This short piece references an Independent Study I did at RISD about 4 years ago in which I created one sculpture every day for 6 weeks.
As I patiently wait for the epoxy to cure I ask myself why I am doing what I’m doing. Ordinary people wake up in the morning, eat breakfast, go to work, read a book take a walk. Anything within the typical spectrum of normality. So what the hell am I doing at 8 in the morning holding a 1970’s Mercedes car speaker in an epoxy mold waiting for it to cure? I am not trying to prove my devotion to my work, that much is certain. All I can think is that I woke up this morning with an insatiable desire to create. Create until there are no more materials with which to work. So here I am, sitting on a stool in the studio I’ve somewhat illegally set up for myself in the 4th floor drawing studio of the Industrial Design building of the Rhode Island School of Design. I look to my left and see my other works in progress strewn across about five desks, each of which is ordinarily reserved for one person. A crab shell filled with resin, a condom containing grass seed and fertilizer, a glass pickle jar enclosing metal drill shavings suspended in water, are just a sampling of what I see, remembering having made each one only days before. Flannery O’Connor says that, “the longer you look at one object the more of the world you see in it.” I rather like that idea. I turn it over in my head as I patiently wait for my epoxy to harden, pondering what objects I will transform next and an even bigger question, -why?-.
If you see the world in objects as Ms. O”Connor says, what happens when someone like me goes and transforms those objects? Does the world change or do people simply see the world differently? And if so how? Perhaps it could remind them of how beautiful the world is, a reminder I think we could all use a little more of. So if that’s true then I am making objects for other people. I don’t want to risk sounding selfish but when I make things I don’t really think about how it will make people think or feel. Maybe later when I’m analyzing the piece but almost never as I’m making it. What drives me then? There must be something there, underlying and supporting my strange desire to make things. I definitely pay homage to the idea of spontaneity, in both inspiration and creation. I also insist that my mind stay fluid to allow for my self titled “recursive process” to occur. By that I simply mean that instead of seeing the finished piece in my head when I start and demand that the final look just like it (a rather stiff approach to creation I feel), I let each and every action within the creation of a single piece dictate what will come next. I allow the art itself to control me in a sense, telling me what it wants rather than the other way around. Therefore, when someone asks me why I felt like the steel pipe needed to have wood shavings in it and covered with plastic domes for example, I have an easy answer. It told me to. This answer of course would be somewhat of a cop out for a lengthy very disjointed attempt at a real answer. I feel somewhat afraid and therefore very much against questions like that. Alas, I reconcile that when people see objects as strange as the ones I am making, they will ask questions and demand responses or else their world simply fails to make sense. And nobody wants that. Nobody. After all, what is a world without sense? Is it chaos? Is it confusion? Or is it inspiration and beauty and freedom? Another writer, Grace Paley, says about her exploration of the world that “In the end, probably all I’ll have to show is more mystery- a certain juggled translation from life, that foreign tongue into fiction, the jargon of man.” In other words, nothing is ever fully understood but attempts to get at the truth are essential for understanding the world, ironically a constant pursuit that only engenders more mystery.
Inspired by Robin Hill and Leslie Fontana