Paper Cuts and Paper Heals: Connie Karleta Sales

I’m going to keep my introduction of Connie Sales brief as I believe her own words do her the most justice. Sales has survived rape, abuse and cancer and now lives with an idiopathic neuromuscular disease. Her art is a triumph of spirituality, social justice, and the creative process. It epitomizes both a loss of agency and a recovery of freedom. Her art is poetry made visual. You’ll get an impression of the beauty of her work by reading her description of it.

Here is Sales’s story of her art in her own words:

I don’t believe there is one story of me or my art. I am not certain my art truly belongs to me. My hands scrape the paper and rub the ink; sure. My body lies on the velvet textures; ground beneath. Words made of color; poetically churned experiences; beauty of raw truth.

All in an attempt to listen to the voice of the drawing. Allow her to speak. What is her story to you? More over, where do feel her? Can you hear? Touch? See? 

She invites me into silence where no words are necessary and where all words bend until they heal.

A few years ago, while giving a talk, a friend said, “Conversation is as much a part of your art as the art itself.” I was introducing a project, “3 Exhibits, 3 Cities, in 3 Months.”  Using a format of talk I call “Creative Conversation.”

I listen as much as I physically draw.

Words made into the flesh of charcoal and graphite. Who am I to say what she means?  Each person will bring their own experiences and enrich her all the more. Layer by layer; community.

For most of my life, I was a shadow; wrapping myself so tightly in the images of others, I sacrificed any dignity just to breathe. Have you ever experienced a breath as if it were the first? I did, and in that moment, I felt for the first time, saw for the first time, smelled, tasted, and heard; for the first time. My work relives this moment; chest filling, chin rising; exhale of a smile.

For more information on Connie Karleta Sales, visit her artist’s page at dk Gallery, Connie Karleta Sales.

Art featured is titled Mission of Love I.


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