11/1/21 email to Faith (the way I write to Faith, I realize only writing this way, is kind of in the same spirit)
9:38 AM (26 minutes ago)
Good morning Faith!
I've been trying to create as much as possible before today (mid term) so that you have more to look at. Anyway, here is a link to a dropbox folder for this semester with some visuals.
Since our meeting (which was awesome, thank you so much for having me!!!) I have created two sculptural sketches - things that I have been thinking about, but making them at a small scale.
I started with the silk petals, they are a halfway between organic and synthetic being a silk / synthetic mix. This piece came about really organically over a week, the week after I saw you!
The second piece is made all from plastic. Fully synthetic. But now there's an option for (a potential) public art piece. All the materials in this can stay outside. I'm still finishing this one up, it took much longer because I made all of the petals. More than that, there is a transforming of the plastic bag into a tarp material through heat. Then comes the stencils, cutting and sewing. Then the wire creates the form. Lots of steps and labor, but I love that it can go outside.
But then I started to think, why does the longevity of my work matter to me? I think it's a bit of ego, but more so, I like the idea of an unmediated playscape of artwork that people can experience without me, a gallerist, or anyone watching. But, I think that there is something interesting to me also, about exhibiting a work for a set amount of time in a public place, only to pop up somewhere else for another set of unknown time. This idea is really taken from how mushrooms operate. Pop up when the conditions are right, light, water, etc. But they don't stay forever, and they might pop up somewhere else in their mycelium network. Lichen don't have a mycelium network, but they spread asexually and sexually, but site specific at the same time.
This led me to start thinking about what it would be like to work with all organic materials, and then serendipity struck! Trader Joes gave me their "garbage"!
Long story short, I used to dumpster dive food and flowers from Trader Joe's and was able to start a relationship with them where they call me if they are throwing out flowers. I got a call last week to pick up a bunch of flowers that were about to be trashed, and now my garage is FILLED with flowers. I'm experimenting with drying / preserving the buds and stems for this third sculptural sketch.
I would love to touch base now that I have sent visuals to discuss. I'm flexible Wednesday - Saturday this week if that works for you.
I hope you are doing well and look forward to talking with you. Also, I found myself in a William Blake rabbit hole with consciousness, figured you of all people would want to know since you inspired it! William Blake is incredible !!!!!
Today or around today, (I didn’t think anything of it at the time) is the anniversary marking the four years I have been in recovery. I know that means something different for everyone, but I had a really nasty experience with depression, eating disorders, addiction and more… but the way I had to self organize and discipline myself, change my perception of myself, so much more, but that process - I think that’s what makes lichen or any other form of autopoiesis personal for me. When I see how any organism can self organize around survival, that’s incredibly inspiring to me. I was sick at a very young age, and I was told that I needed x, y and z to feel better. Well what do you do when food and the prescribed medication becomes added fuel to the burning fire of addiction? That’s what I was up against. My relationship with western medicine was killing me, food was killing me, it wasn’t looking good. But hiking in the alpine zone, after I was told over and over also as a kid that I had to be careful with my asthma (I couldn’t run a mile), I saw a sunburst lichen, and that ignited this connection that has brought me down a rabbit hole, but ultimately led to my recovery.
I let nature teach me how to listen to myself again, I don’t know how else to put it. Medicine, phycologists, rehabilitation centers, psychiatric hospitalization - none of that worked, it caused me more pain, more sickness and ultimately more suffering for myself and my family.
So when I learned about how lichen are bioindicators, or flowers can hear crunching from bugs, or that plants have agendas - that just gets me so excited. I was taught to focus on me and my problems, and I understand the merit in that, but I love learning how to solve them by listening to the world around me. It’s been here a lot longer and doing that changed my life and my relationship with food. Food became my medicine even though that’s what was killing me in the first place! So powerful. Consciousness is powerful. Then I realize how much I’ve done as a human in the past four years of my life, it really feels like a rebirth. I can’t remember a lot from my past because of the malnutrition aspect.
To bring this into my artwork - artwork and the repetitive tasks I would create for myself, were my way to self discipline and focus on something based in creation, not destruction. Artwork kept me alive in the hard times. But now that I have been sober for four years, I can finally start to listen to others. I am okay, but the world around me is seemingly falling apart. Suicide everywhere. My friends from my protest days are dying off. My family has mental illness popping up like weeds and that trend is happening everywhere. People are unhappy, and the part of me that is okay now, but came from a really dark place, wants to help by highlighting my own and nature’s self organization or autopoiesis.