Art Advice 5¢

I arrived at the empty cavernous building not knowing what to expect. Dampened by the chilling cold and pouring rain, I found discarded objects rusting and covered with years of dirt and grease behind the structure—calling to be included in my first installation. Perhaps if I had photographed what I was seeing—others might have felt the same. 

I did not realize I hoped my installation would be appreciated until it wasn’t. Dark saturated hues of ArtStreet’s murals and installations overpowered the rescued objects that commanded me to give them an aged pastel palette. The nightclub audience chatted through the single folk song—played amongst a set of hard rock and rap.

Ianna is an artist friend who travels to shows like ArtStreet with a hot pink painted booth modeled after Lucy’s booth in the Peanuts comic—instead of “psychiatric advice 5¢”, her sign reads “art advice 5¢”. Art advice sounds like a paradox but artists line up waiting for a critique. 

My dad loved to spew clichés and rhymes that included math and numbers. He would say things like “six of one, half dozen the other” and “a pint is a pound the world around.” I would argue—not if it’s a bakers dozen—not if it’s a pint of molten led. Absolutes like advice, beg for defiance—an easy task when the numbers don’t add up.

Ianna said I should not have added the drawings to the dimensional work because they are too different—it makes your work appear inconsistent. Adding, this disconnect lessens each disciplines apparent value. It hurt to hear and sounded like good advise.

Jan and I met in lamaze class and remained friends until she moved 400 miles away. Dr. Jan Manov was also a pain management specialist. In her 50 minute sessions, she guided her patients to verbally describe their pain as precisely as possible—not the speedy 1-10 pain scale used by most physicians. The result of this language based specificity makes the pain tolerable. Hmmm… I wonder if a world without labels would look like a chaotic navigational mess where everyone got along and cared? 

Perturbed by Ianna’s advice—I spent days defining as specifically as possible what she meant—looking at it from varying perspectives—grateful for the thought provoking questions it surfaced—along with the defiant smile that appears thinking about the noticeable inconsistency I created.