The fine details of a project are my favorite part. Get through the base design and then the real fun begins. Today was the day I got to add those details to my piece. As my new friends worked steadily beside me, I carved scratches, scuff marks and a few words. I rasped away rough edges. I poured paint and wax. I rubbed mud into crevices, and skimmed the rest away. I waited while a teabag left a little square stain. I loved doing it all.
The current feeling is a lot closer to a real-life exhibit atmosphere, and it feels like the class is long over. We are constantly made aware of deadlines and important but non project-related tasks, and we were introduced to the reality that making the art is a small part of the overall process of putting on an event. Still, M12 is an ideal place to get work done and none of this feels like a chore. If anything, the work-heavy atmosphere facilitates productivity while not making it seem overly stressful or something that is unenjoyable to do.
Work station had been evolving, meaning of my hands and the grass and the grid has been emerging. Organization imposed and unrewarded. Aliens born of our oblivity. Repairs made from mistakes. Habits built of intimacy. Art made of grass.
Things aren't always perfect, but they're often good enough. I crashed my car driving to the Elizabeth Stampede, but was determined to still make it, and I did. It is almost surreal how this experience brought my whole project together. At the Stampede, I stood in the boots that inspired my project, next to my friends who helped make the experience possible, and listened to Joe Diffie play "John Deere Green." That is the paint I used on my chair and also a song that has my mom's name in it, which inspired me to create an additional piece of art to hang on the wall. I feel very grateful to have been a part of this program, to have walked away from flipping my car without any injuries, and to have great friends who made sure I still made it to the show.
Today we finished our marathon of making and started the process of cleaning. We received an artist lecture from Piney Wood Atlas, an artist duo touring the country for artist residencies and collectives. This pair of young artists are also the curators of tomorrow's show. It's amazing to watch an event come together so quickly.
Coming up with a good idea is always a nice challenge. I went about this by first putting all my pictures of signs into one place to sort through them. Then wrote pages of notes on all the similarities and what significance they have and reduced it down to the main themes. After lots of thought and seeing what would work I finally decided on a design as well as a concept.
Making a floor. How do you make a floor without it looking like a deck? How do you make a floor that looks loved and lived in? Is it wrong to make a floor that is attempting to be something, when in reality is not? Does this make the floor a lie, or perhaps a facsimile? These were the questions spinning through my mind as I built my piece, my floor. By the end of the day, my boards were cut, stained, assembled and nailed in place, and still I crawled into bed, questioning if I could make my floor sincere.
I bandsawed forever today. It is an abrupt transition from our days on the road learning, moving, taking everything in, to staying still and producing something concrete. My studio practice is usually a very slow, precise, and planned out process, but there is no time for that here. It forces me to make split second decisions all the time. I have to be aware of my idea and my final goal of communicating it, but also willing to change, adapt and try new things. It feels like making in this way has shaken loose some long ago formed habits, and hopefully those changes will follow me back to my studio and help push my work forward.
Today was mostly work day and I was experimenting with materials. My idea was and still is very solid but I am adopting it to the environment based on what I have handy and the space available to me.
Byers seems pretty different from many of the small towns we stopped in out in Kansas and Oklahoma, but that probably goes for any town you manage to spend a decent amount of time in. Most everyone seems to know about M12 and has at least a vague idea that there are a bunch of artists over at Eddies doing some kind of work. It is surprising that such an open-feeling town exists so close to Denver, as there is really no feeling of urban influence. Essentially, Byers has a very cohesive feeling that seemed to be absent in much of the towns we stopped in.
Surrounded by stuff I won't use, white noise. Worried that this thing I'm making isn't enough. What does it communicate? I have committed now, and plan to spend hours with these seeds. Their barbs, their frog feet, their falling and blowing and snapping and drying up. As they dry they become more brittle, more fragile, more likely to pop up or down out of the grid.
The guys at the tire shop were happy to donate some used tires to my project. They can't legally resell them and have to pay to have them removed, so it benefits the tire shop, and it benefits me as free material. It was cool to see how art and the local community can have a symbiotic, win-win relationship.
In a desperate hunt for sand, I ended up walking down some train tracks that ended up by a creek. On this simple excursion, I experienced some pretty neat things. First I found this weird object by the tracks, and I still can't find out what it is. It looks like it went though some magnificent chemical reaction. I also got to watch some tadpoles in the creek. I totally forgot about tadpoles; they were one of those random things we learned about every year in school as kids, like it was vital information. The railroad tracks themselves turned into a bridge over this creek, meaning I could explore the architecture of this imposing and grand complex. What I found wasn't so pretty though: a lot of racist graffiti and signs of a bad fire on all the legs. It was disheartening. My fascination and admiration for trains runs pretty deep, and to find such devastation and negativity tattooed into the structure, was disappointing.
While rummaging through a cluttered thrift store in Strasburg, CO, I found this baby pink vintage dress made by 'Nostalgia'. Considering that nostalgia is the inspiration to my project, I found the detail comical. This human habit of mourning and thirsting for the past is one that both plagues and fascinates me. When I was in middle and high school, I was a borderline hoarder. I would save objects from movie tickets and photo booth strips to small toys I found on the ground and old letters. My bedroom walls were undetectable by the time I was in the 10th grade and my closet full of miscellaneous objects that couldn't make it to the wall. Once I left for college, my old room became this memorial of the emotionally inept emo kid I once was. It was deeply unsettling. Now I am attempting to mourn these objects for good by putting them to use in a mosaic of a millennial's past.
We got to feed store today. I have decided on my project earlier but there is so much inspiration around that I want to make multiple works or maybe only gather the objects for future projects.