Opening: Gallery Show/Self/Life

First I want to thank those of you who sent me emails wishing me good luck towards last night's show. It meant a lot to me...and believe it or not when I was standing there waiting for everyone to stare at me as I spoke I actually thought about those good wishes and it made me feel stronger.

I am happy to say that things went better than I could have imagined. Yes I felt like I was going to have a full blown panic attack, my left leg was numb and my foot something I could no longer feel; I was convinced if I panicked I would just fall to the ground like a clump so it was in my best interest to remain as calm as I could. I actually was social and engaging and surprised myself by the voice that boomed out of me at an unexpected time.

The speaker had pages in front of him and it was the waiting for him to get to my art that drove me nuts. I had been told ahead of time that the audience would be encouraged to ask questions so I was ready...my tongue cocked like a gun ready to go off. As the time came and people started talking someone asked a question about this 'hybrid' art (that's what he is calling the work I and the other two artists create), The question she posed triggered me somewhat because I know I do not make the mixed media assemblages for ecological reasons; nor do I have some pseudo intellectual reasoning behind it all. Her question had something to do with do we artists use these 'recycled' objects because of ecological/environmental reasons etc. In my simple reptile brain I do it because its fun to 'treasure hunt' for the scrap. Its a challenge and I love learning how to use tools and my creativity to marry scrap and digital photography. (and don't get me started on how loathsome traditional picture frames are). The speaker was answering her and I felt like I was going to explode so I raised my hand like an impatient child and was allowed to blurt. And I blurted. " I do it because its FUN! Do you have any idea how exciting it is to go out and look for this stuff? You can't buy this stuff in a store, I feel like a kid all over searching for things and playing with them and making something with them." My friend was there and he looked around and later told me he felt like people were actually relieved to hear me say that. As if they too were hoping there wasn't some long drawn out intellectual incomprehensible answer. Its just fun. Can it be that simple?

Apparently the woman, who I found out was an artist herself, didn't appreciate that answer. She felt I made everything the speaker said, meaningless. That I made my own work meaningless. I didn't know how to respond to that. In her mind, me saying that made me immature as an artist. So be it. I will be mature all in good time. And no, not everything is FUN. There are days I cry & struggle and feel so defeated by my art that I want to take everything to the dump and crawl in a cave. But I'd rather struggle with it than struggle for sanity doing a job in the world that means nothing to me & drains me emotionally, spiritually, & physically.

After the talk I mingled. I mingled like a mad woman. People were interested in hearing me talk about my work and it was thrilling! It was a light night people wise and time wise. These are 'mini' openings since there are three in one month. But it was good to have a more intimate setting and people came there because there were genuinely interested in having an interaction that isn't available in a 'normal' opening. The gallery owner also informed me someone was interested in one of the puzzle sculptures, so all in all it was one of the best experiences I've ever had at a gallery opening!

The best part for me was one of the gallery owners wanted to further discuss my 'its fun' answer so I made an appointment to come in the next day (today) to talk. She truly wanted to hear what I had to say about it and not judge me because she didn't know how I felt. I showed up and we sat outside and talked for a good while. It was therapeutic and actually life changing in ways I can't even go into. To have someone willing to let me grow into my artists' shoes and yet be healthy enough to encourage me without trying to control me is something I crave. Mentors are invaluable and I find life difficult during the times I am mentor less. In a small way the gallery owners have served as mentors for me in varying degrees ~ that is more valuable to me that four years in art school. (the above pic isn't of my art, I just wanted to show more of the gallery since I think its so beautiful, all the other pics are of my art)

The best part, and the most unexpected of all was when a gallery visitor came in and as soon as she saw my mixed media work said I had to make something for their house. In just a few minutes of looking at those pieces she was giving me directions to her home to meet a few hours later to see the space. Unbelievable! Its for an outdoor area and I wont be using photography, just scrap. The gallery owner was going as well to see the property to discuss plans for a commissioned sculpture. I showed up before they got there and the woman gave me a tour of her home. I have never seen anything like it. In all my years of giving the uber rich massages in Arizona, I had never seen someone with such impeccable taste in so many diverse genres of art. It blew my mind and I couldn't believe she wanted me to make something to be a part of her home. So, I have officially been commissioned to make some art. I'm still too stunned to be nervous and worried about whether I can do it or not. How do you make art for someone you don't know? Someone who seems not to care what you do and who has only seen your work once and only for a few minutes? The piece is for her husbands' birthday. That's a bit of pressure but I am up for the challenge and looking forward to at least trying something new!


Shelby said...

oh my heavens! You had a fantastic nite indeed! I'm so very happy for you and I'm excited to follow your progress with the commission piece the birthday.

I LOVE the it's fun answer. That's your passion talking and it speaks volumes - all in a good way :)

I'm thinking why else create if it is not for the reason of enjoyment, appreciation and desire. If not for fun, then it's just plain old work.

Mary said...

What an awesome experience! I'm so glad the night went well for you. Wishing you many more successes--


Daniel Sroka said...

That person who said your answer made your art meaningless or immature -- what a nimrod. What a bozo! You create for your own reasons, and she creates for hers. Nothing bugs me more than self-important artist types!

sarala said...

how exciting about the show and the commission. And the people who objected to your having fun with the treasure hunt part are fools. I think hunting for treasure is a basic part of the human psyche, at least it is of mine. Someone is hung up on the stereotype that if it is art, it has to hurt. Like the alcoholic writer stereotype. There are many ways to approach anything including or especially art.