so yesterday i had a super gross cleaning job to do.  i'm still doing that as i've yet to dig myself out of my hole, still owe money.  still need to make rent and while july was a kick ass month for vase sales that money barely touched my hands.  you know how it is.

so i'm cleaning.  i'm cleaning a refrigerator that was so filthy and moldy i called the office, incredulous that they weren't going to replace this nasty excuse for an appliance.  i'm thinking the health department would shut this fridge down and hire mafia to deposit it in the east river.

i'm cleaning a place that stinks of black mold.  i'm happily cleaning in a sick way because yesterday was monday and monday is the day tod and i go to the scrap yard and monday is the day i spend 70 or 80 bucks on pipes and scrap for vases and flowers.  i think i've lost my mind to tell you the truth.  picking out pipes from a mound and digging through dirt for scrip scraps.  lugging it home and shoving it under our little loft porch which is beginning to feel unstable.  i imagine one day it will just collapse as i run up and down one too many times with too many weight bearing things.  as it is nearly every day i go up and down our steps a zillion times.  i'm carrying my horses, my machines....my tools.  i wait for all the work people to vacate the parking lot and then i set up shop.  god help me if someone ever complains.  i leave black grit and grime in parking spaces as i'm cutting and grinding metal.  i suppose its not any worse than the plethora of cigarette butts our neighbors leave everywhere.  or the plethora of beer cans and excess trash that people defiantly leave in the huge dumpster.  everyone ignores the $250 fine notice on the dumpster.  people drive here just to unload themselves of crap.

it still bugs and amazes me the stuff people throw away.  i'm not an eco freak.  i'm not trying to save the planet by making art out of recycled items.  honeslty i find things that i find on the road or in the dumpster just way more interesting than some store bought shiney new. so good for me that people just toss imperfect useless crap.  all the more for me.  i prefer not perfect.  i prefer a little dirt/grease/grime, dents and dinks. no conscious reason other than that is my want.

the vases and now the flowers are an interesting phenominion to me.  not that long ago i was thinking these are not creative.  i'm not really 'making' anything.  but now i'm seeing it more like a wood carver who sees a pretty piece of wood to use to carve a sculpture or make a bowl.  just so happens i'm seeing a fun 'vessel' to shape into a useful container.  there is something so simple and yet so satisfying about finding a pipe that is squished, bent, beautifully chipped and laying there helplessly in the scrap pile.  i know it will get recycled.  i know it will get melted and reused.  and i know that it will take a lot of energy to do all that. none of that really matters to me.  i'm on a self centered journey to find peace and passion in my life.  it isn't easy.  there are always thoughts dropping in on me trying to dissuade me.  i find it challenging to allow myself to just do what i want to do and not judge it all.  i'm never going to save the planet.  i'm never going to heal the sick.  i'm probably never going to really  make much of a difference.  i haven't 'replaced' myself by having children.  i try to be conscious of not wasting energy but honestly even that isn't about me believing i'm saving the planet.  i'm just a cheapskate and dont want to waste stuff.  even if i lived in a solar house i wouldnt want to use it all up.  i like having choice and not making everything so damn easy and accessible. 

i feel like things are still going to change in ways we cannot imagine.  it's like knowing one day the sun is going to burn out and there is nothing you can do about it.  sometimes i think art, the way we know it, is going to change.  has to change.  most of how the art world is done seems so anitiquated to me:  the galleries, the proposals, everything about how it is set up to be.  i get a feeling of it all just barely hanging on by a thread.  i'm curious and hope i get to be around long enough to see how it all pans out.  maybe i feel like there is just too much art out there.  its overwhelming.  i'm sometimes uncomfortable with being an artist as i STILL am not sure of what use or purpose i have as an artist.  while i can appreciate the joy i get when making something, i dont know if its catholic crap or societal pressure to be 'useful'....i still have a hard time feeling like what i do is valuable as far as the world is concerned.  i hope my journey keeps leading me on.  i know i learn a lot about myself and others through this vehicle of art making.  i like making things....i like learning and doing but i still wonder what else will i be doing, how else will i be using my creativity?  it all boils down to acceptance and being in the moment.  never easy.  least not yet.  the vases are my zen meditation on that subject.


Cynthia said...

Good post Paula. I like your "ramble" on these unanswerable questions...issues that we have to find peace with eventually...or maybe not.

Very few people change the planet in any measurable way, but many people change the planet in some infinitesimal way. You've already done that, so cross it off your list.

Heal the sick...yeah, I won't be doing that either. Is it too cliched to say that art heals the spirit? Those who see it, touch it, understand it, own it experience an uplifting of the spirit, and even more so for the creator...that's creator with a small c.

Maybe most artists wrestle with this...most art is created in a solitary setting without thoughts of improving the world, but I have to think that it does all the same.

paula said...

i know...you are right about all of this. i think ultimately when i really accept who i am it wont matter what i do. i felt just as useless when i was a massage therapist. its me. not what i do.
and i spend too much time sometimes paying attention to all the causes and bandwagons and feel guilty for even existing half the time.

Kim Hambric said...

All it takes is a trip to Target to realize what is important in this world. It isn't rows of inexpensive plastic crap that was manufactured just because of what a few assholes thought was trendy.

Is anyone's art really "important"? We may think so 100 years after they are dead. The art means something to the creator and to those that enjoy viewing it, using it, etc. Should it be more important if 10,000 people connect with it than if just 20 people make a connection with the artwork?

Forget galleries, I'm thinking of art on a stick. You've seen balloon salespeople walking through a crowd with balloons on a string to sell. Why not art? I guess it would be a bit heavy, though.

paula said...

i dont know kim...i think art was once important on some level but you are right. is anyone's art important? its a question that never goes away for me. i know i adore the work of you and my other art friends. its important to me that you keep working on your art. even if i can't own any of it. why is that? important because i know you and feel connected with you? there are certainly other artists i know who's work leaves me with my mouth open like a question mark.
who knows.

target...really? i used to love that place years ago and now all i see is cheap crap there. you must have a better target than the rest of us ;)

Kendra Zvonik said...

great post, paula!
all the same types of questions are rolling around in my brain too and i am completely overwhelmed. so much so that i have nothing useful to offer to this conversation. but i have benefitted from your expression of these thoughts.
the one thing i can say is that you are doing your part to save the planet even if you don't see yourself as trying to do that. we all have to do our part. it's not a romantic idea. it's a practical obligation.

Anonymous said...

What a rant! Some interesting questions raised. I think (most)artists are just compelled to create. Like being compelled to use found objects. Sometimes there is no environmental statement or creative standpoint- it just IS.

paula said...

its all just a rant i know...i too just want to create yet sometimes i start to feel like its all self indulgence. because? who knows. looking at too much stuff online...or being bogged down by it all and not free to just pick up and move? who knows....