Friday, September 19, 2008


I'm getting ready to sit down and watch the rest of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with the kids. It's such a screwed up movie, but I love it dearly. Clearly a work of art --- god, how do you start with a blank canvas and put out something so incredibly bizarre, yet timelessly marketable like this film? I guess that's the big question these days, one I sometimes grapple with as an artist.

There are a lot of different reasons to make art, and my intentions are mixed. One, to communicate with the people in my city and state. When I first sold paintings earlier this year, I posted online on etsy. It's a cool site, and a great way for artists and craftspeople to get the word out and sell pieces, but it takes a lot of dedication to keep your store up and your items relisted. I quickly realized that I didn't want to spend so much of my time behind the screen -- there's enough of that with email, blogging, facebook, etc --- I wanted to literally knock on doors, meet gallery owners, talk to my customers, even if it meant a possible reduction, overall, in the number of people who see my art. It's so important to me to share the physical experience of my art with people, and to have them enjoy the pieces up close, appreciating the layers and textures. I want to be there when someone says they love it, or even when they say, "ehhh. I don't get it!"

I also want to sell art. I want to get it out there, all over the city, in coffee shops and bakeries and banks and libraries. It won't sell if it's sitting in my dining room, I often think. So I'm knocking on those doors, meeting great people in the process, and setting up shows for the coming months.

So back to Chitty. I think what makes this film watchable, despite it's quirkiness, is the fact that every scene, every song, every expression, is full of detail and intention and energy. Look at the costumes, the sets, listen Dick VanDyke -- look at his face. There weren't any short cuts taken, and every scene delivered with confidence. I think that's a huge part of what makes art art, and where I feel I am, or am going, as an artist.

When I work on something, I am in it, about it, and often obsessive about the detail and outcome. I don't hang it unless I love it and can stand in front of it and confidently tell the story of its inception. It's a great motivator and grounder for me -- to remember, as I'm making art, the whack jobs, god bless them, who put together this film, to know that at one point, someone had the confidence to say, "Hey, I'm going to make this movie about these kids and this car and there will be this scene that hints of S&M and another one with this child napper and it will be a musical!!..." What balls! I love it. So yeah, I'm going to do just that. Make my art, love it, and hang it.


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