As I am preparing for the Critical Mass Creative Stimulus 2011 exhibition coming up August 5th at the Regional Arts Commission, I revisited the intention I expressed at the project’s inception. Here’s the proposal I sent in last spring. Along with Sarah Paulsen, Emily Heymeyer, and Alex Petrowsky, I was awarded $1000 as a stipend to encourage open-ended creativity…. soon we’ll share what’s been stewing!
Creative Stimulus Application :::: April 26, 2010
T O D A Y I S
Walking into a twelve year olds’ street fight singing “I Just Called To Say I love You” until it dissipates into giggling.
Red on cobblestone: Scattering handfuls of rose petals into the arch-ground river’s edge before interviewing a fisherman in his bloodyguts boat post-catch.
Taking a crew of catholic middle-school girls on a participatory grafitti field trip to the flood wall for their “service project”.
Hanging a slew of multilingual, giant “I Am Loved” buttons on plywooded dilapidated buildings.
Step back. It’s time — Let themes rise to the top.
Oh we are a busy people, make and move. Text and soothe.
Art is in the moving, the making – - The acting and the listening. I forget its what I do. My life is moving pictures. I go fast, I love moving, — I forget to document, to resolve – to share, to see what I do. The wind blows through, I whiz and cause and tease and teach, in context after context. Jump switch juggle.
STL has given me an oh-so-varied practice, try on so many hats. I go dabbling and feeling, changing the scenery and inviting to healing.
Back when I came here and I was a “painter”, I used to gobble up and remix oldtime folktales, Bible-story-pigma-canon-Breughel-dandies. Oily gooey Gimme Gimme Mythologeewhiz: did I glory in the process!
And I do: training in the language of paint gave me supa-love for the process: sanding substrate, evolving context, layering, finding, obscuring, revealing. Patience. Revelation. One mark leads to another – don’t predict! Respond.
Now! instead of paint, use people! And neighborhoods! And policy! Let weather! And surprise! It’s……… playtime!
Now, instead of remixing painting’s history I am inspired to nudge nudge Thistory – how we are each playing a permutable character in ‘time’ making It up as we go along. How can we redraw these systems and spaces to make maximum room for joy and purpose? For me “canvas” has turned to classroom, streetscape, community center. Acknowledge. Engage.
As a teaching artist with multiple gigs whilst turbo-volunteering at The Community Arts and Movement Project, dedicated to soulful skill-sharing on Cherokee, my creativity finds outlets and audiences entirely outside of the gallery/museum conversation. I love making art with children and with strangers. I love the conversations that art starts, skipping the script to locate the humanity ready to be real, and to be loved. I love to play with things instead of complain about them. I love the world that each person windows.
But now I am coming on a pause, solita. I feel it and I want to travel into it. I want to wait for It. I want to gather the creation that for the past 3+ years has been given to the fleeting moment and let it stew into something, with precision. On paintings.
If paint taught me to adore process, it’s time to sit again at the feet of my teacher. I have in mind a juicy studio sabbatical while I pause on community projects. Images for me are matrices of intention, places to put the hand while the mind rests and the feelers feel. Romantic! Indeed– I want to spend time in my studio alone with a brush and high up in my Lemp nook’s echoey chamber, “Seehere Productions” aka The Love Letter Factory aka “Supernatural Styles” – (I’ve got the barber shop sign that predated Foam on the NE corner of Jefferson and Cherokee . Nothing cunning or catchy or conceptual, just pigment and listening. Wear funny turbans and absorb podcasts. I’ve had five gorgeous five foot square rounded-edge already-sanded halfway-gessoe’d panels built to fill, ready for this work — waiting for two years ‘for time’. I just decided it’s time! I want to let the community work I’ve done spill into a visual symphony.
I propose a stunning show of five 5 X 5’ paintings that capture what it is about here and now in STL that is sacred to me. Alongside, I intend to track with words and snapshots the daily interactions that inform the paintings. I am clearing out a blogspot corner of the world called “Ghettomorphosis” for this record of reflection – beyond gentrification, letting inner beauty infuse our streets and systems with healing, hope, and heart. I want to foment the bridge between image and text, between manifest image and serendipitous connections.
<static/symbol> ————–PLAY HERE—————- <dynamic/evolving>
Certainly I couldn’t have foreseen the surprise challenges that swerved my path, so the details are different if the gist is the same. I’m no longer at Lemp, there will be no 5X5 to share — yet— and much of my energy this past year has been aimed at healing — which I’m learning is just as creative a process as art. Still, I’m looking forward to sharing authentic bits of the journey, in neon and honest.