Thursday, March 7, 2013

soulful: a friend's work

i believe in intersections, serendipity, and "no such thing as an accident." depending on who we are and what we pay attention to, we meet who we should meet, people we would want to meet anyways, fellows on paths similar to ours.

during a short stay in eastern washington in 2011, i met an artist who lives and creates in ellensburg.

at first, i met austin's aunt, who owns a flower shop and "trinket" store. i outfitted a good part of my office with finds from her shop. being in a small town, people act accordingly. and so inevitably, i would get a once-over and asked the requisite string of questions, prefaced with, "you're new here, aren't you?" she behaved the same. with her, because of her good taste, i willingly supplied information and made needs known, needs which mostly lay in the visual arts category. she said, "you should give my nephew a call. see if he's got some ideas for your office." and so i did. and henceforth, he's one of the people i've ... collected ... whom i think fondly of and wonder to myself, "what would austin have to say about this?"

my needs were these: business cards and a sculpture for my office. 

i bought cheap business cards from an online supplier. and a frame for 3 2-d pieces of art from austin. he helped me envision a different way to “hang pictures.” so he made me a frame which was like a sculpture. black and thin and simple. 3-d. and minimalist. stunning, but doesn’t detract from that which it’s framing.

the product is but also isn’t important. what remains is the dialogue and the essence of the person. when talking with austin about what i was thinking with respect to art in my office, he thought silently – he does this quite a bit in the presence of another, a comforting stance in a world of ceaseless cacophony – and said, “i think you should be different [than other shrinks] by filling your office with art. lots of it. everywhere. i can see it. it would represent you well.” he has an impish smile; he uses it to punctuate personal opinion.

while moving out of a moldy rental house, i slept in my cozy office, with austin's art sprawled out on the floor in front of the couch. i was considering it, to see how it could “fit” in my office. it was on loan and i would contemplate it and play with it when i needed to clear my head or rinse my eyes with a good visual image. the piece was so strong, visually, that i’ve stored it in my memory network. i can easily bring to mind the pieces of painted, distressed plywood, with large arcs sawed into the surface and burnished with a torch. playful little 12-inch by 12-inch square boxes, like puzzle pieces that could be re/arranged at will. the image they made, individually or together, so compelling, my eyes would steal away to the little squares. i’d squint my eyes and imagine different patterns, the off-white and dark-brown pieces scattered on my off-white-yellow-burgundy kilim. it soothed my ruffled feathers while i was recovering from mold and respiratory illness.

it reaffirmed what i knew: there are many interstitial people. we (eventually) find the connections.

the intersection is this: a visual artist, formally trained in visual arts and music, who makes art mostly by himself, who uses both raw as well as processed material, both natural as well as man-made materials, who makes both fine as well as functional art, who seeks solitude as well as dialogue, who likes working alone and in collaboration, who waits silently for truth and the right message to emerge, who sees beauty and potential in free resources like sunlight and shadow and in discarded or unwanted objects like a rusted metal coil. who expresses gratitude, simplicity, childish joy, evolved insight, possesses a robust visual repertoire, humility, integrity. and a love of connecting the dots. partial self-description: “love to discover new relationships.”

to see him, by way of his art, go look at 3 crescents, his winning entry for a sculpture commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair.  

Extensions in the Garden
I created this space to exercise and embody movement, balance and meditation. I believe it's important to retreat and process our thoughts. As I walk upon these extensions from the earth, I connect and confirm my relationships with creative ideas. In movement I realize that God is moving and He loves us.

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