Renee Richard Ouellette
Artist's Statement

My inspiration for the YES and NO series came from the stories and the changed lives of people in recovery from addiction. YES and NO is a traveling exhibit that graphically depicts the concept of addiction and the hope of permanent recovery from it. lt consists of two series, the NO and the YES and each series contains 12 examples within it. The NO series demonstrates both the ugliness and the unmanageability of addiction and the beauty and stability of respect and love. The YES series confirms a rejoicing and celebrating of 12 disciplines where recovering individuals freely and constructively participate in positive action in our society.

ln the nineties, l became involved in a project called lMPACT! conceived by a teacher and friend of mine from Rhode island. She had approached calligraphers from Masscribes lnc., an organization of lettering artists, asking us to visually express some original poetry written by young inmates at Rhode Island Training School, a penal facility for individuals under 21 who had committed serious crimes. By expressing their poetry in artistic terms, we hoped to inspire and encourage them to take their negative feelings and place them on paper rather than lashing out at society, thereby avoiding harming others or themselves with their actions. Many of these incarcerated young people were addicted to various substances.

ln creating the YES and NO exhibit, l was inspired by: reading books, magazines, poetry, attending theatre performances, observing nature, listening to music, being with family and friends, my own experiences as well as others, traveling, meeting people, surfing the net. l decided on the themes based on my own experience and on that of others, by watching, waiting, meditating and imagining -- just letting the ideas come. ln the finished pieces, l convey the following concepts, which are fundamental in the experience of recovery from addiction.

1. Desperation
2. The [Higher] Power
3. People
4. Personal Responsibility
5. Hope .
6. Options/Choices


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