Putting Together

here it comes

So I’ve struggled a bit the past week or so with a plethora of projects: personal, family, parenting, school, commission work… mostly good things, deep rewarding things, and yet leaving me with a feeling that I have had very little time to simply create.  My wife challenges me often with the categories I concoct for myself between art and life, relation and solace, pleasure and responsibility, and by and large I agree that an artist’s life, a creative life, is a creative life, not a creative this-or-that, segregated activity.  And yet, nothing quite compares to a blank page not full of pre-existing questions or directions; an impulse externally unnecessary; a mark or word uncalled for.  It sometimes helps to think of things as stages, the “for now” syndrome that hope parasites.  But ultimately, I don’t quite feel “okay,” or balanced, somehow settled in my world, until time is available to sit at my desk, in my chosen or gathered surroundings, undirected but by what might rise from within.  Today I have plugged away seven hours or more at schoolwork, and granted myself an hour swept clear of such things.  The piece below is the result (click title or picture for text)

Putting Together

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Side Effects in the Center

Where to begin.  One thing I do, as a kind of employment, is to interview and attempt to translate other artists and their work into inviting and hopefully instigative verbal or visual language in order to promote local projects.  For example, here is some blog writing I did on artists for an exhibition in 2010 (River City Biennale).  Sometimes this work is more tricky than others.

Over the past few weeks I have met with four artists for a new project / exhibition that will occur here in Wichita at the end of November.  There is great variety in their work, as tends to be the case with genuine artists…I’m learning that is a significant element of what we call “art,” – that it is irreproducible.  The same materials in any other individual’s hands or mind, situation or context, (even if the attempt was to copy) would be unique.  But I mean, these works are UNIQUE!  And that is thrilling.

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So far so good.

So the project we’re involved in is like this.  A building of modernist design that has served as home to Kansas Gas & Electric and Protection One is being reformed / remade into a community of living spaces.

Old KG & E building

proposed Lux building

All good…

Now there are a LOT of strange materials being deconstructed and gutted out of this building in order to renew it.  That’s where the artists come in.  They are the minds and hands that can find ways to transform “stuff” – wood, wire, glass, insulation, bricks, panels, flooring, tiles, clocks, veneer, canisters, bulbs, etc… into artifacts… things preservative and creative that extend the life of the materials as well as extend into the community and the future as works of art to be interacted with, engaged, stimulated by, and so forth.

All this to say that today I reached a kind of threshold… a blessed one.  Witnessing these artists eyes and minds, hands and work (as if it’s not enough living in a household of children with a wife whose a visual artist!) – pressed me toward a very interesting catharsis.

And it’s process.

Process.

Process.

Our lives, our surroundings, our relationships, ourselves… rings of trees that become lines and patterns in finished wood; wires that become sculptures; pipes and styrofoam that become living spaces and visual delights; things that may have been overlooked or thrown away, added to the world’s enormous waste piles or incorporated into something beautiful or riveting, reflective or enlightening…

Our lives are these interconnected webbings in which everything counts.  We’re all processing quite more than our organismal spaces can handle…and we pass it around, as energy, as movement, as vision, as language.  Cycles and recycles, my tree is your violin, your window is my canvas, as another artist I visited with said: “we’re immersed in resources,” there is much more available than we are able to do with…natural, fabricated, invented, virtual – we’re drowning in resources…and we’re all processing processing processing…Wordpress blogs give ample evidence of this – and I find it exciting and moving, hopeful and amazing that it is so, and that we’re ALL in it!  From single-cells to planets…miniscule and enormous interactions…like wind, electricity, magnetism, fire…air exchanging molecules with our skin…

So this is a spillage of gratitude and hopefully encouragement – that by and large those of us with time to post blogs and devices to do it with – are freaking lucky and aswarm in resource and with brilliant loads of company…

something this project and the artists around me have sunk into my core.

and so on…