Artist’s Statement ~ Kelly Thomas ~ April 2011
Art is and always has been an offering. It is a gift to humanity, the Gods, the community and the self. Art is between people and has been since people existed. It has acted as a celebration, a source of information, a way of protection, and as a way of preserving our heritages and cultures through story telling. It is part of our lineage. It is what has been passed on from generation to generation for millions of years. It has the power to deeply connect people if it comes from the artist’s soul. When the artist gives their heart, and their spirit, and their truth to an audience, it is the purest expression of love. That love can then be carried out into the world and can be given to others. Art has an exponential power to reach all of humanity. This is why I create art. This is why I tell stories. This is why I perform. As an artist I believe that the audience is just as important as the creator. I want to honor what is received just as much as what is given. If not, it is a one sided conversation that has no need for an audience. I have to be in conversation with my audiences. If you are willing to share a moment of your life with me, why would I ignore you? My art should serve humanity by inspiring, challenging, and empowering them. I have the power to serve the people in the room and activate philanthropies that will serve the communities that surround me. I do this by finding the most honest offering I have inside me. In choosing themes, I use what I love, what I have questions about, and what I feel must be told to someone else. I have to offer someone something I feel passionately about. If not, why should they feel anything for it? When I create my work I feel it should be just as alive as I am. I feel the most important material a performer can use is themselves. I have a mind, a voice, a body, and a soul. I believe I must use all of these to fully connect with my audience. I use exploratory techniques more so than formulaic forms in the creation of my work. I enjoy working with the Viewpoints, Moment Work, Roy Hart vocal techniques, devised creation, and improvisational forms that evoke authentic reactions and the inherent potential in things. I seek ways to strip away preconceived notions and labels. The beauty of exploring is in its’ intention to discover and not to assume. I start with myself and then I use what I love, what I have around me, and what is necessary. I use materials that stimulate the five senses. Theatrical elements should enhance the production and not act as a cover for its relatable inadequacies. I am always listening to myself, those I am collaborating with, and the environment around me for what is needed in the moment. When I feel it, when I am connected to it in mind, body and heart, and when I can pose the question, “so what?” and have the answer to it, I know it is genuine. As I continue creating I am working towards finding those connections that continue a lineage of humanity and empower us to go out and connect with the rest of the world.