Artist & Writer, San Francisco Bay Area

Within, the Project: Questions


So, today I presented my project idea to the people in my life. They were highly supportive and had surprising dialogue for/with me. I am not sure when I’ll announce to people online that I have this project, but it may be very soon.

A few things have come to mind as I’ve considered actually burying personal information into works of art.

As I fell asleep last night, I thought through some of the most difficult pieces of information (from my life) that I would end up placing into these paintings. And I thought about how much they would sell for. And since the premise of this project would be known, would they be purchased for a chance to find out what hidden knowledge was #within the art? They’d have to destroy the piece to get to the information… would someone actually do that? Could I really trust people to leave it alone? I shouldn’t have that expectation of protection. But I might do this anyway. It also occurred to me that the less valuable the work is, maybe the more likely it would be to be destroyed for the information. The more valuable, the less likely. Right? Would increased value protect me more?

For What It’s Worth:

How does the (questionable monetary) value of preserving the object (that I made) weigh against destroying it to possess (my) private/personal knowledge imbedded #within it? Should I suppose that no one would try to extract the knowledge because I’m an unknown? Am I worth knowing? Or is that, because I am unknown, it doesn’t matter how I’m treated– thus, destroy the art, possess my knowledge, have at it? To what extent am I putting myself up for sale? Will they not care about any of that as long as the object is attractive enough, as long as it fits into their pre-existing environment, collection, or tastes? If the object is more attractive, will I be more safe?

I find that there is a conflict as artists as (I assume) we put our heart & soul into our work (figuratively… or I mean… in a matter of speaking), and then we seek to sell it via this art market system as it is. I’m not saying I’m against that. Or for it. It just is. And we artists have to function within this system and find our own way. I’m just wondering, I’d like to hear how artists who are comfortable with this process function in this system. To me, each step in the ladder seems fragile.

The Subject:

Another subject: Me. I am a kind of subject here. I’m a hidden subject. Not hidden here in these written posts, but hidden in the paintings I will make. I’m using myself since I’m the source of the information I know completely. I’m not creating this work to draw in attention to what I am or who I am. I don’t want to be known further or need to be known by the public. I am known completely by those I want to be known by. I don’t need anything else. This is not about exploring me or exposing me. This is about something else. So, am I The Subject? No. But, I’m the material for the subject.

The Whole Truth:

As I discussed this project with those closest to me, they asked me if I’d really do it, bury private information in the pieces. I assured them that I would. One asked why I needed to tell anyone at all that these pieces of information lay #within. I explained that to me, the art is in the experience of the tension that comes from the intellectual experience of what’s happening here, the multiple points of access, the layers that can be processed online, the photographs, and the documentation, in addition to the finished series of paintings.

The Explanation that Killed the Art or Gave Birth to It:

Does saying this all make this less intriguing? Am I killing the series before I’ve even begun? Does anyone want to know what the objects are about if the surface attraction of the object purchased was all that was desired? How about pre-creation… does it kill it if I’m explaining it before I physically start painting the series?

This is how I am going to get through my art days, this is art life. I want to be interested enough in what I’m making to make more than one or two. I want to have a legitimate reason for going forward with this production. I am first and foremost doing this for my process & investigations. My hands have wanted to make things, my eyes have wanted to look at something I’m in the process of making, and my mind has wanted a reason. I think I’ve found it.

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