22 March 2012


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Welcome to 22/31

If you are here then you have been there  where Seth Apter posted about me as one of the 31 spotlight artists in his published book:  The Pulse of Mixed Media: Secrets and Passions of 100 Artists Revealed.

I figured, if he can do it then so can I.

Come along on a little journey to meet the Seth Apter that I know and admire...

Virtually meeting Seth

It all started way back on Monday, December 3, 2007 with Seth’s post: Spotlight: Judy Wilkenfeld.

Seth Apter? 
Who was he?
He seemed genuine enough.
I began reading his blog and googling him. For some reason I wanted to know more.

"Numbers" 3 panel wall art life story 
judy wilkenfeld visual anthologies

I must admit I was a little suspicious of this fellow, however, soon enough Seth and I developed a “virtual” friendship based on mutual respect. 

"22" artist book 
judy wilkenfeld visual anthologies

On one trip to New York we decided to meet. I was absolutely terrified. You know, the imagination went wild. Here’s this guy who sounds so genuine yet seemed to spend endless hours on the internet, commenting and highlighting other artists' work and blogs. Maybe, I thought, he was some strange guy stuck in an apartment with nothing but an online life. The imagination went wild. I tried to picture what he looked like – won’t go into that!

Reality Strikes:

Nobody had met Seth at that time. I was going to be the first or so I thought. 
I was staying with my wonderful friend Karen Cole. 

It turns out that Karen was supposed to meet Seth at some point too. We decided to meet him together – force in numbers type situation.

The date was set. 

Karen and I booked into a hotel in New York City and spent hours and hours discussing what Seth would look like based on nothing  but womanly intuition. Ahh, but then we did have a voice after arranging the meeting.

Then the moment arrived. In walked Mr Altered Page and I happened to be on the phone to Australia. It gave me some time to visually “check him out” whilst he was speaking to Karen.

We nailed it! 

Seth looked exactly as we had imagined – thank goodness.

We talked over dinner and I knew that I had found a new friend that was extremely intelligent, interesting, softly spoken yet definitive in his opinions (love that). I recall that we were so focused on the brief time we had together. We viewed things very similarly. No surprise that we struck up an immediate friendship.

We had to get a photo!

Initially Seth did not want his photo posted on my blog for mixing his professional career with his art world was something he was not ready to do, understandably so.

After seeing the photo, Seth agreed that the time had come for the artist Seth Apter to be revealed:

Seth the student, me the teacher:

As you have probably gathered, Seth is extremely focused and highly detailed. 
I bet he was the kid who sat at the front of the class. 

When I was teaching him how to make a book based on my techniques, 
he was extraordinarily attentive. 

He was a perfectionist (sounds like someone I know) and it appeared that 
the book that was developing was quite linear - something that struck me 
as the Psychologist side of Seth showing through.

Just look at those pursed lips - a sure sign of extreme concentration and determination.

Not wanting to move on until he had mastered each step represents one side of the Seth I know.

And talk about determined...

I remember arranging to meet Seth to support his efforts in one of his passions - running a New York marathon!

I bet all that training has now paid off for you Seth - knowing that you need all of your energy as your book has been released and you go about your countrywide tour.

Now all of you will know where Mr Altered Page gets his stamina and energy from in order to respond to each and every email, blog post, Facebook comment, tweet etc etc related to his blog. 
Seth has extraordinary commitment and tenacity.

Musings and the other side of Seth:

My initial instinct about him was correct. He was genuine, honest and extremely intelligent - a winning combination for me. 
He makes me laugh like very few others can.

(See Seth, shocking photo of me but it tells the story - oh the sacrifices I am making for this post)

 And laugh, until it hurts.

All these character traits, about which I speak, add up to the man I respect immensely and who has come to be one of the most highly respected artists in the mixed media arts world.
When we speak, the conversations are often deep and meaningful and then almost out of nowhere comes that other side of Seth which at first caught me by surprise. That relaxed, almost carefree part of Seth that has me in hysterical laughter.

These photos were taken in New York almost immediately after I had been chasing the history of my mother and her family in Lithuania. It was an emotionally draining experience. I had not processed much or any of what I had seen there. I was completely numb. I am not going to elaborate other than to say it related to what happened to them all during The Holocaust. 

I wasn't even sure I was in any kind of frame of mind to meet up with anyone, so numb was I. I don't recall sharing much of that experience, if anything at all of it with him at the time. In hindsight, his extraordinary people skills must have sensed something. 

I have never revealed this to you Seth, you gave me a very special gift that day.
You gave me the much needed ability to snap out of my shock.

You made me laugh and laugh and laugh.

I hadn't laughed for weeks.

When that lighthearted, even cheeky side of you made an appearance that day, it is exactly what I needed.

Thank you for the gift that day Seth.

You know that I always feel that we never get enough time to enjoy each others company but inevitably we always make the effort to meet up. Now make the effort and come down here. You have a huge fan base down under.

As a friend, Seth "gets" me.

As a fellow artist, Seth "gets" me.

     "Numbers" 3 panel wall art life story 
     judy wilkenfeld visual anthologies

He does not see the darkness in my art as frightening like some do.

He sees way beyond the initial glance and goes deep into the intended layers that I present in my artwork.

                         "Kol Nidrei- Reflections on The Inquisition" 
                 Part of which is featured in Seth's book  
                 judy wilkenfeld visual anthologies

He sees the layers of meaning - probably somewhat due to his professional career. 

He has never failed to understand the message that I am trying to convey  - probably due to his sensitive nature.

                                         "Kol Nidrei- Reflections on The Inquisition" 
                          Part of which is featured in Seth's book  
                          judy wilkenfeld visual anthologies

 I admire that about you Seth.

           "Kol Nidrei- Reflections on The Inquisition" 
        Part of which is featured in Seth's book  
        judy wilkenfeld visual anthologies

I truly respect his love and devotion for his family. It is that side of Seth, the calm and sensitively loyal part of my friend that made me realize that that, in and of itself, is part of the reason he understands me and my artwork.
When Seth first contacted me about his book, I was in the midst of moving house, had no studio and had damaged my arms that have now taken two 
years to heal. 

I went on my own journey of discovery, allowing fate to take me by the hand and lead me into new directions. 

It was not easy to create a self-portrait without any art materials, mediums or a studio. I had to think very laterally. It was challenging but I believe the piece in Seth’s book conveys what I am about and how I view myself.
The other piece featured in Seth's book "Kol Nidrei- Reflections on The Inquisition" was not quite complete when I submitted it to Seth. However, I wanted to provide a piece of art that hadn't been seen before and that would be befitting the book.

About 22: 

22 is a favoured and meaningful number for me. It has continually presented itself to me throughout my life. 

It is no surprise then that Seth randomly chose the 22nd day of this month for this post. 

                                            "22" artist book 
                            judy wilkenfeld visual anthologies

The number 22 is a master number.

                                         "22" artist book 
                            judy wilkenfeld visual anthologies

The Number 22 is the number of revelation and communication.

The Number 22 unites the entire body of the Torah (Jewish Bible).

The numerical value of 22 is equivalent to the Hebrew word "Yachad" – to 
unite or togetherness as part of divine providence. 

                                          "22" artist book
                            judy wilkenfeld visual anthologies

In Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) there are 22 lines that connect the ten “Sephirot”, when presented in diagram form.

The 22 connecting paths correspond to the spiritual channels of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Kabbalah views the Hebrew letters as channels of spiritual life force.

I consider meeting Seth as part of my life's journey. He has taught me many things, though he does not know it. He has a "life force" about him that is very unique and I guarantee that anyone who meets him on his book tour will agree.

Since this 22 of the 31 of the 100 had to answer the questions you Seth had posed...

I now turn the spotlight even more directly onto you, my fellow "monster of art" and beg your indulgence in these very busy times for you to answer the following questions:

Question One

You stated in an answer to one of Leslie Avon Miller’s questions:
“To me, my whole life had been a journey that has taken me along a path that has led to this book”.
You are aware, as are most of my blog readers are, that serendipity or in the Hebrew “Bashert” (fate) – weaves its way throughout my artworks.
It plays a vital and integral role in the shaping of my artist books.
Based on this I have two questions for you:

  1. Do you believe in “Bashert” with regard to your art and does it play a role in your pieces?
  2. Do you feel that the journey that led you to writing your book had elements of “Bashert”?

Seth Responds

Answer One

I fully believe in the concept of “Bashert” or synchronicity and see it play out in my life everyday. And that includes my art. Much of what I create contains found objects and my sense is always that it was not a random occurrence that I was where I was when I was so that the object could be found by me. That is just one of many times that “Bashert” plays a role.

In fact, I owe the very existence of my book to “Bashert.” I have not yet shared online how my book began, so I am giving you a scoop here Judy. On March 9th, 2010 I held a giveaway on my blog to celebrate a blogging milestone. Given that I had just finished posting “The Book Guild” series on my blog, I decided that a book giveaway was apropos. I chose five books that I thought would be great for my readers. I could have chosen from among 100s of books but the first of five that I listed was “Journal Spilling” by Diana Trout. On March 17th I received an email from Tonia Davenport, an acquisitions editor from North Light Books, asking if I had ever considered turning The Pulse into a book. She was the editor of “Journal Spilling” and had discovered my blog and The Pulse project because I had chosen Diana’s book for the giveaway. “Bashert?” Oh yes!!!

Question Two

As you are aware, my artworks speak to issues of tolerance, understanding and social justice to name a few. Many of my artist books convey the impact historical events have had on my life, those of my family and the Jewish people. My artist books are intimately personal.

As a book artist, one would assume that one would find words that assisted the viewer to understand the story being conveyed.

However, as you know, my books reveal the story through layers of symbolism using different mediums as the conduit for that symbolism.
Were I not to explain the history behind them, via my blog, I often wonder if the viewer would understand the artworks.
Based on this I have some questions for you:

  1. On what basis do you decide on themes for your artwork?
  2. When your artwork goes on display either on your blog or in an exhibition do you ever feel that you need to explain either the motive behind the piece or the piece itself? Are you content to let the artwork speak for itself, allowing the viewer to interpret the piece as it affects them?

Seth Responds

Answer Two

Unless I am working on a collaborative project where a theme is necessary, I rarely begin a new piece or a new series with a theme in mind. Often I start with an object, art supply or paint color and initially let the materials guide me. Many times I start with an emotion that I am feeling and let that be my guide. Because much of my work is abstract, this “themeless” approach seems to work well for me.

I do love that the viewer projects their own thoughts, feelings and experiences onto any piece of art that they see. To me, that is what art is all about. But I am of the school where I think that knowing the motivation or story behind a piece of art does not detract but actually enhances the viewer’s experiences. That is the basis for much of the content of The Pulse of Mixed Media. I do not always have the opportunity to describe the backstory of my work but almost always prefer to share the story when I can.

Question Three

Way back in 2009 in an interview on the “Alteredbits” blog you said:
“I have many favourite blogging artists but one that stands out to me is Judy Wilkenfeld. Every piece that she creates speaks to me artistically and her work is always, and I mean always, so meaningful, emotional, powerful, and real!”

I am still blown away by that statement – thank you.
There was a time when one of my art pieces was not published by a magazine for fear that the readers of that publication would find it too confronting and too “emotional, powerful, and real”. (Fortunately it was taken up by another magazine and the response was overwhelmingly positive). 

It never changed my focus on presenting the “emotional, powerful, and real” or as some call it “dark” art. In fact, it suggested to me that my artworks affected people deeply and my goal was achieved.

As a Psychologist you deal with other people’s emotions. Do both disciplines, Psychology and being an Artist ever blend in your pieces and if so would you ever fear not presenting a piece of art for fear that it may “negatively affect” some viewers?

Seth Responds

Answer Three

Because psychology and art are both such big parts of my identity, I think that each discipline finds its way into the other – sometimes directly but most of the time subtly. My attraction to layers and textures and aged objects definitely relates to my experiences as a Psychologist. I have not yet come across a piece of my own work which I thought might in any way “negatively affect” the viewer, other than the fact that they may not like it. But if I ever thought my work might “negatively affect” a viewer, I would still reveal the piece because art, among so many other things, is meant to move, affect, and impact the viewer.


I consider myself very fortunate to have met Seth. There are very few like him. 
I am appreciative and honoured that he chose me to be one of the 31 spotlight artists. I am proud to be in such an amazing line - up of talented artists.
However , when all is said and done, it is Seth my friend that I am most grateful for. 

To know that if I ever needed him on a personal level, he would be right there by my side, “virtually” or otherwise is wonderful. Thank you to "Bashert", the universe, fate, serendipity or whatever one chooses to call it that brought such a special human being into my life.

Congratulations my friend, you deserve all the accolades you have coming to you. Good luck, I know the book will be a best seller.



Jo Murray said...

I wholeheartedly agree with you about Seth... and with his blog about you. Your work is meaningful, and beautifully layered. He is just amazing in the way he creates threads of communication between artists worldwide. Love you both.

Lynn said...

Judy I love and appreciate your naked honesty bold truths and the places you take me in your art. Yes, there are dark places, but you shine a light on them that illuminates like the Yad (hand) of Ha Shem (G-d) reaching out from the heavens.

I cannot think of a better match of artists than the bringing together of you and Seth. Art and Personality!

I love your questions for him here and I look forward to his giving them careful consideration and reading his answers.

Once more congratulations (Mazol Tov) for your spotlight in The Pulse of Mixed Media!

I've not yet had the honor of meeting either of you in person, but I feel like I know you both.
I am so grateful to the land of blogs for making that possible.

Your post today is to be savored like a decadent dessert. Thank you for sharing so much.

lynne h said...

oh judy, this is an extraordinary post... i'm between tears, laughter, and a feeling of deep gratitude for you, for seth, for *everything*. yes, your words and the images of you and seth have moved me in this way. thank you for taking the time to put this post together. it says so much about you, seth, and about the friendship that you share.

shine on bright one,


Sue M said...

What a great piece on Seth - thank you Judy - and congratulations too on your wonderful work. Inspiration for the soul indeed.

Jo Archer said...

I think we all feel that way about Seth; he's one of those online friends that you'd actually like to meet in person. I had the chance to meet him in the UK, but couldn't make it, for which I'm very sad about, but there will be another time. A kind, smart and generous man.

ArtPropelled said...

What a moving post Judy! Seth is a remarkable man. How wonderful to see you both laughing uproariosly! I am so looking forward to seeing your new work and hope your arms have healed 100%. (I also hope you share some of your journey of discovery during the 2 years of healing. It's so inspiring to hear how people rise above adversity)

pfstuff said...

Have loved looking at your books and following your journey to find out about your family-glad you are in "the book" now-can't wait to get a copy.

Ro Bruhn said...

What a great post Judy and congratulations on being published once more, it's well deserved. It's lovely to read about the Seth who most of us have never met. Hopefully one day he might visit here.

Judy Shreve said...

What a beautiful post - the depth of your friendship, your artwork and you so eloquently written. Congratulations on being part of this fabulous book. I can't wait to get a copy.

Kathryn Dyche Dechairo said...

What an amazing post. I loved getting to know both you and Seth a little more. I sense so many of the things you mention about Seth despite never having met him. Congratulations on being one of the featured artists and in creating some powerful thought provoking work.

michelle ward said...

JW - fabulous post. Love seeing all the photos of your work, and of course those photos of you with Seth. I totally recall the *first* sighting of Seth that you captured, as he was previously unseen. No longer a mystery man, you shine the light on him in a glorious and well-deserved manner today. I love that you landed on 22. All is right today. smooches.

liberal sprinkles said...

Judy I love what you've shared about Seth and your relationship with him. Very moving. I also love the meaning behind your amazing art. WOW!

Karen Cole said...

Great post Judy! I decided to take the day off from work today so I could read it :-)....not, but I did drink two cups of coffee (you know the kind you hate) reading through it again and again.

Love the photos, especially the two hot babes at the MAD. I miss my red glasses (they are floating somewhere off the coast of Mexico.

Anyway, back to the task at hand. I sure did miss reading your posts. Your past work is so compellingly spectacular. Can't wait to see what is coming next.


Luthien said...

what an absolutely AMAZING post on Seth ... candid, honest and witty :) and the photos are just heartwarming ... yes, Seth should make a trip to Australia and whilst you're at it ... perhaps you can come to Malaysia too, can't you? ;)

Leslie Avon Miller said...


I just took a deep deep breath!!

Seth said...

Gobsmacked. I am absolutely gobsmacked by this post Judy. As you can see, thanks to you I know speak 'Australian.' The story and pictures here brought back some special memories and revealed some things that I did not know. I feel honored to have you and your artwork in my book and thank you for sharing that. And I am so happy to be able to count you as a good friend. One day I hope to show up at your door in your neck of the woods. Get the camera ready!

p.s. answers coming soon!

Robert said...

Judy- I love the respect, and depth of understanding that you bring to your artwork, which pulls past lives from obscurity and makes them 'real'. I am also completely enchanted by the story you have posted, here, of how you first met Seth, virtually, and then, in-the-flesh! It would seem to be a sort of serendipty of the very best kind that brought your worlds together! What an amazing and wonderful connection the two of you have! "Bashert", indeed!

A bird in the hand said...

Judy, I can only read and marvel.
Seth commented on my blog once a few years ago or so; it was something encouraging, and I was grateful. And amazed because I knew of him and his extraordinary work.

Colette xxx

Terrie said...

This is a very touching, moving post and I can tell it's written from the heart. Though I'm only just finding you via Seth's blog, I can tell I'll be visiting again and again.

Melva said...

Wow, what a great post. You sure do have a great friendship going on there. I think you will soon be getting the knock on the door and there he will be. Your work is amazing, and I think we are all able to feel what you are saying through your pieces. We perhaps all have a different slant on things. But, that's what arts about.Isn't it????'

Holly Dean said...

Judy, there are no bad photos of you. Your beauty, on the inside and the outside, always shines through :) Thank you for being who you are and for creating such meaningul art!

TheFairyyellowbugQueen said...

Judy you do important work. AND You are a brilliant artist. This planet is so much the better for it. Thank you.
*watching the rain outside* Norma
p.s. what a great visit with you and Seth!!

Mo Crow said...

thank you Judy, this goes deep

eb said...

beautiful beautiful post Judy
thanks so much
for sharing the glow
I can feel it
and it is powerful...

xox - eb.

donnaj said...

Wonderful tribute-thanks for sharing.

Judy said...

Thank you for all your wonderful comments.
I very much appreciate them and will try to get back to each one of you asap.

Carol said...

Oh Judy, as if it's not a thrill to know you are in Seth's book, then you write such a beautiful post about Seth. The photos of you together are joyous, you've made my day. If I could get even a smidgen of the inspiration you put into your work I'd be grateful. I'm still hanging out for a lass with you.
Carol xx

Barbara I. said...

What a lovely post, Judy. I so enjoyed reading all that you wrote about your art and friendship with Seth. My grandparents lived in Paris during WWII and my grandfather was in the French Resistance. I have amazing family stories of his bravery in saving Jewish people. One night he hid a woman from their apartment in bed with my grandmother during a Gestapo raid on their building. They saved her life. Here is a link to some art I created to tell the story: https://picasaweb.google.com/102846550978603755385/GrandpaVriacosBook. I am so grateful to be able to express my family history through my art.

Carol said...

I feel as though I have just read a very good historical novel. I am moved by your story, your art, your friendship and praise of Seth, and your honesty and integrity in creating what is real. I am so glad Seth directed me here and I will be back often.

Jill Zaheer said...

Judy, this is such a moving and riveting post about your artwork, the driving force behind it and the person that you are. Gorgeous photos of your work-you're a top talent in the artworld. Just love hearing about your life story with Seth and seeing those photos of the two of you- precious and can't help but make everyone smile who views them. So glad to be able to share space in The Pulse of Mixed Media with you- a treasure! Look forward to meeting you one day- on either side of the planet! Love your 22 story, the perfect gift to your life! xo Jill

Robyn A said...

Alas, 'tis true, I came over from Seth's blog, but I have been a fan of your work for ages. I have only relatively recently started following blogs and somehow yours didn't hit my radar. If this post is anything to go by I will definitely be back. How lucky you both are to have found each other as artists and friends. Seth is amazing and the artists he has chosen for his book are all phenomenal - am running out of superlatives this month. Thank you Judy for the wonderful art you share with the world.

Darlene K Campbell said...

You and Seth had to send ripples of love and peace out into the world on that day you met. Your story is beautiful and heartfelt..your work is beyond words for me. Those photos of you and Seth are pure and true and are to be treasured. What a blessing you both are to the creative community. Thank you,

Art Is...Slan said...

a magnificent opening of your heart. thank you for sharing the delights and loves of your friendship with such an extraordinary man. Sal x

mansuetude said...

What a beautiful tribute to friendship! You both look wonderful together.

That Seth runs marathons, well, now everything makes sense!

Words on your family research remind me of the poet Carolyn Forche. She did a large collection called "Against Forgetting" full of poets voicing against atrocities. She also wrote a book called "The Angel of History" --a poetic account of "witness" . When she was finishing this work, I got to hear her read and the emotion from her body made the air quiver with such a sense of responsibility we humans have, each to each.


Thanks for the joy of your post.

hehjude said...

Oh my! I'm so happy for you - what a touching friendship - I want one! lol
Thanks for the chance to win.

n2theblue said...


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post!! I had the chance to meet Seth in person several weeks ago when he came to Cincinnati to work with North Light on some instructional DVD's. My wife and I had the privilege of taking him to dinner and had a wonderful time. I'm looking forward to getting to know him better in the future and feel so honored that he has given me and my art so much support!! Thank you, Seth!

layers said...

What a wonderful and thorough blog post about Seth and your friendship... congrats on being included in the book.. I will finally get to meet Seth when he comes to Seattle for his book signing.

Jacky said...

What an epic read Judy you obviously get each other and congratulations, well deserved

Lisa Graham Art said...

I recently purchased Seth's book and am watching for it to arrive any day now. I found you via Seth's tweet. Your article about him and yourself is so interesting, inspiring and now I am just that much more excited to have the book!

Greetings from Wichita, Kansas!

Rusted Wings said...

lovely story and friendship you have with this amazing man. you both have impacted each others lives and the world. thank you both for being so real, and for living to bless.

Altered Bits said...

what an absolutely magnificent post, judy! you have shared so much here, both about yourself and of seth that i couldn't stop reading. the photos of the two of you together are amazingly beautiful. your smiles alone depict the depth of your closeness as friends -- love them!! your pieces in the book are phenomenal as everything you do is. thank you so much for taking so much time to put together such a wonderful, heart-warming post.

alteredbits.wordpress.com (blogger isn't letting me post as myself for some reason)

A Magical Whimsy said...

Hello, Judy
I am happy to be able to follow your blog. I have been following you via your blog for some time and have kept in touch by articles which have been published in Stampington publications. I would like to guess that I have been viewing your blog for about four years now...fall of 2008. And I have purchased goodies from your Etsy store at times too.
Your blog deeply moved me at the time that I found it. I wept many times while reading accounts of your life and of your ancestors. The most profound true account was when you found the suitcase by the side of the road in Australia full of amazing artifacts of a Jewish man in a nearby community. That was definitely Jewish fate.
I have chills now, and I had chills then just thinking of the experience you had during part of your 'journey'.
Thank you for highlighting Seth. What an amazing friendship you have obtained.
Go with G-d.
Teresa in California

Cherie said...

Gadzooks Girl, magnificent post ... goosebump moments ... expressing my response is nigh on impossible ... Phew, yikes, WOW. xo

Lucky Dip Lisa said...

Wow, what a post. I love the photography that goes with your words, the glimpses into your life and Seth's. Amazing. What a great way to start my day. Thankyou.

toko baju muslim said...

I love your beautiful blog and so enjoy your posts.