I spent pretty much all of March working on something I’d be willing to show in an art gallery, because that’s what was going on in March.
My friends are crafty, artsy people. We like to get together, but we also like to feel intellectual while we’re doing so. So, approximately once a year, we have an art show. Lots of people contribute something they’re working on and we all take turns standing around and nodding, practicing our thoughtful expressions, and offering our own interpretations. I’m just kidding, it’s an incredibly supportive and loving environment and any pretentions are purely caricaturistic, and entirely in good fun.
I am not a gallery artist. I typically create for one of two reasons. First, because someone paid me to do it. And second, because I felt like doing it. The work I do for myself, just because I feel like, it is self-involved. It revolves around my world, my view of things, and it’s intended to teach me something. Either in the process, or as I look at it over time. Sharing it with others is an afterthought. Though, being the kind of person who has such an afterthought, is not an afterthought.
I work myself out fairly publicly. My friends typically know what I’m working on. They know why I’m working on it, and what I hope to achieve from it, because I tell them. Because I’m a big blabber mouth. If you spend some time with me, you’ll hear me pose rhetorical questions of a philosophical nature that the astute observer could rightly guess is a play at continually shaping my worldview, and clearly an attempt at inviting others to do the same. Or, if you lob some questions back, I’ll probably just tell you. So, with this piece, I wanted to practice a kind of reverence for privacy in the creative process, which I regularly withhold from myself. This was actually really tough for me. The project required multiple outings, sometimes with friends in tow. I definitely wanted to spill the beans. Interestingly, and perhaps ironically, I found that my decision to keep the project a secret also upended the personal nature of my process. With no one watching the sausage getting made, I found myself wondering what people would think far, far more. In the end, this was an interesting experiment for myself, but I prefer to be lost in my own head, rather than the hypothetical heads of others.
The piece was titled Only Beautiful Sunsets, and it was a big lie.
The piece was, first and foremost, a comment on myself. I lie to myself with my confidence, occasionally feigned. And with my personal brand, willfully allowing others to read meaning into my work and my actions where, in fact, non may be inborn. And so I lied with these very pieces, standing firmly on the assertion that they are indeed photographs of clouds against a sunset. It is also a comment on the other’s willingness to believe blatant lies, or at least acquiesce to them for the sake of appearances, such as the many who nodded approvingly as I assured them these images were definitely sunsets, and that their eyes must be deceiving them. Likewise, it was a comment on the subjective nature of art itself, where people often define their own beauty in art according to the lines drawn by the artist; more lies. These are not sunsets, and if they were, they would be tragically un-beautiful ones. No one objected, making my point for me.
Lastly, as I worked on these, I found undertones of the many discussions about “fake news” floating around my head. And, about the degradation of our environment, where we often find beauty in the slow gruesome death of nature around us, mistaking it for something superficial. This piece attempts to twist something ugly into something we might perceive as beautiful.
These three pieces are available for sale as set for just $50,000—because you, and me and art, we can all just go and fuck ourselves.