March 22, 2011

Today was one of those "Oh, right. I have a purpose" days.

A couple of weeks ago, I committed to attending a day-long workshop for artists wanting to make the leap from studio art to public art. Today was the day. Registration was at 8:30am, approximately 30 minutes after the muffled sounds of NPR on my clock radio start to make sense, and square in the middle of my stare-out-the-window-and-drink-coffee time. It was sunny and warm. I sucked down my coffee, said goodbye to the dog, and rode my motorcycle downtown. On the way, I swerved every so often thinking I was avoiding some kind of ash fallout, but realized it was cherry blossoms pelting me in the wind. Apparently, I am still shaking off the expectations of the fire season in Los Angeles.

Sponsored by the Metro Art Commission and presented by Lynn Basa and Joel Straus of Chicago, it was totally worth  the day-long time investment. I have an interest in public art. I like the principle of bringing art to the public and I like the idea of getting paid by an organization to make art that will be enjoyed by numerous people who wouldn't necessarily think about purchasing art for their private enjoyment. I like the idea of translating my art in scale and medium. I could go on. Still, as a painter and an abstract artist, I look at my work, look at some public art, and think, nope, no can do. Not going to cast bronze old people reading a newspaper on a park bench. Not going to cast an oversize banjo and talk about the human spirit in a cover letter. And so I continue to work in the studio until a workshop like this comes along and I get all excited about applying for public arts project again. The workshop struck a good balance between stoking one's enthusiasm and presenting a realistic and detailed picture of the prep work involved in simply applying for RFQ's. I also thought it would be a good opportunity to meet some other people in the art community and did so. I also foisted a couple of my announcements for my show at the airport- which counts as a tiny step into into public art- into other people's hands. I thanked the hosts probably too effusively, but sometimes I feel starved for information and contact with other artists, so at least it was sincere. It was a relatively good day and I felt hopeful about living here and making art. On the sad side, I learned of a friend's sudden death and the imminent decline of an elderly neighbor with Parkinson's. I scattered some more grass seed and tended the area where the dog  mud wrestles with rocks.

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