I never meant for any of this to happen. My 30s were supposed to pass in a windowless cube where I’d earn a modest salary with health insurance and maybe even a dental plan. Art would be a memory. Years into my uneventful employment, my co-workers would be scandalized when I got loose at a holiday party and revealed I’d once appeared nude in a simulated orgy scene for a student art film.
Where I come from, making art is a shameful thing. It’s something you do alone in your basement and never talk about. You do it just for a lark, just to try something new. Sometimes your yoga mom friends get a little wild with a pony keg of red wine and several bottles of tempera.
The collages – aka Freestyle Non-fiction – I constructed impulsively and without forethought. Grandma Hanson had written family histories, and I had ten extra copies of each. I remembered a story about some writer who cut up a bunch of news articles and rearranged them into prose poetry. That’s the last thought I remember having before I came to at a consignment shop, my arms full of kiddie plates and plastic cutting boards that I intended to plaster with 300 years’ worth of genealogical lore.
The Crud Titans came from a blue period when I couldn’t write. I brought pen to paper and no words would come, but it was oddly comforting to translate my feelings into sludge-spewing vent monsters that, now that I think about it, look like allusions to Terry Gilliam’s dystopian masterpiece, Brazil.
The water colors – aka Pigs in People Clothes – were born because I thought it would be cute to draw a sad piggy holding a corn dog but then the corn dog didn’t read as a corn dog in the drawing so I added color.
Those are a few series’ that’ll be part of the exhibition, which is called Naked and Screaming.
Why that title, you ask? Because that’s the alternative. Either I’m allowed to make a mess and use power tools, or I go insane.
Oh, but back to the windowless cube – it turns out competition for those jobs is way higher than Matthew Perry’s character on Friends led me to believe. Maybe if I’d first entered the workforce in the mid-90s instead of in 2008, I’d be a little better off. Seriously, if I’d known what was going to happen, I’d have skipped college and gone right into welding.
But I didn’t. So I keep taking a sundry of jobs in industries with such wild variation an all-night diner menu would be impressed. With no dental plan or 401k, and with the shadows of my future so dark and nebulous, what keeps me sane are challenges like searching for tiny battery-powered servos and motion sensors that I can rig up to make a painting look like it has a heartbeat. My therapy includes cutting together family movies from the early ‘70s to make it look like my then-six-year-old sister is spasmodically dancing to contemporary electronica.
And I’ve decided to share these things because, as I try to keep in mind, sharing is love. So I’m letting myself be vulnerable. Also, I’m kind of hoping to make some $$. Just, like, enough for some more glue and brushes would be awesome. In that vein, I’ll be hosting a workshop on the evening of Tuesday, March 19 at DeSoto. Classes are typically $30 each, which includes supplies. Watch this space for more details.