19 August, 2009

Post-Vivum: notes on my first art show (Art Attack)

I usually find that I learn better from experiences by writing about them -
so here are some notes from my first art show, and I hope others may find it of
help as they explore the joys and terrors of putting their hearts on their figurative

The art show went much better than I
expected; I think some people wandered out rolling their eye but
that's fine with me. It was too last-minute for most of my friends to
come, but one of my oldest friends was able to make it with her
family, so that was lovely. Overall I'd say about 30 guests came
through, including 2 kids. I made a few connections in terms of people
really looking at and liking my work, and got a possible professional
connection from a graphic artist who needs occasional illustration,
along with several folks interesting in face painting. I was surprised
at the mix of people: about 1/3 who were actually artists, 1/3 people
who were longing to do art but aren't able to, and 1/3 people who
called themselves art-lovers but were non-artists (I asked). Don't
know what that means but I found it very interesting. It was so nice
to be able to say "If I can do it, you can!" Got to paint a beautiful
percussionist/artist with gorgeous skin and bone structure and
copper-colored hair. That was really satisfying.

I need to organize better (of course!) in terms of: unfinished stuff,
finished stuff, "fine art" (definition up for debate), illustration,
and cartooning (I do a lot of stuff with ironic, visual pun, or
editorial content although I rarely post them). And here's the bugaboo:
framing. I hate framing, I hate frames, I hate mattes - unless they are
an integral part of the art. I need to look at why, but I haven't yet.

Notes to self:
• Do not buy or serve cheap italian wine if you can't read the
bottle. The bottle is a pretty blue glass,
but the "dry white" wine was some sort of sparkling thing.
Apparently it was pretty vile.
Happy to say I didn't even think of trying it.
• Buy less cheese (originally I had thought of doing fondue, but
Charlie has been to a lot more gallery openings than me and said -
kindly omitting his first though which was probably ARE YOU OUT OF
YOUR MIND??? - "You're going to drive yourself crazy maintaining that
and cheese goo is going to get everywhere. Just get some cheese and
slice it up." Wise, wise man! We went with sliced cheese and
sourdough, it was fine. I got compliments on my fine taste in
schnackies. Trader Joe's ROCKS.
• I found it helpful for my own nervousness to talk up the place and
the studio rather than my art. Charlie thought I need to talk up my
art more, but I'm not there yet - it was hard for me to verbally be
accepting of my art where it is, and that starts to sound like
excuses. That's my ego in the middle of it all (I need to do more
writing and meditation about the nature of pride and ego in creating
art and sharing art... ooh, I've never really done much in the way of
artshares aside from classroom critiques. Wish we had an ARTS meeting
around here). I did have one nice discussion about a piece that
really made itself; a lady admired it and I said without thinking
"Isn't that cool? It had me up all night, giggling, while I did it."
She lit up and nodded, so she'd clearly been there herself. It's not
about pride although I guess it might look like pride. Those pieces
are treasures because they come from a place of mystery, we just try
to get out of their way and watch them unfold.
• Wear my knee brace and supportive shoes! I spent a lot of time on
my feet today and my leg is *REALLY* hurting me!

Overall, I feel I accomplished what I needed to do - putting myself
out there, warts and all. If this inspired a couple of artists, and if
a few people got that I have something to offer as an artist, that is
a huge gift.

Funny, a week or so ago I asked for a change, and for things
to start shaking loose. Then the car broke down and the cat died, and I got the last-minute OK to open the studio for this show.
That scared me (a lot, actually), but I've also had some
extraordinarily good things happen too, by trying to create forward
momentum. I don't know where it will all take me, if anywhere, but
it's an interesting journey. Minko!

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The Door is Open

I took this phrase from two sources:
the U2 song "Gloria", and my favorite Rumi poem:

"The Breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you
Don't go back to sleep
you must ask for what you really want
Don't go back to sleep
People are going back and forth
Across the doorway where the two worlds touch
The door is round, and open
Don't go back to sleep"

I have spent a fair amount of my life wide awake and dreaming, other times sleeping where my dreams were so vivid I wanted to go back and figure out how to make them real. How do I bring dreams into the waking world - dreams of creativity, of joy, of peace, of fun? How to take the shadow of my psyche and use it to heal myself and others instead of hurt?

I have eclectic taste - possibly insane taste - ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. I like silly humor more than I like sarcasm. I have a lifelong interest in why the heck the world is the way it is... cause and effect? G/d/s? Quarks? Who knows. Even if I thought I knew, that would be faith. The intersection between faith and knowledge - a dangerous and blurry place.

As the Firesign Theater states ".... a force that can only be used for good... or evillllll..." but I don't remember what they were talking about, was it a time machine?

I'm blessed with brilliant and creative friends; you'll find links to their blogs, art and ideas here. I'll add my own art and interests as time permits. Daring to put ourselves out there is one of the greatest challenges many artists face. Creating is easy, sometimes it happens all by itself. Communicating... hard.