Friday, May 19, 2006

it's good to be bad

Turk and I caught Art School Confidential yesterday, a deeply cynical and very funny look at the dark side of art professional wannabes, and it reminded me of a happy facet of human nature that had hit me while I was blog jogging around the block a few (several ?)days ago.

Everyone, it seems, has an inner artist yearning to breathe free. And what has become increasingly clear is that there is an amazing amount of talent, joy and creativity out there in the world of ordinary non-art-school-confidential geeks ~ enough to fill a very colorful and diverse universe with line and paint, textile and ink.

I've always felt a little awkward about putting very much out here, in spite of my sincerely professed belief that it's not the quality of the finished product, it's the process of creation that fufills true purpose; that contains the element of meditation, a path to enlightenment, or at least a place of peace. Still, the judgement of others is a fearsome foe, and my fear has always been that it would detract from the pleasure of the act itself. And also, frankly, there's the fact that people would know that I suck.

Just as experience has taught me not to sing in public however much I may enjoy the sound of my own voice, I've generally considered it best not to draw with or for an audience either. If everyone's a critic, ignorance is bliss.

But then I saw this post from Robbie, wherein she linked to this inspiring post by Danny Gregory:

Put simply: no one is nearly as interested in what you do as you are. No one is judging it as hard as you, or analysing it, or wondering about it. The only time they really get involved is when your success or failure could effect them...

The man makes an excellent point. Who, after all, gives a damn? So why not, I thought? Just post a couple of sketchbook pics and own your own cheerful suckiness. Beg no sufferance, and make no apologies ~ revel in and embrace it in all it's amateur glory. Because it really doesn't matter how good or bad or indifferent the efforts may be; the point is that they're mine, they brought me pleasure at the time and now remind me of people, ideas and moments I would otherwise have long forgotten. As Danny puts it, live and make art for the only person that matters or truly cares. Now that's freedom, baby.

As luck would have it we're leaving next week on a road trip up the California coast into wine country (on our very own little Sideways tour) and hopefully I'll have a chance to do a little bit of drawing. Tipsy drawing perhaps, but in my case that may be the best kind.

Come to think of it I"ll have to sketch fast ~ if I don't get a camera today, whatever pictures I draw may be be the only ones I'll have. I'd better start practicing.

Monday, May 08, 2006

jet lag

I'm not saying that I've been lousy company lately, but when I got off the plane last Thursday my bag decided not to get off with me. It was a spur of the moment thing, I think, but while I disembarked in Houston, which was 89 degrees and muggy, my suitcase chose to fly on to Newark, which is 89 degrees and in New Jersey. Frankly, I was embarrassed for both of us.

It took a couple of days for Continental Airlines to track down and retrieve my errant bag, and by the end of Day 2 my travel outfit, which had started out feeling so chic and practical ~ sleeveless black tee, tan cargo pants with ruched cuffs; comfortable platform shoes, denim jacket ~ was swiftly morphing into something shabby and decidedly impractical.

We were on the move from the moment I arrived at the airport, and at some point the black leather upper on my right shoe became dislocated from it's man-made lower. The loss of the the 4 inch cork platform had me gimping along like someone who'd just lost a foot. The laces from the ruched trouser leg now dragging untidily on the floor, I looked like the victim of a fashionable farm accident.

On this day we were in search of a new recliner for my mom, my sister-in-law and I, and as I guided my mother's wheelchair into the expansive furniture showroom I could not help but note in the hundreds of beveled mirrors scattered throughout that a mysterious spot had opened between my brows and begun bleeding, and that my eyes had taken on a haunted, desperate quality. A saleswoman approached.

"Can I help you?" she asked. Dubiously, I thought. I chuckled.

"Yes," my elegant sis-in-law insisted firmly. "I'm sure you can." The saleswoman, Kerry, directed us to the recliners in the back of the store.

"Mom has to try them out to see if she can manipulate them herself," I told her. My mother is very old and quite frail, so much so that even the act of reclining is fraught with difficulty.

"No problem," said Kerry.

And so it was we spent the next hour taking turns picking Mom up and putting her down in dozens of fatly upholstered arm chairs, most of which she occupied like a doll tossed casually onto an oversized sofa. I tried out a few myself, and noticed Kerry eyeing my bottomless shoe, still sporting the scotch tape I'd originally tried fixing it with.

"My shoe broke. The airline lost my luggage," I explained. "And my face seems to be bleeding. I don't know why."

"Where y'all from?" she asked.

"California," I replied.

"I understand," she said. Kindly, I thought.

And you know, she probably did.