Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Here I am... in Limbo Land

Welcome to Limbo Land….I am sure we have all been there at one time or another. No, I am not referring to a tropical beach and that state of inebriation where one joins a limbo contest and can’t remember why…. I mean those times in your life when plans cannot be made and decisions finalized or really much of anything can get done because of “things”.  What kinds of things? Well…for all of us they are different and for the most part, happen suddenly, thrusting one into Limbo Land. The only “thing” one can really do is wait until told what to do next.  Okay….. so…..one time filler is to watch an episode or two of hoarders and realize that no one really needs a stack of magazines from 2002.

If you have such a stack (or two or three or…..) which I might (for now), then wintery days in Limbo Land are a good time to find out what one may have missed in 2002. Most of mine (ummm….I mean the ones I located) are art related (Art News, Modern Art, Contemporary Art in America, American Artist, etc….okay, so I like magazines….).  Most of them were used as sources for lesson plans, nothing like a little Cy Twombly for second graders! 

A quick flip through the pages no longer held my interest about past shows, new movements and the next “big star”, who I still never heard of ….but I still looked for inspirational pictures, yes, I buy the magazines to look at the pictures (call it painters porn).  I also ripped out the Artist’s Directory sections from the back if the issue had one. These listings are quarterly “ads” purchased by artists that feature an image and some contact information with 9 or so to a page, so hence rather small and very pricey!  At one point I considered buying one myself, but wanted to see how well the investment paid off. Using the emails and websites, I picked out a few of the artists and asked that very question.  Positive responses matched the score of the 2010 Jackson football season…0-10.  Maybe the realists were having a bad year in 2002.

Limbo-ville also applies to the times between big projects, major shows, and/or commissions, the “real” meat of our careers. Currently I am a voracious vegetarian cranking out “guins” for the sake of marketing.  As I told a young art student today, this retail gallery/studio situation has increased my personal menu of choices and I am not sure how to handle it yet. 30 years of making art, marketing art as a show, packaging art to ship for exhibition, traveling the show itself and so on, selling one or two at every venue here there and everywhere…it never occurred to me to make pieces just so someone could buy one!  So to meet this expectation of having smaller art for art’s sake (no messages, no agonizing details, no framing and finishing concerns), is a bit liberating, but also very foreign to me.  This stage of my career will take some getting used to as far as why I do what I do and when and for who. I sold an 8 x 10 painting of an olive today, just a big green olive on a yellowish background, nothing more, which I had done for an upcoming event.  It never occurred to me that someone would buy it outside of the event for which it was done but that is my frame of thinking brought on by years and years of building a career in the “show” business so to speak. So am I to paint another one or just be happy somebody liked the little pitted condiment… I don’t know!! I liked that little olive. I was sorry to see him go, a problem I have with what I refer to as “prop art”.  I do know that I can blame my way of thinking on my own college professors. Back in the day, it was all about the message, nobody told us about making money.

If you are a non-art type person, Limbo Labor is always a good alternative. Did you know that light bulbs get dusty? Yep, good time to just look around at all that stuff we don’t really ever “see”.  Wash out some under the counter trash cans, tighten the screws on the door knobs, get the dried cat hack out of the carpet to name a few often overlooked chores.  Did you know there is a whole website devoted to pictures of people’s junk drawers? I suppose rather than cleaning it out, document the inner array of items and post it as digital art, which sounds more like an excuse to get out of cleaning the thing.  So….guess I will go find another stack of old magazines to de-hoard and see if any treasures are to be found, a perfect dessert to yet another day in Limbo Land. I wonder if people would buy pickles?

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