Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Just Breathe

At a fantastic art show I attended this past weekend in San Francisco, the Ceramic Arts Annual, I came across the work of Amber Aguirre. I must admit that at first I was put off by her work as her imagery seemed disturbing at best, sexually perverted at worst. But there was something about the work which drew me in, and the more I looked at it and talked to Amber and learned her story and her intentions, the more attracted to it I became. Ultimately, I bought the little piece pictured here. Why? That’s where the stories – hers and mine – come in.

Amber uses two animals in much of her work; she has created characters of bunny-woman and horse-woman, with each character having distinctly different personalities. To her, the rabbit symbolizes an animal that people think of as cute and soft and cuddly but may have more going on than that. Amber’s bunnies tell conflicting stories, from the jihadist bunny in sexy lingerie to the one dumping out the box of her fate: dice and carrots. As she explained it, Amber employs whimsy to draw viewers in to stronger messages.

My bunny is wearing a gas mask. The title is, “Just Breathe”, and this piece struck a very personal chord for me. Throughout this past year of upheaval and roaring emotional tides, I have often been advised by friends and loved ones to “just breathe”, to “just be” rather than obsessing, planning, performing, and trying to make sense of my roller-coaster post-married fears. Just breathing and just being are a lot harder than they sound, and what I have tried to do is learn to breathe this new single air yet protect myself. Like this bunny, I’ve been learning what protection I need and when to wear it, and when to take big full gulps of air without any armor.

So thank you, Amber, and welcome home, bunny.


  1. Very interesting - thanks for sharing this work and the back story. Always good advice to remember - "just breathe."

  2. That was an excellent "review" of my work, Lisa. I am so glad it touched you. That is what I strive for..making connections with people's emotions.