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Monday, September 19, 2011

It's never what anyone expects

or "This probably belongs on the art blog but it is a life issue as well"

I am in a new place. I do not know how long I will be here. But it is mine for the time being and I will spend most of this week making it mine even though I want to make art. I have too much in my head that needs to get made. And now I do not really want to be at work, or with friends of any nature. So today as I am getting my head out of the foggy grey morning air, I am catching up on my blog reading. Martha over at Art du Jour ( left an update that got me thinking several things.
  • It takes a special person to spend 5 hours putting together an easel even with the instructions.
  • It takes a special person to spend lifetime living in an artists studio and not be an artist.
  • It takes an extremely special person to avoid relegating the artwork and its production to the basement, backroom, loft above the garage, a closet in the spare bedroom or even the spare bedroom.
  • To make art one usually ends up living, breathing and expelling art. And in some cases, eating drinking, peeing and pooping art because it is everywhere.
  • The production of art is organized chaos and it looks like a mess to the untrained and unintiated eye.
Why does all this matter, my art friends ask. They already know these things. I guess it was just looking at the photos of her easel and seeing the house surrounding it that things sunk in for me. Art is expansive. It broadens (hopefully) the viewers horizons. But in the practical everyday situation of living and working with your art, the art expands its territory. When I think back to all my works and the places that I made it, I recall how it could not be contained in one place. In much the same way that my whole home was dedicated to the day care (with the exception of my bedroom) the studio has been, quite literally, the whole house. The reason that it matters is because not many people can live like that.

When you produce something that needs to dry in stages or cure it needs to be left out where it will not be disturbed. When you have a piece that will not come together no matter what you do to it, it needs to sit out or sit aside while you work on something else. And then you can come back to it when you or the work has mellowed. These things are not predictable. Artists do not paint by numbers. They paint by trial and error. For the most part we know how tools and materials will behave... that is the skill part. It is how the concept behaves that determines ones success or failure on a given day. It can not be said always that you will paint from 2 to 4pm and have a complete work. It is a goal to strive for. But it does not always happen. And sometimes, most often in the case of assemblage or collage, you cull pieces for a series of works on a theme and have to leave them in various piles in semi-completed stages before the end run where several of them can be finished off at once.

Its messy. Its complicated. Its the best metaphor for life that I know. And it is hard for people who llike order and "clean" spaces. Its also hard for people who want to be the only thing in the spaces in your heart. But artwork takes it all. The thing that you are that makes you an artist is in everything that you are. And when you are in the process of creating art, having already distilled the feelings and experiences that are your inspiration, the art percolates through all the spaces in your life and it comes out in a finished product. Or with any luck, in my case, enough pieces for a good show.

I am in full blown art mode. That pretty much means that I am unavailable for everyone else. And I do not know how well that is going to go over. I can garauntee that my friends will be more annoyed with me than ever before. And with the things that I have to do for the people who want to help me with vocational training and get a real job... well they are gonna be pissed at me as well. But it can not be helped. I have many ideas both great and small. And not much time to get them done in.

Sheesh and if its gonna keep raining so that I can not ever go take pics of Traverse then I will have nothing to do BUT art.  At any rate... pop over to Martha's blog to see what I am talking about. it is a place of exuberant expression where I do not believe repression or suppression has ever had a foot hold. Having been in Michelle's studio when she lived close by I can tell you that the best studios for inspiration are some of the messiest places on Earth. But it is a good thing.

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