This post is a long one, but it kind of has to be….
Last year sometime, I heard about a possible upcoming call for an all-encaustic show at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art called “Another Way of Keeping a Diary.” This had my name written all over it.
When I was in my mid-20’s, listening to Smashing Pumpkins and Garbage (you know, the album with the pink feathers on it) while smoking my clove cigarettes, I was not particularly happy. The reasons why are now a blur. And with the help of a shrink with a flair for overmedicating his patients, I was not particularly healthy either. Since my days of filling up a Hello Kitty diary with the ramblings of a six year old, I had not been a “journaler,” but during the dark days of 1995, I found that scribbling down my angry and incoherent nonsense into that lined journal with a pug on the cover (ironic, I know) to be a pretty effective outlet for my feelings.
And then, I got over myself.
So, there I was, left with this journal that I couldn’t bear to look at but didn’t want to throw away. I felt like I needed to be reminded of my experience. I especially didn’t want anyone to read it if I kicked the bucket. So one night I shredded it with scissors and shoved it into a garbage bag and into the closet.
Almost 20 years later, I got to work. I really, really wanted to get into the art show, but it was more than that. I also really wanted to finally turn my shreds into something beautiful and worthwhile. I wanted to give the energy I had spent being unhappy some reason. The shreds came out of the closet, and panels were painted black. I spent hours and hours embedding my journal between layer upon layer of wax and transforming it into something else. Something that was nice to look at for people who didn’t know anything about me, but meaningful to those who did. And completely illegible.
I had enough shreds to make three pieces, and I titled them “Dark Matter.” Seemed appropriate.
No. 1 (the most wild and colorful of the trio…)
No.2 is the most straightforward (but has the juiciest bits hidden inside!)
And No.3 is the biggest painting I’ve ever made. And I love her and am keeping her.
I entered all three in the competition, and the wait began. Ironically, the day after we went to the 20th Anniversary concert of Garbage’s album with the pink feathers on it, I got the news. I was THRILLED to hear that the juror, David Limrite, had chosen to include Dark Matter 2 in the show. I dropped the piece off last weekend, and am driving back down this Saturday for the opening reception.
I’m not going to lie: making these pieces was an emotional experience. Tears were shed, wine was drunk. But ultimately I am glad for the experience and opportunity to put this mess to rest. And that I hoarded that journal.