This has been a year of expanding into new things, while keeping the old things that were working well.Not going in chronological order, I was thrilled to have this photo, above, included in a blog post by The Art Biz Coach this week. This photo is part of my series, “The View Through the Windshield,” which is a-not-quite-daily practice of taking photographs during my normal day, as I’m out and about. These are often, though not always, taken literally through the windshield while at a red light, while pulled over to the side of the road.
If I remember correctly, I started this series in 2012, when I was driving to and from Chinatown to teach and there were so many wonderful things on that drive that caught my eye.This project has always been “just for me,” plus I’d share some photos on my blogs, but I didn’t see it as a product, an output. It was more about the creative practice. That makes it so wonderful and exciting so have others recognize and enjoy these photos. Another one, Chicago Sunset, is in a show right now called the Instashow (all photos are Instagram-style, square) at the Silicon Fine Art Prints’ gallery space.
You can see all the images in the show here: http://silicongallery.org/Instashow My photo is here: http://silicongallery.org/Instashow/content/DP1045_large.html
She built a huge cabinet. At each performance, with artists perhaps in the audience, but no one knew or could say, she would remove a painting or work on paper from the cabinet, then read aloud what the artist had written about it. Then she and an assistant would reverently hang the work on the wall at Corner Gallery.
The honesty was so cool – artists just wrote the truth, no art-speak, no posing. There’s an oft-repeated saying in art that a piece of art is not complete until it’s viewed by the audience. With this show, Betsy brought that idea into question. Even before these works were shown to the audience, they were very much complete.
Participating in that show was amazing. I took a painting or two, entrusted them to Betsy, then sat in the audience for two or three performances, seeing others react to my story. Discussed my own work with fellow audience members, without their knowing it was mine, without my having to admit it. That was super cool – to hear what people really think.
And it was freeing. If these are my most private works, that I’m embarrassed to share, for whatever reason (and they’re back in the closet, by the way), but I shared them and survived, then perhaps no art is too private to share. Art that is vulnerable is good, and allows others to connect to it.This past summer I did my first big, outdoor public engagement art project, working with the Forest Park Public Library. I built these giant 4′ letters (I started as a jeweler, you can see my sense for “giant”) out of wood and pre-painted them. Then members of the public came and painted.
It was magical and wonderful – art has such a power to bring people together, break down barriers. I’m plotting future projects…Previous public engagement projects include the Before I Die… wall replication at the Self-Employment in the Arts Conference, in February 2015 and some of the projects I’ve been a part of with the Chinese American Service League/Woman Made Gallery have had an element of participation, at the gallery showings at CASL. I had a great year for public speaking, speaking at Self-Employment in the Arts, Lake FX at the Chicago Cultural Center, at an event for the Beverly Area Art Alliance, for the Oak Park Art League and Berwyn Makers. Oh! And Learnapalooza. I really enjoy giving speeches and it’s thrilling to see how much my speech, “Forgo Grant Funding and Make Your Project Happen!” gets people excited and moving on their projects.
The audio recording of my speech “How to Start a Not-for-Profit, It’s Easy, I’ll Show You How,” continues to help people who find it online at the Chicago Art Resource website.All in all, it was a year of connections, building relationships and getting to know fellow artists, gallerists and students in my classes at libraries and a health care support center.
I participated in four art shows this year, here I am dusting my artwork about housework at one show:One of the Our Ladies travelled to Boston for a show where art work was paired with a protest song that visitors could listen to by scanning a QR code on the wall (see a recent previous post to read about what the song was). Here’s my LOVE installation from Zenith Art Studio’s Valentine’s show this year. See the theme? Giant letters. ; ) These are only 3 feet tall.
It was also a huge year of learning. While I could silkscreen just a bit before and was a Print Gocco wiz, this year I took a real silkscreening class.I also read so many books, listened to so many podcasts, attended in-person events, webinars, and took some eCourses that have had a big impact on my art and productivity. (more on those in future posts.)
2016 will be the year of no classes! It’s been great, but it’s time to apply the learning.
And finally, Happy New Year! (early) I hope you had a wonderful 2015 as well and here’s to a wonderful and creative 2016!