May 01, 2012
Art Non-Existent, ME Newsletter, Vol. 5, Issue 18
January 16, 2012
I understand Facebook is a social network, and during these months of un-sureness and grief, it has become in it's own way a lifeline to distant support and a great distraction at times. To me, Facebook is a wonderful place to learn. I read the sidebar adverts; I explore the gourmet sites, the entrepreneurials, artist offerings. Sometimes I like what I see; sometimes not so much. It’s a little like local shop shopping; a little like scouring the off-path corners of museums. I like the discovering process; I like sharing those discoveries, too.
Facebook is how I found StageIt. That rocked me enough to compose notes to two only very distant acquaintances sharing the spark. So far, I haven’t seen either take the torch and fire it up, but that’s ok. Not everyone can see things the way I do.
I recently finger stumbled across another something that shook up my world. Well, another someone really. Nick Harsell is to quote: “… 20 years old and currently attending the University of Oregon where I am pursuing my art career. This will be my third year living in Eugene, Oregon, and I absolutely love it here. I am inspired by fellow artists and the beautiful outdoors. Until recently, I had never worked with paint pens and now I can't stop working with them. My new focus is working with paint pens on canvas to create unique abstract designs that are full of color.”
And it certainly was the colors that grabbed me, right away. I had to see more. I spent about a half hour rotating through the 93 photos on Nick’s page. His spacing is magnificent, giving each embodiment its own life but never denying the intricate inter-relation to its neighbors, in fact, it thrives on it.
I giggled at the art-ified garbage can, thinking how much fun it would be to have the talent to change the ordinary and wishing I could have one just like it. I even thought the three dimensional doodles on the porch pumpkin were super cool –especially because of the temporary nature of the medium. But after pouring over each colorful, perfectly haphazardly balanced piece, there were two that touched me even deeper.
The first was titled “Day 1”. The second had an ironic moniker, “Color Isn’t Everything.”At first glance, I thought the second was a black and white presentation. Upon closer inspection, it offered shades of grey in a few strategic spots, giving depth and of course, irony. Still, I was magnetically drawn to “Day 1.” It spoke volumes to me and volumes about me. Unlike the other offerings, this one was only a partially filled canvas. In some ways the mountainous conglomerate of silhouettes resembled an intriguing garbage pile. My eye instantly caught shapes: a fish, an elephant, a figure climbing and reaching. And I knew, I wanted this one to be mine because it did indeed represent beautiful, convoluted, intertwined, gorgeously spaced, abstract refuse.
I love making garbage, and as many of you know 2011 will pretty much be remembered as my garbage year. Actually beginning in late 2010 with the move from the Adrian house to my current apartment, downsizing started off as a necessity and has become a long term challenge. How much less can a person have? I have yet to find out, but so far I’ve resisted a few things most people don’t live without. Most obviously, to the consternation of many, a bed and a television. But it’s been an emotional garbage year as well. Giving up the home my husband loved so much, leaving with less than we moved in with, taking mostly memories, changing my position and my work location, losing my mother and my gallbladder, trying to rearrange my grief by placing myself in new places and old places, my 30th high school reunion, an anniversary trip to Ireland, coming home even less myself than when I left, and running straight into the wall of pain I should have hit a while ago had I not been running in circles for the past five years.
For me there was action to be had in this painting. It spoke “Conquering is eminent” and “One piece at a time.” I was in this drawing, standing sideways on the canvas, plucking each semi formed, black-lined instance, and reaching above and around and beyond myself to place each where it belonged. Recycling every bit, every treasure of a stroke, recreating usefulness and purpose, I envisioned the cluttered corner balanced out and over the remaining blank field. I didn’t worry about the mountains reaching the sky. I just moved into the task, scattered the pieces, and imagined where I wanted to go.
I followed the link to the Etsy shop, where it was promised art could be bought. When I arrived, I was crushed and over-joyed. “Day 1” was nowhere to be found. But “Color isn’t…” was available, reasonably priced, tempting to the point where I added it to my virtual cart, then abandoned it, and returned to the Facebook page. I have regretted the last time I did not buy a piece of art I fell in love with for 15 years, and the one before that I have regretted for 25 years. I did once buy a piece of art because I could not afford the one I really wanted. Instead, I purchased the mounted palette used to create a series of cowboy scenes by Malinda Trick-Chandler. The 15 year regret was a Beverly Doolittle I found in a Fort Worth gallery. The 25 year regret was by an artist whose name I do not know, but the silk screened Koi were showcased in a Greenwich Village shop window and I loved them instantly. I visited twice; decided on the third trip to buy. But it was already gone. Like the paisley roll Coach purse at Macy’s, I hesitated, debated, justified and unjustified, finally gave in, and was ultimately forced to face disappointment. Yeah, regrets, I have a few.
So, I decided that 2012 was going to be the year of no regrets, theoretically creating no emotional residue. In that vein, I composed an email to artist Nick Harsell inquiring about the status of Day 1, hesitated and then remembered hesitation’s loss.
Jodi Korte: January 16, 2012 7:39 PM: Subject: Day 1 piece?
Hi - didn't see it for sale, but Day 1 stole my heart. Color Isn't Everything is running a close second, if Day 1 isn't available. Let me know, please. Thanks!
Within in an hour I had a startling reply.
Nick Harsell: Monday, January 16, 2012 8:38 PM: Subject: Re: Day 1 piece ?
Jodi, The piece titled Day 1, was a picture of a work in progress. The completed piece was completely covered in detailed lines and dots. Soon I will be adding many art pieces to Etsy.com, where people will be able to purchase them. I was wondering how you found out about my artwork? Regards, Nick
Trying to wrap my head around the fact that” Day 1” no longer existed was painful. It occurred to me that maybe what I had really been seeing, what touched me the most about it, was “potential.” I did my best to explain without explaining in a return email to Nick.
Jodi Korte: Monday, January 16, 2012 9:04 PM
Oh, for goodness sake! Now my heart's broken, but truly that's probably what called me about it. I showed it to a few friends and they all said they could see what I was thinkin'. There's a huge long life-story that your "work in progress" captured. Which, given that it was a work in progress will in itself make an interesting story. I write a weekly encouragement newsletter and blog for a small but steady audience. Most of them have been with me for over 4 years now. If you don't mind, I'd like to include you, your work, and contact/facebook info. I think a lot of them would enjoy your art.
As to how I found you, your page link came up as an interest sidebar/advert on Facebook. I do subscribe to other artists, so perhaps I got hit on as a target audience? What attracted me right off were the lines, colors, and details, and the fact that pretty much the viewer's imagination makes each piece what it is to them.
Thanks for the reply! Looking forward to seeing more of your work on Esty.
Nick Harsell: Monday, January 16, 2012 10:08 PM
Jodi, That's great to hear. I would love to have you share my artwork with others. When you said, "the viewer's imagination makes each piece what it is to them," I was very pleased. I enjoy creating abstract artwork so much because it allows each viewer to create their own view or interpretation of it. Enjoy, Nick
So there you have it. Another piece of art I will never own. I pull up the photo again and follow my imagination into the v-shaped canyon, finding the path to abstract solace that no one else ever will ever own it, either. Of course, physically someone will own the final canvas… someday, and will surely be as enamored with that version of it as I was with the unfinished. But they’ll never own the emotional, and emotionally fulfilling, piece I fell in love with; the one that no longer exists, but is still mine; solely mine, an essence, in essence, paralleling a truth I have been headed for all along:
Life, as art, isn’t stagnant; the way you see it, when you see it, how you see it makes all the difference. In my mind, I had completed the picture, considered it finalized, only to discover that was just my “Day 1.” What I had is still mine, and yet, there’s room on the canvas for more.
(And yes, I am now the owner of "Color Isn't Everything." It fits right into my retro black, white and grey bathroom, and I smile at it every morning.)
Posted by jaselin at May 1, 2012 07:42 PM