Saturday, October 25, 2014

Family Day and a Significant Break in Walking

Saturdays, since I quit working in the restaurant industry and found myself married with child, have become family day.  I often find myself reluctantly leaving the house to go do something social when really I want to hole up reading or head to studio, but all in all I am a fan of family day.  Today we ventured out for a walk.  After leaving the house and taking a left turn, we walked all the way up the hill and down the Eastern Prom to the water.  We then turned left again and walked along a bit of the Back Bay Trail.  The Back Bay Trail features a free wall where folks are legally allowed to paint graffiti.  There was a fellow working as we passed today.  As we walked past I started thinking about how I've always wanted to do work in public.  The problem is that I've never wanted to leave that lasting mark on a space.

I have often wondered, however, if the act of subtraction within a landscape might work the same as addition in a landscape.  Both Leave a lasting mark.  No matter how we look at it, the environment that we see is the environment that is.  What I mean is this, we cannot exclude the detritus of society in favor of a bucolic sense of the pristine landscape.  Our landscape is just as much our trash as it is our carefully tended shrubberies, raised beds, and lawns.  If we are to remove that detritus with the cognitive desire for visual change cannot that act make just as much of a mark as adding ink or paint?

The discovery of such an object, Gascoygne contended, is accompanied by an emotional experience “of an aesthetic nature . . . as the finder discovers an unrealised significance in the object” (p. 170). A new boundary is formed around the object by the finder through removing it from its found environment and placing it in a new one, thus empowering the finder in the role of creating a new reality for the object.  - Paul M. Cacim

I would argue that a new reality is also created for the space which the object formerly occupied.

After my wife and I had passed the free wall, we needed to stop to feed our son.  As we were sitting on a short fence, I noticed a stray piece of driftwood.  It struck me that it would be a good piece of wood to take home to work on, possibly to make another totem.  Then it occurred to me that the object had its own beauty that didn't need to be removed from its environment.  Perhaps the drawing which I would make would be stronger left annonymously right where the found object was.  I decided to draw one of my totemic whales on this piece of wood, sign it, and leave it.  It was, I think, the first time that I have ever detached myself from the collecting process.  The collecting process encumbers my ability to distribute work in a manner that allows the necessary level of anonymity required to be successful in street art forays.

I was very much pleased with this piece and surprisingly felt fine creating something that only really exists on this blog and on my instagram page.  I feel like this fleeting level of connection is more appropriate than the attachment that I usually endow these objects with.  The act was more about that space than a gallery space or an art store.  It was that object AND place AND moment that I was attracted to.  Rather than attempting to render that level of excitement in a setting by making a bang up piece, maybe it is better to create and leave that piece?

Also, I wonder, as this act settled with me throughout the day.  I was able to show my discovery by creating this work and leaving it where I found it.  The tiny cityscapes project that I have begun is much the same.  I am excited about my discoveries.  I feel like not many people are concerned with looking up as they walk or drive about a city.  Things can be hidden in plain sight just by placing them above our field of vision.  I have been obsessed with looking up at these splices of Portland.  The pieces that I've been creating have just been the equivalent of a view finder showing others how and where to look to see these segments of society which are right in front of us.

My work is getting very exciting for me again.  Between the things I am reading and the theories that are starting to grow on me and the family that is constantly rooting for me and providing me pause, I feel as though I am becoming a much more mature artist.  I feel like I am actually chasing my dreams again.


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