“Success equals Boredom”

Thank you, Tibor Kalman, for that refreshing thought. Luckily, I detest boredom. Some things come to mind today: a white whale, a guy pushing a big rock up a hill, my puppy chasing her tail only to catch it and find that biting it hurts for some reason. Kalman also said “We don’t talk about planes flying; we talk about them crashing”. Well, Mayday, people! This project has mountainside in the cross-hairs but I’m trying hard to pull up. No pictures today, for obvious reasons :0

It’s not the whole thing that is in ruins, just this one set of pieces that I’m determined to see happen. I guess it’s back to the GLEANing floor (drawing table) for me.

I guess this is what I really love about this project, and residencies in general. I feel like it’s a time to experiment or work out some problem that has been plaguing me. It is definitely a material problem and I just don’t have it worked out yet.

Junk Food

pile of cans

GLEANing is such junkfood, feeding my scrappy sweet tooth. I look forward to it very much; I can taste it. Getting lost in the act of artistic creation on this project has been so enjoyable, but it doesn’t compare to gleaning, even on a slow day. Each item I find has a potential that I can only just begin to unlock while at the transfer station. Some things, have been too good to leave behind, even without knowing what I’ll make of them.

As my mountain of junk has grown, I got a tummy ache and have had to cut back — not enough room and not enough time to make art out of it all! I’ve really had to refine my palate — quickly going from a pig to a picky eater. Never, ever thought that would happen, but I never thought I’d like brussels sprouts either. Lately, I’ve been gleaning just for specific items to complete pieces and am really trying to avoid binging.

What is art?

During the Grand Studio Tour, the artists got involved in the inevitable, ages-old, provocative question What is Art?  At the risk of making them all roll their weary eyes (as well as anyone else who would like to chime in) I posit the following:

What is the difference between this

and this?

Life is a Nail Hole I’m Trying to Fill.

You would be amazed at the amount of nails a person can put into a board.  To be fair it probably was multiple people over numerous generations.  I’ve mentioned in the past how much I like the really well aged old growth Douglas Fir which was harvested probably well over a hundred years ago. A board that has been functional for that long usually picks up a lot of scars. This stack of wood is made up of 7- 2 x 6 ranging from 4ft to 8ft and 3 – 4 x 4 also ranging from 4ft to 8ft.  I was about half way done before I thought, “I should be counting all the nails I removed.”  So the next board I counted 35 nails, which seemed about average.  So for this particular pile I can guesstimate I removed 350 nails but it seemed like a lot more than that.  A few observations about nails.  This is completely objective but I think people have lost the ability to drive a nail straight.  The older the nail is the straighter it seems to me.  Perhaps it has something to do with the quality or style of the nails but I could also imagine people a hundred years ago being more care full with their nails and handling them more skillfully.  I have encountered numerous times a cluster of 5 almost brand new nails bent every which way.  Obviously someone recently was trying to hang something up and it took them multiple tries to get a nail in straight.  You don’t see this incompetence with old nails.  I know my argument has more holes in it than the boards I’m describing but it is my interpretation of the evidence before me.

joyful moments of being an artist

I had two joyful art moments in the past week. After a week off I entered the studio and knew exactly what to work on. I was happy and confident all day. Then I was in that foggy waking state this weekend, still lying in bed, and got a picture in my head of another thing to do with the construction fencing. Though , for me, nothing ever comes out like I imagine it, it is always delightful to have that moment of “oh yes! I want make that.” Even if what I finally make is not exactly like that image, it will push me in a new direction.

Ode to Broken Things

We met for a day of group studio visits the other day. I am so honored to keep the company of these artists and excited for the show that we create. I believe this show will do Disjecta proud. Among our conversations I kept thinking of this poem. This was important to me as I worked on my Cumulus installation. I don’t know how pertinent it will seem to my fellow artists but it continues to resonate with me throughout this experience.

Ode To Broken Things

Things get broken
at home
like they were pushed
by an invisible, deliberate smasher.
It’s not my hands
or yours
It wasn’t the girls
with their hard fingernails
or the motion of the planet.
It wasn’t anything or anybody
It wasn’t the wind
It wasn’t the orange-colored noontime
Or night over the earth
It wasn’t even the nose or the elbow
Or the hips getting bigger
or the ankle
or the air.
The plate broke, the lamp fell
All the flower pots tumbled over
one by one. That pot
which overflowed with scarlet
in the middle of October,
it got tired from all the violets
and another empty one
rolled round and round and round
all through winter
until it was only the powder
of a flowerpot,
a broken memory, shining dust.

And that clock
whose sound
the voice of our lives,
the secret
thread of our weeks,
which released
one by one, so many hours
for honey and silence
for so many births and jobs,
that clock also
and its delicate blue guts
among the broken glass
its wide heart

Life goes on grinding up
glass, wearing out clothes
making fragments
breaking down
and what lasts through time
is like an island on a ship in the sea,
surrounded by dangerous fragility
by merciless waters and threats.

Let’s put all our treasures together
— the clocks, plates, cups cracked by the cold —
into a sack and carry them
to the sea
and let our possessions sink
into one alarming breaker
that sounds like a river.
May whatever breaks
be reconstructed by the sea
with the long labor of its tides.
So many useless things
which nobody broke
but which got broken anyway

Pablo Neruda