I spent most of this week thinking about voice. About how a huge part of being an artist is discovering what you have to say, honing in on your concerns and questions, and then developing the relationship between your message and your medium. I’ve been thinking about my own work – its steadily rising tide of abstraction and space-creation. I’ve scrapped and redesigned plans for new installation pieces, and I’m feeling good about what’s to come.
I recently got invited to take part in a show at The Hive Gallery, in LA, in which every piece somehow utilizes an old CD, kind of an upcycling thing. First I thought about just wrapping the thing in canvas and painting it. And then I started applying all my recent thinking about abstraction and installation to the project; I thought I might build a maquette for a piece I’ve been developing that’s circular-ish.
And then I had this idea. It literally popped into my head fully formed, title and all. And it was so funny to me, and filled me so suddenly and urgently with the need to acquire pom poms, which I probably last used circa 1995, that I drove out to Michael’s, stocked up, came home, and set to work with my hot glue gun.
This thing is not an installation and, though it definitely has roots in abstraction, it’s pretty directly figurative (googly eyes are a surprisingly effective way to personify any object). Also, it’s made almost entirely with kid craft materials, which I have history with because I used them when I was a kid, but which I’ve never related to or thought of in terms of art before. In the process of making this guy, I remembered a conversation I had with Johanna Reed, a writer and performance artist based out of LA, where I asked when she started making art. She said she started writing non-narrative plays and making book objects as a kid. I asked how she knew or decided that it was art, to which she replied, “What else would it be?”
Art is not necessarily something we decide or direct. Art surprises us. Frequently that’s the objective of the artist for the viewer, but it also occurs by the work for the artist. Even when you have a vision in mind, a specific question you are asking with your work, things arise of their own accord. Art is what comes out of us, with its own intentions.