i work in the art department (ok, i am the art department) for a trumpet manufacturing company. i am surrounded by machines and tools every day. most of the people i work with make fun of me a little because they catch me snapping photos of brass, spools of solder, on/off switches, stacks of metal stamps, spilled epoxy... i think all of these things make for great compositions. every now and then i get to go along when we shop for new tooling... and i LOVE this. abandoned machine shops, dirty warehouses, massive spaces filled with greasy tools heaped in piles... a lonely chair... someone's gloves left on their work bench the day the business closed it's doors. these industrial ghost towns are hauntingly beautiful. i have friends and family members that have been directly affected by the mass exodus of manufacturing from minnesota... well, from america. i have seen the "leftovers" of so many industrial buildings that i can't really believe there are any left. watching people swoop in after a business has been auctioned off is a bit like watching vultures picking apart a carcass. i could go on and on about how i worry that no one knows how to build, grow or fix anything these days... and that it's going to be interesting to watch a society of people incapable of taking care of their own basic needs continue on into the coming century... but instead i will just show you the photos. enjoy.
thank you sallie ford... for ripping open your chest last night... just long enough to see straight to your big beautiful heart...
"i've been thinkin' that this could take a while... because rushing things is just... not my style... don't be scared of me... i ain't no crocodile... i just happen to be a little in denial... my mind tends to be a little foul... but i am definitely not on the prowl... i've just big eyes... like a great big owl... when i laugh just like a hyena howl.. oh oh... ... ... but i've got you running through my mind... running through my mind... i need a brand new start... i'm not an animal... it's hard to talk to you... because i'm a bit of a wuss... i will admit i am a little bit curious... i may not have eight arms like an octopus... but i'll never make you furious... i've got you running through my mind... got you running through my mind... oh oh... i need a brand new start... i'm not an animal" - sallie ford
someone held a mirror up to me yesterday... one that's been dusty for a while.
it made me realize something. i am vocal... that seems obvious enough to the people that read this i suppose. i haven't always been this way. in fact... for most of my life i have been quite the opposite. when i think back on my childhood and young adult life... i would say one word comes to mind more than all others... shy.
i was... and maybe still am (i'm not joking) terribly shy. to this day i freak out when my phone rings. as irrational as it sounds... but i will admit that the urgency of an uncharted telephone conversation gives me the willies. ask my closest friends... sorry laura.... and my parents... i don't do phone calls.
this shyness i am talking about was paralyzing for years. i was afraid of parties and boys and my teachers. i remember being 20 years old and handing the phone to my boyfriend and begging him to please order the pizza for dinner because i was afraid to. it's totally irrational... the guy at dominos was not going to leap through the receiver and stab me.
ya... that kinda shy.
so, you can imagine that this type of debilitating fear of the unknown kept me from doing all kinds of things. i didn't try out for certain sports in school because i was worried there might be something i didn't understand about the game. i didn't take my driver's test until a few months after i turned 16 because i was intimidated by the whole process. but mostly the thing i regret about being so timid in my formidable years is that there were people that i cared about a lot but was too scared to ever tell them so.
i have always been very observant and mindful of the people around me. i could write you a book describing in detail all of the people in my life... then and now... their quirks... their features... the way the guy that delivers the mail always wears unmatched socks... the way my dad eats a cheeseburger and fries... methodically... the way my mom's laugh lights up a room and forces laughter out of everyone within earshot ... etc. but i was, until fairly recently, afraid to tell people what i was thinking.
what a sad thing. to hold inside of you the things that are beautiful about the other human beings walking this planet next to you. i have a friend that has the joy of working somewhere that life and death surround him. he has a quote that he believes in... that echos what i am trying to say...
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." -Philo of Alexandria"
i guess at some point i realized that i am in fact alive. being afraid of the life i am only given one chance at seems like a travesty to me... and so i refuse to be that person anymore. even if it makes me feel like i am going to vomit when i try to be brave sometimes. and by brave i mean... honest.
the thing i have been learning... is that a lot of people can't handle honesty. i think the world has been altered in recent years by the detached way we deal with people on the internet. it's easy- now- to hold those around you at arms length. to watch them and feel as though you are there for them and they are there for you... but never utter a word.
this makes me sad.
because that mirror i was referring to in the first sentence showed me something that should be glaringly obvious. what you see in front of you now... is fleeting... if you don't act now... speak now... what it is you feel, think and believe... you will never have the chance again. and you have no idea what the ramifications of your actions will hold for you.
the reason i am posting this in my "studio blog" is quite clear to me... but maybe not to you, reader. it wasn't until i felt my most vulnerable and afraid... a few years ago... that i scraped together whatever courage i had left to finally share my art with the world. for the same reasons i listed above. i realized that the art i am making is an honest reflection of who i am and where i am. i used to think... people will judge me... people will think i'm a hack... i'm not ready... i want it to be perfect. well, life... and art... are not perfect. we are constantly evolving... and i have learned to love that. it is the evolution of people that fascinates me more than anything else. which is why i am sharing this with you now. because maybe one person will read this and think... "i am afraid... but maybe it's ok to embrace me for who i am right now... a beautiful mess... that's on the road to something bigger" ... we are after all... each of us... on the path to a crescendo that ends the same way. why not turn it up louder... sooner rather than later...
to quote josh ritter "i put a whip to the kick drum, but the musics never loud enough" ... i feel like i have been throwing whips at a drum that's been stuffed full of pillows in recent days. the message is simple. you're alive... prove it. while you shuffle your feet... life is passing you by.
sometimes it feels like taking time for myself and my art is a little bit like stealing.
everyone has things they need to do every single day... there is work... something you do to make money. there are your friends and family... that you want to see and be available for. but to carve out time for yourself and the things that really feed your passion can feel like a guilty pleasure. i am glad it still feels like that. on such nights... i usually feel a little bad at first. probably because i have cancelled plans or have a pile of laundry two weeks old tugging at me... i could give in and do the "right thing"... but instead... i steal away alone. lock the doors... turn the music up loud and i don't look back. it's a good thing you can't bottle that excitement. it is one of the last unspoiled pleasures. you can't buy it. it's impossible to replicate. it's the delayed gratification that makes those moments so special. to have it every night would be boring. here's to still feeling alive enough to stay up all night... high on nothing but your own dreams
i haven't done ANY art for a month. unless you count some silly doodles on a paper "coaster" and a sketch for experimenting with some new water colors i bought over the weekend. my urge to create is interesting. i like to try and understand the waves of it... usually after a show.... i cut myself some slack.... breathe deep and just don't think about making anything for a while. well, it's been "a while" and the last few days i feel like a tea kettle... that's been simmering for 3 days.... but never quite whistling. i woke up really early today... went for a long walk around the lakes rehashing the last month... and since i sat down at my desk today... i've been plotting my escape. i can't wait to get home. i want to paint so bad it's making me restless and antsy.
thresholds are interesting aren't they. catalysts of all kinds.
not just in science but in our work... our hearts, our minds and our relationships.
last straws... boiling points.
SINCE FEELING IS FIRST
since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;
wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world
my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
- the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says
we are for each other; then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph
And death i think is no parenthesis