Artist’s Life 101: I would be nothing if not for all my failures

I have been quite grateful for all the artworld rejections I’ve ever gotten for the past week. ​

On November 1, I got an email saying: “We really like your work. We were wondering if we may suggest screening AND SO I SAID piece, we think it would go better with the overall flow of our program.” I submitted KILLER JANE, which is 13 minutes, to this festival – the other movie is 5-1/2 minutes.​

​​

If you participate in the art world in more than one medium long enough, you will find yourself in the same sort of situation in more than one medium. I can recall exactly how upset I was the first time I submitted two sculptures to a competition and my favorite was passed over while the other won me a prize. That experience did not make any less awful the night my scene partner and I gave a staged reading of my first two-person monologue and right afterwards the artistic director of the venue said to the audience: “I think this should be a solo performance and (pointing out another actress who was in the audience) [she] should do it.” They had to scrape me off the floor that night.​

And then there’s the more than once of we-love-your-work-but-we-haven’t-made-our-final-decision-yet; and you wind up not getting selected. It takes years and years and years of rejections to recognize semi-finalist or honorable mention as currency.​

So with all the rejections, disappointments and in my face ego battering under my belt, I laughed and told myself: “Don’t get too excited about maybe getting into this festival – you know the drill.”​

I was going to write an essay about it however it turned out. I have been trying to get into art venues in Montreal for 20 years in three of my mediums. And I wish I could be there when Burnt Experimental Video Art and Film Festival screens AND SO I SAID.​

Advertisements

A New Performance Idea, Inspired by a Seedpod

This is a new idea that started to grow when I found the mysterious coniferous pod. I began to imagine a magician or priestess or conjuror who is trying to master the pod’s miraculous powers. This video is for my “sketchbook.” I will be trying this idea again, adding the Ushabti I once received as a gift as well as some of my own iconic sculptures; a human skull and a few long bones; perhaps a tamborine and primitive percussive objects; and layers and layers of veils and ritualistic makeup. I see this ceremony happening in a wikiup type structure, lit by kerosene lamp (very exciting, strange, primevally frightening shadows on the walls of the wikiup, I imagine!).

Having attended religious services of many denominations, I come away with the belief that the power of ritual originates in the purposeful placement of ordinary objects – chalices, censers, scrolls, books, candles, and here, leaves – the placement of those objects in such a way that the context makes those ordinary objects both extraordinary and magical, and greatly magnifies the importance of those objects.