Thursday, May 26, 2016

Playing in Public

One of the odd things about being an artist is that we play in public. As I'm writing this, I am playing with Cezanne in my studio. No, I didn't go to France, dig up his body and bring it back to my studio.  Although, that could be a grant worthy idea. I am playing with his still lifes: his sense of space and color and application of paint. But I am adding a contemporary sensibility of food to the setting.  It is all rather fun and has been enlightening as to what CZ (he let's me call him that) was doing way back then one hundred and fifty years ago.

One of these paintings was recently shared online. It will hopefully be shown publicly in the next year or so. I get to play with Zanny (he let's me call him that) and then I get to share it with all of you.  Now that can be loads of fun - like adding a gun to one of his compositions.  But it also can be scary, like making a painting about fishsticks. Really, I played with fishsticks and got burned.  Sometimes I will be playing with my paints and I find that I have accidentally wandered away from everyone else into the dark woods.  While there, I see a plate of fishsticks or something else amazing, but who's going to believe me?  I try to explain the wonder that I have seen, but they can't quite see the beauty or the humor of it all. Oh well, onto the next piece of play. Hopefully, it will entice you to play with it, too.

If you're playing and you're a public artist, well then, your mistakes are there for everyone to see. I talked about this with Amanda Lovelee recently while she took time to meet with me over her lunch break. We talk about play, thinking about art on a city-wide scale and about national and international appreciation of a great City Artist program in our home town, Saint Paul, Minnesota.



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