Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Polar Bears to the Bayou

I am giving birth today!! It has been a long and arduous nine months of planning and preparation, but today is the day. Oh stop looking so shocked, at 49, I am not actually carrying a child, I am carrying 165 of them. Take that Octo-mom!!

For the better part of 9 months now, I have worked (with the true help and dedication of my son’s best friend’s mom and my partner in crime) to deliver the Jackson High School marching band to New Orleans so they can participate in the Sugar Bowl at the Super Dome. That little combo has been known as the “super bowl”, “sugar dome” and “super sugar” at various moments in time. Finally, it just became “the Game”.

Today, (okay, tomorrow at 1am) I report to the delivery room in full labor and start pushing these kids out the door a few hours later to buses waiting to take them hither and yon for a delightful experience with the airlines of 3 companies, at two airports, going to 2 hubs, on three planes (6 with transfers). Easy.

The only screaming babies may be the 23 adults going along who have to oversee these kids and all the activities. I am the 24th so count among that group as well though my crying is long over. Going to New Orleans, at New Year’s, for a college football event, has been a challenge in the reservation department. Calling a venue to seat “Jackson, party of 200” who don’t drink, does not get welcomed at the Inn very often. We made it happen however thanks to good people, with small town values, that see the benefit of supporting our youth. 800 breakfasts have been packaged or planned, 54 hotel rooms worked out, 4 buses and 4 swamp boats lined up, and a moving van with 36 wardrobe boxes, 165 instruments, 189 suitcases and a whole bunch of other stuff is navigating the roadways as I write this, to meet up at the loading dock in downtown new Orleans.

At my worst moments, I referred to having been “royally screwed” 9 months ago which lead to this big adventure, but in truth, it has eased my way into the empty nest years. The internet proved to be invaluable for communication with hundreds of parents to make this all happen. Is everybody happy? No, far from it, but then not everyone will ever be pleased with how things turn out regardless of the situation.

Tomorrow, my newborns will experience a city and activities with wide-eyed wonder (it is New Orleans at New Years remember…..with inebriated college kids all over…….) and they will not sleep (no time) and be fussy eaters (Cajun cooking ya’all) and whine when they get tired. They may fuss at wearing their uniforms for hours on end, and play with their toys at the wrong time, and throw a tantrum or two when their love bunny is not on the same bus, but all in all, this group of Jackson students it the best one I have ever worked with (and this is my third time traveling with the band…I must have memory problems…)

Soon it will be time to cut the cord and turn them over to their foster parents, the band directors, while I sit back with my fellow chaperones and get increasingly sleep deprived to the point that everything will be funny as heck. So what does this have to do with art? Well, it proves that all art is not visual, some of it is the art of organization (okay, the purple door hangers were rather crafty of me), and now it becomes the biggest performance piece of my career. March on kids! And Go Bearcats!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Townies vs Transients

Walking a few miles to pick up my car last week, I had plenty of time to think while passing places I see every day. I live here, almost 17 years now, but I still don’t think of this as “home”. It is not my “home town” as in the place I was born. I only lived there for a few days so that does not count. I don’t think of my childhood home where I graduated high school to be my “home town” either. Only one bond of friendship remains from those days.

Around mile number 2, I realized, I don’t’ have roots to anyplace. My “home” is my studio. I feel most at home in that location with the thoughts and ideas inside my head. My children will always call this house and this town their home. It is all they have ever really known. It is the address I can fill in with my eyes closed, but I remember all the previous ones too, they are numbers and letters that define a segment of my life.

Does this bother me? No. I feel at home other places too. Sitting in church over the holidays, I felt a twinge of being “home” since it was the place we married and where our children were baptized. But it is not my “home church”; I don’t have one of those. I feel at home in the woods, hiking along trails where the sun makes puzzles out of shadows. I feel at home in school buildings because I was (and still am theoretically) a teacher. I feel at home in some museums, but not all of them. I have to be in a gallery where the art is speaking to me on a creative level, inspiring thoughts for new projects, not just sitting on pedestal or hung on the wall. I feel at home with some members of my family, but not all of them. My friends are more of a family to me than some of my relatives because it is my friends that I can call at 3am in a crisis or who have provided a shoulder when needed. I could go on and on with this type of analogy but you get the idea.

So when asked the question, “Where are you from?” I often don’t know how to answer with any sincerity. The closest city is my standard response since my town is not really known (unless you are from here too). “Where do you live?” is just as bad. Being the snarky person that I am, I like to reply “in a house” (or in a tent if I am particularly perturbed at the time). Where’s home? Is the one I like the least because the honest answer is “I don’t have one, I am homeless”. Most people take that literally. I mean it figuratively. Home is anyplace where I feel comfortable, happy, inspired, safe and so forth. Think about it, we “clean house” or “clean up the house”, we do “household chores” and “housework”; we are called a “housewife” and make “house payments”, all of which sound silly when substituted with “home”. I live in a house, sometimes it is home and sometimes it is not. I consider myself like a tortoise. I carry my home with me, inside my heart, around my shoulders, able to carry others if needed, able to retreat inside at will. It is a strong shelter with a soft underbelly; I stick my neck out now and then, while plodding along at a steady pace. And it was my steady pace that got me to the car repair shop in a timely manner, having noticed lots of places I never really saw before. Ensconced in my car, it was back to rabbit speed, racing towards some goal or another, wondering if I would make it “home” on time to pick up the house.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Note to readers....

All the works in this blog will be mine. A reader can find specific information about works or shows referenced by spending a few moments on Google. This site is my journal so to speak. I am not affiliated with any media outlets. I think of this place like I think of designer clothing in that if some brand wants me to wear their overpriced merchandise because it has their logo on it, then that designer can pay me for the advertising time and space. So if you expect to see other artist's work on here, sorry. This space is mine.

The book "Sex and the Salad, with a little Undressing on the side" is now out and available for sale. A combination of art, food, stories and individuality, make up a unique cook book by Tommy B. Google the title, you can found out how to get one, only $25 each. (okay, $24.95)

"Shattered Expressions" are now public emotions.

Big Brother is alive and well and staring down at us from 5th and Cleveland in Canton. Public art is one of those things that I often wonder if the public was consulted as to whether they wanted something in their space in the first place. A new piece of public art has gone up in our local arts district. Called “Shattered Expressions”, it is made up of 3 over-sized (ten feet or so) foam rubber faces. Painted in a semi mosaic geometric pattern, each face depicts an emotion, joy, rage and sorrow. Hmmmm.........2 out of three are rather depressing. In a city where times are tough and the arts are struggling to remain alive, why put giant negative imagery on our streets to stare down and remind us of the sorrow of unemployment and our rage over the bad news seen and heard every day?

Was any consideration given to the fact that the giant screaming face is going to scare the bejesus out of children who are the next generation of art patrons? Many kids can’t even approach Santa Clause let alone look up at a 10 foot tall foam face full of rage. The artist says we can’t experience one emotion without the others. True, but there are other emotions to choose from that could have made the piece a bit more inviting. Joy is one of the three. How about joy and laughter or joy and surprise? Even a mischievous grin or a smirk of inquisition would be okay too. I just don’t understand why artists are so fascinated with negative imagery. If my office window overlooked this piece, I’d have to move. It would freak me out every day. I believe that we have full control over our emotions starting with our attitude and with the things that surround us. This installation reminds me of an old Twilight Zone episode where a family puts on masks of horrible distortion and when the masks are removed, their faces have conformed to the masks’ hideousness for all eternity. I guess we are now stuck with these expressions of emotion for all eternity too.

Personally, I would want my arts district to be a place of positive energy, fun and creativity. Public art is a great idea; it makes people more aware of their visual world and spices up some boring brick walls. My issue is that the public should have some say in the art chosen if it is called “public art”. The supporters have said it will “raise eyebrows”, “spark a little controversy”, and “give context to the arts district”, you can count on that. I just don’t know if it will result in the desired outcome of raising arts awareness and support for the arts themselves or leave people wondering why they give money to the arts only to be screamed at. The GP should well wonder what the heck were these people thinking. Rather than saying “come on down and be a part of art”, I see Jacob Marley on the door or the gates of the Emerald City with giant scary faces saying “go away, we are guardians of this domain”.

Survivors of domestic violence have seen that screaming face far too often, children of troubled homes feel that sorrow deep inside, and the joy seems forced. I know my reaction to this piece is not going to sit well, but I can’t lie and say I like it. I don’t. Bravo to donating space and supporting the arts, but please think about the far reaching messages of such a permanent thing in our little community. The counter argument/reaction is going to be that the arts and artists need to acknowledge all emotions, have a right and a duty to express themselves, and we(as artists) need to be honest about life in general. All true and all valid observations, now consider the marketability of the work as a representation of our town. How does it look on a brochure mailed out to other cities? Maybe “laughter” was not a chosen emotion for that very reason.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Come ride the exhibition submission roller coaster.

Does anybody else out there feel like the system used for exhibition consideration and calls for submissions needs a real overhaul in the courtesy department? Building an exhibition record is like riding a roller coaster. As artists, we chug our way up hill, working and working and working towards something exciting that lies ahead. Some days is seems as if we will never get another opportunity. Then suddenly, we crest the hill and things come rushing at us fast and furious. We scramble to stay on track, shipping out to shows, painting a last minute commission and sending out postcards, press releases and insurance papers. Before we know it, the ride is over. The show is down, the work back in storage and the press clippings filed away. The ride to the top begins all over again, chug, chug, chug…..

Each month, I dutifully look through the listings on my deadline service and select several to which I submit a complete packet of materials including a professional cover letter and the obligatory SASE for “exhibition consideration”. Then I wait, sometimes as long as 2 years for any kind of response, after which I consider the packet lost. I used to use a delivery confirmation to make sure the contents arrived. After 5 years with a 100% delivery rate, I decided to drop that practice since statistically I could count on my things arriving safely. Every 3 or 4 months, I send a follow-up email asking about the status of my materials. My response rate is about 1 in 10 that the gallery or venue will answer. Most places just ignore my question. About 50% of the time, I will get my materials back in the mail, sometimes with postage due since it has been so long and rates have since gone up. Last week, I got back a packet containing slides (slides!?) which I had sent out 8 years earlier. I liked reading the enclosed letter on that one….”sorry for the delay…” Sorry, apology not accepted.

Yes, the enclosed letter (if I am so lucky as to get one) often contain gushy accolades that may or may not be addressed to me. Usually it is a form letter that says "dear artist" but sometimes it has been auto filled and gives me somebody else’s name. I often wonder what poor “Diana” thinks when she reads her “Dear Judy” letter (can’t even spell it right….). As for the work itself, 25% of the time my CD has not been opened which I can tell by the sticker used to seal it closed.

So my issue here is that I try and be as professional as possible. I do all the things asked, send all the materials requested, and then get treated like junk mail. If a gallery is listing a call for submissions, then please have the decency to let us know you got the materials. Return them in a timely manner if an SASE is included, but only after you have actually looked at our work. Try to send a letter addressed to the correct applicant. I understand that America is getting more casual and people don't learn the basics of courtesy and manners much anymore (and artists tend to not be the best left brained business people), but if I am spending my time to answer your request, at least you can spend a few moments to answer mine. I know you are overwhelmed with the responses at times, and that is okay. Let us know our materials arrived and that it could be 6 months or more until you get to it, but that you will get to it. The excuse that you just got too many submissions is not really a good one since the deadline service reaches thousands upon thousands of artists, what did you expect? And finally, thank us for helping to keep you in business as we thank you for reviewing our work.

On the flip side, sometimes I get the nicest letters back. They recommend other galleries where I should apply as my work would fit well there. Some mention a specific piece that made the committee laugh out loud (but I still don’t fit the venue), and every now and then, I get a handwritten sticky note probably by some poor gallery intern that says “Sorry we cannot offer you a show at this time, but I really liked your stuff!” Apology accepted.

Time to get back on the roller coaster and start up another hill, that stomach dropping thrill of excitement which comes with each show is probably just around that next curve…..

Monday, December 14, 2009

Save the audience participation for game shows!

I am a "Sitter". Not a baby sitter, but a person who sits during a concert or play, and listens to what is going on in front of me. There are not many sitters out there anymore. Concerts and plays would be a whole lot more enjoyable if the following would just stay home.

The “Talkers” - “Talkers” are those people who feel the need to talk during an entire show. I don’t mean just that annoying whisper chat, but a full on conversation about things. Dirty looks over the shoulder are useless as these folks just ignore the evil eye or glare back in indignation that grandma’s growing gambling addiction is not as important to me as it should be.

The “Wrappers” – “Wrappers” show up prepared and time their activity perfectly to the performance so as to unwrap candy and snacks in a slow and methodical method thinking it will make the noise less intrusive. Cellophane is not theater friendly. Can’t you hear it yourself? Neither are bags of small candies that fall out and make their way down the floor like pin balls and usually followed by crying.

The “Chewers” - These people feel it is essential for their survival to chew gum or other items (I don’t care to know) that pop, crack and slurp. Doesn’t all that noise in the jaw block the fine art of hearing? If you feel a sneeze coming on, please cover your mouth because that wad of gum has a tendency to relocate itself into my hair or on my coat only to be discovered later. Thanks kindly for not telling me too.

The “Tip Tappers” – Primarily younger, people who text and think I can neither see, nor hear, the constant motion of your thumbs as some urgent message about nothing important is relayed to another person located only a few seats away really drives me nuts. Mutual smirks between the two of you about whatever is on the screen tells me that it is not life altering news being shared, but I do like the dramatic eye roll in response to my squint of annoyance.

The “Passers” – Equal opportunists for sure, the passers are those who decide in the middle of something crucial, that your coat can no longer be tolerated and it must be passed up and over your body to someone nearby who is not aware it is coming and therefore must make personal adjustments of their own. Go ahead, hold it up and block my view while you and the recipient discuss why it has to come over there right now.

The “Sliders” – Yes, the reason I always ask for an aisle seat is because of the sliders, the late arrivals or those who stand around in the aisle and chat until well after the lights have gone down and then ask to just “slide by” to their seat located in the middle of the row. Even if I am a dozen rows back, this blocks my view too. Because there is not much room between knees and a seat back and most of the human race are not runway models, this process often takes a bit of maneuvering.

And finally, those who annoy me beyond all others are the “Flippers”. These offenders are becoming all to frequent. Flippers feel it is necessary to open their cell phones every couple of minutes so as to look at something. Each time that happens, a bright light from your screen sends a bolt of brightness to my peripheral vision temporarily blinding me on one side. Flash photography is not allowed for a reason, but I can’t imagine that these points of light in the audience are not just as distracting. Flippers are the worst because the often morph into Tip-Tappers and Talkers.

Alas, I have no solutions to these audience dilemmas, but I have multiple theories as to why this is common and evidently acceptable behavior. Sometimes I wish all the actors or musicians would stop performing and just wait. Like a classroom teacher tired of the chit chat, stop doing what you are doing and wait until whatever disruptive audience activity has been completed. Eventually the guilty will catch on that something has happened. Maybe a good stare down from Mr. Scrooge would make a difference. (Oh, and turn up the house lights too. Better yet, maybe even move a spotlight onto these people!) I tend to think not however. The added attention may be just what they are seeking.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Having a Breakdown

Not a mental one and not a physical one….yet!

It started with the washer. Not a good sign when one opens the lid to find a pile of wet clothing and the display panel flashing some combo of letters to let you know what is wrong. Could that code be printed on the door panel? Heck no, you have to go searching through the stack of manuals to find the right one, still not throwing out the old ones for remotes long gone and coffee makers whose carafe is all that remains (would make a good watering can someday). Genius at work here could probably tell you that it is not spinning therefore not draining, but best to get a professional second opinion. Yep, no drain means big pain. Call repairman….bad. Spending a few forced hours of down time at the laundry mat….good! Except the lady there is really into Matlock so I caught up on some past episode I must have missed in the ‘80’s.

Big oil spot on garage floor…bad. Look under car…not good. Call tow truck and repairman. I think this is God’s way of saying “stay home you idiot, and get those presents wrapped and pick up the piles of stuff or you sure has heck will trip over something and really mess things up!” Well okay, I don’t think God really talks that way….okay, yes I do and it is called the inner voice of reason. Which is really just my way of justifying all these little “inconveniences” without getting all wacked out about it because….

….refrigerator bombs are the worst! Sitting at the kitchen table, I hear a big noise as if my kid had thrown his size 16 shoe from the office to the kitchen and it bounced off a cabinet. Having checked out that possibility and confirmed it as a negative, I began a sweep for landmines. Even the cat was on high alert (or else I nearing the food dish and hopes were running high). I heard another boom but nothing was visible. We have a ghost but that is another story, he lives in my oven vent. Nearing the fridge, the only possible source, I cautiously open the door….. bad. Reflexes at my age…..still good or I would have had a sour cream shower. That puppy came flying out the door. Inside I found the evidence of pop bombs. …all over the inside and running down the shelves. Words out of my mouth…bad. (very bad). Seems the thermostat had a bit of a breakdown and froze all the pop cans. In an anti global warming moment, the expanding glacier demo was quite successful as they escaped the confines of their man made aluminum casings to set themselves free! This week’s Nobel Prize for scientific invention goes to the wipes in a container guy….he’s the best.

Today, I shall wander my house and give the stink eye to all things mechanical. The next one that decides to blow a gasket, or a belt, or a circuit or whatever else runs their evil little innards, is getting kicked to the curb!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Down in the Dumpster

I truly felt a bit down in the dumpster last week. Personally, I won’t say “down in the dumps” because that phrase is for those who are seriously depressed. Think about it. A dump is huge place where time after time after time, truckloads of garbage gets piled on top over and over again. If you are down in the dumps, life is just not going to get any better until you dig your way out of the continuous mountains of crap and make a break for it.

Being in the dumpster is a lot better. It is a smaller self contained place in which to feel dumped upon, but the garbage is usually bagged up, so one can merely toss it back out again if needs be. Once in awhile a big load comes down on top of you, which is what happened to me. Within a short span of time (the walls of my dumpster), I had several big jumbo bags of stuff to deal with. The nice part of dumpster sized downers is that each bag can be opened and searched for the hidden treasures one needs to build a pile high enough in which to climb out of the stink.

I knew the bags were coming at me, so I pressed my calendar coat and made a plan. Plans are great until somebody has one and it messes up yours. (You know that phrase “plan ahead”, forget it, I say “plan first” before somebody else does!). Over the course of the week, my calendar coat got wrinkled several times and a stain will remain from an exceptionally leaky bag (must have been a bargain brand) but at least the banging open of the lid each time gave me fair warning to seek cover under the already piled up name brand bags. (Another Nobel Prize to the guy who put the self enclosed handles on a trash bag.)

So what kind of riches did I find? Well….. little treasures pulled from the trash are different for everybody. In my case, I got to meet some new people whom I had known by name only. I got to spend some time with people I only see once a year. I was able to spend time with people I only knew a little bit, and got to know them better. I shared a few hours with people I have known a long time and work towards a common goal and finally, I got done what needed to be done with the help of willing people. My gems, my stairs out of the dumpster this past week, were all people. For many of you “people person” types, I can hear the “so what” out there, but I am a loner by nature. Maybe because I am used to a solo studio situation, this past week of meetings and events and required activities is what dropped me into the dumpsters in the first place.

Another week is upon me now and I can sense another round of dumpster diving fast approaching. However, each morning when I pass my official prayer spot, I will consider myself blessed and give thanks to (insert your higher being of choice here so as not to offend…) to have found other trashy people like me who, without knowing it at all, pulled me out of the dumpster once, and may be called upon to do it again.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Even a little rust can be helped with some primer….

“Something from Nothing: Contemporary Recycled Sculpture from America’s Rustbelt”
Canton Museum of Art 11/27/09 – 3/7/10

When it comes to works of art and art shows, I have a real thing about titles, make them relevant, make them logical and make them thoughtfully so as to help the less informed understand what is being shown. The current show at the Canton Museum of Art is called “Something from Nothing” which is not really true. Everything was something before it became something else. I understand why the title was chosen as the materials used are supposedly all recycled, but saying those items were nothing is not fair to the former use of the objects or materials in question. Now before everyone gets all bent out of shape about my point of view, let me explain how I view (or review) art exhibitions.

As far as I am concerned, my opinion of what is good and what is bad, what is successful and what is not so great, is not relevant. One should not see a show because of what I think of it or because I tell you what you should think of it. I approach a show with the intent of finding what one can get out of it as a viewer. Museums are not “galleries” in the sense that an art gallery is “commercial or retail” in the vernacular of the general public. A “museum” is a place to go see “art”. The difference being to the general public, (henceforth known as the GP) is that labels in galleries have prices on them. A “museum” is intimidating to the GP at times. We need to make them more viewer friendly so that the next generation will be encouraged to continue supporting the arts in the future. That being said, I look at a show the same way I did as an instructor at the Cleveland Museum of Art in the children’s education department. I have to figure out how I can make the work understandable, applicable and worth the time spent.

The current show is all sculptures and constructions, made from discarded objects. Nothing has been carved, cast or created from nothing. I am not a sculptor and I don’t have much hands-on experience in the 3-D media outside of a class or two in all of them for general educational purposes. Therefore, my experience in the galleries was not as an artist, but as an educator. Some of the pieces I could walk right past, their message not touching me at all. If I can move an item or two from here to there and it does not change anything, then I guess I don’t get the point. Other pieces I find engaging and amusing, like the King and Queen which could be part of Alice’s wonderful garden along with the Darkness and the Rainbow sculpture. Both of these were visually interesting from multiple points of view, inviting the eyes to keep searching for different elements. Other works are delightfully logical and elegant in their simplicity as was the bare bones fish sculpture, Kikokuryo. Sometimes less is more as “they” say.

I look for purpose and inspiration in pieces as well. A tin can is a logical steamship funnel and constructions like “Ship of Fools” can hold the attention of a child for quite a while, picking out various objects whose purposes were well thought out. Some pieces tell a story like Pedal to Petals and some inspire stories like the Octopuses suspended in the middle of the room. Those two serpentine sea creatures held my interest the most as they are elegant and graceful to the point that I could almost feel the artist dancing with the limbs as he (she?...with the first name Chris, one can’t tell anymore these days), decided just how they should swirl. The glass eyes and protruding body part (what it is called, I don’t know, but you see it all the time in horror movies before it swallows the submarine) are translucent and rich in color like shallow sea water.

A common gallery teaching technique for works of non-traditional art is to ask a child what title would he or she give a particular piece and why. When the actual title is revealed, watching the mental gears start turning to make sense of it is often very interesting. I felt that way about the 1+1=1 piece. Such situations inspire the imagination or leave one befuddled. Overall, it is good to see something completely different at the Museum and especially good for this time of year when kids are out of school and parents need something to do with them. Visit this show, ask lots of questions, let them search for familiar things used in unfamiliar ways, and in some cases, reach out and touch the art itself as requested by a few of the artists.

What is missing, or should I say “who” is missing, are Mark Soppeland and PR Miller, a couple of local icons in the use of recycled stuff. I could ask why, but I believe I already know the answer and it is just another paragraph in the same old story. Do I get the overall message of the show in its historical and contemporary context? Yeah, I do. I got A’s in art history and artistic philosophy, but so what. To most viewers, this kind of work is not that “deep” in meaning. It very well may be, and some works are just so “out there” intellectually that I doubt the GP would understand them, but nonetheless, it is a well curated exhibition of contemporary artists from the Rustbelt and a show that makes sculpture a bit more relevant to those outside the artistic inner circle.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Life Is A Mess

My life is a mess. Not in the sense you may suspect upon reading that comment, I mean that my immediate environment that defines my “life” is a complete mess. No, I am not a hoarder or the hotelier to 50 cats, I am a busy person, a creative person that probably could use a bit more time and the ability to say “no” a bit more often, but in the meantime, I step over and around (which is good for the glutes I might add…..), summiting a pile now and then before conquering another. My messes symbolize success and satisfaction. Allow me to explain….

In the family room are piles of clothing, a laundry basket of stuff, and stacks of books that tell me I have a child home from college for a few brief days. I will suffer his contribution to the foothills in order to enjoy his presence back in the home.

In the dining room (the proverbial staging area for most families) are stacks of paperwork related to an upcoming event that I agreed to chair, a big deal for the students involved, just another activity to me, but I want it to be great for the kids. On the floor are boxes and boxes of food for the students, yet to be sorted and packaged. Behind that are a few items needing thank you notes written and sent, a sign that people cared about me enough to give me gift.

The kitchen cupboards and fridge are disheveled and picked over, a sign that my children have been fending for themselves, having a good time, having friends over, growing up. I don’t have to make snacks or meals anymore during the middle of my day.

The laundry room….well, it never seems to go down, the view just changes every few days. Only the cats get disgruntled about that room as the source of buried treasure lies behind the piles and inside the closet. Digging for buried treasure is a daily event around here. The guy who invented clumping litter should get a Nobel Prize!

The garage and driveway become the family motor pool. The recycle pile grows higher each day. Bedrooms and bathrooms are disheveled at best, but will get a nice makeover when their occupants return to other locations.

My office and studio have lost contact with open floor space. It may look like the aftermath of a category 5 but I can find anything anybody needs at anytime. No late night runs to the all night store for supplies of any kind. Projects are in various stages of completion or are being prepared for shipment to show or sell .When all is picked-up, it means I have nothing going on.

I have some related family members that get all worked up over messes, everything has to be put away or gotten rid of the second it is no longer needed, used or has been outgrown. I can’t live like that. Fortunately, my husband believes in desktop composting as well. My “stuff” and my space symbolize my success, my love of others, their caring for me, and a certain level of comfort knowing life is happening all around me and I get to be a part of it. The messes will eventually go away perhaps to be replaced by others.

The monster of all messy seasons will soon be upon us. As kids come back home, friends stop by, gifts are exchanged and opened, meals prepared, decorations going up and free time going down, the stuff will pile up yet again. I promise not to look at or comment on yours, if you promise to not trip over mine. Yes, my life is a mess and I am proud of it! I worked hard to get it that way. So how does this relate to art (besides that fact that creative people tend to be messy)? Well….If I were to put it all in a nice white gallery space in some major city, it could be “art”. If I called it a performance piece, I might even get help with the laundry!