alone. empowered. beautiful.

[feelings oh, so familiar.]

Last night I went to a TreeFight event [nice logo, eh?] at the Center for the Arts featuring the amazing work of Thais Beltrame.

Walking around, I was instantly moved by her work…

It was like a story, an on-going epic…





no jardim das coisas que eu não sei.


uma de muitas fantasias escapistas.


I could go on and on.  I wish I could find the installment she had up last night that was a bunch of smaller drawings of children doing naughty things… gorgeous.

Walking around last night… just falling in love.  There was an old suitcase that was to be filled with old baggage tags with writings of spectators feelings about Beltrame’s art.  I was moved to write,

“Reminds me of Henry Darger, my favorite.
Makes me feel the same way…

alone… empowered… beautiful…”


o peso de um coração.

Such powerful feelings.  From art… amazing.

And here’s Henry Darger

[i’ve spoke of him before.]


195 are unsuccessfully attacked...



Can’t explain the connection, but it was there for me and it was powerful.

Leaving the exhibit, I ran into the head honcho for TreeFight…

– Hey Rachel.

– Wull hay… This is amazing: Congrats!

– Thanks.  Hey, did you meet Thais?

– Oh, no I didn’t get to meet her.  Her work is incredible, though.

– Yeah, isn’t it?  She said she really loves the logo for TreeFight and wanted to meet you… C’mon, I’ll introduce you.

– What?  No, I designed a silly logo, she is an incredible artist… She really reminds me of my favorite favorite artist.

– Henry Darger?

– [a bit shocked/baffled] Yes… Wait, how did you know that?  Did I tell you that?  Wait… How did you remember that?

– C’mon…

So I’m introduced to Thais and instantly have a ladycrush on her.  Gorgeous, adorable, little Brazilian who makes breath-taking art… who doesn’t have a crush on her?

– I just wanted to tell you how much I’m in love with your art.

– Oh, thank you!

– And I’m sure it’s not cool to tell you that it reminds me of another artist, but it makes me feel the same way as I do when I look at the work of Henry Darger.

– He is amazing.  One of my favorites as well.  Thank you!  That is such a compliment.

And before I knew it, she was telling me all about her own searching and loving of Darger.  Telling me about standing in front of a recreation of his apartment at the Chicago Cultural Center and feeling like she “was standing [then pausing from a bit of embarrassment, then being brave in truth] in front of an alter.”

Tripping over our words in awe and excitement of his incredible story.  He was a recluse, a janitor.  His art was only discovered after he died.  He became famous on his deathbed.  There are only three known pictures of him.  No one ever hardly looked at him.  While there are now hundreds, thousands of pictures “tagged” of one [each] individual on Facebook, this man, this incredible individual, one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, had only three times someone look at him close enough, focus on him on purpose, to snap a photo.


And as cheesy as it sounds, I was almost brought to tears from this conversation with a stranger.  The immediate bond, the depth of a connection discovered… Something great.  Something familiar like a best friend you haven’t seen in so long.  Something like your favorite book covered in dust, opened again.  Something.

Found this photo on Thais’ blahg [in true stalker-galore style]…

And now I don’t know even how to end this.  Convince you I’m not creepy?  Words of hope for more interactions, more strangers?  Arting and its importance?  A song?  Yes, a song…

or two…

…alone.  …empowered.  …beautiful.

4 thoughts on “alone. empowered. beautiful.”

  1. Not to belittle your love of Darger, but I’ve seen that documentary and it’s terrible. Very interesting story, super strange guy, terrible movie.

  2. that is SO good to know… i’ll probably see it anyway. who knows? maybe i’ll love it… since Black Swan was my #1 movie of 2010 and it wasn’t even on your list…

    again, with the love and appreciation of differences.

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