Let’s start at the beginning. What has been your story that led you to the artist you are today?

In short: I was imbued with an understanding, which was complete for me at 6 years old, that I was created to be a bridge—for myself and others, to cross over to the other side. Of what?, you might ask…It used to be safety, sanity and solidity, but it is now the opposite. I was born in a time of cultural commotion in San Francisco—hippies, rebellion and a surge to become free of war—around the world, and in the home I grew up in. I was told that I had no talent to be an artist, and was not allowed to study art at all, so, being a rebel, I taught myself and created art.

How do you describe your connection with your work?

When people come over to my house for a meal I cook, they are usually shocked that I don’t use recipes. I don’t because I can't. I cannot follow a recipe. I am instead inspired by a marketplace of produce as inspiration, seasonally. I feel the temperature and the color of the day, I feel a palette that flows from the weather and the mood of the day. My design of a taste pallet comes entirely from instinct which is rooted in: the earth and the sky and the trees and animals.

The meal is not only delicious, but also fresh and has picked itself, THROUGH me as a conduit, and the result is usually a structurally designed set of dishes in compliment to one another, and this is something I am VISUALIZING the TASTE of—-and usually it hits some proximity of the flavor profile I was aiming for. I paint the same way. Soulstraction is that process of hunting for the elemental arc and fullest expression of that which i am exploring in the space of my studio, with the expansiveness of my curiosity, and always reaching for the truest expression of that search. The inquiry and engagements along with the questions, the wondering and the no plan MATERIALIZE A PLAN.

How have your other roles (mother, life coach, etc.) influenced who you are as a creator?

I think the main characteristic that I embody is that of a champion for myself and others. I believe in pure potential of human beings and I believe that change is inevitable and mostly leads to good. I think I am extremely resilient, as well as extremely sensitive, and I am heavily into process, I accept where I am and recognize that beginnings and endings in life are very few—the first day of a new job, a birth or death, wedding or birthday, the completion of a project or the beginning of another—-these beginnings and endings are what everyone celebrates and acknowledges, while the fat middle is the other 95% I am most interested in fully occupying and exploring.

Who are you other than an artist?

I am a haven in a heartless world, a boundless, creative, person and woman, very supported in life and love by my soulmate and husband of 31 years. I am the proud, amazed mother of two spectacular, good, cool, beautiful, open-hearted people: daughters Hannah, 26 and Elana, 24. I am an astute observer of people, nature, the seasons, our societies, political and cultural truths, and I am a delver, philosopher, and overall curious, developing human being. I am also a fierce supporter of women and girls, and I am an available stranger who supports on the fly. I strive to create more impact for social change. I have been trained as a life-coach, a palliative care companion, and a facilitator for teen programs. Malcom Gladwell refers to my archetype as a connector and a maven.

What role do you believe art and artist play in the world we live in today?

Art and artist are both product and process—striving to explore and materialize that which may be invisible, or may already be visible, but are encoded with a unique perspective that is brought forward, and otherwise would remain invisible. Expression in general is a human right. Each human is unique, which seems impossible and boggles our mind because there are now like 10 billion of us on the planet. But the expression “if the tree fell in the forest and no one saw it, did it fall?” illustrates that our need to be fully expressed as humans drives whatever we do to accomplish that unique expression, and if we do not do it in some form, we die. I believe I am very much alive and will continue to be in process, and hopefully in product, as it does feel good to get to a completion, and another new beginning. That is how I know I am alive.

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Ardith is a two-time De Young jury selected exhibitionist.
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