MY ART STORY by

Tina Cornely

Miami
Florida

MAM Staff ShowCornely.jpg

Newspaper article

Newspaper article on Tina Cornely's artwork. Photo by Carl Juste

Art is healing and revealing: My beloved younger sister died suddenly. Yes, she had been depressed for a year but nothing could have prepared me for her heart attack. She was my best friend and I spent most of my spare time with her trying to get her back on track from being dumped by her husband. It is hard to believe that seven years have passed since Deborah's departure. Losing her left an unimaginable void in my life. If it weren't for my daughter, I would have allowed myself to perish. I did not know how to cope with the pain. I did not know how to heal. One day I had a stroke. It was my wakeup call that, indeed, I needed to heal. Not knowing how, I decided to pick up art and created a sculpture in honor of my sister. I would work on my project when my daughter was not around. I would play my sister's favorite music. Tears would stream down my face as I placed tacks in one of her ex-husband's mannequins (he was a fashion designer). With each tack I would remember all who hurt her throughout her life. I even named the tacks and people who hurt her as I was dredging my pain. I was a third done when my daughter came home one day and said, "Your sculpture has bad energy." I realized she was right and then started remembering all the good times Deb and I had and everyone who loved her. By the time I was a two-thirds done, I realized if I wanted to heal, I would have to forgive everyone who hurt her, including the tacks I named on the top tier. And so I did forgive them one tack at a time. By the time I was done a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders. And I was finally healed. My sculpture, Death by a Thousands Cuts, liberated me. It ended up on view in the Miami Art Museum staff show. Some people would cry when they touched it. Some would hug it. Everyone perceived it differently. Ironically Dorothy and Herbert Vogel heard my story while visiting the museum. Dorothy said it was a masterpiece and asked me what I did with it. I told her that I sold it. She admonished me and said I should not have. I then told her that I sold it to a major collector who fell in love with it. And that I thought being that it was in a major collection it would help others learn the healing magic of art. I also told her the proceeds were donated to an orphanage in honor of my sister. Dorothy took back her admonishment and said, “Well done.” In hindsight, I should have named my piece catharsis, but the die was set with the title Death By A Thousand Cuts.