So ... after returning from a week in Florence, Italy, Steve and I cleaned house/business/studios for two days in order to participate in Columbia Open Studios, April 1st and 2nd. Last week was busy ... trying to catch up on waiting custom picture framing, sort through over 2000 Italian photos, and get ready for another big weekend. The excitement started on Thursday. I was publicly honored on Boyd Plaza, right in front of the Columbia Museum of Art, as one of four "Masters of Art" by Jasper Magazine. Above is my first spread in the magazine. There's another spread with installation images.
Soon, I'll be allowed to use the portrait as my new Facebook profile picture. I'm excited to make the change. Too many women my age seem to use pictures that were taken a decade earlier. To me, that's silly. I know I look older. I'd rather use a photo that reflects how I really look today. Of course, I do mean ... "how I look on a good day and through the lens of a professional photographer". LOL! This picture fits the bill.
The words were my answers to the following questions:
1. Will you please share with us what you feel is your greatest artistic accomplishment?
This question might as well ask which of my two sons is my favorite. Even before I became estranged from both of them, I had no answer. How could I? Currently, my only hope is for a brighter future. Such is the case with my artistic practice: My greatest artistic accomplishment is yet to come. I am hopeful for it.
2. Will you also please share with us what has and continues to most inspire you in your work?
I could say that the concept of time inspires me most. I could say that the accumulated memory inherent in discarded objects inspires me most. I could say that the desire to honor the tens-of-thousands of anonymous, female makers who decorated their homes with handwork inspires me most. These are all ways to sugarcoat my greatest truth. Death inspires me. For me, there are fewer days ahead than in my past. I'm in a race to the final day, hoping to achieve some level of memory, some level of respect, some work of art that will speak beyond the grave. I think I said it best in the following artist statement:
These truths are always with me: I am a female lacking an academic arts education in a male dominated world bent on high-brow approaches to art-making underscored with critical words written by trained professionals. I am a post-menopausal woman with years of experience and mountains of visual expressions waiting to take form. I work and will continue to work because I have something to say in spite of the many obstacles. I work with the faint hope that "something", perhaps just one little work of art, might be kept through coming generations, cherished ... admired ... remembered ... regarded for its quality ... something to mark my existence on this planet. I work because ...
I AM NOT INVISIBLE.
3. What one piece of advice would you offer to nascent artists?
The next morning, Steve and I were up and on our way to Daytona's International Speedway in Florida. Months earlier, Steve applied for free tickets for the on-camera audience of American Ninja Warrior, a favorite television show. We forgot about it until getting an email last week ... offering two places to the 2 AM Saturday morning taping.
American Ninja Warrior is an obstacle course. Several cities throughout the USA hold qualifiers and city finals. Finalists go to Las Vegas for a national obstacle course. There's a million dollar prize for the fastest finisher. Until last year, no one managed to finish. It is all very exciting. Yet, what we love best is the fact that it is filled with positive energy. All the competitors cheer for one another. Family and friends jump up and down shouting encouragement and waving signs. Everyone moans an empathetic "aah" every time someone falls into the water.
Steve and I checked into a hotel, slept until midnight, and got into line with all sorts of other fans. The fans are as diverse as the field of competitors. It was so much fun. We stayed until the last "walk-on" attempted the course at 6 AM. (Some of the walk-on competitors had camped out for over two weeks for this opportunity. Most competitors are selected from videos sent to the program.)
(Above: The Warped Wall.)
We'd highly recommend attending any of the American Ninja Warrior filmings. It was fun ... especially since we went back to our hotel room to sleep until 10 AM! What a night!