Seeing Yourself in a New Light

Seeing Yourself in a New Light

Jan 6, 2020

There I was, feeding mayonnaise to the tuna.

No really, but I have always wanted to use that in a lead off.  Actually, I was watching a documentary on Hulu.  In case you don’t recall, I’ve been over Netflix for more than a year now, over the net neutrality turnabout they did on version two.  I’m not that bitter about it, but I do love to take every opportunity I can to poke them in the ass with a stick, since I think they are hypocrites and their shows aren’t that good anyway.

If you are any kind of artist, maker, craftsperson, or, oddly enough, an activist, I’m going to suggest that you watch this movie, tonight if not sooner.  Oh, right, what movie?  It’s called Obey Giant.  It’s about an artist – a very interesting guy, in my age group – named Shepherd Fairey.  Even if you have no clue who he is, you’ve seen his art – the entire world has seen his art, in the form of the HOPE poster that was used during the Obama campaign.

[LISTEN: 6 Strange podcasts you probably haven’t heard of (yet) – PODCAST EPISODE]

The quick and easy synopsis is that this kid who liked punk rock and skateboarding becomes an artist, who, through a strange twist of fate, becomes the famous creator of a very famous poster.  Then his life goes to shit but he keeps on keeping on, since he knows that he’s an artist, and that he is making real art.

What exactly is real art, pray tell?

Thanks for asking!  That’s where this blog comes into the picture…  so Fairey was a street artist – graffiti, stickers, that kind of thing – first and foremost, and he talks about how in his early days he had a hard time believing that he was really an ‘artist’, especially when he had his first real gallery show in a reputable gallery.

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I’m not going to give any more of the story line or the plot away, and there are a few bits in the movie that have more impact than other parts, but the moral of the story is that having a commitment to being an artist, a maker, a creator, sometimes that takes a lot more conviction, and the courage of that conviction, than we ever believe it will when we first start dabbling in little projects here and there.

Did I mention I was also stitching the tips of my fingers right off while I was watching?

Oh, right, nope, I did not mention that yet.  Or that I also watched another documentary called Ballet Now, which details how Tiler Peck became the first woman to curate the BalletNOW program?  It takes a long time to hand stitch about a thousand freaking beads onto something, which I am doing as part of a little art project for my new clubhouse.

Yep, that’s the nickname for my new home office/studio space that I’m crafting (see how I did that?) out of the old guest bedroom.  And of course, now that there’s no real bed in that room, I’ve got more than one person lining up to spend some nights in that room.  How could it be anything else?

Reality is that maybe my new project – my new art piece – for the clubhouse, well, maybe it won’t be that fantastic.  Or perhaps it will be exactly what I see in my mind.  Since in my mind, it’s all come together beautifully, even mysteriously.  Especially since it’s a chair that I’m recovering – due to an unfortunate WaterBra incident (if you’re not GenX you will likely never have even heard of a such a bra) that ruined the beautifully re-upholstered cover that was on the chair.

[TALK TO ME: Let’s talk about design, art, coding, projects or collaboration – QUICK FORM]

I’ve been working on this thing in fits and starts for about two months now, but I haven’t even started to put anything back on the frame, since of late I’ve decided to completely change the style of the outward cover, if that’s possible.  I’m doing a bit of research and hopefully will be stapling any day now but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

How can you be sure that art is art?

I recycled the collage idea that I had for the pair of chairs in the living room – yes, my entire house is like one big arts and crafts laboratory – and decided to go with that idea as a counterpoint to the fake sheepskin I’m going to use (which was also an idea for the back side of the living room chairs but I think, after looking at a few shelter mags, it’s going to be a better use of materials with it inside, like a snuggly blanket, although I am planning to make the seat cushion reversible so one doesn’t have to sit on faux sheepskin when it’s 120 degrees outside.

Perhaps this sounds silly, but this time the new chair is an art project.  It’s not just a piece of furniture; it’s going to be a hand crafted, well thought out, piece of actual art, that anyone with a brain might want to put into their home or office.  How do I know this?  I don’t know who will want it, or if I will part with it, but I do know, I have to know, and I have decided that I know, that it is, indeed, art.

Pretty much every person I hang out with who builds, makes, or does artistic creating has a healthy dose of imposter syndrome, just like Shepherd Fairey, before he was a famous artist.  Hell, he’s got a skate apparel company on the side that enables him to pay his bills so that he is able to run around getting into trouble for creating his street art.

Is art really in the eye of the beholder?

I think not; but with a caveat.  Art is in the eye of the creator.  We don’t all have to like the same pieces, genres, or mediums in order for someone to call a project art.  I’ve decided, for instance, that this year I’m going to spend more time working on art – graphic art, textile art, whatever – than I am going to spend on social media.

So each day, I’ll keep track of how long I spent on social media, and the next day I’ll get that amount of time to work on my creative pieces.  I think that’s a pretty fair trade off, and as a matter of fact, I’m already spending a lot less time on Facebook (although not Instagram, but I only really look at creative pieces on IG) each day than I have previously.  Of course I also think Zuckerberg is a hypocrite as well, so I’m over FB as much besides a couple of times daily skim at this point already.


Kind of like giving up sugar for Lent when you don’t even have a sweet tooth to start with, eh?  Don’t hate.


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