Now What?

Now what?

As you know, I just went thru a huge cleanout of my ephemera and studio. It was a clean sweep! At first I was gingerly picking up each piece of paper and making that decision...keep or throw away. This was insanely tiresome and if I performed this action for every single piece of paper in my vast collection, I would still be sorting the first box. Well, I had about 10 boxes, and 4 bookshelves...so this process might have ended when I was like maybe 90?
This desk has been moved out. but some of the stuff on it remains...
After the first 2 boxes, I got quicker about it. It began to feel like flipping thru magazines. I tore out/kept a few pages, and the rest of the box got dumped. By the time I got to the 6th box, it got ruthless. A quick glance thru the stuff and in the trash it went. I am certain little precious pieces of paper that I have hoarded for maybe a dozen years went in the trash. If we had the time or notion to look thru what I threw away, we would probably have decided to save 1/3 of it and cried over losing the rest of it! What's done is done! I had to get thru it and by the end I was tired of caring about what to keep. Moving on...

After the huge purge, I found myself left with only 2 boxes of stuff to use for future work. In addition to the meager portions I left myself, there's this finished PILE O' WORK that I have done over the last 12 years. And man, it's a HUGE pile! I have been prolific! I have done a lot of growing and experimenting over these years and it's all there in piles of art, in folders, in portfolios, in books and sketchbooks, it's freakin' everywhere! And I am choking on it.

I tend to be a serious freak about saving my art stuff too which doesn't help the situation. I have sketches I did in my 20's. I have watercolors I did in my 30s. I have collages up the wazoo from my 40's. I used to think I was a really talented person, gifted even, but undiscovered. I imagined the days after my death, collectors wanting all my stuff, the good the bad the ugly. I thought about my kids looking thru these folders and  filing cabinets and having to decide the value, Or what to do with it all...Crazy? Probably. I am my own art hoarder! It probably isn't healthy and I am a dreamer, tee hee...but my new concern is that my art should be shared, viewed, loved. These pieces are living in the land of misphit toys/art, like in the Rudolph story. It's not fair to them. It's not fair to the world!

I don't have the room for all this art. It may be difficult for you to understand. Imagine 40+ framed works of art in various sizes and shapes, some larger than 30 x 20 inches..... Some are from my first solo show. Some are from the second solo show....or from the craft type fairs I tried earlier in my career. There's a bunch of them. I never felt it made sense to UN-frame them. And so, they are in piles...HUGE piles, protected with old sheets and bubble wrap. It's really quite an ugly pile at this point, since the beautiful imagery is completely covered up with packaging materials and hidden from public view. These things take up a large area, and seriously, it's a dead area. I don't go looking thru this stuff, I don't have another show till this spring...and besides, when I do, I want to show newer work, not stuff I did 10 years ago. What a waste of art! To have these things sitting there collecting woodstove dust.

Then there's the pile of work that never got framed!!! Holy shit! Talk about art....there's an AMAZING amount of work that I hold onto that really I need to deal with. It's out of control. And kinda sad really. Sad that they are sitting unloved. Some pieces are not my favorites, or my best work, and may better be described as experiments. Others are treasures that I seriously loved making and even now when I look at them I swoon, however they just escaped framing. Some are just plain old BIG and never made it to be framed. There's a bit of everything. And it's all bothering me....and taking up space. AND not serving any purpose....like changing someone's opinion, or inspiring someone, or simply pleasing someone by hanging on their wall.

a former mess.....I have these "before" pix. I need an "after" pic!
A lot of it is money. $$$. People are broke! We live in America! It's hard to justify spending money on pretty art to hang on a wall when you have a car payment due, a mortgage, out of control credit cards etc...... I personally don't believe MONEY should ever be a reason that we do without beauty, creativity and inspiration. Honest. Money shouldn't matter. But of course, it seems to drive the bus.

What to do. What to do???
I would love to get these little art pieces, my little children, my creative spawn, out into the world and in the hands of those who may appreciate it, or be inspired by it. It's a problem! I have been thinking of creative ways to do this and I have an idea..... and that's for the next post!


Monkeybrain said...

Now THIS pic makes me feel better... because it looks strangely like my work area. I'll be honest, I haven't read the post yet... but I LOVE this "before" picture!

Julie Sadler said...

No way. There is NO WAY you are going to convince me that your work area looks like this, Mr. Meticulous.

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