I myself am a very hardcore rebel and I have to report that 34 years into life I still don't have any.
I tell myself and others that my very specific reason for not getting tattoos is that I've had hives off and on most of my life and awful red angry rashes...having a clear uninterrupted skin surface is such an amazing thing to me that I don't want to go and start drawing on it with indelible ink. That's my line. And it's true.
But there's something else behind it.
A little bit of this:
Um I dunno, maybe, um yah okay - do you think? but then like well...No, I dunno, I'm not really feeling it, okay well whatever- I'll just wait. I guess.
You know, I hear that tattoos can be pretty painful, but I swear they can't be anywhere near as agonizing as an internal monologue steeped in hesitation, second guessing, a little hemming, a little hawing....regardless of the issue in question.
I even feel like any decision, even a bad one, is less excruciating than fence sitting... except maybe getting a tattoo on your neck of Calvin peeing on a Ford symbol. There's no justifying that one with "I just went for it." It's always painful. For everyone.
And no, wondering whether or not to get a tattoo isn't something that keeps me up at night. But I do find what does keep me up at night is when I haven't just buckled down and made a decision on something.
Veering a little off to the left for a moment, here's an installation by the artist Tadashi Kawamata:
We all know the effect wouldn't be the same if it were just a few chairs stacked up in a small pile like you might see next to a dumpster.
Kawamata isn't scrimping, or hedging his bets. He's going for it- no hesitation, no tentative hand. Even if he's looking inwards, expressing his ideas through his work, there's a generosity to what he's doing. He's thinking of what people want to see.... we just didn't know that we wanted to see a giant pile of chairs. But we did. We did!
Unless you didn't. Nonetheless, it's a showstopper, it's a jawdropper.
There's this youtube video I saw a few years ago, How to Make an Art by Hennessy Youngman; he explains that all you need to do to make an art is to take a banal everyday object and gather a tonne of them together so people can say, "I can't possibly sit on that many chairs". ART. Go watch the video here. This last paragraph will seem less like a poorly explained inside joke after you see it.
I laughed for like an hour after one of my teachers showed it in class in art school.
Anyway, all this has got me to thinking about a critique/piece of advice I got from a visiting artist at a residency. He mentioned how important it is to be generous, to put yourself in the shoes of your audience and think of how they experience your work. Not in a way that you're worried about what people think.. it's not that.
In a way it's letting go completely of what people think, and your own judgment of your work, and following your vision to the absolute end of its potential.
I think in order to do that you have to make the decision to go big, to go all out. We all know when an actor is self aware. We can all sense when people are hesitant, and I know when I've chickened out and didn't push my idea to the end of itself.
Like that time I coloured my hair with Crayola markers instead of bleaching it and getting pastel ombre unicorn hair.
It can seem too hard sometimes to go through all the steps to get to that final vision- and maybe this is all just very simple, but I find whenever I just make a clear decision and commit to it, after that everything just follows.
And you know what, I need your help with a decision.
If you have a moment, I'd be so stoked if you'd leave a comment below with a banal everyday object you would like to see a giant pile of. Because you know what, I'm having a hard time deciding what to put in my Christmas window display at the shop. Rather than lose sleep, I thought I'd ask your opinion.
Sooo....next museletter, in two weeks, I'll choose my favourite, announce it, and then actually make that giant pile and put it in the window for Nov 23.
Oh yes. Let's make an ART.
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And, whatever you do, or don't do, or can't decide what to do ( just leave a comment ;) !!) I hope you have a most excellent Thursday!