Sent two pieces of work out into the world last week, both a big focus in 2009 and completely consuming me since October. It feels good to have them launch, affording me a certain release from them both.
Archetypes: Journey to Self is a piece I started in August 2008 while at Penland - a crazy, strangely obsessive need to create this Mandala-shaped three-tiered box, full of hidden compartments, drawers and potential meaning. Then it sat, beautiful but empty, for over a year. I'd designed it with a vision of filling it with content-laden books and hidden treasures, but was too intimidated to really interact with what the piece was asking me to confront. It took the pressure of an exhibition for me to dive in, and even then, I orchestrated so many obstacles that I nearly missed the deadline.
It was in the creative process that I came to understand more about what this piece represents for me, but even now, I know I don't know the whole story. For now I'm satisfied that I've "birthed a courageous work of art" (thanks, Jen!) that asked me to push beyond what I thought possible.
Archetypes is in the Pandora's Box exhibit at the Torpedo Factory's Target Gallery through January 10th.
That was Thursday. Then on Friday, we launched Moving Parts.
As individual an effort as Archetypes was, Moving Parts has a cast of thousands. Well, dozens. This baby may have been my idea, but it has morphed into something well beyond me at this point. Friday's launch event was a delightful mash-up of book art, live dance performance, experimental music, and lovers of the visual and performing arts, all brought together at Hillyer Art Space. Our raffle package (boxed collector's set of ten artist books, project documentary on DVD, complementary tickets to a CityDance performance, workshop at Pyramid Atlantic, and behind the scenes tours) and silent auction netted us enough funding to help defray production costs, while bookartist talks and dancers moved us - some to tears.
Having never done something like this before, I didn't know what to expect. We didn't raise as much money as I'd hoped for, but we did host an innovative and exciting event that put CityDance, Pyramid Atlantic and Hillyer in a good spotlight. Attendees seems genuinely interested in and intrigued by the whole idea, with more than one person telling me how much they were learning (book arts? contemporary dance? wow!). So a very positive response, at a busy time of year, in the worst recession ever? I'll take it!
Nor am I under any delusion that selling 39 more of these boxed sets (properly priced, not giving them away) will be easy or swift. Next year will be one of learning how to market and sell art, a task I'm eager to understand and accomplish.
Putting deeply personal content out into the world has broken its hold on me, while at the same time, renders me clearer. What a miracle, art.