Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Coffee, oatmeal, big news


I mentioned this in brief a few days ago: I was in the running for a benefit art show for education reform awareness. I think the website says it best:

RE:FORM SCHOOL is a high profile group art exhibition, event series and public awareness campaign taking place in New York City, that brings together the creative community in a call for the reform of the American Public Education System.

What I didn't mention was that it was a struggle to finish these pieces on time. There were simple logistical issues*, there was Anthony getting ready to leave for Operation Master's Degree Year Three, there was Research Club's September Brunch to work out, as well as various details involving the Heavy Meta tour starting VERY soon. It's a lot for one plate, and I'm not a very big person.

*I had originally planned to submit four pieces (which I think in retrospect is against the rules, so good thing I didn't) but I got hung up on settings and making all these pieces seem like they belonged together. In other words, I spent too long thinking too much about them. I always do try to plan a piece, to make sure all the key elements are as I want them before I commit things to paint. But also i find it is important to let go of the judgement and just let something grow out of the brush -- pieces that have been the most imaginative tend to be the ones that I just let happen. If that makes sense.

To top everything my detail brush had retired itself to the land of frayed star-shapes just when I needed it most. There was a board meeting the night before the deadline and I attended a bit frazzled and distracted. To the enormous credit of my esteemed colleagues I was comforted as best I could be. I was allowed to sit on the floor and brood a little and my slightly barbed comments about not having enough time were politely ignored. Because there was a fellow painter among us I was loaned a brush to try, and I was instructed to discuss the matter with Wombat -- who I'd collected a few days earlier to restuff stuffing and repair a seam -- because he, I was assured, "is good about these things".

I can't argue. I stayed up late (for me) to tweak everything to the detail phase. Wombat stayed nearby. The next morning I was up early to finish in time to scan the images and send them (digitally) to New York for vetting. Done and done. I poured the rest of the coffee into the thermos and headed out to my houses to clean.

Not two hours after I submitted these pieces, whilst scrubbing the tile grout of a tricky shower, I was contacted by someone of (I think it's fair to say) extreme importance within one of the organizations producing this benefit. He essentially said: I have nothing to do with the contest, so I can't speak to that, but I really love these pieces and I really want them in the show, can you send them to New York ASAP?

Um. Yes, yes I can. Goodness.

He assured me that I was still in the running for the contest and that it was all up in the air, this was merely his "digging on my work".
Which (to me) is better than contests.

This was Thursday night. I packed up everything, filled out my secret documents, and then waited around with this epic news until the winners were announced on Monday so I could tell everyone about it.

That night I arranged a meeting with Wombat, Thomas and Tigger.


Thomas: Well, I don't know that I can guarantee these kind of results every time...

Tigger: We learned good skills though! Given time, diligence, and drive I'm sure we can deliver!

The next day after I discovered that a friend of mine fronted the money and sent me a sketchbook for the sketchbook project. My topic is "boys and girls".

People want my voice to be heard.
And it's deeply touching,
and all the rest of it.

I will say a lot more about this project as I begin and work on it, and possibly share snippets, though the whole thing will be online next year.

That would have been fine. I was pulling notes from old notebooks and thinking about what and how to say things in this new little book. However. To top everything I am deeply humbled to announce that I am one of the two dozen second place winners of the Re:Form school contest.
Which means I receive digital press AS WELL AS being physically in the show.

If you will be in New York next week, please go see it.
If you can't be in New York but are into education reform, please spread the word .
If you need me for the next couple of days, I will be floating around my desk in a dazed cloud.