the healing horse
The Healing Horse, well where exactly do I begin . It turned out to be quite the oxymoron , being far from the healing horse I intended. In fact it became quite destructive further down the line. So here is my side of the story…
The Artwork that was ‘The Healing Horse’ was initially well received upon its release in 2016. It was a project that I did solely to communicate aspects of healing and my intention was to bring enlightenment & guidance for people who needed it the most. Those that were struggling mentally & physically and who may benefit from some sense of ‘direction’. This was actually myself, at that particular time.
So the quest into healing practices commenced. I spend a lot of time researching my chosen subject areas, which in turn helps me to develop concepts along the way. In 2016 I was suffering from a devastating break up that really rocked my world. My heart was broken, which on top of an already unstable attachment style that only knew the deep despair of abandonment issues and broken relationships, meant that I was operating from a place of sadness day in, day out. I need some serious soul healing.
My work on the other hand was something that gave me purpose. It’s the only time I could feel ‘at peace’. Distracted from my own thoughts, picking up the clippers was then and still is the noise that quietens my mind. When I set out to do a creative project in 2016, there was no ‘goal’ other than to get Romeo clipped and express my love of creative grooming in the only way I knew how and somehow try and educate myself on healing myself in the process. Quickly, in my search fro inspiration I discovered what are known as the ‘Seven Grandfather Teachings’. These are Native American principles passed down through generations, about living in harmony. At the time it did not even cross my mind that it would be somehow wrong to share the story. I thought it was fantastic and something that every human being could benefit from. I would go on to spend the summer and over three months, researching Native American practices to learn about these healing processes, reading books, researching online and even joining Native American groups and asking them their advice on the healing practices. I was always welcomed with warmth and kindness. I found great inspiration and guidance through reading and the project ideas were flowing in abundance. I would sketch native shapes associated with horses, on paper as I really wanted to understand what each one meant and see how they might fit into a clip. And thus the clip design started taking from in my mind.
When it came to actually doing to clip I had my sketches to hand in a book, but I freehanded and let the shapes flow. A lot of preparation goes into the clipping, washing Romeo and moving him to a suitable location, plus the photography and on this occasion I used for the first time ever a videographer, who I will say did a phenomenal job. When I received the video back it moved me beyond words. At the time I was so pleased with the outcome of the clip. I had put my heart and soul into this one, like, everything. So I had a real feeling of accomplishment that I did what I set out to do. And hopefully I had met the expectations that I was becoming more and more known for. There was only one thing that struck me and made me freeze for a moment and that was the name of the audio that we had on the video, it was called ‘Bad Karma’ by Axel Thesleff.
Something significant had happened in the weeks leading up to the healing horse clip, and it sent a chill down my spine when I read ‘bad karma’, because I knew that incident prior had been linked to bad karma and not because I wanted it to be, but because my soul knew it to be. Although it was not my bad karma, I was entwined in it and I do believe it imprinted into this clip purely due to the fact that I was so heavily tainted with the events that had happened prior and the energy was strong. It was around that time that I had had a vision of sorts. And that vision came true.
I would liked to point out that none of this clip was done for financial gain and I was not paid to do it either. It was my expression of art, just the same as the Castle Clip & the Armour Of Love that came before it. It would be argued further down the line however that I benefitted from it and ‘culture hijacking’ because it brought me publicity. I couldn’t win. And despite that my intention was not to set out and cause ‘gains’, this didn’t matter, because The Healing Horse took the internet by storm, which initially felt amazing, until the story got misconstrued , the finer details were lost, and it snowballed into a hate campaign against me, which happened 4 years after its initial release, in summer 2020.
In 2020 the hateful comments were coming through thick and fast, followed by death threats and threats that people were coming to my home, my social media channels had to be temporarily shut down due to the Abuse coming my way and truth be told when I closed them down I didn’t know if I would ever open them up again. I lost my confidence and voice, and the once free flowing voice I had was gone. I would go as far to say to this day it still has never returned. Fear being a large part of it, despite under it all, I know what my art stands for and my intention is good – being called a racist is the worst thing that anyone could say to me and here I was, being told I was a racist. I have white skin and blonde hair, I was labelled the racist white girl.
The young girl in The Healing Horse clip, Lacey, is my friends daughter. Lacey has grown up with Romeo in her life, so when she asked to be a part of the shoot I of course included her, not even thinking about anything other than, my family friend daughter being part of the project. She too was subject to hateful comments, it was tough to read, people saying her skin wasn’t the right shade etc etc, Lacey is actually of mixed ethnicity , both black and white, with Jamaican & Scottish in her bloodline. It was hard to defend her because no matter what I said or did, it was combatted with hate. My own ethnicity goes back to Jewish blood of ancestors from Poland. People look at you and think you are this or that, but in reality they know nothing. There were lessons on both sides of the coin for me here. Very soon my once love of social media disappeared and was replaced with a pit of my stomach ‘sick’ feeling every time a notification popped up. It made my heart skip a beat, it had a knock on effect and I was already struggling with anxiety from Graves disease, this was amplified a hundred thousand times and I began to shut down. I wouldn’t pick up the phone to read messages or even answer calls, I felt physically sick and began to associate the phone tone with a deep impending doom feeling. To this day I still haven’t found my love for social media, I miss the ‘innocence’ of how it used to be. But I do try to pick out the positives in a whole heap of negatives and I no longer find it intimidating. I learned how to let things go and also that with success there always casts a shadow, a dark side, but that is ok, because its true what they say, when you create new ways of doing things you always have the vultures following and trying to take it for themselves. I have had all of that and know that it comes with the territory of success. The best thing to do is keep moving forward and stay focused on your own mission, they always get left behind and can never keep up.
From a clip point of view, keeping it brief, until the negative snowballed, I was so exceptionally pleased with it as I felt it was my most intricate work up to that point, I had utilised every part of Romeo’s coat and it seemed to have a form of its own. It’s what I now recognise to be the Devine spirit – it came from a higher source. And that’s what art and creativity derives from, in its purest form , I believe. Anyhow back to the clip, I was pleased, I thought Romeo wore it so well, he was the perfect colour for it, and I particularly liked how my experimentation with the wolf and clipping technique, turned out! It was the first time. Freehand blended for a ‘shade’ and it worked a treat. Its very difficult to accomplish with Romeos orange fur, it tends to be one or the other, but somehow It worked and it was a personal win for me.
Next came the creative ‘hijcking’ well, to try and keep it as simple as possible , an artist painted an almost identical painting of Romeo, but managed to hide behind the fact that my clip had been copied by another person in America, who hired a clipper to recreate aspects of my work, which , of course happens often, but this time, it cut that bit harder when I saw the artist was selling her painting for a substantial amount of money and was claiming this horse not to be Romeo. I decided to take it as a lesson rather than pursue it. After all, they will have no doubt inherited the Bad Karma , attached to the clip. Everyone has their lessons to learn and I have taken mine from it.
I would say through this I learned that no matter what your good intention may be, not everyone will see it from your point of view , just as I had not seen it from theirs. I am ultimately grateful for the lessons that it has brought, and I am grateful to have come through the other side of it much wiser, yet still passionate enough to pursue my creative clipping messages.
I can only apologise for the upset I have caused to those that genuinely feel like I stole their culture for my own gain. Know that, it was never my intention and that actually I was just inspired as an artist, in the same way other artists take inspiration from all corners of the earth and beyond.