Demonstrators make their way down Sixth Avenue in New York during the People’s Climate March Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014. The march, along with similar gatherings scheduled in other cities worldwide, comes two days before the United Nations Climate Summit, where more than 120 world leaders will convene for a meeting aimed at galvanizing political will for a new global climate treaty by the end of 2015. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

This intersection of art + activism made me think of the plethora of artists here at FIT. It’s interesting how the skills learned here are completely transferable, one could be working at a design firm, fashion magazine or freedom fighter, but it all starts with a solid base and understanding of how to communicate messages through art.

All Things Color, Love & Fashion,
Ayanna Lane

Ode to New York

Being from the midwest, New York has changed me for the better.  Before coming to FIT or New York City, I would have never taken risks or stepped outside of my comfort zone.  I would have never been able to walk into an interview or even get offered said position.  I’m not afraid to speak my mind or stand up for what I believe in.  I have gained confidence above all.  New York can make you grow up really quickly.  Not grow up in a way that you’re looking at retirement plans, but growing up in a way where you figure yourself out.  You start to know what you want and what you don’t.  You now have that sense of freedom and independence.  People may say that you gain those things just by going to college, but New York is a different ball game.  Prepare yourself to begin an entirely new book in your life.  New York is the place where you become the person that you are meant to be.

“I believe in New Yorkers. Whether they’ve ever questioned the dream in which they live, I wouldn’t know, because I won’t ever dare ask that question.” — Dylan Thomas

Very literally…welcome to New York.  It’s been waiting for you.

Ashley

Notes From the 6 Train: Keep Going. You Got This.

More and more I begin to see how past relationships keep resurfacing. A few weeks ago I was invited to a huge gala as a guest of honor to a former scholarship program I was involved in whilst in middle & high school. I was “One of the 52,” an alumna that had a large impact on the organization while involved/ after my graduation, by volunteering, mentoring, or tutoring. But that’s not what this post is about, this is about what happened while I was on stage.

All of the alumni got on stage and talked about our paths after graduation, what we are doing now and what we anticipate to be doing the future. I have to admit something. It was the first time I’ve ever completely owned and honored my artist title, especially in front of such a large group of people. Fully believing and owning my truth in that way has been a long time coming. Part of it was me not feeling I deserved that title and the other was being ashamed. Growing up, I’ve also been surrounded by incredibly academically focused people, and there’s been a part of that wished that I was passionate about academia in the same way.

My mentor & I.

My mentor & I.

But with unlearning the common narrative that art is not important. While also adhering to an intense artist practice, fully internalizing how important art IS, and what it means to bring it to communities spaces (which is what I’m all about), has instilled in me an unwavering pride to call myself a creator, an artist. Having the platform to stand up and just briefly mention what I am up to, and it being honored, was transformative for me. I felt proud while hearing everyone’s accomplishments, and feeling proud. I am thankful to experience these little, unexpected, cathartic moments offer unexpected healing.

Side-note: I wanted to write about this because I’ve been thinking about how blogs & the internet in general, only show snapshots of everyone’s experience. Behind that perfect Instagram picture, there was uncertainty, doubt, question of talent, etc. But for artists, it’s important to remember to not stop during those times of self-doubt. Just keep working, don’t stop, and own it.

All Things Color, Love & Fashion,
Ayanna Lane

Notes From the 6 Train: Finding Work That Fills Up You

I’m really enjoying my internship with the Laundromat Project. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of helping out my artist, Elvira Clayton, at the Harlem Art’s Festival. We were in the kid’s corner, where we had a live drummer, with an accompanying (evolving) drum circle. We also had materials to make mini djembes for anyone to take home to continue the music at home!

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Despite the challenging weather we experienced at the Harlem’s Art Festival, there was an incredible turnout at our table. And I know why.

The drums.

It brought together every community member possible. Little kids wandered over, with their older siblings and parents following close behind. At one point, an elder, master drummer even stopped by to play for a bit.

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That’s when I remembered, why drums are so enticing. I never forget this fact, but it’s moments like this that reaffirm, usually more passionately than before, that powerful nature of the drum. It’s an obvious reminder of our humanity, as it mirrors the sound of our shared heartbeats. This is even more poignant when there’s a troupe of drums. Strangers who didn’t even exchange names, were connected, if only for a moment, by playing together.

Not only do drums remind of us our shared humanity, but creates the perfect catalyst for community building. Everyone wants to touch the drum, beat and feel the rhythm of the drum. Even the shyest and most hesitant of passerby’s found themselves enraptured in the majestic nature of the drum circle.

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As my graduation swiftly approaches, I am paying attention to work that fills me up, makes me feel whole, and this community engaging work does it for sure. That’s what I plan on doing after I graduate.

All Things Color, Love & Fashion,
Ayanna Lane