Friday, September 20, 2013

Artist Reception/Interactive Event Part III (the Why)

The most common question we hear these days is "why are you doing this?" Some people have connected to the work feel sad or frustrated that it will be taken down and divvied out to people. We feel a bit that way too, which is good -- that's part of what we are getting at! (We also feel thankful and excited).

The idea for giving the art away came to us after going to Christa's grandmother's estate auction. Grandma was moving in with one of her daughters so she had to get rid of most of her stuff. Some of that stuff was highly valued by the family members who came (an old Bible, a coin collection, a doll). Other pieces went for almost nothing. This got us thinking about how transient material possessions are, and how what one generation loves the next might dismiss without a second thought.

As artists we want to create something that is valuable and that might outlast us. We can can become very attached to our work and our ideas about what it should or might become. These dreams and plans are important to have, but they can also be damaging and distracting. Giving away the art was for us, a way of looking right in the eyes of the reality that this work is temporal. It may or may not last beyond our lifetimes.

This frees us also to take ourselves and our work a little more lightly, and to look for ways that it might make peoples' lives a little better, even if it's only for a few years or even (gulp) months. So (with this project) we decided to give the art away to whoever comes to the event.

Another image that was helpful to us as part of the "why"  is the parable Jesus told about the guy who invited his friends to a banquet. Many of them were too busy so the guy went out and invited anyone and everyone to come (including people you wouldn't usually want at your party).

Similarly, gallery openings and artist receptions tend to draw a certain crowd: art lovers, colleagues, and the artists' friends and family. We are hoping that by deciding to give away the art rather than sell it, that we can wholeheartedly invite whoever is interested (rather than focusing on the people who could further our career or afford to purchase the work).

This is a good chance for us as artists (and viewers) to consider (or reconsider) the reasons we make (or view) art. As we have thought about it, these things surfaced:

Art has been a gift to us, like nature is a gift.
We want to give others that gift too; the gift of beauty, rest, and a chance to acknowledge how little we have actually seen and open our eyes to see more.

Artist Reception/Interactive Event Part II

The Basics
Where: The Grace Albrecht Gallery in the Sauder Arts Center at Bluffton University, Bluffton, OH.
When: 2-4pm est, Sunday September 22nd, 2013.
What: Artist's reception and interactive event in which the show is disassembled and given to the people who attend -- and those people reflect on the theme and write about it on little yellow tags.

The Yellow Tags
Each tag will have space for participants to write about something they "have not seen". This could be something funny, imaginative, practical, personal and/or significant. For example, people might write "the alps", "a sunrise on mars", "a blue rhinoceros",  "my daughter finding a spouse", "hope that I can change", "a way forgive my brother" etc. And of course, people may elaborate.

The goal is that as the art of the You Have Not Seen installation comes down it will be replaced with peoples' responses to the ideas that generated the show in the first place. It should be an interesting and hopefully fun, thought-provoking and meaningful experience for those who participate.

Shooting photos and videos IS allowed. There will be people there shooting, and people attending are welcome to do the same. Because we're taking apart and giving away the pieces of this installation, images of the work and the process will be important for people wanting to remember it. However, we encourage you to spend time looking and experiencing the art and the space directly, not just through a lens.

If you'd like to have your perspective on the show added to other peoples', please tag your photographs #youhavenotseen on instagram or tag Christa Reuel on FaceBook.

Artist Reception/Interactive Event Part I

We plan to give away all the art at the artist reception this Sunday (Sept. 22nd). This is a sort of grand finale to the whole project. People have been asking us why we are giving away the art and how it will work. We keep thinking and planning, so I will try to put into words what we think it will look like at this phase. Remember, though, we've never done this before so we're expecting some surprises!

The What
The reception event will take place this Sunday from 2-4pm in the Grace Albrecht gallery at Bluffton University. The first hour (from 2-3pm est) will be a normal artist reception: art, conversation, a bit of food and drink.

When people show up at the gallery they will be given a piece of origami with a number on it. At three o'clock we will start the interactive piece. People who would like to take a piece of art home with them will be called in groups of five (based on the numbers on their origami).

When a group of 5 people are called each individual will explain to a helper which piece they'd like. The helper will work at getting that piece down (some parts are nailed into the wall and will take time to disassemble). The helper will also give the person a yellow tag to write something they "have not seen" on. When the piece of art is taken off the wall that tag will be hung in its place.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Last day of kickstarter, last week of the show

Today (Sunday, Sept. 15th) is the last day of our Kickstarter campaign for the You Have Not Seen; Roots and Wings art show
art installation at Bluffton University. If you want to jump on and help you can do so until 11pm tonight. We have more than doubled our goal which means that people have not only
covered our materials but also some of our time, which helps immensely with this project since we are giving away he art rather than selling it. It's been great  vision
to see people chipping in and helping make this vision a reality.

The show will be up in the Grace Albrecht gallery at Bluffton University until next Sunday (Sept 22nd) at 3pm, est.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Dailies after many many months

A while back I posted about my "dailies" -- the little regimen of disciplines I try to do 5 times a week (I average about 3/week at this point). I've done a number of revisions, and what I have now works pretty well. In 1 minute blocks I do little steps towards growth in a number of areas including spirituality, creativity, and personal growth. Here's a recent sketch from my dailies. The basic sketch took a minute - after my dailies I put in another 3 or 4 minutes to "finish" it.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Stay In Your Lane

There's a fine line between talking about something too much and not reminding people about something they really would like (and need) to hear more about. I'm trying to walk that line about the You Have Not Seen Project. It's a (very) little bit like deciding when to pass a semi in the mountains. There's a curve ahead but it's not that sharp, and this is the interstate, so I'll go for it.

"What is he talking about?"

"I'm not sure dear, keep reading."

"Well, maybe for another few sentences, but if it doesn't make sense soon I'm out."

Back to the You Have Not Seen art installation that Christa and I and a growing number of people are working on:

I'm excited about it. It keeps evolving. There may be a Surge On Smith concert now (it's not for sure yet). I write about it, but you really have to experience the art in person-- I say that, but hopefully if we end up with a little documentary you may be able to glimpse it at some level afterwards, through the eyes and words of people who were there.

But all that is still in the future. We haven't given away the art yet. And some of you might still want to help us do that. If so you have seven more days to hop on Kickstarter and make a pledge. After that all you can do is drive or fly to Bluffton before it's all over... or wait until we kickstart the documentary! :)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

We hit the goal

Today we hit our Kickstarter goal. There are ten days left before the end of the campaign. Hooray. Anything pledged from here on out goes towards giving away the art on September 22nd at Bluffton University. We're excited to see many of you (including a number of unexpected people) there.

If you want the longer update, please visit the Kickstarter page. Hooray! It's nice to hit goals, and it reflects an interest in and excitement about this project, and a lot of love. :) Thanks for both to all of you who participated to date. And thanks for those who are tracking from a distance as well.

Oh, this isn't self explanatory? I see. Well, it's my dad doing something to the roof of the garage. I thought it was nicely reminiscent of this blog post theme of reaching for a goal (although in this photo I think the goal is to power wash the shingles -- not sure the metaphor holds up to that level of scrutiny). I bet next time you'll nod and move on rather than ask, eh?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Volunteer squash (Or how the rhythm section showed up unexpectedly)

Toby Hazlett is one of those rare and wonderful people that keep showing up in my life (and projects) at just the right moment.

Most recently this meant that he turned up at Gabriel's studio with his son Aleks. They became the rhythm section I didn't know I needed (and couldn't afford).

I was particularly pleased to be the artist responsible for Alek's first recording session. He's young, plays a number of instruments, and has a good ear. When I was his age I was less than half of that -- young, with a decent ear... and I sort of played one instrument).

There are times to call the experienced veterans and other times where the best possible scenario is  the one that has everyone sitting at the edge of their seat, not quite sure they can pull it off. That was both Aleks and I at the Upperhand Studio sessions. It's too easy to get comfortable -- sometimes you've got to have something to wrestle to make art. I took along a cheap guitar to these sessions and fought it until there was a hole punched in the "too easy" that we could take all the beauty through. And then there were all the things we discovered along the way that no one planned.

So all in all, it was sort of a "volunteer squash" sort of recording session.