Copyright 2016 Lisa Eshleman Foster. All Rights Reserved.

No reproductions of any kind without permission from the artist.

I started to think about Melting Pot for my project wall after reading several catalogs of various artists who had shown at the New Arts Program. I realized that over the years, there have been so many (over 300?) different artists/people who are creating, from their inner mind’s eye, interesting (or not) things to see or hear or feel (depending). These “things” which we call art, are then displayed for us other humans to look at, hear or touch. Eventually, as most humans are wont to do, we react to what is stimulating us sensually. It is a cycle of humanity. The artists are the cooks, stirring up the ideas and eventually serving them. All living beings need food.
Beyond fueling our bodies, we need mental stimulation, so some of us become conjurers. In every piece I create, I want there to be something that draws a viewer into the scene. I want you to become transported somewhere else, to realize as a human, there is more than just every day. I want to feed your head because minds need to be bent. That is why I read and listen to music, all someone else’s ideas which they are bringing to the table to share.
There are so many ideas being brought to the table.  That is the joy of being a human and alive in a time when we can freely express ourselves. And that thought brought me to the bigness of humanity that we endure. And I went to back to why is it like this, here on Earth? That lead to thinking about gods and beliefs and how so many humans can have so many different thoughts which go in so many different directions. 
Of course, that led me to have a brain discussion of who or what the Conjurer may be. Which brings it around to magic.
The Conjurer is an alchemist. We are a melting pot in which our ideas are thrown and stewed. The blends are savory or poisonous. And I liked this idea and it formed the basis for my project wall. Unlike an exhibition, which is usually hung and not changed, the project wall has that word project in it. To me, a project is something that is being done, a renovation, or what happens before a presentation, something with a means to an end. It’s a freedom from just presenting an artwork because the project is the art. Anyone into performance art has to love this concept.
And I thought, performance involves the public and what we do here is a big melting pot, so I am going to incorporate the public into my project. I also know that many people come through the space (NAP) where this wall is, so it’s different than creating in a private space. I am demonstrating my way of working. It’s a public spectacle. I love it. Alchemists work anywhere. Most artists bring work that has been created in their studios to be hung on the project wall.
This painting was inspired by another painting that I did called TheWalk In. Walk Ins are people who when they die, souls transfer into a living person. Suddenly a person wakes up and finds that they can play a piano when they never have before, or suddenly they become a criminal. So, the figure, the alchemist, could be a walk in. He is my central character in many paintings. People interpret him as a lizard, devil, dog, skeleton etc. I see it as a persona. A figment of my imagination coming out to tell a story, because what is a picture, but a story? Alchemy has ties with mysticism and I am interested in both. Who doesn't like a good mystery? When I paint, I don't worry about anyone liking my work or even how it fits into society. It comes from a subconsciousness that somehow gathers the information that I observe/read and becomes a story.
This painting, Melting Pot, began because of our current political leaders demonizing anyone who is in this country and not white. It's sheer bigotry. But I really didn't want to make a direct political statement on a painting. So here stands the alchemist, mixing his cauldron, which will be holding bits and pieces. His goal is to have universal harmony, make gold metaphorically. Alchemy.
One of the definitions of alchemy is: any magical power of process of transmuting a common substance, usually of little value, into a substance of great value. Another definition is: Any seemingly magical process of transforming or combining elements into something new. Ah Ha!  Paint into a story! Words into a story!!! ( I got the definitions from dictionary. com. The first definition is: a form of chemistry and speculative philosophy practiced in the Middle Ages and Renaissance and concerned principally with discovering methods for transmuting baser metals into gold and with finding a universal solvent and an elixir of life. The below is as the above, and the above as the below.
To me alchemists and philosophers and good visual artists and writers are magicians. Conjurers of other worlds where the imagination goes. A break from the mundane world in which we live. A higher place. I suppose belief in God takes people to this place and meditation may help, but for me, it's art and viewing art.
I am connected to nature and have always- my entire life, felt pain for what we humans do to the planet. Sometimes I feel as if I am an alien.
I am using acrylic on canvas and other found objects to paint the painting. It will be framed by the small drawings of various kettles. At the moment, the drawings are hanging in front of the painting assort of a curtain, to be removed when I get back down to work on my project. I live too far away to be able to come daily as planned. Last summer, when I wrote the proposal, I didn't count on having a full-time job, but I got one and can't leave it. So, I will wait until June 16 to start painting again and I won't stop until it's July 15.  I urge anyone who is interested to stop by and visit me as I paint. Also, there is an audience participation piece. I am asking the public "What does Melting Pot mean to you?" These answers will be used in the painting somehow. I have ideas but not certain until I see what I get.

Melting Pot: Project Wall 

New Arts Program 2018

These are pictures of the work Melting Pot as I was working on it. I started in April, and finished in July, 2018. 

The Conjurer