Artist & Writer, San Francisco Bay Area

Within, the Project: It Is…

Public access:

Here’s a new exploration, and I want to document it. It’s what I’m doing as I go, rather than keeping the process private. Instead of posting an end result of an experience I had on my own (i.e. finished product art), I am hoping to draw people in to experience this with me as I create a series of paintings. I am trying to crack open the process from the beginning, and I want to see what happens. I am un-private-ing this process from the start, and I’m not sure where it will go. Maybe other artists can agree that it’s not easy to let go of this aspect of art making. It seems safer to present a finished piece. Is it?

I’m exploring the nature of public/private–what we share & what we don’t. What is private? How is that being defined? And what do people do with what we offer of ourselves? What trust is involved? And what is lost?

The Direction It’s Taking:

I started posting these statements with the #within hashtag on Twitter on Friday, January 7th, 2011 maybe an hour after I came up with this idea. What is the idea? To explore what is held #within & what is not. And to do that in this way.

Actually, an aspect of the idea started in late December, when I wanted to make something. Make. Art. Physically creating something that could be physically experienced in a physical space as art. Why? Some people think–isn’t that what artists do? Some artists ask–are you still doing that? There is a reason. When I left art school, I didn’t have a portfolio. I did too many undocumented performances or art experiences. Some people study painting and turn to conceptual art. I studied conceptual art, and now I’m trying painting. Conceptually? Here I am, I’m working backwards. Or am I? I don’t value object art that can be commodified more than art that cannot be. Am I now trying to make a commodity? Make something that could show or sell? Maybe I am. I want to explore how I might approach this fraught framework. How could I force myself to make several of something? What could keep my interest long enough? I’ve made myself push some supplies around a piece of paper, to play with color, line, shape, placement, make choices in arrangement, contrast, balance. It wasn’t figurative, had no outside reference to much of anything, and in that way, it was abstract. But I still saw myself infusing my art making with states of mind I let myself have, and I let those states of mind guide my choices. While I am not ready to post that beginning work, I am posting my thought process here about what happened next.

What I am making:

1.) I have decided to document privately held experiences, notions, facts, or perspectives from different portions of my life.

2.) I will write down one privately held experience/notion/fact/perspective per piece in this series, and I will imbed it into the each painted/crafted object. Each secret (let’s call them that) will be literally buried #within each piece.

3.) This is not meant to be autobiographical, but I am putting myself as a point of exploration about what is private, how it’s developed over a time, and how that line of privacy moves outward then inward again.

4.) I will not document things that I hold in confidence for others, but if an experience/notion/fact/perspective involves another person, I can include that. This isn’t about compromising any one else’s privacy. This is my own. This is about the personal choice of exploring one’s own lines of privacy.

5.) I will keep a record of what each artwork says #within it.

6.) I will place these works of art for sale. I will sell them for amounts that I will record, and I will keep records of who buys each piece.

7.) I will document this process as I go, I will write about it in posts here, and I will update on twitter about it with the hashtag #within.

I will sell my soul I guess. Does that mean I’m selling out? Only if every piece of art is sold.

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