I am almost ready for my April show at Whole Foods.
All that is left is the technical stuff: shooting and signing work, writing artist statement and price list, updating website, etc. I have spent the last five weeks preparing for it. That equals a lot of Friday nights at the studio, Saturdays at the salvage yard, and early weekday mornings in my pajamas cleaning and coating wood on the sidewalk in front of my house. I have learned the best way to keep spirits up late nights at the studio is to dance around to the Beastie Boys. I have learned to always carry work gloves in my purse AND my car (ditto for tape measure). I have learned which technique works best to mount and frame my work without jeopardizing the integrity of the photo while at the same time making it archival with UV light absorbers and stabilizers.
But the most important things I learned came when I was wearing rubber gloves, sunglasses, and my Tulane Marching Band baseball bat as I cleaned and prepped my wood for framing:
- I invented something new. Something brilliant. Something that requires a good patent attorney (which my lawyer has given me the info on). And unlike my genius idea of selling multi-sized tampons in one box (years ago when I worked in a French Quarter bar I was talking to a New York ad exec and I told him my idea. He stopped. Long pause. And then said, “that IS a good idea.” He then excused himself and rushed out the door. Months later – BOOM multi-sized tampons were on the shelves. Ladies, you can thank me). I am keeping this idea to myself (and a few trusted friends).
- My neighbor who lives down the street, whom I don’t know, painted her bedroom in the exact colors of the exterior of my house. And now she goes to bed happy every night.
- The guy who pushes the shopping cart down my street can not only kill an alligator, cook the meat AND make me a custom pair of shoes, but can do it all for the low price of $150.
- Epiphanies are still golden (also see #1). Last Friday morning, as I was at one of my three sawhorse stations preparing my wood, I silently bemoaned the fact that my front yard had been resembling a shitty lumber yard the last couple of months. The whole reason why I got a studio was so I could actually have a house. A house where I didn’t have to lay tarps, stack things on top of each other, and move and disassemble rooms to set up tools or screens for art projects. Part of the process of framing is the prep work. I set up four to five pieces of wood on my sawhorses and clean them with a hose and scrub brush (eco-friendly AND a great workout). Depending on the weather and the thickness of the wood they take anywhere from one hour to all day to dry. Once dry, I apply two coats of a clear, semi-gloss polyurethane (drying time also depends on the weather). It’s tedious but kinda relaxing, but the most difficult thing is trying to carve out a hunk of time to not only do it but monitor it (in case anyone knocks my wood over, or worse starts screaming at me that I am blocking the sidewalk). Anyway, as I was grumbling to myself…it hit me. I put down my brush and went inside. A few minutes of research, quick math and BOOM (yes, that is two ‘booms’ in one blog. That’s what epiphanies do) I decided that I am going to buy my own studio/house. For the same amount I pay in rent, I can get another house. Granted, with my budget it is not going to be anything fancy nor is it going to be in the ideal location but I don’t need or want a lot. Location is the most important and will take precedence over everything else. But here is my wish list (although I can do with a lot less) at least 700 sqf, 2 bedrooms (one dust-free for spraying and then other for finished art storage – but I can get by with one) driveway (but can go sidewalk route) a fenced-in yard (although if not fenced I can do it myself so Fannie and Django can come with me all the time), good roof, good foundation, a toilet, and a sink. A lot of the houses in foreclosure have all of the kitchen appliances, cabinets, window units, etc. removed (I do not think I am going to get central AC on my budget). But I don’t need a kitchen. I will probably get a mini fridge for drinks, but the rest is unneccesary. In fact, I would be happy with no kitchen so I can install a giant industrial stainless steel sink. My goal is to have this by October when my studio lease expires. In order make this happen it means tightening my belt even further, hustling even more, and holding off on household repairs/improvements even longer. I am hoping that putting it down here will motivate me even more. I spoke to my lawyer that day and got the paperwork in motion (serendipitously as I was writing this blog he called to tell me that my LLC is all set up!!). Step #2 – open business account and start (fingers crossed) dumping money into it. Step #3 find a place. Step #4 buy it. Step #5 be crazy happy!
So that is it – life lessons learned and realized all from cleaning old wood. This Saturday, March 31st, I will be at the Arts Council of New Orleans Art Marketat Palmer Park on S. Carrollton and S. Claiborne from 10 to 4 (with special guest star Trixie la Femme helping me run the booth for the last hour or so and helping me with the breakdown).
There will be over 100 artists, food and drink, live music, and kid’s activities. I have about 6-8 new framed pieces for the show, but the main bulk, the stuff I have been working on, will be hung early Sunday morning (yawn) at Whole Foods. I have 3 different sizes: 8×8 photos framed to 12×12, 12×12 photos framed to 16×16 and 16×16 photos framed to 20×20. The majority are the 12×12 photos and the number of each size that will go up all depends on how it all looks Sunday morning. I have made a few photos in different sizes. But we will see… I hope the new work goes over well. BOOM! (That’s a record 3 – for no reason, I just wanted to end on that note!)