Monday, June 23, 2008

Response to Withdrawal of Proposal

"Thanks, ---.

We're just so swamped and it's a very unique proposal that requires more attention than we had been able to give it. It's a bit precedent-setting and could be perceived as political, and approving those sorts of things takes a lot of time. I'm sorry you don't have more time to schedule this, but I understand.

Thank you for being so patient.

Best in your future endeavors,


This was the response that I received to the withdrawal of the proposal for the Can Project.  "precedent-setting" - that has a nice ring to it.
It reminds me of  a project I facilitated several years ago. I worked with realtors and graffiti artists to create peace-themed murals on a boarded up building in the local downtown area. When I originally went to pitch the idea to the realtors I remember that I made a point of bringing a recent article from the NY Times about how graffiti was respected as an art form and how people traveled from all over the world to  view, and contribute to, murals on a particular set of buildings in Brooklyn. I brought the article with me to the meeting in an effort to lend credibility to the project I was proposing; to show that my project wasn't that far outside the box, that in fact it was quite a popular concept. -- I neglected to make a similar effort when I approached the local market. As I reflect on the approach that I took, I realize that I made a big assumption. I thought that the market would be in favor of subversion, of stretching boundaries, of making  a splash, of taking chances. I made this assumption because the market, which is a co-op, seems to do so in many ways already. This however, was a silly move. It is wonderful to hope for unquestioning support, understanding, and camaraderie... but it is best to be prepared for resistance. Conservatism lurks in even the most unlikely of hosts. -- Another way to look at it is that it's important to remember that stretching boundaries brings up a lot of anxieties for people and can make them feel vulnerable and wary. Therefore, part of the process of engaging in this kind of project cooperatively with another entity is to support them through their uncertainties.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Video - Giallo Ballet

a windy day in San Francisco
walking in the park
fauna line the avenues
flora whisper "hark!"

(hint: try viewing with the volume turned all the way down)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Withdrawal of Market Proposal

I officially withdrew my proposal for the art installation at the local market. The time window was quickly becoming non-existent. I'm glad all those loose ends are wrapped up and now I can start focusing full-time on the open studio. "Full-time" really means any spare time I have between working a "normal" full-time job,  keeping up my social life from wilting and my home environment from falling to shambles (being a developing artist is like always working two jobs but not necessarily getting the credit for both of them!).  
I'm looking forward to the open studio. It's going to go ahead on the 25th. I'm planning to have the Can Project (Installation piece) all set up for that night, it's going to be great to see it materialize. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Can Project goes ahead with Open Studio

My last post was a week and a half ago. I did email my market contact on May 26th. I told her that I would be moving and asked if there was a possibility of doing the event at the end of June. She said that she would " to some people this week and get back to you". That was one week ago today - I haven't heard from her. So, I'm going to let go of the market as a possible setting for my installation and interactive art event. I'll email her and let her know, it's polite to follow through, even when other people don't, it's just nice to have closure. 
As far as my "plan B"... I've decided not to organize a show/going-away-party at the gallery. It's just too much. First of all, I'd be committed to getting all the work done, which I plan on doing, but if I get insane with stress and moving/school details it would be nice to have the option of letting go of some goals. Second, organizing it all... posters, handouts, framing, transporting work, setting up, breaking down... that's a whole other project. So, I'm letting it go. It was a nice idea but, considering the big transition I have ahead of me, I think it's wise to take on less.
Instead of the market, or the gallery, I've decided to set up my installation at my open studio/studio sale. I usually do one of these when I move out of town. I put up old work and sell it, for sometimes ridiculously low prices. The point is to clean out the studio, pass on my work to people who will appreciate it and care for it, and make a wee bit of money for the move. Well, this time it is going to be the biggest studio event yet. I'm going to sell/get rid of a lot of supplies, I'm going to offer old work up for sale (or trade), and I'm going to show my new work. I think there will also be a bit of a party atmosphere, after-all, it's my send off. It may be the last studio I rent in Burlington. The projected date is Wednesday, June 25. That's 3 weeks from today. I've got a bunch of work to do before then. I think I will put a listing in the local paper, and make handouts. I've also been thinking about making V.I.P. invitations which would get you in the door an hour or two earlier for special mingling and deals on supplies. I've already given my notice to the studio manager. June is going to be my last month. After the open studio I'll start the moving out process. It's going to be hard to get rid of a lot of my materials, but realistically, I can't take all of these partial, unfinished projects with me. I need to let go. 
I have so many unfinished projects. So many explorations that I began, excited to reach into a new pool of meaning. But I didn't follow through with them. They sit in paper bags, rolled up in tubes, folded in the pages of books. It's sad. Each one of those projects had the potential to develop and blossom and reveal a message. Why didn't I finish them, what was missing? -- Something that I am learning about my process is that I have a tendency to get really excited about starting a project. I have a lot of ideas. I feel inspired all the time. That first impulse to create feels so good. It is a gift. It is easy. This burst of energy and confidence that points in a clear direction and says "GO!". There is a part of me that wants to follow each one of those trails that stretches out before me, each one of those leads. To do so, however, is a distraction from real productivity and creativity. 
What I have been learning lately is how to avoid over-committing myself to that first impulse. I have been learning that not every idea necessitates a big project, and I have started developing methods for screening my ideas. This is where my sketchbook comes in. The sketchbook is a fabulous tool for exploring ideas, and making plans without diving into materials and processes that require major maintenance and follow-through. The materials that I use in my sketchbook are mostly pen and ink, watercolor, collage, and pencil. These materials are immediate. They can transform the idea into visual form as fast as one can draw. Once the idea is out one has distance from it and can begin to evaluate it's importance. One might decide that it's cute and clever but that it doesn't need deeper exploration. Or, the translation into visual form may reveal a deeper significance and relevance. Either way, one can decide to pursue, or not pursue relatively quickly. This perspective has saved me a lot of time and helped me to stay focused on one theme. 
As for all those unfinished projects? We'll see... maybe I'll recycle them. Maybe I'll give them away, or throw them out. I'll probably document them all so I don't loose the threads of their stories (digital cameras are so great for keeping visual notes). It's hard to let them go. I feel a bit like a failure, and like a bad mother in a way, abandoning my children. But it's not really like that. All the pieces are connected. Each one is just a different way of trying to say the same thing. And like with any attempt to explain something it's hard to get it right the first time. One just has to keep on trying, and learning from the experiences one has, it's all about the process. -ation-