Love Letter to Linda Litteral

A ceramic sculpture in the shape of a torso, from clavicle to hips, made out of leaves. The warm brown leaves are layered, but don't entirely cover the torso, leaving gaps where you to see into the sculpture.
Linda Litteral, Armor.

It would be hard to be an artist—a good one, anyway—if you weren’t able to express yourself candidly, look into the dark recesses of your brain and pull out a vision.

Even still, multimedia artist and educator Linda Litteral stands out for being remarkably generous in sharing her experiences. Looking at her work, I get the feeling she is reaching through the canvas or the sculpture to grab her viewers by the shoulders and say “You can do this, too! You don’t have to live in silence!”

Litteral was sexually abused by her grandfather for over a decade, when she was a child—something so unspeakable, the pain it caused could only be conveyed through art. Her ceramic torso series is one of my favorites. Made out of ceramic leaves, the sculptures represent the psychological armor she found in nature as a child to protect herself when she was otherwise so vulnerable. Looking to her own experience with the therapeutic benefits of making art, she also teaches healing art classes in spaces such as women’s prisons, where people aren’t typically encouraged to heal. 

What I love most about Litteral’s art is how she extends the title of “artist” to everybody, removing the pedestal others in her position might stand on with satisfaction and encouraging anyone to join her. Why not be an artist? Just calling yourself one opens the door to an entire new world.