As I slept in my little warm cocoon last night, all hell broke loose in Boston. Police injured, a police car burned, and the National Guard was called in to restore order. Why? Because SOME protesters began looting and causing physical mayhem. Certainly not all. From accounts, it was a peaceful protest and both cops and protesters were focused on processing the tension in a non-violent way. What happened to George Floyd was a horrible crime. Inexcusable, and I am sure there WILL be justice for him. I just can't see how raiding boutiques and burning uninvolved people's hard work can help. It is just additional violent crime, and frankly the perpetrators hurt the cause.
I don't understand the world anymore. May the ones who behaved like this get to the back of the line for health care, too. Just terrible. This time in our world is stressful. We are sitting on a powder keg and all it takes is a spark for some to lose perspective. Maybe some of the fuel is the stress of isolation and being "told" to stay in/away from others? Everyone needs to take a step back, a deep breath, and direct anger where it needs to go, through productive channels. Easier said than done, I suppose.
It seems irrelevant to be posting today about finally completing a long project that turned into a personal marathon of sorts. On the other hand, it is completely relevant. Being an artist often means focusing energy into something beyond one's self in order to create, produce, and most important, learn, in a positive way. It always amazes me to see the complexity of the final piece, and how by following the tiny breadcrumbs of ideas, a layered and expressive result occurs. Each stitch, each bead, each thought...all adds up to something. While gorging on the creative process due to a deadline other parts of my life suffer -- my laundry doesn't get done and views of the domestic landscape are less than pleasant. Somehow it feels okay, though, because there is a meaningful reason. The day to day "doing" is temporary, ephemeral, almost inconsequential. With an art object, it is different. Something is coming into existence that did not exist before. We all get to choose where we put our energy in this one life we are given. I choose to be constructive and creative.
It is hard to justify the energy and expense needed to be an artist sometimes, but at the end of the day, it isn't a choice. It is a calling. Being mostly trapped in my house for the last few months has really brought home the fact that being an artist is one of the greatest gifts in the world a person could have. I have never been bored during this time - not even once. Every day has been a blessing. This has been an opportunity to carve out a little time to reflect, create, think, learn, and live in the mental world of art. The potential aesthetic "What ifs..." are too numerous to explore in one lifetime, and it takes discipline and effort to create in a focused way. In a world where so many are quick to scream, I am happy to be whispering quietly to myself and seeing what happens.
And, thankfully, it happened. The recent art piece is done and will be in the mail this week to Minnesota. Called "April Pandemic, 2020," it features an image from the Baldishol tapestry, a Norwegian textile fragment that the exhibit is built around. The surface carries stitched text, quotes of firsthand accounts of plague, from historical sources. At first the piece seems "pretty" - but upon close investigation it reveals the fear and ugliness of this unsettled time. When I began reading what others had said about past plagues (sources include ancient Greece, Rome, and Europe) it became clear that our reactions today are universal expressions of confronting the unknown. Whether it is Corona-19, Bubonic Plague, or Yellow Fever, we are a vulnerable lot at the end of the day. The medieval art style is not very realistic and somewhat impersonal. I like the contrast between using this "universal" form of imagery and the very personal and relevant reactions included in the text. Out of tension can come surprises. Cheerio.