Gongs and Other New Things
I'm excited bout the new art studio and the theme of writing letters. I called it New Thing Art Studio with a stamp for a logo. I think I love most about painting is that I can think about the symbols and the words and images as I work. They all seem to congeal as though I were reading a story or a letter from myself, or even from some wiser person than me. I guess stamps and letters are out of date but still important to me. My message in a painting is the same as a letter in an envelope.
I found that symbol of the stamp that has been postmarked many places in my daily life. I found it in a collage, I made of my self-portrait in 2010 for one of the only art shows by the sketchbook project in Brooklyn, New York. I used an old frame that had been burnt grey in a recent house fire. I made a collage and glued it into the frame (since they said no glass). In the collage, I am far away from a small red stamp with a postmark on it. It floats there like a promise.
It's hard to justify being a painter, sometimes. It can feel like we don't produce anything. We don't help people is what I often feel. But the more I learn about being a painter, the more I know it's something I cannot stop being. That I must paint, that I will always be an artist. The more I understand those things, the more I also understand that art is producing something and that it is helping people, and not just me.
After a bit of warming up these past few months, I begin to feel that each painting is more like a sculpture, that it is something hard with substance beyond the canvas, something loud that I bring into being, like a gong. It has a sound, a resonance. I like the idea of it being "specially delivered." That it is signed, sealed, and certified. I love the idea of something lovingly sent out into the world to find its way, to make a home in someone's heart. To live and grow with them in their work and life. To make a home where there was just a wall before.
I love being an artist. And I thought I might just do it for a few months but the more I work, the more I think I will never stop.