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Painting in Progress

16 May

Painting in Progress

The newest painting I’m working on, to be completed and ready to show off at the Seraphine Music and Arts Jubilee:

Art Life

16 May

At the Seraphine Music & Arts Jubilee, taking place May 23rd at the East Room in Nashville, I will be passing out my contact info along with a “teaser” so to speak about a non-profit I would like to start. 
Several years ago I started Art Life with another local artist, Hannah Sheehan. The group was meant to be an artists collective, giving everyone involved exhibition opportunities, a chance to network with other artists, and to one day have its own gallery with affordable studio space and a supply sharing program. We organized many successful shows, but the group eventually disbanded.

For a long time I have wanted to bring Art Life back, but have wanted to expand the dream a little further. Rather than just striving to one day provide affordable studio space, why not housing too? After all, most artists I know struggle to balance a busy schedule between their work and their day jobs. And what good would a studio space do if they barely had any time to spend in it? 

I have always loved artist residency programs – the idea of giving an artist the time they need away from everything else to immerse themselves in their art and the art of those around them. But most artist residency programs aren’t designed to accommodate families, and Murfreesboro does not have one of these programs, family-friendly or otherwise.

So the dream is to one day open Murfreesboro’s own artist residency program where both artists and musicians can live, with their spouses, partners, and children if needed, rent-free with their own studio, access to an art gallery, a recording studio, and a music venue. In exchange for their housing they will spend a short amount of time each week working at some part of the facility.

They will also be required to spend a certain amount of time during their stay servicing the community in some way (aside from their art exhibits at the facility). There will be established programs providing free art and music classes to low-income areas that might not otherwise have access to these kinds of activities, but artists are also free and encouraged to come up with their own ideas for how to fill their community outreach requirements – such as organizing a charity exhibit or concert (or both) or starting a community garden on the grounds, just as a few ideas. 

Several times a week special meals will be served for all of the residents (could be sponsored by local restaurants?), but as for food and other things needed during their stay, stipends will be available to some (maybe one day everyone), but those who don’t receive stipends will be encouraged to find a part time job. Full-time work won’t be allowed, because working a 40 hour job outside of the program would defeat the purpose of giving people free housing so that they can focus on their work. The beauty of a part-time job, especially if it is for a local business, is that it provides the artist with extra opportunities to be engaged in the community and make more connections that could possibly benefit their career.

Classrooms will also be available for artists to use to teach workshops and seminars. They can do this for profit or as part of their community service requirements. 

Another amenity will be a small publishing house, which could also give internship opportunities to local writers and college students interested in journalism or the publishing industry. The publication would keep everyone up to date on all of the happenings at the facility – all of the exhibits, concerts, artist features, etc. 

The beauty of Murfreesboro is that it is it’s own little area with tons of untouched potential, but it is also close enough to Nashville so that artists could make the relatively short commute and look for career opportunities there. The Ryman Lofts in Nashville are also now available and might offer a more permanent living situation to some artists as they leave the residency program. 

Artists would have to be accepted into the program based on review from the board of directors. They would have to have letters of recommendation, a good portfolio (or demo), and would have to show proof that they were a low-income family (or at least that they would be during their stay, after leaving their “day jobs”).

This is the start of everything. And it may never go anywhere, but this is my dream and I am ready to release it from my brain and start getting it out there into the world. At this point I need to work on a solid mission statement, more clear outlines of everything, and do lots and lots of research. I don’t know how I can ever make this dream come true, but I certainly can’t lose anything from trying.

Upcoming Events

14 May

A couple of things are on the horizon that are very exciting! 

First and foremost….

The Seraphine Music & Arts Jubiliee will be held at The East Room at 2412 Gallatin Ave., Nashville, TN on Friday, May 23rd beginning at 8pm. The event is curated by Mai Harris to give artists and musicians the opportunity to come together and share what they do on an equal level. While most shows have one or the other as the headlining entertainment, this event strives to give music and art equal attention, allowing the two mediums to intertwine and overlap in as many different ways as possible.
Musical performances will include the following local bands: The Grayces, Featuring Richard Koozie, Good Sex, and Thunderfrog. Artists Tyler Bates, Jeff Bertrand, and Mai Harris will be painting while the bands play, creating art work directly influenced and inspired by the live music. Visual art will be displayed in every way possible throughout the venue space. Some other artists exhibiting work the night of the show will be Jeff Bertrand; well-known Nashville artist, Alicia and Travis Maynard; owners of Murfreesboro’s Lime Tiger, Mai Harris; curator of the event and local artist, and Ryan Frizzel who is also a member of one of the bands performing, Thunderfrog.
Anyone wanting more information about the Seraphine Music & Arts jubilee should contact Mai Harris.


The following night The East Room will also be the location for the Purple People Eater Art & Music Show…..

Also, coming later this year, I have a second Arts & Music Jubilee in the works that will be taking place in Murfreesboro, TN, as well as an Essential Tremors benefit show featuring the work of myself and Alyssa Strickland of Articulation Creations.

Thanks for checking in! More updates to come!


Truckin’ Along….

27 Mar

So sorry, bloggers, for having been MIA! Life gets crazy sometimes, and things, such as blogs, get neglected. However, I come bearing exciting news. The first photo shoot for the “No Means No, Yes Means Yes” community photo project went down beautifully. Our photographer, Jessica Storvik, demonstrated her genius abilities with the camera, and many people took their stand against rape culture with variety, creativity, humor, passion, bravery, and just all around awesomeness. And it’s just the beginning. The next photo shoot goes down this Saturday. If you live near the Mboro, TN area and would like to participate, just drop me a line or two and I’ll set you up with all of the info. 😉

Words from back in the olden days….

6 Feb

This weekend, I will have work in EarthSoul’s one year anniversary show, and if you live in the middle TN area you should definitely check it out. I’ll write up a few words about the reception come early next week. Here is the FB event page:

On another note, I found an old journal of mine the other day, which is the type of thing that can be wonderful or painful. But there were actually a few poems that took me by surprise, and I have decided to share them with you. If you don’t like poetry, read no further. If you do, you might not want to read either because I don’t know that they’re any good. But if you’re somewhere in between and you know nothing about poetry but don’t mind it….these are for you….


Today is my epic deathblow.

It’s a marathon run,

For the people to blame.

Because it’s dark
and the “stars” are flaking.
My throat has swollen up
from the dust.
The dead skin cuts

deeper than you’d think.
Yet the smoke still
seeps through to sink.
And its my own
suffering marrow.
Now I’m the snide one
who is closest.
The privileged one.
My feet are blessed
to creep around aching,
And make my guesses
just the same.
He could fight away the sting,
cushion a bloated organ.
Filled with biting little white cells,
shedding themselves of outflow.
They said I had too many to function.
So that’s why they can’t be trusted.
Three by three, and two by seven,
All before August.
Eight passed by in this game.
And surely the time
is almost up.
This flawed appendage
will shrink.
It’s not bleeding to regrow.
Rather its sore,
like those roasting deep scratches.
Hurt, inches away and aging
from the red skin rusting.
Instead, this unkind tide
can be heard in tempo.
Right around the corner,
with perfect aim,
taunting me to rethink.
Its slowly rolling in
under disguise,
but a weapon all the same.
With all of its lifeless,
dull, aching pain in motion.
Full of things to get tangled in,
for crushing, like jellyfish tentacles.
So many poisonous cells
to drink down the deepest.
They’re heartless,
mindless with blame.
They can’t hear you
scream into your pillow,
But you’re used to that type.
Better to keep your black tongue
bit and broken,
as you choke on the salt,
and throw up the water.
The arguments are
peeling off the weakest.
Going to live
with all those cells, I think.
This acerbic sacrifice,
this mordant bump,
with all of its stretching sorrow.
My coat of rapture
and logical things.
Poking out of the coffin,
gone off for coddling,
for his bar stools and fame.
His futile stories to tell and proclaim,
after all, if someone should
get what they’re wanting,
it should be the one
who dreams with ego.
Toothless beer guts and bourbon,
green-toothed drive-thru binges.
Acid drips saying, “did not care”
onto skin dissolving in and out,
screeching, “does not care”
And now, here, see,
this pink egg bubbles,
wrapped in the skin
of your sleeping tongue.
It was warm and safe,
it rested like a promise….
Your stomach told in a joke,
the punch line to name.
But, still, once below….
must have hurried back to Eden.
No one to start over again,
even for faking.
Barbed flashbacks of hell,
over and over,
Without warning,
without disclaimer.
The pattern of swallowing.


Someone will come along and see
me here, so lost in this.
These fish scales, peach and green
nets of tiny planets
turning white, four by four,
as the light leaves its fingerprint.
Seaweed sneaking
away under the bed, inch by inch.
It’s only a tangent,
although a valid one.
Because that’s what Universes
are made of.
Those are the grapes just floating,
bobbing in the air.
The ones we could use,
though they’re just tiny parts.
Dancing together at the ball,
in bubbling dresses,
soon all to leave.
Going home to their
less magnificent
corners of the room.
But at this moment,
it’s monumental.


Maybe it’s Mania,
maybe it’s sickness,
This tick,
that loses the winters.
Who needs it anyways?
Spring was what mattered,
carrying that January stream,
carrying a blessing
to blocked and infected tubes.
No one could blame me,
so you’d think,
and yet they do.
Death and murder,
justice and valor.
Oh, God,
wherever have you gone….


These bones may be strong and these muscles tough,
but be rest-assured, they are breaking.
All these twisting blood roots, they raise like warnings,
and, just like that, the heart becomes the enemy.
Like the joke he told as all hands were held,
with a web resting on that heart.
And know for certain that it is a sickness
with a perfected fit.
And it will, oh it will, Tighten.


01/26 @ WallStreet in Mboro, TN

30 Jan

I had very high hopes for last Saturday night’s show at Wallstreet. A friend told us to check out Thelma and the Sleaze a week or two ago, and I was instantly in love. I have to admit I am pretty sexist when it comes to music. I am just a fiend for all-female made music, and its harder than you’d think to find good local female musicians/singers, especially in the punk/rock/grunge genre. And even when I do find something I can get into, I tend to judge it on the “local” scale. By that I mean it may not be something I would listen to were it from somewhere else, and a vast part of my appreciation for it is just based on the fact that it is local. BUT this is NOT the case with Thelma and the Sleaze. Its just so good….and I can honestly say I would dig it just as much even if they weren’t from TN. So combine those high expectations with what I already knew of the other great bands on the bill, and as I said I had pretty high hopes. And I was not disapointed.

I had never heard the Stiff Licks before, but they were a lot of fun. Their set seemed pretty short, but it was a perfect opening for the evening- Set the perfect tone.
Roman Polanski’s Baby is always a pleasure to see. The first time I saw them they were playing with a bunch of bands that sounded nothing like them, so I was quite taken back when they started. This was my second or third time seeing them, and I’m not sure if it was the better sound quality of WallStreet or if they have just really stepped up and perfected their sound, but it was a much more polished version of what I remembered hearing before. All I could think was “too cool.” Not in today’s overused sense of the phrase, but in the old school way. Their set is just packed with so much spunk and attitude, and they have their own unique qualities that really set them a part from other grunge bands playing around town right now.
And then came Thelma and the Sleaze. The lead singer’s vocals are absolutely phenomenal and she brings so much presence and personality to the music – through her look, her mannerisms, and, most importantly, her voice. She belts everything out powerfully and perfectly with just the right amount of grit. The same can be said for the music, with each member showing off a great deal of talent. Would love to see them play again soon, while I still can. They are one of those bands you watch and get the feeling that they won’t be local for long. I can see them going far.
And last but not least Young Wolves rocked it as always. I love Young Wolves’ ability to sound great no matter where they play. I have seen them all over town, including outdoors for Tour De Fun, and while the arena usually seems to affect how I am able to judge the quality of the music, this group always seems to accomplish the same effect on me. My only guess is that this is from a well-balanced combination of both skill and distortion.

I have mentioned on here before that I am slowly piecing together a book, and Saturday’s night show was inspiring enough to draw a small bit of writing out of me. I’ll be fitting it into a larger part of a story somehow, but here’s a taste of it….

She belted out something that was either part of a song or part of an orgasm. I couldn’t tell. The two things were one in the same at that point. Maybe it was the alcohol forcing the differences between me and her and us, the room, the music and the edges of everything to all bleed together….fusing together like water twisting down a drain, with me right in the middle of the vortex it created. Maybe it was just my own passion and mania that caused it. Or maybe both. But regardless of where it was coming from, I felt embodied by the music. Possessed. The spirit in the air seemed so tangible I almost thought I could taste it dripping down the back of my throat, like hot cum. In that moment I realized I was a whore for art. It had been a long, bumpy ride. A fiery unstable marriage that had probably gone on too long and everyone wondered why the hell we didn’t just call it quits. But damnit, I just loved her. Couldn’t quit her. That bitch called art. She ran my heart through a pasta machine and was playing cat’s cradle with the stringy remains. But she always mushed the pieces back together again when she was done, leaving me bruised and tainted but still in tact well enough to walk around and kind of pretend to be alive. And the juices from the massacre landed somewhere nearby, leaving a small trace of evidence for everyone to see. I hung those on walls of galleries so that maybe someone would take pity and give me money to compensate me for my troubles.

So there’s that….and that is all.
Soon to come: my take on cosmopolitans and Cosmopolitan, more writing tidbits, and possibly another local write-up this weekend? We’ll see.

As Promised: EarthSoul, Marchesa Luisa Casati, and Frida Kahlo

26 Jan

Previous post noted that I will be doing a write up on the show at WallStreet tonight, but I probably won’t get to a computer to post it until Tuesday or Wednesday. So here is some neato reading to tide you over until then….

Angela Elkins informed me about EarthSoul’s upcoming anniversarry show, and while I was there to drop off some new work a guy from the DNJ showed up to interview her about the gallery’s progress and goals and involvement in the new Smyrna Arts Commission. He talked to me a little too. Below is the internet version, but if you can get your hands on a hard copy it features a picture of Angela and I in front of one of my newest paintings.

I was recently delighted to discover that the wardrobe of Frida Kahlo is now on display in New Mexico. My favorite part about this article is the bit about how her clothes have been locked up since her death, so that now the aroma of cigarettes and perfume still lingers and of course there are still smudges of paint on the garments. If anyone is planning to go to this exhibit before it ends in November, please contact me for the possibility of a group trip.

The Frida Kahlo article lead me to another very interesting piece about the “original Lady GaGa,” who was the one and only Marchesa Luisa Casati. I had never heard about her before, so it was an exciting discovery for me. I love that she often traveled in the company of exotic pets, including two tigers. Good read!

Lillith’s Advocate

5 Jan

I am very excited to welcome my best friend Paige to our blogging community. She is one of the most interesting, intelligent people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and I’m sure you will all enjoy her bold takes on our society as much as I do. Give her new blog a read:


1 Jan!/maiharrisart?fref=ts

I am so excited to see what direction my art work evolves into over this new year. I thought I would start it off by compiling a portfolio of all of my best paintings from the past three years. You can see it by following this link to my fb page.

Happy New Year!


20 Dec
Suit: CompanionDescription: I Am One Who loves candles, flowers and colorful fabrics. I savor seasonal food and good wine.

Suit: Companion
Description: I Am One Who loves candles, flowers and colorful fabrics. I savor seasonal food and good wine.

Recently while visiting a very dear friend of mine, who is a local gallery owner, she explained to me that she attended training to be a facilitator for SoulCollage. The way I have come to understand this exciting process from what she explained to me and from what I have read is as follows: SoulCollage is similar to a tarot card reading, but much more personal and individualized. Using the method of collage, you create a series of cards – each representing a different aspect of your soul. You are then guided through a reading of these cards based on questions or concerns you may currently have. You actually conduct the reading yourself, interpreting your own cards using your intuition. You simply speak aloud what you believe the cards to mean in relation to your current situation. This process can be done in a group, and another member of the group will record in writing what you have to say about your cards. Having your words read back to you is important because often during the process you simply speak freely and when you hear these things outloud they can resonate more deeply with you, or even surprise you entirely.
I have not yet gotten to attend one of my friend’s SoulCollage workshops but I am hoping to soon. While anyone can participate in SoulCollage, I think it is especially exciting for artists. We’re so used to using visual symbols to express our internal dialouge and messages we’re receiving from the universe that this method is extremely fascinating – it harnesses that process in a way that allows us to listen to the visual symbols we are putting out there, and using that information as quidance, rather than just throwing the symbols out there for others to interpret, which is what can be most often done in our usual creative process, or even in a typical tarot card reading.
You can find out more at
And if you live in the TN area, you can go to to learn more about participating in one of these workshops at my friend’s gallery.