I’m pleased and a bit nervous to be part of my first group art show. It opens Friday during the November Unblurred Art Crawl along the Penn Avenue Arts Corridor in Garfield. The host gallery is Most Wanted Fine Art. Nine artists are participating.
A group exhibit exploring blogging as an art form and the other art that bloggers do in their “off time”. November is National Blogging Month and Pittsburgh is home to more than 400 blogs. This exhibit offers bloggers a chance to showcase their artistic side, from painting to a brass quintet, as they explore their own sources of inspiration. Artists include: Vanessa German, Marcel Lamont Walker, Wayne Wise, Thomas Waters, Amanda Narcisi, Maria Lupinacci, Sally Deskins, John Chamberlin, Diana Loll, Raylene Hoover, Melissa Firman, & MWFA Resident Artists: Sue Kerr and Genevieve Barbee.
My piece is a slideshow focused on the 23 transgender women who have been murdered in the US this year. It is structured to draw attention to the role that a blog can play in highlighting the lives and mourn the deaths of our most vulnerable neighbors. But the piece isn’t about the blogging. It is about the women. I hope I did them justice. I’m concerned it is more about the blogging.
I was going to include a more eclectic piece exploring how a queer blogger completes a product review (‘the queerig’) but as I worked on the concept, I realized that it had turned into a gimmick. I wanted to show that a queer lens on consumerism would be inherently intersectional – especially around the environment. But I hit a wall when it came to painting the Keurig – using spray paint would undermine the entire message because of the harm a can of paint does to the environment. I would actually be doing more damage by trying to tell the story this way. Using cans of paint would do some damage to my hands. Having someone else paint my very first piece (either way) would defeat the whole point. So I gave up. The concept needs more work.
Ledcat is disappointed that the Keurig will sit in the basement another year. Ah well …
Obviously, I am uncomfortable in this skin of an artist. I don’t like gimmicks and I don’t feel like I fit in with most of the actual artists that I know. I’m too blunt and pragmatic. I also don’t like to drink or disrupt my sleep schedule. I don’t have the right clothes and I’m probably too old. I have a long list of reasons why I don’t fit in and how I should stick with the old way of doing things. As an activist who doesn’t fit into that world either (same reasons, really), but gets things done occasionally.
That being said, I am really mostly afraid that somehow the piece I created is going to be more about me than the 23 women who were murdered. Or that I used their stories to highlight the awesomeness of blogging. Maybe it is just nerves, but I’m really anxious about it. Maybe these aren’t my stories to tell.
I think spending time with community artists is like having an entirely new job in a totally different industry. I have so much to figure out and my instinct is to pull back from things that take me out of my comfort zone. I have to keep reminding myself that not only are most of my new colleagues from a different field, but they are at least a decade younger than me. I’ve never been so conscious of the difference between Generation X and Millenials as I’ve been this past year. And my partner is a Baby Boomer so sometimes I feel like my head will explode.
Most likely, this is all the way it is supposed to be. I’m blogging. My content is being curated by an art gallery which is a new experience and so I feel awkward and unsure. So I blog about those feelings and that process. And eventually, I’ll find a new equilibrium with it all and move forward.
I am very honored to be in a show with my friends and respected colleagues. I love the work that Maria Lupinacci put together about her political images over the years – it is a delight.
Hope to see you tonight!