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.

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