Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Memory's Not What it Used to Be...

But, I think, in some instances, it has actually gotten better.
For those of you who know me and the bodies of work I have been kicking around for the last couple of years, you know that memory has played an important role in my subject matter. Whether it is sketching out an idea for an installation or fleshing out the details of a dream-inspired short story, I rely on my fractured memory to piece together the details. In the short story I am presently working on, I deal with this issue directly. In an effort to honor my grandfather, I am trying to tell the story of my relationship with him, through a series of conversations which prove what I "know" about him to be false. This story is based on actual conversations and, since beginning this project, I have all but lost faith in my ability to recall accurate information.
However, there is still something beautiful to be found in this inability to conjure. The invented events do not change the amount of love that I felt for my grandfather. They are simply born of assumptions I made about him based on clues that I remember quite vividly (for example: I thought he worked for YELLOW trucking company because of a notepad he always had next to the phone in the kitchen). My ability to "make something up" has leaked out into my day-to-day activities and perverted my ability to recall facts... but has not affected my enjoyment of these snack-sized memories. I loved my grandfather, I loved his notepads, and I loved the fact that I believed Mentos didn't exist outside of my grandparents house.
To counterpoint, I actually HAD a memory today. As in, I recalled something that I hadn't thought about or known in a very long time. My friends and loved ones know it is very common for me to forget something, but this moment of remembering (without someone saying, "remember when...?" and describing a scene until I finally recalled it), is rare and special.
I was working on a drawing for Fleisher's Dear Fleisher invitational biennial benefit exhibition (not the piece featured above, I won't be able to show this new piece until the sale and exhibition at the end of September), and the particular blue I was using to fill in an area of the drawing looked, for a moment, EXACTLY like the sky at my cousin Courtney's house when we were kids. Then I remembered how special the sunsets were there. She lived in Bethlehem, and I lived in Stroudsburg. In my hometown, uninterrupted skies were impossible to see through miles and miles of dense forest and rolling hills. Bethlehem, however, was fairly flat (where Courtney's house was) and, on clear evenings, you could ALWAYS see the sunset from her swingset. We would make sure that we were sitting on top of the monkeybars at the right time to see the pinks and oranges in the sky, and we would talk and laugh and hang upside-down.
She also had romper-stompers (hand-me-downs from Grant), a monkey swing, and Grape Escape. My only punishment for this bounty of worldly delights would be the occasional dinner with beets as a side dish. I still think they taste like dirt.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Worth Saving For

Ok. I just made a 29th birthday pledge to myself to cut down on my material posessions. I intend to root through my closet, bookshelves, art supply bins, and that dreaded cage in my basement that houses my most expendable items to find the things I do not use and purge them from my life. But of course, in the spirit of all things born of good intentions, I have already deviated from this good natured task. Yesterday I stopped at Ann Taylor to use the birthday gift card they gave me on a new top (it expires at the end of August! I HAD to!), I brought a discarded storage box and a sewing machine in from the sidewalk (someone HAS to have a use for it, I just need to check and see if it works before I offer it up), and today I have already recieved a lovely birthday present from my coworker, James, and a beautiful fashion illustration textbook from my boss, Alison.
And then I went to the Fabric Workshop's website.
I am putting together a sheet of information for my Product Development students about block printing and silkscreening, and (in the off-chance that one of my students becomes interested in textile design) I wanted to put together a sheet of information about the Apprenticeship program at the workshop, and was snooping around the website for info and cool images. One of the special things that the workshop offers are artist multiples... and one of the featured artists is KIKI SMITH. YES!!!! So I have posted images here of some of the items you could purchase at the gift shop by Kiki- a creepy peoplehead bird that has a motion detector inside and it makes some sounds or something, and a ceramic sheep bank.
So, once I get rid of 100 or so of my worldly posessions in this mega-purge, I'll reward myself with my very own work of Kiki Smith art. *sigh*