Musings on the Painter’s Jumpsuit

PJ-VERY SERIOUS

This was a white jumpsuit that I painted. I don’t wear all white clothes. I am not too fond of the idea of wearing anything absent of color. So I bought this white jumpsuit with the intention of painting it. But didn’t know how, until I got inspired by this advertisement by WRAY , a fashion line, promoting their “Norma” jumpsuit. WRAY actually sells it in white, not with the paint on it. Right away, I knew this was my next art project!

WRAY PJ
So where would I wear something like this? I immediately thought of my upcoming High School reunion. I went to LaGuardia HS, an art high school in New York City. I knew I wanted to wear something artsy so I thought of painting this jumpsuit as an ode to the artist. As I painted, these two ideas popped into my head; the painter’s jumpsuit as metaphor for artist practice and process.
PRACTICE
While I was painting, I thought “you are going to prance into your HS reunion wearing this “painter’s jumpsuit” as if you seamlessly went from art school to artist without skipping a beat, Hipócrita ! You haven’t been in the studio for a very long while!” Or have I?
Whether I am actively making art or not, I, WE, are always in our “studio”; thinking and planning, out our next life project. I know for sure that I am always working on projects in my head as I go about my day. I gather inspiration from everywhere; my kids, church, the museum job, my colleagues, friends. I am always wearing the paint suit. And then I execute; I make small collages, I cut a sewing pattern, I sew a seam here and there and it eventually becomes a garment, I type pages of iPhone notes for future projects, blog posts, books, and I find time to make some brush strokes on a garment. Today green, tomorrow yellow… making a mark, a mark that wasn’t there before. Making MY mark little by little.

PJ-FACE CUT OFF

Close -up of brushstrokes made with fabric paint

I’m always wearing the paint suit, always art working. Maybe it’s not in a physical space, producing a consistent, connected collection, a steady practice, but it’s my practice, for right now and I’m embracing it.
PROCESS
Ah!, the idea of the painter’s jumpsuit; so white, pristine, worn to the art studio to protect one’s real clothes, a uniform to catch the paint not meant for the canvas. But wait a minute. Maybe those paint strokes that don’t make the cut, that don’t make it to the masterpiece, these are meant for something else, maybe nothing is wasted. Maybe the painter’s jumpsuit speaks of process.
We’re used to thinking of process as chaotic, unorganized, ugly. But maybe the process has a place on display. Maybe it doesn’t have to be hidden. Maybe while we are in process, we can still shine.
PJ-CLOSE UP SMILE

And truth be told, These random “discarded” strokes on this jumpsuit have seen more than the studio painting might ever. So far, I’ve worn it to my H.S. reunion, church, and a video screening. And now here. These cast-off strokes are now art; photographed, made into a sort of performance art, if you will, for all of you to see. The process can be seen, beautiful, and worthy.

PAINTER'S JUMPSUIT, ARTIST JUMPSUIT COLLAGE

NELLIE ESCALANTE AT PRIDA SCREENING

I wore my painted jumpsuit to a screening documenting the two-person collective that make up SAVIANA ARTS.  PHOTO: Olga Ayala, 2019

We are used to telling of the mountain top experience and very little about how we got there. I tell you one thing, more people care about my journey as a special needs mom and less about all I have accomplished. It’s the nitty gritty, the process, that people are interested in and, sometimes, inspired by. That’s the work of the muse. 

PJ-FULL SMILING ON WALL

 

And maybe that’s it. We all wear the painter’s suit giving us the potential to be the muse, the process, the artist, and the art at various stages of life, or all at once.

How are you wearing the painter’s jumpsuit at this stage in your life?

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One thought on “Musings on the Painter’s Jumpsuit

  1. I love this! So glad you chose to write about it. You totally rocked your artist jumpsuit at the reunion. It really want to make one too! Also these photos of you in it are gorgeous! Hope to see you soon sis.
    💝

    Like

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