Freak of the Week is my Wednesday column featuring a person doing wonderful work for the betterment of humanity. Artists, teachers, truth tellers, environmentalists, movers and shakers doing work worth recognition answer a battery of questions to help us glimpse inside their world. Prowl around, have a read, leave a comment, share the feature and help build the world a solid basis for future good. This week I am happy to introduce you to, Karin Meira. Here is the cyber interview we shared:
(This interview was done to the sound of Nelly Furtado’s song “Powerless (say what you want)”, because I listen to music as much as possible. Here is the link to the Karaoke version of this song: http://youtu.be/Q3aRrci-Ids
My name is Karin Meira. When introducing myself for the first time., I like to say that I am a woman, a mother, an artist - in that order. I am currently 50-years-old, a single individual, and I was born in Brazil. I also should probably include in my first introduction that I enjoy telling stories and I love making things by hand as much as possible.
The next aspect I would like for others to know about me, is my innate interest in people, in human nature. With 6 billion plus of us inhabiting this surface we call Earth, it has got to be the most relevant, urgent and challenging topic. I see that each and everyone of us is what we take and what we give back. I don’t see it possible for anyone to escape that Law of Nature. I believe all imbalance stems for misunderstanding this basic truth. I find the complexity of this Human Equation very….musical. Very often I do not like what I hear or see, for there is undeniable suffering abounding everywhere - no exception.
So I guess my profound belief lies in recycling of all things: concrete and abstract things alike. Perhaps only through thinking and trying things out in new and different ways will we really be able to make some sense of the purpose of the various moments of our lives - nothing ever stays the same.
I have academic “accomplishments” (nice other name for diplomas, right?) in Graphic and Industrial Design and in Fashion Design. My work experience in that field has connected me to Interior Design, specializing mostly in textiles. Often I wished to have had the vocation to have followed a more “useful” or “needed” career, instead of being blessed with talents in fields that could easily be placed in a secondary plan or be considered superfluous. ….Until in a conversation with my very wise Mother, she explained to me I still could make a significant difference to people’s lives by being good at what I did, by doing it with awareness of the effect of my work. Bingo: I was hooked! I had found meaning in this and I could passionately throw myself in that direction!!
1) If you had the power to make one change in the world what would it be?
I would make it totally, completely, absolutely i m p o s s i b l e for anyone to lie.
2) What is your current passion?
Passions for me do not occur in terms of time, but in terms of depth. It probably sounds untrue, radical, extreme, whatever, but either things for me are a passion, or they are nothing! Life is all very visceral to me. Things tend to make sense to me a bit differently than it does to most people. Throughout life I have come to understand and accept my personality in ways that have gradually made my life better. Mine is not the story of the artist who always had familiarity, support, enjoyment, gratification from early artistic steps taken. My background and upbringing did not understand, nor approve of art as means of living: it was not considered serious, healthy or valid to dwell in ‘art’. I had to put up a lot of peaceful sacred ‘wars’ in this field to get to where I am today. Some of it I think is a cultural thing: a Third World or Developing Country, such as Brazil, has more urgent needs to address than those of art and artists.
3) How did you find that passion?
I found it through struggle, questioning, observation. I found it due to the inability to conform. There had to be another way! And it is all a process, I believe. It is never done, till perhaps after that last breath - who knows! I think I found myself at this stage in life where I am now, because I got fed up. I only found some kind of peace by finally turning inwards. So if I am able to rescue, improve or even create something inside, and then I try to come out to share it with others, hoping it can benefit them too, then it is all good. Once that happens, I feel realized. It is when giving that I feel most happy. Yet the receiver must also receive, right? …Exchange of Content, I call it!
4) Who/What has been most influential in your work?
Change, pieces, words, materials, all tied up by COLOR. Color expressed in terms of hues, shades, textures. Color found in styles, tendencies and a few big-name artists, of course, both from art history, as well as contemporary ones! In regards to people, some real-life women strategically placed by fate throughout my life were pivotal at pushing me in the direction I need to be moving towards. I feel immense gratitude and in debt to these women for the influence they’ve had, so attempting to put my best work out there, has been my way of thanking them. There have also, naturally, been some few and highly complicated men who have had too huge of an effect on me: how could there not have been?! I felt what they have ended up doing, is challenging me out of my preferred contemplative mode. Yet in the end, it all boils down to reflections and projections…
5) Where do you find your inspiration/motivation?
I have the profile of the “Executive Producer”: I enjoy getting things done. When I clearly see a project with a beginning a middle and an end, it excites me. I feel highly inspired by discovery of any kind. Feeling surprised motivates me like nothing else. I am a very curious being. In experimentation is where I think we learn most. So playing with materials, styles, with making things, developing ideas, considering resources, getting to the bottom of things, slowing down the pace, are things that tick me. The goal of it all is only one: improving the quality of life of P E R S O N S.
6) Aside from working, how do you spend your time?
LOL….is it acceptable English to start my answer with “LOL”?! HAHAHA, is possibly more accurate!! I am currently going through a sabbatical. It has not exactly been a planned one - more like an unavoidable one. So I went ahead in acceptance of it all and even stumbled coincidently on some helpful studies/data/info about sabbaticals - the ideal view, the methods of execution, the pitfalls of sabbaticals… Having said that, I must add that I have had a nomadic lifestyle since age 5. So that is 45 years, if you do the math, of an existence that seemed more like I am a gypsy. I have more often than not felt like a weird being, being rolled in and out of varied situations. Many many many things both influence me, for better and for worse: location, habits, seasonal factors, company available, acceptances, rejections, references and lack of them. I have lived in different parts of Brazil, Colombia, England, Germany, on both coasts of the US and in Mexico, and have travelled to and through other cultures. Notice that living and visiting are very different things. Trying to assimilate it all, is constant work of observation, study, alertness. So the way I most like to spend my personal time is DOING NOTHING. Often it even becomes a necessity: to plain stop it all! I don’t feel I have that luxury that much, so the next best thing is to try to make sense of it all, by making things by hand.
7) What is one of your most transforming memories?
About 14 years ago, while living in the area between Portland OR and Seattle WA, during a very confusing and difficult phase of my life, in a parking lot of a bank, as I was pulling away driving a fancy car. What seemed to be a very drunk, dirty, homeless weird man approached me begging for change. I had none. He said: “It’s fine, Lady! Everything is beautiful!” I responded: “Maybe it is all beautiful, but right this moment, I don’t even know who I am!” This man bursts out laughing and with this biggest smile possible says: “You are you! If you are not you, who the hell are you going to be?!” …and he made me see how very disconnected from myself I was. THAT has been transforming; it has been a gift I have received form that stranger.
8) Do you have a prized possession? What is it?
What an interesting question! Now try to picture this: ALL my possessions w e r e precious to me - they were what I held as references, so as to cope with all the moving and all the changes of my life. They were the constant aspects of the associations I needed, plus they carried and explained the memories. On January 16th 2001, I opened the door to my home to find all and every single one of my belongings, except what I had on myself, had been stolen. Fast forward four years through courts of three different countries, various judges, lawyers, psychiatrists - n o t h i n g! No answers, no explanations, no clues: nothing. So my answer to this question is another question: WHAT IS A PRIZE? …but yes: all things which afford me the inspiration, the motivation to make something out of it with my own hands, is a prized OPPORTUNITY. Including trash.
9) Tell about a magical moment that comes to mind when you look back on your life experience.
Any moment when and where two or more human beings strike the cord of affinity, I consider a magical moment. I am blessed to have those happen regularly. They are magical because they just happen - there is no other way! But personally, a kiss is what i consider has the greatest potential for magic. I feel kisses, of any type, can even be more intimate than intercourse. A kiss reveals the magic of the individual: a kiss cannot be faked. It carries the body language and the light of our essence. Apart from this very physical example, I have also felt magic in moments when I was filled by the total presence in my soul of some form of Higher Power, bringing me a sense of connectedness to all Beings - an unconditional love for all, without exception. I very peaceful and blissful state of being.
10) If you were able to spend an afternoon with anyone – dead or alive, who would it be? What plans would you make for your outing?
I would rather spend that one afternoon in some wonderful garden, either during Spring or Autumn, throwing a tea party. The tea party would have the greatest abundance of freshly made foods, drinks and tasty treats; there would be live music played mostly by string instruments playing all styles of melodies; it would be happening both indoors and outdoors of a building surrounded by nature. In this party, very person I ever exchanged just even one single word, would be present - including the people I think are bad and ugly, because, oh yes - I am not perfect! There would be parking spots for all around the area of this party - except most would have preferred to walk to it.
In the case of it being an afternoon with just ONE person, it would probably be Hitler. Yes! I would want pick his brain! I would want to hear from him his side of the accounts. I believe there is fantastic information to be had there. Good and evil is a topic which fascinates me, for the power they both carry. Yes, I would also serve Hitler the best food and drinks I could come up with. Just maybe skip the music, so I would not run the risk of missing a word of what he had to say.
11) What is your goal or main focus for your next 12 months?
Ain’t got none! …at this point, I am happy to just start conversations with new people whose path have not crossed mine, if they are up to it. Maybe some of these people would include young women, or girls, or children. I have the wish to continue the full-time work with children I did for the past seven years. I want to do manual work with children, to develop their self-expression capacities. I am considering to develop a kind of art lab on the lines of the work done by Danish artist Anna Marie Holm since 1966. I want to put my academic studies, diplomas, credentials in conjunction with my life story to think and to make art along side young people. And with not so young too! I said at the beginning of the question there was no goal, because I have only a dream so far….
12) Tell about how you imagine the world might look in 10 years.
Honestly? No… The World, I do not dare. My little world, hopefully, will have a productive herb garden, which I have desired for as long as I can recall, now do have the spot for and have no clue where and how to start it! (Yeah, yeah: Google it, Karin!!!) Possibly, there will be grandchildren too, though my son assures me he is only making ONE baby in this life time! …But my biggest curiosity for the next 10 years, is my success rate at not moving any more. Not moving houses for 10 years straight, for the rest of my life, if possible. I enjoy other places, yet I have always adored this place where I live now, and I want to stay put. Enough moving around. …or maybe The Forces don’t agree with me…
13) What/who is your community?
There are quite a few people spread all across the globe with whom I do feel a very strong connection. If we talk to each other, we seem to pick up from where we left off the last time. Where I currently live, there is all to be developed from scratch, as I have recently arrived here again after 26 years. I am still dealing with memories and adjustments and basic discoveries.
So community, in terms of what supports my person, has got to be ART. Making any and every form of art that helps me process and express my experiences. Art which sustains the exploration of the abundant resources available, the excess. Art to try to make some logic of constant, intense , fast changes which I see happening in my life, and in the lives of everyone else too - strangely enough. Art that serves to ground me somehow. Art that affords connection of the dots scattered all over. Art community, artistic communion.
14) How are you seen within your community? Do you see your role?
I would have to go ask! Maybe one common ground I have heard from most people who know me, is I am imaginative and creative. I am told I am always doing something to try to bring happiness to others, that I am a caring person. I feel that I play the role of the communicator wherever I am.
15) Do you have an upcoming event or significant happening that you would like to promote with your blog posting? When? Where? Details and contact information please.
Not really! …what a waste of great exposure and promotion, right? Perhaps a significant event for me has been this interview! Thank you for questioning me about myself! I wish that it can inspire the ones who have read it till here with some positive s o m e t h i n g.