What does being “burnt out” really look like, Pt. 1

Over the last 20 years, I have had the pleasure of conspiring with hundreds of artists from various disciplines for exhibits, one-day/night events with dance, music, performance, drag, photo, film, video, food, installations, and of course the typical fundraiser, because we always have to think about where are resources are coming from. As an artist, whose mission is to support other artists and the greater community, needless to say my endeavors and the system in which we operate have worn me down. I used to be vivacious. Unstoppable with any idea that came to mind with the energy to endure said project. And I never let anything come in the way of achieving said idea, as any obstacle that came in my way, was just another challenge for me to overcome, and overcome I did.

For 20 years, I have maneuvered around, looking for opportunity, learning over time where to look and how to find the answer to my situation. (It’s all in your network, people!) I never let a ‘no’ response keep me from doing what I thought was necessary to complete a project, but with that, I do have to share that it is very essential to always stay fluid. You need to know how to adapt your idea/project to the parameters you are given (and/or figure out a way to work within them—if you know what I mean). It is possible to accomplish anything, just sometimes (actually almost always) you need to compromise. Which, is a very important soft skill to learn and master, and at the youngest of years you can do this, the more happier you’ll be. Cause, at the end of the day, it’s all about expectations. The sooner you learn that having none or a minimum will assist you as you go along in life. And let me be clear: I am not saying to not reach for the moon or stars, just know what steps you need to take to get you there, and be sure to follow that path, however long it takes and/or wherever it takes you. The journey should be cherished.

So, this next thought leads me into what they don’t teach you in grade school, high school, college, adult life, corporate work, etc… Self-care. This concept should be at the root of every living person’s foundation. We should learn to master this sooner than getting a regents diploma, not after the fact, if ever if you’re lucky. Self-care is closely tied to self-love, and well just plain love really. Something else that most of us are not taught or have seen what healthy love looks and feels like (just read bell hooks all about love, to get started). If you’re fortunate you’ll get to experience its purest sense. But before I wander too far, let’s go back to what self-care entails.

Self-care is not a one-size fits all. It takes many shapes and looks quite different from one person to the next, as it is tailored to each individual. How does one properly care for themselves under the constraints of living? I know this sounds like a daunting question, but the answer can be as simple as waking up 15 minutes early so you can have a few minutes to meditate and be by yourself, alone, to think, breathe, drink coffee/tea, read, listen to the news, whatever your happy little joy is. In the end it really is all about time and how you choose to spend it and with whom. (And somewhere in there, you need to figure out what things/people bring you joy, but I think that is another topic for another time.)

Every life is complicated, but we have choices. We can choose how we spend our lives that is our greatest gift to ourselves and the rest of the world. And if you can keep in mind this thought that if you’re not happy and you don’t love yourself, how can you expect to be there and show up for other people the way you expect them. It all starts with you. So take that 15 minutes somewhere in the day and do what makes you happy and brings you joy. And then see how to expand on that 15 as time goes on. This is my advice to you. Take care of yourself.

As I have recently returned from nowhere land. Or else that’s what being burnt out feels like. It feels like you are drifting along on a wooden raft at sea as everything and everyone pass by you, but you are not in reaching distance for them to help or for yourself to safely escape. As you are drifting along alone in the middle of nowhere the things in life that once you were passionate about have disappeared like ghosts that haunt you but to no avail you can no longer touch or feel. And the world continues to pass by as you drift along. You feel helpless, sometimes anxious, as your meager attempts fail. But you keep going. You keep doing. You keep breathing. You keep thinking about tomorrow and the next day, as everyone needs a plan, and the more time you put into it the better your chances are for success. Or at least that is what they tell me.



PS—another person’s words (Alice Walker) to leave you with: “Resistance is the secret of joy.”

Sometimes self-care can look like this, because you have lost your passion for life. Costa Rica, Pacific Coast, Fall 2021.

May Sale—Fundraiser for Europe

Hello Friends! 

I have some exciting news…the universe has aligned for me to travel again in the name of art.  At the end of this month, I will be traveling back to Europe for the first time in 10 years!!!  The last time I was there was as a graduate student at SFAI.  I can’t believe time has passed by so quickly, but here we are. 

Thanks to my best artist bud, Erik Richard Parra, I will be visiting Amsterdam for the very first time to see the Vermeer show and I can’t wait!  But, before I arrive there, I will be reunited with my long-time collaborator, Liv Fontaine, in England, to produce new work and who knows what kind of (good) trouble.  Then later in the summer, I have been invited to Italy to further my studies on herbalism and once again be in the company of the most amazing Sarah Wu, whom I first had the pleasure of working with in Costa Rica (2022). 

As I plan for these upcoming trips, I am trying to stay optimistic that things will work out, but I also have to face the realization that I don’t have the means to do everything that I want to do right now.  The opportunities for an artist like myself in Central New York, have been limited, but I would love to be able to utilize these upcoming opportunities and make the most of them.  I mean it’s been 10 years since I last visited this continent, so these upcoming short trips are long overdue. 

So, let me help you, by you helping me.  

I would like to offer you all the possibility to support my practice in exchange for a token of your gratitude I will gift you a new art piece created from my trip.

–For a contribution of $75: I will mail you something from my travels. 
–For a contribution of $150: I will mail you a small print series (2-3 images) from the photographs I take during my travels. 
–For a contribution of $225: I will mail you an 8 x 10 inches print from the work that I produce with Liv.  
–With any contribution over $225: I will mail you a set of small art works created by me on my travels. 

I have also made available some artwork, prints, and other affordable merchandise on my website that I can ship to you, or if you live close we can set up a delivery.  This work of mine is just sitting in boxes, stagnant, when they were made to be worn or admired on a wall.  If you see something that catches your eye let me know.  Payment can be submitted via Paypal: paypal.me/TinaDillman, Venmo: @Tina-Dillman-1, or you can send a check–my mailing address is located in the footer of this email.  

Thank you! Your support is always much appreciated!



Upcoming Performance @ the Everson Museum

Please join us on Thursday, February 9, 6-8pm, at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, for the launch of a new performance project, I LOVE ME. Museum guests will have the opportunity to play game like exercises that dive into the notion of self-care and love, while experiencing the museum through a different perspective. Guests will also have the opportunity to purchase merchandise such as totes, stickers, buttons, prints, and t-shirts from the Be Authentic line. If you’re in the area, we hope to see you there!

New Year New Pad

As of December 2022, I became a resident of the Gear Factory in Syracuse, New York. If you’re coming through the area, please stop by for a visit and tour of this amazing building, where creativity is happening on all the floors. I am so happy that I found this place!

Collab w/ Mike Dyar

Available for the month of December, a collaboration with San Francisco based mail artist Mike Dyar, from 2021, a limited edition (1/5) mixed media work for $150/each. Interested parties should contact Tina at: tina m dillman @ gmail.com.

Going back to where it all began…

My parents’ backyard in Central New York on a Sunday morning in February 2022, when it was 21 degrees Fahrenheit outside.

Over the past 4 months, I had the privilege of being able to travel around Costa Rica (CR). [To see my travel logs, you can view those images on social media through Instagram or Facebook.] Without trying to sound cliche, but while also being honest, it was an amazing adventure that has and will continue to have a huge impact on my life. My time in CR not only reinforced ideas and notions I had previously of the world, Americans/Westerners, and myself in said world, but it also provided me with the time and space necessary to transform into this next phase of myself. A side that I feel like I have been missing and longing for, for way too long.

I am at that point in my life (I am currently 42, almost 43 years old), where I am realizing just how valuable time really is, as half of my life has passed me. Did you ever think about how time is a non-renewable resource? Every second you spend doing whatever is one second that you will never get back, ever. I thought about this a lot in CR. I think I was having my own existential crisis, but I was ok with that, because I knew that I was not fully happy when I arrived to CR. I knew that things in my life had to change, but I was not fully aware of how or what exactly had to change. So, I did what I could and I gave myself the time to think, process, and begin to work through the deeper levels of trauma and pain that my body had been storing. I began to further peel those layers back, so I could understand the how’s and why’s of my life. I used the tools that presented themselves to me-a therapist, energy healers, body workers, workshops, friends, solitude, and mother nature to further investigate and care for myself in all the ways possible. I showed myself how much I really loved myself, and in becoming more aware of myself, I saw that I had a pattern of taking care of myself and that this behavior was my normal.

Everyday I was in CR I felt grateful. I felt grateful for my surroundings, the ocean, the sea, the mountains, the people, the friends I made, the food I ate, the herbs, fruits & vegetables I picked and created meals from, my parents & friends that helped me navigate between continents, the butterflies, hummingbirds, and creatures I admired, usually from afar. Everything played a role in helping me find me, or should I say, reconnect with the parts of me that had laid dormant for some time.

And, here I am world, ready for what lies next. I am not sure what that is exactly, but everyday, I know I am getting a little closer.

[Side note: I ask that you please be patient with me. I do want to share more with you about all of those topics I mentioned above, but it may take some time as they could present themselves as art works, performances, writings, or events. And these things not only take time to develop, but money as well. If you think you can assist me in some way, please reach out via email or phone. I am open to travel, so let’s talk!]

My next chapter begins here…

In mid-October I will be traveling to Parrita, Costa Rica for a 3 month residency at the Mauser EcoHouse, where I will be learning about plants, herbal medicine and sustainable living. I have been wanting to visit this country since I was 12! I first became fascinated with the culture and language through my elementary Spanish class, and later in life this interest led me to visit Mexico and Cuba through professional art endeavors, and now, after 30 years, my childhood dream is becoming a reality. I feel so fortunate for this opportunity, and look forward to all the creatures, plants, people, food, and customs that I will be exposed to. I’ll be sharing my experiences here and through social media, so if you would like to live vicariously through me, please do. Life is short and there is no time to waste, as we don’t have enough of this precious resource to do everything that we would like.