“Image you’re a border patrol agent, cartel member, or rancher, watching a wall all day through binoculars, then see someone whip out a cello bow and start making music and noise from the wall. How does the relationship to the object change? Does the observation of something change its behavior? How does that change your relationship to the people on either side? Does it create the potential for something more? Can you build a bridge instead of wall? “
When I was a teenager, while reading Truman Capote’s The Grass Harp, I read a passage, that unfortunately, I no longer recall, and was overwhelmed by the belief that Truman Capote and I had shared a feeling– exactly. I was awed by the intimacy of writing, and though I had always loved to read, it was that moment that I fell in love with books… and Truman Capote, and in the years ahead any other writer who could enter my private heart in that way.
When I read Mary Szybist’s poem , Happy Ideas, I was drawn to it because of the quote by a favorite artist, Marcel Duchamp. It is more his method than his work I admire. Happy Ideas, is a perfect reflection of such methods. When I came to the reflecting glass line I could feel myself fill with that wonderful energy, when two people connect, through words and ideas and the magic of art. And I was grateful. Hello blue soul. Hello. (hear it here)
In my early years as an artist I felt the need to justify…to defend the materials, explain the concepts, vindicate a loaded image. I mean who thinks of jewelry as art right? Especially jewelry made of garbage.
It disturbed me if I didn’t fully understand what I was presenting, and that sometimes I created an object with controversial intent. It’s comical in retrospect. I was a very mannerly artist indeed.
Likewise, I tried to write comprehensible poetry. If I wrote a line I didn’t understand, a word that arrived as a sound, something of questionable ilk, I removed it. How sad, I literally erased the moments of breakthrough out of fear I couldn’t explain myself. Where I got the notion that art should or could be graspable, defendable, I don’t know. I believed in what kills art; but I let that go, long ago. When I stopped explaining, I was more inspired, and more open to synchronicity in my art and life. Accessory is a good example.
I was thrilled when I found the little broken gun on a filthy Cuernavaca curb. I could not help but wonder what goes through the mind of a person who walks up to a sales clerk and hands them money for a toy machine gun. From the size of the gun it appears to be made for a five or six year old hand. I know boys (mostly) love guns, some claim this is genetic. And I’m seldom disturbed by other sorts of toy weaponry, cowboy revolvers for instance. But something about a replica of an AK47, the world’s most popular assault rifle, as Nicolas Cage puts it in God of War, placed in the hand of a six year old as a gift, perhaps even a reward, shocked me, and I’m not easily shocked.
It was obvious the gun would become a brooch, my favorite form. I envisioned it crustily sparkling with beads in Day of the Dead colors before I my walk ended. Then the title came to mind: Accessory…I was delighted by the double entandre: adornment and complicity.
Next, the search for the beads. A few months later, I was in the market in Tepoztlan and there was a vendor with sheets spread out, covered in piles of beads. It was the first time I’d seen beads for sale in a Mexican Market. One sheet was piled high with small bag of seed beads, exactly what I needed, at 3 pesos a bag, just my price range. I chose four bags, one with mixed beads I hoped would have sufficient variety to accent the base colors I’d chosen.
In the mixed bag I found six gold bugle beads: bullets– and one red, one white and one blue bugle bead to make a solid allusion down the barrel of my piece. In the whole bag there were only these nine bugle beads. That is the everyday magic of art.
Fearlessly, unapologetically, open your heart to its intentions and it will provide.