The Year that Frida and Chaka and Betsey Johnson Showed Up to Celebrate

In the land of my in-laws, they jump from chairs into the new year. My children, then, seem to be celebrating the new year every day! I love that wild boundlessness about them (ok, sometimes it makes me seasick & swear like a sailor & wonder what possessed me to hatch human beings in the first place!) but we all need to unleash our inner Tigger every once in awhile (once a year??)! We all need to jump off or over the proverbial Danish Modern chair every so often! Some of us take it even one step further and dance on tabletops! "Uptown Funk" played at loud volumes can do this to people! (Not that I speak from experience, of course! The Chandon made me do the dining table Nae Nae! The Veuve made me groove!) 

This coming year I've decided to own my Wild a bit more. I miss her! I made this mixed media Diva (she really looks like she stepped out of an episode of Dynasty--but those were some tough-as-stilettos, hairspray-as-armour, take-no-prisoners (unless they were poolboy-hot & worthy of being held captive in a bedroom for an episode or two...) women. They took no shit. They sculpted their own lives in their sharply-manicured hands and perhaps that is Why this modern-throwback-power-goddess emerged. With her crown of peacock feathers (symbols of nobility and immortality) and butterflies (symbols of transcendence & metamorphosis & resurrection), surrounded by bright colors and unusual shapes, she is ready for the world, ready to Rule. 

I wanted a reminder of all the power that I can harness inside myself, that we all have access to. I wanted an explicit reminder that, yes!, I DO rule this empire, this palace of dazzle that is my life! I also wanted some back-up, so I called on the wild inspiration of women who are strong as song and have *captivated* their own brilliance and if they were afraid to shine, they cranked those radiant lights on anyway! They told their stories anyway! They painted and designed and lipsticked and wrote the ink of their lives out anyway!! All along the margins and woven into the paint of this piece I have written: What would Betsey Johnson do? What would Jennifer Hudson do? What would Tonya Leigh do?  Michelle Obama? Bonnie Raitt? Frida? Tamara de Lempicka? Heidi Klum? Chaka? What would Pink do? Dorianne Laux? Maya Angelou? Marilyn? Joan Didion? And finally, what would Julia do? Because I walk among excellence! Because a jewel is most brilliant when surrounded in the wildest, brightest, most raw and blazing light! 

What would You do? What will you do, my loves, when you jump yourself down into the bright and glinting hours of this new and dazzling year!! Go forth and Seize the Dazzle!!! Happy 2016! It's going to be SO glitteringly, breathtakingly good! I can't wait to watch you shine. 
Julia Alter
Head Empress, Seize the Dazzle 
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Please go and warm your beings at the creative campfire, a joining of over 50 artists' works in a magical celebration of 2016! Put together by the wonderful Juna Biagioni


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