friend, mentor, muse

The post below I wrote that I was forever changed by the relationship with the guy I did the first pencil drawing of. Not in as many good ways as I would have hoped. The one thing that happened upon meeting him and being with him was I started drawing with a calligraphy pen and using pastel chalk to liven it up. I made my first large piece for him a few months after being with him and after having it up on the wall for awhile he rolled it up and put it in the closet. ROLLED IT UP, THICK WITH PASTEL CHALK. That sort of sums up the on and off again seven years. I must have had a thick skull. He didn't want his kids messing it up but still, I thought it extremely careless. I ended up going there when he was on vacation and taking it back. He didn't even know it. I later salvaged it and spent well over $300 to have it properly mounted and framed. (that was the precursor I'm sure to my mixed media works when I later actually started making art for real) I hated spending that much money all to have it look like everything else slapped under glass. Sadly I only made art that first year and not again until I left Arizona seven years later.

I digress. Tod, above, hasn't forever changed who I am. Rather, Tod has allowed me to finally BE more of who I am. I think 'X' brought out the worst in me and what little good I had in me at the time. That relationship proved to be the cure of my living in fantasy land; Tod proved to be the cure for being in reality. I can't speak for other artists, but for me, having a muse, having just one person that really gets you and allows you to be who you are....and gets and appreciates the work you do, who can ask for more? What started out as a light version of boyfriend/girlfriend became just a deep experience between two people. We both felt like the ART was another entity in our relationship and saw that IT superseded US. It was the glue that was melding us together more than anything. For different reasons we gravitated towards art. I needed to express. Tod was coming out of a long 'sleep' if you will of meditating and journeying towards enlightenment. He seemed to be floating away and not wanting to be in/of this world. I yanked him back down. No matter how ungraceful our relationship was, the art part grew and flourished. He just instantly got it. Instantly saw what I could do before I even knew.

When I moved to VT and met Tod, I started taking some pictures with my dinky digital camera and he got excited about them. It was he that encouraged me to get a better camera, to have them printed...start the process of selling/showing. He helped me search and understand how to order matts, agreed with me that this sucked and there had to be a better way to present photos. I am forever thankful that he remembered a place in Burlington that laminated prints onto MDF. That was the beginning of my mixed media assemblages. In fact he was the one telling the gallery that I am in now, that I was going to have about five photo/mixed media pieces and how cool they were. I hadn't made a single one. I wimped out and said I couldn't. He didn't buy it and encouraged me in a non-pushy way to just try it. I did. I made five pieces that week and sold one in that show to a collector. That work got the gallery interested.

Tod was right by my side when I did my first art fair in Fall 05. He helped get the thing set up (his mom even came up from MA to help!), stood there with me/ for me when I needed to chill out from lack of sleep and excitement. True friend. It was oddly his passion as much as mine. He was a personal coach in his old life amongst other things and I think that part of him that loves seeing people excel is still very much alive. He has helped to foster the artist in me that never had the space or time to develop.

It is he who lets me dress him up in puzzle pieces, poke his head through scrap...take pictures of him that most people would not tolerate the tedium that it took to do, let alone publish and sell the works. This photo was entered in my second show and sold as a mixed media piece to an art collector in CA. This piece almost did me in, as back then I had a cheap drill (no drill press) that would barely drill through thin scrap, Tod and I had no idea why I couldn't drill it. I spent countless hours trying to perfectly mount the photo...wrecking plexi-glass galore trying to drill through that. This piece wasn't laminated so I fashioned plexi over it instead of glass and mounted it all on scrap. I only have one bad photo of it as I barely had time to get it finished before whisking it off to the show. Tod was there the whole time trying to help me drill those holes. He gave up after the third day, I refused. I was a mad woman. He reminds me of those moments when everything was so difficult, reminds me how things keep improving and getting easier. How I continue to sell at least one piece no matter how small the venue where I show. Constantly. When I want to give up and go climb the mountain and freeze to death, he will say something that startles me. It's as if I no longer hold memory of myself, where I have been and what I have done. Tod gently reminds me and continues to have passion and excitement about this journey.

I know I would have made art had we not met, but I am not so sure it would have happened as easily (not that it was but you know what I mean) or at the same speed. Nor would it have the same look. He goes with me panting with excitement to the scrap yards. He sits or stands...waits patiently while I take photographs of benign subjects. The last year or so he has even found objects for me on his own while out travelling around in the dumpster (VW Van). So, we have found a groove. We are in a relationship with art and each other. We have been friends for the last year instead of boyfriend/girlfriend and while it is probably odd to be sharing the same bedroom, living in tight quarters and not really seeing or being with anyone else we have the healthiest relationship I have ever had with another person. It isn't easy to be helped and encouraged without feeling smothered. I'm much more independent now, I rarely show him my work until it is finished. I have a stronger sense of what I am doing. We spend less time together now that he is driving the cab, but I still look forward to sharing time with him even if it is a simple walk. We have been through a lot, my journey upon arriving to Vermont has been rocky, emotionally and physically I have had many challenges, I personally would NOT have wanted to live with me. I try not to look ahead and wonder, while I want my own space, my own place to sleep and chill out I can't imagine not living with Tod and sharing this journey. I feel blessed to have the big daddy in my life.


gigi_leonard said...

if you can find a person who truly understands you, a person who "fits" you and is a real intimate, then you are a lucky person indeed. that doesn't come around often, if at all.

good for you.

San said...

Encouragers, they're precious.

Steve Kane said...

I'm jealous: I've never had a muse.

Daphne said...

I'm glad that you wrote about Tod. He deserves recognition. Jonathan is realistic about me making art. Basically, he knew that I should do it and not worry so much about the what ifs. You and I are both lucky to have that kind of incredible support.

Clare said...

Again, your art completely blows me away!!! You are so incredibly talented in so many different mediums. And I'm so glad you took back the pen and pastel piece -- right on! The feet with the puzzle pieces is incredible -- kind of surreal and I love the way it pops out from the beautiful blue background. And Tod sounds like such a wonderful person -- how cool that you have each other in your lives. I also love the clocks in the post above -- amazing colors and textures. Your blog is such a feast for the soul and senses.

Writer on Board said...

I agree with the squirrel. I mean, Clare. Wonderful stuff. Wonderful.