"GateKeeper" Amon Carter Museum 2014 AAMD Event

“GateKeeper” Amon Carter Museum 2014 AAMD Event

“Tell Me and I’ll forget.

Show me and I may remember;

involve me and I will understand.”

– Chinese Proverb


As I type these words they in themselves become a kind of love letter as I prepare my self to deliver the piece which launched this summer and became a time stamp for my work. I must admit its very common for tears to be part of the material I use in my painting. I’ve seldom known them to appear as I write. Today they hover, just before breaking point, and cloud my vision as another symbol of the depth this piece has become to mean to me.IMG_0625

In my 41 years I’ve mostly felt like an outsider, misfit and odd to the normal around me. I would also say few observers in my life would agree as my desire to be involved, masked these feelings, has mostly been the driving force to connect with my culture. My life work has developed as I gained the strength to look inside and use the outside world as my contrast, putting into context my personal life story verse the collective consciousness. No longer being separate from but as a collaboration to produce my best self which allows me to give my best service to my community.

I deliver “Gatekeeper” today to the Amon Carter Museum. The dynamics of this project continues to unfold as I see the culmination of the past which lead me to this project and the trajectory this project is launching my work into the future. I laugh as I sit her capturing these powerful feelings my computer sends little distractions of incoming emails to which a friend inserts himself IMG_1890 “You are in the right place to grow and to innovate. It is a wild ride”!  He is correct this ride which started to undulate as my conversation with the Amon Carter began and “Gatekeeper” started to reveal itself. IMG_8508 After, Dr. Walker shared his excitement of housing his peers, Museum Directors from North and South America, in his museum for a cocktail party, during the national conference for AAMD, I started to build my studio! As he added the details of their discussions and care to look at the future of the Museum world. Looking into how life was quickly changing and how would society want to receive art, look at art and be with art in the future? How does any of our past ways in entering our community stay relevant during these exciting times as technology shifts our perspective and desires? An interesting set of questions I ask personally and see my struggle in life coming from ideas and beliefs I could phase out and redesign life in a new more brilliant way.

Out of my boldness or naiveté, depends on who is telling the story me choosing the later, I asserted Pop uP Studio into the evening. I say naiveté as I know I’m unable to find my red wine at the museum events for obvious reasons of protecting the fine art it houses. And, now I’m declaring bringing red paint, lots of paint and allowing the paint to be used by many who’ve rarely if ever practiced this craft. (This is where my father has head under his desk and recognizes the rebel child has still not “grown up!”) Another great question I’ve started to ask; is my naiveté fuel for my boldness? And, with this question I find a perfect purpose of being naive and embrace that which lacks full logic.

Enter the 90 min process, I invite what I call the “Gatekeepers” of the Art World, and ask them to collaborate in a piece of Art which will captures the collective consciousness of The Museum Directors of North and South America.


Photos by Chuck Shanelever

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I  probe into what is exciting about their role in the Art World and what they take with them, from this time together, as they analyze the future and how they will communicate Art to the World?

Dr. Walker and his team answered these questions by giving his peers the process of “GateKeeper” as if the canvas became the tablet of record. 150+ peers became part of the experience everyone playing the role they choose to play. Some as the painter, others continue to be perched as the critic they find familiar, all share in observing as the experience and the object reveals itself. What makes this experience so powerful is it’s perfect for each participant. Those who choose to try a variety of roles and get their personal mark on the canvas and others who gave the artist an audience.

My artist has cured my beliefs of being Weird! I’m still weird but in a way which I wouldn’t have myself be any other way! My artist needs to craft my work, my promoter desire to share it needs my critic to support moving towards my best work, and the observer who feeds them all. As I merged my archetypes in my head I’ve become closer to fully expressed being. Of course I can look around the room and see all the versions of myself reflected back into the faces of those I share the experiences. I find each process perfectly orchestrated as those who feel committed to the role they play and the ones who relish trying on many roles. For each role becomes a gate we enter and an experience which gives our thoughts definition of being involved in the world. We all are Gatekeepers, people who control access and decide what messages will be distributed into the world. Mine is to involve as many people into a process of understanding by experience and capturing our collective consciousness on canvas as a symbol of the beauty we naively be! What is your message? I wrap this letter as it’s time to deliver this piece of work which has become so dear and sends the message…..Keep the Gates Open! Always Expressing-Brandi C.



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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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6 Responses to “GateKeeper”

  1. Love. Love. Love.


  2. MsBrodee@aol.com says:

    Brandi, I do love reading about how you continue to explore the world. I have always believed that to have the word “naivete” attached to one is an extreme compliment. It means you approach any subject, person, place with a completely OPEN mind. Keep up the good work. Betty Murrell Hove


  3. Andrew Walker says:

    Brandi–your story of the journey of Gatekeeper from idea to experience to a finished work of art is a gift of inspiration and personal realization. You have launched a word — experientialism — that declares a movement. Thank you for your wisdom! Andrew W.


  4. paula mcmillen says:

    Very rewarding, very cool!

      Paula McMillen Williamson EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR KINDERPLATZ OF FINE ARTS 817-207-0660



  5. Andrew Walker says:

    Wow! Up in the air. Your words are power brandi c.!

    Sent from my iPad



  6. courtney kennebeck says:

    You are an inspiration and a dream weaver my beautiful friend. Your optimisim and encouragement is like a magic potion that brings the artist out in everyone. You leave a powerful, artistic mark on this world, by allowing others to leave theirs.
    Xoxoxo C


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