the course of 10 years Martha Ann has traversed the country, visited
numerous art exhibits and been featured in short animation. Martha
Ann is a life-sized sculpture and mask, and Massachusetts native
Carolyn Campbell is her creator. Carolyn's ambition is to help people
achieve their dreams and Martha Ann is her sidekick. They've thus
crossed the country in tandem, creating and motivating.
Carolyn Campbell takes an idea, creates a frame of exploration then
brings in the visual, musical, kinesthetic and ethereal.
Ann," mixed media, papier-mâché mask.
"I think of myself as a conceptual artist," she said.
"I aim to provide experiences that allow people to deepen awareness
of their most mythical self in the everyday world. My goal is to
inspire their voice to rise from within and speak to their unique
purpose in the world."
Carolyn's Garden of Luminescent Delight is a prime example. She
wanted people to experience an ethereal evening of magical wonder,
to experience fully "being" in the wonder of life. The
setting, the timing (a full moon), the intentional dress, the music,
poetry and dance all this woven in a simple yet artistic
way created an altered state of wonder.
"It was truly a living moment of theater," she said.
"They were in it as they watched it. They were in an ever-changing
landscape of magical delight. It was all around them. Some moments
slid by like a soft, floating cloud. Other moments stilled the entire
gathering of 200 people and drew their attention to a moonlit corner.
It was quiet, yet alive with expectation. I allowed people to sink
into the delight of the senses and simply enjoy whatever they witnessed."
of Luminescent Delight attendees.
Each year Carolyn creates a "sacred event" that allows
people to look back on their year in celebration while inviting
the next stage of their life journey. She is now in the midst of
shaping such a ritual evening.
"I go into the world looking for an environment that will
provide a foundation for the evening. It's an organic and improvisational
process," she said. "This year I wanted a sense of opening
to a large world, a connection to the art of everyday. I'd been
looking for about a month when I found the perfect space
it's full of old windows, which provided me with the title for the
evening: Windows to the World.
"From there the environment, the intention and the planning
easily forms a transformational evening of reflection and renewal
in an artistic, yet spirit-full, way."
Carolyn describes the intention of her work as Divine Humanity
drawing forth the divine in the confusion of being human.
diva," mixed media, papier-mâché.
The deepest dimension
Having just finished a show of her larger-than-life-sized masks
at La Dolce Vita on Portland's N.E. Alberta Street, Carolyn is now
developing a body of work focusing on fertility of life,
desire, love, creation, body ... and of letting go.
Using the medium of ceramics, the project is still in the "gritty"
stages of experimenting, imagining and shaping. Carolyn does have
a working title for the series: "From Fertile Ground."
"All my work evolves out of my own personal experiences or
questing," she said. "'From Fertile Ground' is my exploration
into creating and birthing ideas, visions and dreams. I found myself
searching to find the vital essence of my own work in the world.
I needed to find an organic form to explore what my work meant to
me and what it is that I do the deepest dimension of what
"I wanted to move behind the mask and into the heart, soul
and blood of my own purpose."
At this point, Carolyn's work is improvisational, taking slabs of
clay, draping them over an amorphous form and then shaping them
into an expression of fertile transformation.
"It has been an exciting process of allowing myself to drop
into an intuitive relationship with the clay and let the story of
my own intention form itself," she said.
of the Wood," papier-mâché.
The next frontier
For Carolyn, inspiration comes from sitting on top of a mountain
or watching undersea life.
"It's the next frontier," she said. "These life
forms have been around for millions of years and yet it's such a
foreign land to us.
"It's kind of like the land of the spirit body or the energetic
connections between us."
She's also inspired by people willing to take a stand.
"Of course, speaking to people about claiming their voice
in the world jazzes me beyond belief!"
Her favorite artists include those of the Work Projects Administration,
Kathe Kollwitz, Camille Claudel, Paul Klee and Duane Hansen.
"Yes, it's an eclectic blend," she said. "Yet they
are all expressive artists who explore relationship in a variety
When Carolyn was young, explorers of all sorts inspired her. She
would dress like them, sculpt them and draw them. In high school
she designed and constructed costumes for all the school plays.
"I loved expressing the essence of a person through color,
form and image," she said.
Through Fear," papier-mâché.
Carolyn's mother was "a Catholic, feminist theologian,"
while her father was a nuclear engineer and her strongest advocate.
"Dad would fly in from a business trip and head directly to
the high school production to see my costumes," she said.
"As I track my journey, they have consistently supported my
artistry. I'm sure they didn't always understand my work, but they've
been willing to acknowledge its importance to me."
In college, there wasn't a model for weaving together personal
story, art and social change, so Carolyn pursued a BA in theater
education with a recreation/criminology minor.
"I remember my advisor shaking his head and saying 'Carolyn,
what do you plan on doing with this?' Amazingly, I have called upon
all these elements again and again," she said.
"I didn't totally understand what I was 'doing,' and I'm sure
it appeared erratic, because at times it felt erratic. But, as I
look back, I was pioneering a way of integrating art into social
The heart of the story
College was the beginning of Carolyn's life-long journey to use
expressive art to transform how people live in the world.
She took her first mask-making workshop in 1984 and loved it.
for Hope," papier-mâché.
"It gave me a structure to explore the ethereal nature of
my work. Everything started to meld into a cohesive vision."
After graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree
in theater education, Carolyn went into Vista (Volunteers In Service
To America) to work on a Living Newspaper Project modeled after
the WPA's project in the 1930s.
"The intent was to use art as a tool to make change in the
world," she said. "During that year we used murals, plays
and personal story to tell the story of life in the Southside of
Columbus, Ohio. That experience pushed me to get to the heart of
the story and find the dramatic form to express the power of transcending
the grit of everyday survival."
Yearning to return to the West Coast, Carolyn traveled to Berkeley
and began working in professional theater as an intern. Over the
next three years she was a costumer, stage manager, production assistant
and assistant director, learning all aspects of production.
Her most memorable experience was stage-managing an all-night performance
for The Magic Theater in San Francisco. The series of seven short
dramatic pieces was set outside, overlooking the bay. The audience
walked to each site over the course of the night; each had been
carefully selected for its impact. One site was chosen so the moon
would rise behind the performers during the course of the action.
Another for the sensual quality of the tall grass, lit in purples
and blues, swaying gently under a midnight moon. For the final playlet,
a 30-foot waterfall was created to "burst forth" just
as the sun rose over the bay.
mixed media, papier-mâché mask.
"In Berkeley I worked with the best theaters, the best designers
and the most respected directors," she said. "It was a
great training ground, but I longed to do more experimental and
transformational work of my own design."
So Carolyn traveled to South Africa where she had the opportunity
to see an inspiring, social-change theater performance.
"I was taken by the power of personal story to shape a dynamic
and riveting performance," she said. "If you've never
heard of the New Market Theater, they were a major influence in
getting the horrific injustices of Apartheid out to the world."
Returning to America, Carolyn began work in a variety of settings
using movement, masks and personal story. In addition to her own
work, she developed a partnership with Rhodessa Jones, a performance
artist, to create a program in the San Francisco jails, entitled
"Theater of Life and Dreams."
"As much as I was excited by the work, there was a piece missing,"
she said. "I wasn't really sure what it was, but I again knew
it was time to move on."
In 1989 Carolyn moved to Portland. For the first five years she
was an artist-in-residence, working throughout the country with
students creating masks, murals and sculptures with the intention
of drawing out their voice in fantasy, dreams and life story.
In '98 she co-created a series of fanciful, life-sized safari animals
with a group of inner-city students that were donated to Emanuel
Hospital's children's ward.
Wizard," papier-mâché mask.
"The animals were such a hit that the hospital commissioned
a group of fifth-graders to create a second set," she said.
"Some of the animals' legs now have casts, and their necks
needed repair work, but six years later they are still bringing
joy to children in recovery."
That same year, Carolyn found herself in a financial downturn.
She got her first "real" job, working as a training coordinator.
She was shocked at the realities of the cubicle world.
"I kept thinking about the incredible work my artist friends
created with minimal resources. They loved their work but struggled
to bring it forth to the world," she said. "And here I
was, working in a company where people had all the resources to
bring their vision to the world but were disconnected from their
own life purpose.
"As I worked in that real world, I was struck by how many
people hated their jobs. I had always followed my passion and been
surrounded by others who were doing the same.
"As artists, what we lacked was the marketing know-how to
In '99 Carolyn started her Portland-based coaching practice, The
CoreSource. She's worked with corporations, small businesses
and artists across the country, and has helped individuals launch
businesses and creative ventures while developing their unique leadership
"I wanted to use the creative, expressive process to connect
people with their deepest purpose and create exciting ways to bring
it to the world," she said.
"The goal of my workshops, classes and events is to help people
claim their voice and shape their message through the medium of
the expressive arts using voice, story, drawing and movement
to transcend the confines of everyday demands so they can imagine,
create and inspire. Using art was the only way."
Mother Cut My Hair," mixed media, papier-mâché.
Wanting and having
Carolyn's goal for her artwork has become increasingly clear over
the last several months.
"I want to use my work as a vehicle to connect people to their
inner spirit of divine wonder within the complex world of human
uncertainty," she said. "I want to continue to integrate
my artwork into my public speaking, workshops and sacred events.
I want to continue to evolve my work as a medium to strengthen our
trust in the human spirit and our interconnectedness in the world.
"And I want my work to continue to be exhibited and purchased
for everyday, public spaces cafes, hospitals, offices and,
oh yes, bars."