How often do you hear "get involved"?
I seem to hear it every week at least. And say it at least once a month.
And believe me, I used to think 'getting involved' would lead me to my dream job. I got involved with several peak art bodies as a volunteer and saw every job in those organisations turn over at least twice and sometimes 3 times. Unfortunately I was more valuable to them as a volunteer. Some one to do the dull, boring, routine jobs that a monkey could do standing on its head. Never mind the two degrees and three diplomas I hold. Oh that's right! They are business related and not art! So the jobs I would have loved to do and stuck at for 20 years went to artists who moved on to further their 'arts practice' within 12 months.
So what does 'getting involved' mean? Does it mean getting on committees to do some hard yakka in organisation? Does it mean offering to do 2 hours selling raffle tickets, walking around and chatting to visitors? Does it mean just showing up, smiling prettily and drinking wine in 'supporting' the event/ artist? Does it mean sending a cheque off as sponsorship and getting your name mentioned in all the material? - You tell me.
Now why am I getting all this off my chest?
Well you see, the other day I went to a little chat put on by the local municipal powers (in support of the arts). I found it - interesting (my son found it boring) even as I came to the conclusion that all 3 speakers were more concerned about praising themselves than explaining what the term 'unexpected art encounters' meant, and how it occurred.
Now what I gathered from that little talk has given me a few ideas for future reference. But did I get involved with the talk or the events?
Well to be honest I would say 'no'.
One reason is that those 'unexpected art events' were held at places I never go to. Nor did I know they were on (of course that would mean they were 'expected arts events' wouldn't it?)
Was I asked to get involved and participate? No. I go to an awful lot of these municipally sponsored and hosted art events but I had never heard of the speakers and I can safely say that they have never heard of me. Nor did I get to talk to them - they were too busy chatting with those friends that that came to support them. So I couldn't even offer to 'get involved' in future events. Nor could I extend the offer to them to 'get involved' with the groups I am involved with.
As a late comer to the arts scene, I find that my skills and knowledge is of less value than the lack of skills and knowledge a new comer to the arts scene. What of you?
Until next week
This exhibition at the Pine Rivers Art Gallery is a visual feast.
The mosaics were the pieces that really caught my eye and my attention.
These pieces are truly a visual delight and have given a new meaning to 'One man's trash is another man's treasure'. I have never seen so much bits of broken china and plateware (I do hope the artist scrounged the op-shops and local garbage tip and .did not buy the china. Smashing brand new china into pieces would break my heart.) woven into such vibrant and imaginative pieces.
Since becoming involved with visual artists, I am finding my own writing processes are developing and extending into other venues and down different avenues. Like visual art, there are many different forms of writing and each have their own set of skills and techniques. Where a writer can excel above the norm is by taking those skills and applying them to another area or form. For example, did you know that Lorna Doone (R.D. Blackmore) is written in Iambic Pentameter? (At least passages are). Nor did I until a few years ago.
I guess what I am saying is the same thing. Use what you know and use it in a different place. Lateral thinking is a term some people use for the exercise. Use adjectives, metaphors, similes etcetera in new ways. Have fun with words and their arrangements. Use places you've been to and transplant them into your writing. Who says that cosy little shack as to stay on the beach?
Until next time
Star Zero is an exhibition I collaborated on. The artist is Carol Schwarzman, and the exhibition is hers. Curator Therese Morgan, asked me to write a few pieces to complement Carol's artwork. When Therese asked me if I would write something for the exhibition I was a bit dubious - even negative. However, I have decided that I do want to take my writing further so I leapt in and gave it a try. I sent her two pieces to see if that is what she wanted. (I kinda hoped she would say no. Instead she said yes.) Therese then emailed me images of 3 pieces of Carol's artwork.
The theme of the Exhibition is Mapping. I was able to write pieces on this theme, in both prose and poetry.
2 pieces were inspired by images of Earth taken from the Apollo 11 Space mission. They are how I would imagine how a space farer would see Earth for the first time (Pretty Bauble and First Glimpse). This led me to think about how newly discovered lands could appear to explorers like Cook and Flinders after months at sea, and how they drew the first charts of that new land, and a third piece (Hidden Land) came into being. The fourth piece is Finger Painting and is an interpretative piece on one of Carol's maps.
As many good writers know, describing a physical place is one thing, but we are never content with that. We move on and try to describe the world of the mind. Mirror, Mirror, is inspired by both one of Carol's works and a legend of a mirror that reflects not the physical appearance but the true nature of a person. My last attempt at writing to the theme is 'The Dark World'. This piece is lifted from an unpublished manuscript of mine and tells the character's journey back to consciousness.
My first attempt at Collaboration was not as daunting as I first dreaded. I actually enjoyed it.
Would I do another? If the right one came along, yes.
Thank you Therese, for coming up with the idea and asking me. And thank you, Carol, for allowing me to collaborate with you.
Fellow writers - if the opportunity is presented to you - take the plunge and give it a shot.
Until Next week,
Yours in Writing
I have been writing for most of my life. My son has said he can't remember a time when he didn't see me writing. And that is so true.