Acknowledging Creativity, The Art of Mary Titus by Tamara Hovhannisyan, Ph.D

Please don’t get me wrong and don’t look for any commercial triggers in my April sharing. This is an appreciation from an art lover and a business woman to someone who truly creates. Since the years have brought us together and you all became treasures of my personal and professional existence, I feel safe to share some of my victories as well as some of my past pains and losses that are sealed in me.

Maybe it is time to open up and share one more layer of the woman to whom you have given the privilege to be there for your art needs, and sometimes even to become your friend. Here is one of the real reasons for my life long dedication to fine art and artists:
The father of my children, a little man I loved with all my heart, died under tragic circumstances and the shadow of his loss is still following me and my children. So, I have this weakness to nurture, praise, and encourage every single person who creates. I suppose this helps me, in a way, to comfort myself and move on with my losses, turning art and culture into something I can’t live without.

I know that the opening section of this writing became too long and personal, and I ask you for your forgiveness about it. Now let us turn to the main article:

It is about one of the most special characters in Carmel, Mary Titus. She is the owner of the studio-gallery right across the street from my gallery. Practically, if I were to use cold business logic, her business is my competition. As you all know I do not follow clichés or rules, even in dealing with you, and I always think art has one single obligation – to bring people, cultures and hearts together.

The rest of it we leave in the hands of Fortuna. We will all get our share in the blessings for being in the fine art business.

The more compassionate and giving we are, the more it comes back to us. That is the mentality I grew up with. Now, back to Mary. It is not a secret that artists are moody, and she is not an exception. Her operating days are odd, and sometimes she locks herself inside her gallery to create. When our paths cross, she welcomes me with her beautiful childlike smile, quickly sharing the news of the town and asking about the state of my business. Her connection with people is as free and unpretentious as her art. There is this genuine connection between the creator and her creation, leaving me with no doubt that the woman right across from my gallery is one of the most precious artists of this town.

Everybody knows how much I adore Carmel. For me it was like discovering a paradise on Earth. Every single thing in the town is very close to my heart. Since the time in the early 90s when I was hired by the local Institute of International Studies as a staff member and a curriculum writer for the languages I know, my weekends were dedicated to discovering and learning about every single corner of the beautiful Monterey Peninsula. Carmel’s founding is related to art and culture and the spirits of its bohemian founders are still browsing here.

I am an outsider and probably always will be. The command of the language is not complete, and I have given up on trying to improve my Armenian accent.  Nobody here knows that the town I love lives in my poetry volumes, which have not been translated from Armenian to English yet. Who knows when my fellow townspeople will discover that there has been a poetess living among them for over 30 years who has immortalized characters, ocean and birds; immigrants who have stepped into this town, very early, trying to earn their portion of life; local police officers who smile and wave every time you pass them. Every single person without knowing their name become part of my environmental family, and Mary Titus is one of them.  She is a genuine artist with all her flaws that in the world of creativity become assets: talkative overactive, silver grey hair, deep philosophical eyes, always genuine, with a beautiful heart.

 It is not easy to situate creativity and business in the same body. One always dominates the other.  In Mary’s case, the artist is shining way above the business woman. Maybe that is what makes her so unique and very likeable.

We have been neighbors forever, but last year she touched my heart when I saw her mourning the life of a little hummingbird that she had rescued.  I saw the silky soul of the person who creates.  There was no doubt that she treasures and appreciates every single living beauty under the sun.

Mary was born in Florida. She is self-taught in the arts freeing her creative spirit from rules and cages.  Her works touch and decorate many art lovers’ hearts from all corners of the world: Amsterdam, Africa, Australia, etc.  She has many private and corporate collectors spreading the energy of her freedom-loving spirit, heralding everybody that thislittle town of ours still offers: treasures of local based creative minds that think, act, and create as true bohemians.

I am not going to go ahead and list all of Mary’s achievements and awards. That is not my intention. I am only going to share with you one of the paintings she created after learning that I was a going to travel for my latest poetry book signing tour.

She innocently smiled and told me, “I started and finished this painting thinking of you as another woman who creates.”

This little exchange of appreciation once more opens the beauty of her heart, accepting everybody and praising them for their creativity in every form.

Dear Friends and Collectors, the painting above is the one she shared with me, assuring you that Mary is not one of my gallery artists, as my gallery only represents European artists.

Mary Titus is one of the treasures of this town, and I hope this little essay of valuation and appreciation will turn your heads from commercialism and lead you to pay more attention to the town’s genuine, creative spirits.

Mary’s creations are perfect examples of abstract expressionism giving her power to bring our inner and outer emotions together as part of universal beauty. With her magical hand and her incredible humble child-like honesty, she is a creative character who sometimes finds herself in community dramas advocating for the artistic originality of the art offerings of the town because she cares. Mary’s character stands up as a patron of creativity who also beautifully carries the pride of being part of this beautiful environment.

I am concluding my address to you sharing my fears that a lot of valuable people around us come and go because we fail to notice and praise their existence. Yet, we all know one truth, that centuries ago was very well stated by Seneca:

“Life is Short, Art is Forever”.

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