So today I welcomed Amy, Debra, and guests from Metro to my art studio for a Mid-point visit. It’s a true pleasure to be able to speak with people who seem to value why you decided to paint a million white dots on cardboard in your pajamas in the middle of the night while watching Hunger Games for the 7th time. As an artist, Art-Appreciators are my true kin-in-crazy, without whom my work would share the same fate as the materials I glean from the waste station.
So for that, thank you.
That being said I would also like to use this blog format to admit in cyber-public that I LIED during my studio visit to Amy, Debra and the guests from Metro.
So for that, I am truly sorry.
The LIE was that at one point during our visit I was asked SPECIFICALLY if I found the cellu-clay material (that I had begun to make work with) from the transfer station.
To this statement I replied, “Um, yeah I think this came from the dump among other things.”
This is not true. This is not even CLOSE to true.
I bought the cellu-clay at SCRAP (a great nonprofit store dedicated to reusing art materials) and had started working with the material during a period of self-dialogue that went along the lines of:
“This 90% of the artwork being-from-the-dump-thing isn’t a rule, it’s a guideline, it’s like a SUGGESTED guideline. I really like mushing this stuff in my hands. I want to make snowballs. I want to make a sculpture of snow. S**& F*&K I’m broke. I hope somebody wants to buy a sculpture of fake snow. I don’t have time to go to the dump this week because (insert reason). Am I failing? Ok, don’t go there. DO NOT GO THERE. Make stuff. Don’t go there.“
And, thus when confronted pointe-blank, with the question of whether I was following the rules of this art-residency, the answer was “mostly, but not totally”.
But I said yes instead.
Why did I say yes? Because I was in front of people who I thought wanted me to say yes. Because I didn’t want to be asked to give up on the artworks I had started. Because in the moment I didn’t want the consequences that were totally fair-trade in currency for the choice to not follow rules. And because I felt kind of ashamed about the answer.
(Unfortunately or Fortunately) I have developed a conscience less like angelic whisper and more like a tiger on steroids roaring at me in my mother-tongue and immediately was pummeled by waves of guilt and the desire to both publicly oust myself as a liar and privately cradle my shame at the fact that I still “fib” to people to try and get what I want…even as an adult.
The combinations of these such feelings are the proud sponsors of this blog post today.
Shame is a strange thing. It’s a theme I have explored in some past work and something that I seem to continually encounter within myself as I move through life.
Shame can direct actions on a broad cultural scale and yet it varies from human to human. It can appear suddenly and dissolve overnight or be carried until it is passed down through generations as this ancestral burden whose origin has long since been forgotten. No two shames are alike and yet the feeling is unquestionably recognized by all.
The actual word shame comes from an older root-word which means “to cover” and I find I keep returning to the truth in this idea over and over again
When I experience/embrace shame (like today) or when I witness people shaming each other there is always a sense of “dramatic revealing” taking place. Someone or something exposes unhealthy or taboo actions, traits or habits, which have up until that particular moment have lay “under cover” or beneath the realm of awareness. This catalyst that is this revelatory moment has the effect of being totally painful and totally transformative.
For me, I find the transformative nature of shame is in accepting the dark gift of the growth that comes from taking responsibility for the wounded or unhealthy parts of myself which have either suddenly expressed themselves or been brought into awareness through outside forces. This acceptance is not easy and is something I am constantly working on both in myself and within my art practice.
That being said, from here on I will be sticking to the gleaning guidelines in honest and am willing to exclude the less-than-90% pieces from the final show in order to maintain the integrity of the project.
I have 3 months left and to be honest, I’ve worked art-making miracles in wayyy less time.
Thanks gleanpdx.org for letting me bare my soul and Amy, Debra and Metro for being part of my self un-covering. I appreciate you and this awesome opportunity.
Rumi says, “The wound is where the Light enters you.”
I say true self-discovery is a pain in the ass.
I think we are saying the same thing.