Monday, February 16, 2009

The Chair Affair 2009 Second Chair completed

I just finished delivering my two chairs to the Community Warehouse for the Chair Affair. The second chair is Let The Good Times Roll Again! or as it is they referred to in The Big Easy, AKA New Orleans, Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler Recommencer! This is my tribute chair to honor New Orleans. There is no city in the US like it. I guess I became inspired since I will be visiting this wonderful city for the fifth time next year. This will be my first time since hurricane Katrina ravaged the city on August 28, 2005. When you look at my chair you see the colorful, Mardi Gras spirit that pervades the city all year long. It is the most vibrant place I have ever visited. The people are diverse and the artistic international character is everywhere you look. The French Quarter, is filled with painters, mimes, fortune tellers and musicians. You would never know that the rest of the city and state had been destroyed by hurricane Katrina almost four years ago. You can place my chair against the wall and see nothing but the joyous, colorful spirit that makes New Orleans unique. Upon closer look, hidden behind the chair, some of the true story that has taken place is revealed. It is our choice as humanitarians to look at the chair from all sides, stop hiding the atrocities that have shattered this neglected city, and begin to truly rebuild this treasure.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Chair Affair 2009 Update

I am please to announce that The Anka Gallery on NW 6th is going to show the chairs during April and host a First Thursday opening on April 2nd! This is a wonderful free opportunity to preview all the chairs that will be auctioned off at the Chair affair, and to learn about theevent and the Community Warehouse. Tickets for the CHAIR AFFAIR will be available for purchase there.The CHAIR AFFAIR will be on Thursday, April 23rd this year.

I am very excited since this is my first time as an participating artist. I know it is always a fun event and this year we will be in a large space, so please help the Community Warehouse by buying tickets, bidding on one of a kind artist chairs and have a fabulous time! Tickets can also be bought through the website I had such an awesome time creating my first chair Kickin Back In Portland that I am going through withdrawal, so I have decided to create another chair. As fate has it I was walking down the street a few weeks ago and there was a guy having a garage sale and I wanted one of his chairs. He said I could have it for $3 but only if I took the second chair off his hands for free! I of course could not resist the offer. It has been looking at me very intensely and beckoning me to transform it, so I gave into the burning desire yesterday. It is already half completed and it is all I can think about. (A bit obsessive/compulsive? Absolutely, but I don't think it counts if it is for charity does it!?) Well, I am attaching a before picture of the chair that is becoming Let The Good Times Roll Again! or the way they refer to it in The Big Easy, AKA New Orleans, Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler Recommencer! This is my tribute chair to honor New Orleans in many ways. There is no city in the US like it. I guess I became inspired since I will be visiting this wonderful city for the fifth time next year. This will be the first time since hurricane Katrina ravaged the city. Check back soon to see the completed chair or better yet stop by the Anka Gallery on April 2 to see it and all the others in person.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Self Published Photography Books

This is a glimpse at the three photography books I have self published. For a preview of these books or to order copies of Portals, Identity, or The Nature of Things, you can visit my bookstore at Blurb

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What and Who defines an artist?

I am inspired to question what we are faced with when our creative endeavors are accepted into exhibits and receive accolades. Why do they suddenly seem to become more important. Why do we as artists need external validation to make us feel like accomplished artists? Is our work just as important whether or not it is ever seen or shown in a gallery or other public space? Who are we creating our art for? I am continually asked the question, "Oh, are you a professional artist?" and my personal favorite, "Is that what you do for a living"? Well if creating art for a living means that if I stopped creating my spirit would not be able to thrive, then the answer is yes! I am an artist because I must be! Now as I continue on my now over two year journey, challenged by my injured, post surgical right hand, I find it difficult to thrive, because I cannot create the way I want to. For the time being, I am angry, frustrated and am feeling that I am being cheated by not being able to live my calling fully. So the question becomes, "Am I less of an artist when I cannot create?"
The never ending question and debate that lives within that creative place I like to call my mind/heart is, "do I need outside affirmations to validate me as an artist?" I am currently visiting this question that lives in the dark side of my mind because, I was not accepted into a juried exhibit I just entered. This differs from "rejected" mind you, and this is a very important distinction that I constantly grapple with. Why do we continue to give "experts" the power to decide if our work is worthy of inclusion in exhibits? Why do we all dread the arrival of the generic, kind, rejection letter that attempts to console the artist? I tell myself I am proud of myself for taking on the creative challenge, as well as having the courage to put myself out there. I tell myself that acceptance does not matter. Am I constantly lying to myself to console my mind/heart? Those of us who tend to be the self-deprecating, sensitive type, do not fully acknowledge and absorb all our accomplishments, but rather diminish their importance. Yet why is it we fully embrace the non-acceptances?
The jurors take on the job of deciding what does and what does not get included in exhibits. That is their challenge. They come to this with their own eyes, their own artistic sensibilities, as well as their own visions and biases. As artists, we too share those characteristics. If we all liked the same things and created the same work, how boring it would be. Yet I expect this stranger who is deemed the "decider" (sorry, I promised myself I would NEVER use that phrase!), to love the very personal work I make, as much as I do. I begin to question whether or not my work is not as good as I think it is. Am I good enough? If my work is so personal and autobiographical, can the viewer relate to it and am I not good enough? We can weave quite a prison for ourselves!
Of course, out of curiosity and an ever so tiny bit of self confessed bitterness, I plan to go to the exhibit with my own biases to see the exhibit. I want to see if in fact the chosen work that was deemed "better" than mine. It is inevitable that I will see something in the exhibit and think, "how could that have made it into the exhibit and not mine"? I try to console myself. I know it is largely about my ego. My need for approval in order for me to continue to see myself as a "real artist".
Once I move beyond all this, I forget. I continue to create and continue to put myself into these vulnerable positions where I give my power over to a stranger. I can choose to let them decide who I am, and how good I am at what I do. I might as well let them hold my clay or look through the lens of my camera if I am going to relinquish that power! Why even bother?
The next time I am going to attempt to choose to view the situation differently. I am going to try to move beyond the ego. I acknowledge the fact that had it not been for the opportunity to enter this exhibit, I would not have examined thousands of my photographs, picking out the photos that are gems to me, and then create the narratives in three self published photography books in a week's time. I would never have taken on this challenge and I am very proud of myself for risking it. I look at these three coffee table artist books and think "did I make those? Hell I never knew I had it in me!" The next time I am going to take the credit for creating them, and absorb the pride that I feel is well deserved in my process and the resulting creations regardless of the external judgment. Why not?! It is my art and my choice! Now we all know that the next time I hang myself naked on a nail in front of a juror and give them the power to choose me or not, I will probably visit these feelings again (sort of like waiting and hoping as a kid not to be the last one picked to be on the softball team- but time to get over that one, don't ya think?) This time I am going to sit back on my cozy chair, put my feet up on the ottoman, pour myself a glass of wine and browse through my three self published coffee table books! Wow! Who made these? Cheers!