Second in a week-long series of profiles on moms I know in honor of Mother’s Day 2011.
My life has been blessed by knowing some truly amazing people. I mean people who blow my mind with how interesting, motivated and truly original they are. And among the most original of all is Lynn (Llyn) Crounse.
I first met Llyn in Oregon Hill, an old working class neighborhood filled with artists, students, families and old timers adjacent to the VCU campus in Richmond, Virginia back when I was a dance student there. She lived up the street from me and while I felt I was immersed in a totally artistic world in the Art School at VCU (and I was) it was nothing compared to the real world of art that Llyn was living every single day.
Between her wild and flowing red hair, her bold paintings that reached to the ceiling, her ripping out the ceiling because she preferred seeing the rafters and hanging things from them, and her endless activity in areas as diverse as plant cultivation and her own brand of avant garde fashion, Llyn never disappointed.
Yet as she sees it, her life as art and art as life was only natural.
There is a freedom and child-like optimism to my artistic impulses. I’ve never tried to be an artist or made it a pursuit. It has just been a part of me and how I lived, so I could experiment and not be attached to the outcome as much as I could’ve if I had a goal or destination for my art.
Art in place
I can believe it. Every time I went to Llyn’s it was as if time shifted and a new real, a hyper real, a surreal unfolded just by being in her presence.
I find the same vibe in her photography, causing me to wonder when I see her work how such a moment could have existed in the presence of her eye and where can I get some of that kind of life? She, on the other hand, sees it as somewhat everyday.
My photography is journalistic, meaning that I am recording visually what I experience and see around me in the world without altering or contriving it. My photography is…a record or homage to Life, mine and in a global sense and a reminder to not overlook the seemingly insignificant details. To me, the details are paramount, they are the substance.
I’ve spent hours pouring over Llyn’s other galleries, the ones on her Facebook page, so moved by how she encounters and records offbeat, out of the way, slightly dark snatches of humanity and earth always touched by some almost angelic presence of light or energy, transmuting her pictures into suggestions of parallel worlds a la string theory or anthroposophy. That’s just Llyn’s world.
Remembrances of things past
One of the ways our friendship grew was that once I had my daughter Anwyn, I sought out other moms to hang out with. And Llyn was a consummate mother, oddly traditional for all her eccentricities.
If I went over for coffee I was bound to find Llyn stitching up little hand-made woolen farm animals as toys to play with, or “making up new” an outfit found in a thrift store, giving her daughter every bit as much access to the adventurous world of fashion art as Llyn herself enjoyed. In my mind I’ll always think of her daughter Pandora as about three years old, tramping around in cowboy boots and tutus.
Having children young, allowed my maturity to happen as a mother and so I found it easy to be myself as an artist in raising them. My creativity was in essence born out of family life. Hand-made dolls replacing canvases. Our daily life was its own art project. My children grew up surrounded by artists and musicians and in artists’ studios, galleries, art schools and museums. I just took them everywhere with me and exposed them to culture. Many parents wanted nights out but I always missed my kids.
Not all alone
And then she had Max. The difference was that soon she was doing it more alone as she split with her partner, their father.
Being raised in a large Irish Catholic family, I was thoroughly trained in martyrdom. HA ha…but seriously, I believe motherhood is about sacrifice and choices. As a single mother, I found a real spiritual fulfillment in my devotion to my children. Making beds and packing lunches is truly it’s own form of worship.
Earth’s lore, earth’s gifts
Llyn’s adventures continue. She’s parlayed her love for all things growing and experiential into studies in herbs and bodywork. Always one to find the historic roots of old wisdom fresh and potent today, she’s now trained in botanicals, herbalism and an array of therapeutic healing modalities, channeling that mixture of the everyday electric encounter and earthy mother goddess into a nurturing that brings wisdom and enduring methods to a larger community.
If culture is human activity in the areas of art, science and religious-spiritual life, then my life has been lived in finding the freedom in creating a home life steeped in culture…It’s all been about experiencing the Sacred in the mundane.
In a world of seemingly endless consumerism and external fixations, we could use more of that.
–Lindsay Curren, Lindsay’s List