The subjectiveness of art: Why I can't help judging mine (and why you should,too)
I've never been a great artist.
Sure, I can doodle pretty damn good faces (only head-on and without expression), but my artistic abilities are supremely limited. There was, however:
- That time in fourth grade when I made a seven-inch Hannibal Lecter out of tin foil. (This is noteworthy in that I had never seen Silence of the Lambs, and also because this was just the beginning of a trend where I only replicated serial killers in art class.)
- That time in fifth grade when I diverged ever-so-slightly from human slayers and focused on the Prince of Darkness. I made a clay interepetation of what I thought the Devil's face looked like and then stuck it in a kiln. As I proudly walked my new piece of art through the front door, my mother quickly pointed outside and said, "No! No! Get it out! Out! Give it to your father!"
- And then seventh grade, when I returned to mass murderers in the form of a flowchart naming all serial killers and what they did. My mother recently reminded me that I once whipped this out at a holiday party unprovoked. I still think she is full of crap and would like to see evidence of this serial killer flowchart.
Other notable art projects include making a paper-mache mask of my face and stuffing it under my pillow to "dream on it" for an Intro to Religion college class. Whatever we dreamed of that night we were to put on the mask—I dreamt that I was Frank Zappa. While most girls in the class fastened glitter and sequins on their mask, I glued on a ton of facial hair. I got an A+ in that class simply because of this project—this may be why I'm also not very good at world religion in addition to art.
So I really suck ass at art, right? But that has never stopped me from really, really wanting to be an artist. I even went as far as to renting a "raw loft" space in downtown Los Angeles to try and channel the spirit of Andy Warhol. It came equipped with rats, cockroaches and cold water. Someone set fire to a van outside my window. Mutant mosquitos from the nearby recycling plants left quarter-sized welts on my leg. I barely slept at night because of the rats running alongside my bed. Typically I'd stand up on my mattress, my flotation device in a sea of rawness, and throw hangers into the black hole of my space, hoping one would land squarely on a rat's forehead and konk him or her out. A hanger would be chucked, silence would proceed, but inevitably within twenty seconds the rats continued their rampage throughout my loft. (On a gross side note, I also had flea bites on my ankles from the rats. This fact is only positive in that I could commonly quote Beetlejuice, "I've lived through the Black Plague and I had a pretty good time during that," when proudly showing off my ridiculous battle wound.)
When it became apparent that tin foil serial killers and loft spaces in Skid Row wouldn't make me an artist, I decided that I would be a performance artist. That seemed the easiest way to channel my creative bursts without having to become a master at anything. However, I'm not even good at that. I take very little of what I do seriously, so it would be difficult to not laugh at how much I look like an asshole dressed in a bear costume and shaving my legs in the middle of an art gallery. I also secretly love to loathe performance artists. I simultaneously sneer and blow kissy faces at Miranda July films.
My last resort was guerrilla art, but even then I'm too scared to not act like a law-abiding citizen in public. The farthest I ever got was putting P-touch labels on street lights and parking meters. I left what I thought were highly thought-provoking messages that would make a hurried businessman or over-stressed mother stop and reflect on their life. Instead I got parking officers peeling off my pride in a matter of seconds.
But I won't give up! No, I won't give up on art!
This is why I love the East Austin Studio Tour. Among all the supreme talent around Austin, they still allow me to show work; the beauty of E.A.S.T. and the beauty of Austin is that everyone has the chance to be an artist. Tonight we are having our E.A.S.T. opening night at Super!Alright! at 8 p.m. 301 Chicon Street, Austin, TX 78702.
Come by, say hi and pass silent judgement on my art. I do.