I had a minor meltdown the other day. Ok, maybe slightly more than minor. It may have been a case of burn-up-on-reentry after my NYC trip, faced with real life again with all of its complexities. It may have been this nasty cold that I am trudging my way through. It may have been the fact that tornado season is about to end and with it, my earning potential as a puppeteer. It was more than likely all of these and more. I spiraled downward into the familiar dark hole where the questions of why do I make art, will I ever make a living doing anything artful, is it even worth it….are the norm. It’s not a fun place to be. Even at my grumpiest, I usually don’t have the chuck-it-all-away sensation more than once a year, but here I was, feeling like I just wanted to quit.
Timing is everything they say. And so it has been since my little existential crash. Here are a few examples:
1. The long overdue dedication to the ArtWorks mural Tina, our teen apprentices and I worked so very hard on all winter, was yesterday. We got to unveil the work in dramatic fashion and were treated to a wonderful reception by the appreciative folks at the Convention Center. Our friends and families were there to cheer and ooh and ah. It was great! It is not often that such work is so publicly celebrated. It cheered me up a bit in spite of being in crisis mode internally.
2. While at the dedication, a good friend of mine congratulated me and asked how I am doing. I let her know that I was a bit down and just didn’t feel like the art life is for me. I think I may have said something about looking for a real job. A standard day job. She just smiled and said, “you can’t quit being an artist Amy. It’s like motherhood. you don’t just quit.” I smiled back. She’s right.
3. I came home from the party and checked my facebook and email as usual. I am an NPR fan both on the radio and on facebook. On their FB fan page there was a post about a video for Josh Ritter’s song The Curse which features puppets handmade by the drummer in his band. It’s so beautiful and artful. I fell immediately in love and watched again and again. It reminded me of what I love about puppetry.
4. Then, in my email, there were three separate messages from 3 very different places. One was a follow up from my sketchbook class last fall saying she would like to take the class again now that there’s a book making component to it and that she’s tremendously excited to go on the Taos trip next spring. The other two messages were from people whom I know personally but who had never seen my art work. They both want to meet to talk about art for their homes.
5. Ok, so by now, you get the point. Avalanche of reminders. But I have one more little thing to share. Today I have been at the computer most of the day getting caught up on Drawing Down The Vision work with emails and blog posts, research and finding my way around this cool thing called Basecamp. I am trying to pull myself up by my boot straps. Getting some illustrations out onto Veer and other online stock photo websites to maybe make some extra arty income. One guy’s work that Adam introduced me to is Hugh McLeod, creator of cube grenades which are little art works geared toward the business set. He had this to say about art:
“I’m interested in how art affects what some people call “The Real World”- the workplace, the world of work, the world of business. That’s what the cube grenade idea is all about.
My advertising buddy,Vinny Warren, grew up in a Roman Catholic household in Ireland. He was telling me that his parents would always have a few religious icons hanging on the wall somewhere. Pictures of Saints, Mary & Baby Jesus, that kind of thing.
Why? Says Vinny, “To remind us who we are.”
Art that reminds you who you are. Exactly. What applies in Catholic households also applies in places of business. Shared Meaning. Exactly. Social Objects. Exactly.
I don’t think any of this is rocket science…”
Hugh’s art is pretty edgy and cool. Very different than mine. But he reminds me that there is a place for art work anywhere. In the homes of people who admire our work. Or in the day job offices of folks who might not be artists themselves but like surrounding themselves with reminders of who they are.
I am sitting here in my studio, surrounded by all kinds of reminders such as books, art from friends, bits of found stuff, grateful that I have an artist’s mind and heart. Difficult though that path may be to hike from time to time. I’m grateful for the reminders from the Universe or whatever Its Name may be that came to me in a low soul time, though this one’s gonna take some serious diggin’ out.
Below are some snapshots of the great unveiling of our mural. Enjoy.
oh, and p.s. I hope you get to spend some time this Memorial Day Weekend to think about those who have been lost, in war and beyond…..
Here’s Tina, tearfully thanking everyone and explaining her vision for the mural.
Jake Speed and the Freddies were there to entertain. Their lyrics are in our piece as well.
…. and so the veil comes down….
Lots of time in front of the mural for pictures and congratulations.
Here Kim finds the lyrics to her song, The Greatest Story.
We had quite a crowd for the party.
I guess it’s official. I’m an artist.