I was reading this great piece of Ben Belser and Half way through I was giggling to myself. Not about what he wrote but he reminded me of something that happened a while back. I found it funny then, and I find it funny still. There are a bunch of people that read my name and think I am someone I am not. Even if they (hopefully) do not remember it.
Year ago I participated in a group exposition in Aruba’s Insight art studio. All participating artists had created one work specifically for this expo. The subject of the show was ‘structure’. And the studio owner was doing her very best to promote it. That’s how I found myself together with some other artists chatting with the events/culture/human interests/other type of fluff pieces reporter of a local paper. Of course I would very much like to see my name in the paper, preferably a bit more prominent than just in the list of ‘participating artists’. So I also found myself saying some sentences that I thought sounded impressive and quote worthy, but while technically not lies, ultimately empty and meaningless. It worked too. I managed to get a couple of quotes in. Pleased with myself I cut out the article and stuck the newspaper clipping in my portfolio, and then sort of forgot about it as I took on the next project.
Normally that would be the end of this story. And the title of ‘Bullshit Words of Wisdom’ would still fit. But I Google myself from time to time, just to see if there are no strange things when other people Google me. And to my surprise, google came up with a hit that made little sense. Why was my name associated with a book called “Basics Textile Design 01”? I have never done any textile design in my life. I sculpt. Mostly with clay and plaster and paper. I do some recycle art as well.
So when I click the link, there’s my quote. A quote I made at an expo called “Structure” about a plaster sculpture I made celebrating my favorite painting of my favorite painter. The dance from Matisse. It were 5 human forms holding hands in a circle and I called it “Ode to Matisse”
And here are my words, about trying to pull the image out of the painting and INTO the three dimensions (which was indeed a challenge, but um, also the point of making the work. I was trying to give something I love a different structure)originally already said to sound more interesting and important than I thought it was, taken out of context and applied to a field I am completely unfamiliar with, in a layout that makes it look like I know what the hell I am talking about and have some sort of profound insight.
That by itself would be enough to give me a giggle fit, but on top of that, I am slightly ashamed to say, neither Frances Stevenson or Josephine Steed; the authors of the book, seem familiar to me. As far as I can tell they didn’t live on Aruba. I will admit I am terrible with names though so maybe I do know one or both of these ladies and just can’t remember.
‘Authorship’ maybe very important in a lot of circumstances, but sometimes, original authorship is really just a throwaway sentence made for the purpose of shameless self promotion taken on an unexpected life of it’s own.
Lesson learned though. I steer away from shameless self promotion now. I’d much rather people stumble upon the things I make by accident. It feels much better to me that way. More authentic.