I Am An Experientialist!


Brandi C. at Amon Carter Museum June 2014 “GateKeeper” Project


I write this post with a sense of relief to speak into these words and bring forth this message.   Over my adult life I’ve loved human contact, I will delay any “very important work” with the call from a dear friend to spend hours sharing our interpretation on current states of affairs and especially a great cocktail party creating conversation with others a favorite source of Joy while also housing a great thorn.  Feeling the prick of human contact to deduce each other into a 30 sec summation based on the all to “Monster Under my Bed” question of “What do you Do for a Living?” Even when I “Did” something for a Job I still agonized on labeling myself in the way that seemed to arouse an anxiety as the proclamation was announced.


1991 The Girls Who shaped my Childhood


Best Friends Forever!

For years I’ve analyzed,  ruminated and spent many  journals asking myself the question “What do you Do for a Living?”  “Who are You?” Seeking the freedom I once claimed as an 8-year-old girl to boldly speak out “I want to be a dancer when I grow Up!” (my dance moves have evolved since spring break 91′)  I can remember a couple of years ago agonizing, over my trip home to the Mid West to join my childhood friends as we celebrate our 20 year reunion from High School, how would I answer the age-old question and define my entire life with one answer?  Which part of my life would I focus?  Where would I give credit?   What hat would I choose to wear that night as declaring all my titles would be laborious and quite frankly boring!  I never did come up with an “I Am” that felt honest and complete.  How could I starve my motherhood by announcing my artist or not give credit to the “Job” which paid my salary without regard to other roles I played within my community?  And why is this so important?  Ironically during my trip to Indy I don’t recall one person asking the haunting question.  However it steered an unrest I write today as a journey to put to bed this conflict after all these years.


“Freed & Flying” June 2014 Burlap, Acrylic and Ink on Canvas 12’x10′

Declaring ones “I Am” is to me the most important seed we plant to which our life grows.  I now know why for years I felt such anxiety over this seemingly innocent question.  To answer was to give ownership.  To believe in was to continue to create that version of myself.  My knowing has resisted declaring what I “Do” and has continued to have me be on adventure to who “I Be” in all aspects of my life.  I decided a few years ago I would let go the idea one should do one thing at a time (a big belief/lie I carried from my upbringing),  and place all focus on that one thing was the “Right Thing” to do.  This idea never felt good. For me life has become an abundant gathering of many things “I do” in order to have the richness of inspiration and passion flow through my daily work/life.  As I’ve realized what works for me I accepted the many hats I wear are all important to the contrast and support they less obviously give to each other.  Spending over 15 years in my families Real Estate business taught me many things and I bring forth the business mind I now apply to my Art business, running my household and to my approach to any aspect of life which requires my logical mind.  Quite frankly my accountant does not want to discuss depreciation with my emotional mind the lesson this year as I cried over broken pipes to realize it’s just business get the pipes fixed.  Motherhood has become the inspiration for a life altering transformation in order to create the woman my children desire to be raised and the nurture I share in my work with the many children I share my studio.  My life as an artist has been the platform for healing, revealing, leaping, risking and integrating all my worlds and then expanding into community.  My close friends have commented on their exhaustion of watching my project unfold over the last year.  With weariness I agree dream of a “boring” trip to the pool  and then declare “You’ll never imagine what I’m planning for next” I was born to fly!

"Broken & Beautiful" Burlap, Acrylic & Ink on Canvas June 2014

“Broken & Beautiful”
Burlap, Acrylic & Ink on Canvas
June 2014

Which brings me to the words I share today and the relief in finding the answer to a lifetime unanswered question as I embrace my latest project.   On a Monday morning after a late night event of working a dear friend sent me into a place I resisted.  Without regard to my very grouchy/bitchy (let’s be honest)  “No!” he declared I must go and nourish myself and prepare for that evenings work.  I was  revealing my work on the  largest platform to date and he wisely reminded me to be in the spirit which I create.  Finally at his expense, emotionally and financially,  I found myself being enveloped in wellness at the Ritz Spa In Dallas.  Being quiet and allowing my energy to return.  In those serene moments of that Monday morning a knowingness was revealed, the title which encompassed all of who I’ve been, who I AM and what my life work is.  The work I do personally with those I share an intimate story and the work I do out in the world.  I am an Experientialist!  My Artist expression is not known as a realist, cubist, modernist or any other label known in the art world my expression is Experientilism creating experience as a source of knowledge of oneself so others have a new answer of another layer of who they are!  My artist invites your artist to feel itself come alive even if for a moment.  While in that moment together our artist capture a message through a brush stroke that will forever speak a story.  IMG_1882


Recovery Resource Collaboration Project 25 children from local shelters or foster care

In a time when our society has lost the connection to the wisdom the Art World houses.  When art is widely  viewed one-dimensional as performance and for entertainment purpose.  A subject in school we can disregard when funding is directed elsewhere (we have really BIG football stadiums in Texas) (just a notice).  Being an Experientialist my artistic expression is to create a platform for others to create a new mental construct (plant a seed) for which if nurtured will expand.   What we sew we grow!   To look into dynamic conversations of the psyche of our culture while  exploring and building an art project.  Which captures our current story to be observed and shared for future generations housed in an object of beauty.  For those who share my intimate world you know my Experientialism is a way and the thread which weaves throughout all aspects of my life.   Visitors into my world find its the culture of my home how I cook in my kitchen (usually without a recipe), how I style my wardrobe, a combination of the neighbors estate sale finds with trappings from a trip to Neiman Marcus,  or weekly trip to the farmers market buying the food directly from the source so I can hear the story of how my food was built!  It’s my Kale cookies to which I’m on batch 12 in the first 20 days of summer perfecting every last ingredient to capture a version of cookies to be healthy and delicious!   IMG_8553 It’s a movement, it’s a culture,  it’s how I breathe life into this moment and it’s how I share myself and my life work with you.  It’s the invitation I share to you the gift of a new mental construct today.  To open up another way to feel life to experience Joy to share your love and pass on the invitation to all those who you reach.  I can imagine someday we’ll all be creating the same experience of Peace!  Give yourself a new experience today little seeds planted grow into big Oak trees! Simplicity becomes ones brilliance as I get up everyday and to do great work to plant little seeds.  With final clicks on my keyboard I will press publish as I’m headed back into my studio.  New York is waiting for me to deliver that very piece which started this post!   Chow…

IMG_1852 IMG_1844 IMG_1843 IMG_1914

About brandicottingham

I'm a self taught artist, blogger, mom, bone collector, creative passionate soul with my life work to connect the collective consciousness to a lifestyle of "Right Thinking" meaning allowing the right brain creativity and imagination to flow through all aspects of life!
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2 Responses to I Am An Experientialist!

  1. paula mcmillen says:

    I love it when everything clicks and a big revelation comes.  I remember when this journey just began with your 40th birthday vision.  Makes me smile!  Set a time when you can come do the glass art piece.  We are waiting on you to fire the others!   Paula McMillen Williamson EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR KINDERPLATZ OF FINE ARTS 817-207-0660



  2. Lee Walton says:



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