Follow up from my previous blog post: Growing in Public
Only a single mushroom remains of the Growing Art: Public project. I am delighted since I didn’t expect a single piece to stand up against the wet December or the general public. I left it there and will continue to check back, but no matter what happens, I am truly pleased.
There is something really beautiful about an art project that is swept away, either through human interaction or at the whim of mother nature. I had few expectations going into this outdoor project as I had spent so much time considering whether or not to even do a public project that I didn’t want to come out the other side disappointed if it “failed” to live up to those expectations. Instead, I put my work out there and let whatever happened, happen. It was very freeing.
Everyday I’m connected to thousands of people. I have 4 twitter accounts. 6 email accounts. Dozens of other social profiles and I’m constantly trying to keep up. Every once and a while, an artist that I follow will talk about hate mail, negative feedback, vandalism or theft and I feel a pressure building in my chest. “What would I do, if that happened to me?” I wonder, casting myself into a possible future where I have a thousand eyes focused on me. Would I change the quality of my lines because someone told me that my illustrations were childish? Would I stop painting when a superior artist told me that I lacked discipline and an artist’s eye? Would I cry and hide under the bed? Likely the latter, but I would hope not. Each piece I create, from a “scribble” to a ukelele practice session, it’s a part of me, broken off but still tethered to my insides. When someone bashes this extension of me, I feel it to my core, no matter how hard I try not to.
With this project, I felt immediate success. Even though I had released it to the public, the public couldn’t touch me because it wasn’t really mine anymore. It was ours. And if someone else wanted to distroy, dispose or distinguish it as something great, then they had every right. After spending the last year in the pursuit of artistic knowledge, I find that this little journey was one of the most important that I’ve taken so far. I hope to do more public projects this year and I encourage you to do the same.