Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"This Is It"

The image above is a silver purse that I made many years ago. I wove the fine silver strands on a table loom, then fabricated the clutch and footing portions in sterling silver. The purse is approximately 12" wide x 9" length. Perfect for nights at the disco, don't you know? Ah...sigh...those were the days of fantasy and happiness. Life appeared to be a wonderful adventure - full of endless possibilities and time.
This purse has been in many fine, national exhibitions. It was awarded several prizes.
This one piece took four months of daily labor to make.
These days, I have discovered that I no longer have the patience to make work like that purse. I feel a constant, ever-so-subtle pulse driving me to make pieces of artistic expression that do not consume my entire life and do not compromise aesthetics. Hmmm....may be some conflicts therein...
In my other life, so many years ago, I also had a small business. Several small endeavors, actually: a custom business, a wholesale business and a retail business. The custom and the wholesale factions financed the retail occupation, as well as a nice gallery, "Artifice". Additionally, I published art criticism and worked as a metal technician for an art conservation operation. Whew! No wonder I am soooo tired now.
At one point, I had 11 sales representatives stationed around the country. to sell my wholesale line. I had two hands back in those days and today, (thank Goddess) I still have two hands. Back then, I found myself churning out pieces in "limited editions". Problem was that my idea of a limited edition is not the same as many of the merchants who bought my work at wholesale prices.
Simply put - I burned out.
The creative process morphed into a 24/7 job....and did I mention that there were no 'benefits'?
Today, I am in a position to be able to work on what I wish to work on and when I want to work on it. Sounds enviable, doesn't it? It is - and it is not. You see - I still have that voice in my head telling me that I need money and I need to be able to justify my studio time. Creativity gets stifled a tad for the sake of lucrative commerce.
Andre Breton, the great father of Surrealism, once wrote that 'the only time man is ever truly free is in his own mind'. I cannot find the exact quote at this moment, so I must paraphrase.here. I can assure you that statement shook me to the very core of my being. I am still shaken by the deafening truth of it.
I recently saw the film, "This Is It", the documentary of Michael Jackson's last tour preparations.
A few things struck me - Michael Jackson appeared thin, tired and weary. I wondered if he ever became bored by performing the 'same old songs'.
Michael Jackson made a statement during the film about the fact that the fans were expecting to hear the songs as "the way they wanted to hear them". Translation: not too much improvisation, thank you very much.
That statement proved to me that this man's knowledge of 'the industry' and himself as 'product' was extraordinary and clearsighted. Michael Jackson was able to sustain an exceptional and quite brilliant artistic career with many ups, downs, and headstands, for so many decades. That is remarkable, a true testament  to the man's life force, creativity and sheer vitality.
Personally, I think his music and dance became more mature, sophisticated and elegant in the 1990s and early 2000s. Sadly, many people dismissed his artistic genius at the very height of his powers due to his alleged involvement in certain scandals.
I saw a Twitter post by an obviously young child-fan that she was "disappointed" in the film, "This Is It" because there was not even a decent, full-on Moonwalk. Come on, Child! The MAN had been doing the backslide ('Moonwalk') since before you, Twitter child, were born! Does she really believe that Michael Jackson needed to rehearse a moonwalk?!
I wonder if the only time Michael Jackson may have been able to feel truly alive and creative during his  elaborate and precision productions was in the improvisation of his own dance in the moment and heat of live performance.
Then I started thinking about 'time', 'product', 'limited edition' ...... and freedom.
By the way - I lost the purse during a move many years ago. I do not miss it, but I wonder where it now calls home. Everything in this life passes - no matter how hard we struggle to hang on to it. Perhaps we miss the bright, glittering things (and people) the most. The world may grow dimmer without the flash of that brilliance.
Michael Jackson, May you finally Rest in Peace, my Brother.


  1. teresa
    i remember that purse. great workmanship, and style.

  2. I remember that purse. It was BEAUTIFUL! I wonder where it went. It was a real work of art and talent and love.

    Michael Jackson was a multi-talented individual and was under appreciated by a multitude of people. He was so gifted. The world has lost a great and innovative person.

  3. Can I just say that even though this post is quite old now, I so appreciate what you've said about Michael Jackson, he is my heart and have always seen him as somewhat of a light for the world. I also saw him live in the 80's and the 90's and I can never quite describe it. I was second from the front in a crowd of 82,000 at the Bad concert here in Ireland, which didn't come easy for me as I could feel the strong atmosphere in the crowd. I was 15 and this was my first concert.

    And I didn't care. I wasn't going to be in that stadium and not be able to see him. He was magnificent and utterly mind boggling to watch. The crowd couldn't handle him I feel, they went bonkers, I mean literally. Men, grown men weeping and over come with emotion, passing out and screaming along with the women and girls haha, it was deafening. I of course screamed, sang, and cried my eyes out til they were red raw. I was battered and bruised, filthy and loved every minute of it, it was such a spiritual experience to be in the same area as this man while he was fully in the moment. I have yet to see another performer or band to carry themselves or hold a crowds attention to that degree. And I have been to many many concerts since. He just had something extraordinary about him. It really is that simple.

  4. Dear Sally Ann,
    Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment here.