Nothing comforts and centers me more than making art with the women in my life.
Regardless of creative disposition, this world is often maddening for us. Whether we’re facing patriarchal inertia or more quotidian concerns, to collectively lean on one another for support is often a soft place to land, but that’s not always a given. This is an age of endless opportunities for crippling envy, thanks to our social media timelines, so in this way it’s more important than ever to practice putting those petty jealousies aside; and appreciate a fellow woman’s loveliness without questioning your own.
Once you’re able to consistently do this, magical things fall into place. Moments of understanding and tenderness appear where they once passed you by, complimenting your life and your work. Nurturing that kind of art: pieces of unguarded femininity and manifold loveliness, the rare magic you can conjure with collaborators when you respect them unabashedly and trust them purely.
I especially admire women who are older than me, who have the capacity to pass down vital information to a new generation. Theirs is the emotional intelligence and grace of a matriarchal goddess brimming with her hard-earned wisdom. This is a way in which creativity and knowledge blossom, preserved while casting aside pointless bitterness. More so, there is something to be said about women who aren’t stingy with their expertise. That acumen becomes even more powerful when shared, honed with new and deeper meaning.
What drew me to Monique wasn’t her ability to take pretty photographs, it was the pure benevolence in her demeanor. I knew she drew her inspiration from a bottomless well of truth. She candidly spoke her mind, with each idiosyncrasy and adorable geeky trait prominently worn on her sleeve. Seven years into our friendship, I couldn’t imagine not having fits of breathless dolphin noise laughter with her, or not having her to call when I’m ugly crying in my car.
That said, somewhere down the excruciating line of lived experiences, trials and errors I developed a better ability to attract girlfriends who truly want the best for me, and through this, the art we create together carries deeper meaning, reflecting our true intention.
This is my advice for creative women struggling to find other kindred creative souls: tend to your existing relationships like a precious garden and confront any fears keeping you from seeking out new ones.
If you do put forward all of your good intentions and things don’t work out leaving you with a bruised heart, at the very least you’ll walk away without guilt, knowing you were a solid friend who is now more perceptive.
A healthy confidence—and everything you create — truly radiate into the world around you. In practicing these traits, you’ll notice and attract those who are doing the same. A friend who respects you as a unique and growing, living universe of original thoughts and ideas. This is the kind of creative partner you will constantly be inspired by.
Keep in mind you are carefully choosing to connect with an intuitive consciousness that will help keep your creative fire lit, and who will spark it back to life when the world threatens to snuff it out. A friend who will help cultivate a life that is everything you yearn for it to be: full and wonderful, with endless creation.
Photography by Monique Rodriguez @monique_rdz
Model: Eden Tijerina @edensheaven
Woman on horseback: @slipperyslewshepherdess
Corsets by Rainlily @shoprainlily
and other Edwardian vintage pieces by Lillian Lorraine @lillian_lorraine