Garage Sale + Art Project= Love
My father and I are both purgers, we like to get rid of things. Each Sunday I do an inventory of what I'd like to let go of and I place it in a box to get rid of at the end of the month. My mother and brother do not have the same tendency. With that in mind, I have spent this past week helping my mom go through her closets in preparation for a garage sale. She is not a hoarder like on the TV shows, but she definitely keeps objects after they have passed a purpose in her life.
One of my favorite jobs this fall has been helping my mom fix up and release things in her life. Its sort of interesting, because not only am I collaborating on an art project with her during our making of the animation Elegy to Connie, but I am also working with her around her house to fix up projects that have not yet been completed. Helping my mom complete her old projects, I've found has been contagious in my own life, as I find I am now trying to on a weekly basis complete projects I've had on hold. In completing these projects, I feel like I am keeping my word.
I think by finishing old projects and getting rid of excess clutter in our lives, we make space for clarity on other projects. It is also sort of like a re-setting of goals. I was further motivated to help my mother have a garage sale when she told me that if I would organize and work the garage sale, I could keep the proceeds. This could be another source of income. Finally, I could do another action as a part of my project Recall, Redraw, Release and put that project in an environment that related to its very meaning.
My work schedule has been lighter. I have had less teaching work, as my class did not make, which has led me to explore some alternative sources of income. For an artist, I think this process can either be frustrating or invigorating. The possibly frustrating aspect is that gigging for work is not necessarily reliable, must be actively pursued, and can lead to work that is not art related. I've been having fun trying to find different means of income. I can say right now that I've got a nice balance between working and art making. I am reminded of how I tried to represent the art work/ work quandry in my "Live as an artist Project". Check out this funky graph below I made that charts the relationships between income source, studio time, and mental outlook.
*Barter-I really love bartering because it feels like an equal exchange of skills. I think in part because the two bartering parties actively try to reach a common ground that feels about the designated trade. Bartering in my life right now includes:
Bartering for yoga with my yoga teacher in exchange for tutoring her son.
Creating a work of art in exchange for future canvas stretchers.
Trading an illustration and photography session for singing lessons.
Trading video editing lessons for editing my writing.
*Freelance-I've also been taking some jobs doing freelance illustration for paintings and invitations. In the past I've done freelance editing as well. Most of these jobs come word of mouth.
*Teaching- This is one of my regular gigs but this fall it has extended into tutoring and private art lessons.
*Selling things- Whether its at an art show, Etsy, or a garage sale, selling things feels good. Yesterday's garage sale was a fun reminder of how, you never know what your audience or crowd would like to buy.
GARAGE SALES=WIN, WIN
A garage sale is a great end to a process of decluttering and organizing. It's a win win because suddenly not only have you simplified your life, but you are also able to make some money off of the things that you no longer need. I also love the intersection of community that a garage sale enables, suddenly a series of neighbors and strangers are temporarily in your space to take things of your hands. Its a moment of public sharing as well as story swapping. At yesterdays garage sale, among many memorable conversations, I met an enthusiastic young boy building a treehouse, a man that had just lost his dog, and a woman from England preparing to get her Masters. Meanwhile in objects; we said Goodbye to old TV, tacky fish bank, 1970's hiking back pack, inflatable boat, hummingbird feeder, pink brooch, Peter Frampton record, walkman, Playstation, and several other forgettable things.
RECALL, REDRAW, RELEASE
In honor of Artica, which was happening concurrently with our garage sale, I decided to bring Recall, Redraw, Release full circle. Last year at Artica, I invited people to bring an object they wished to let go of, but could not because of a memory associated with it. I created a drawing of the object and memory in exchange for the object. The donor, tagged the object with the memory. Donated objects were then free to a new owner, as long as they would write a short post card message to the previous owner detailing why they liked the objects. I then mailed the postcard to the old owner. I had been collecting objects since this first Artica sitting, mainly through private sessions at my studio.
During the garage sale, I put up a shelf of my collected items. It was really curious how people discovered these pieces in the garage sale, they were initially puzzled by the messages and the fact that the objects did not have prices on them. This usually led to my project explanation. Once hearing about the project and finding out the items were free, some people seemed less interested in the objects. They would have rather have paid for it. Someone described it as if the objects felt sacred, unlike the other stuff at the garage sale, it seemed people did not want to take the item unless they really felt drawn to its meaning. Furthermore I think it led people to contemplate their own collecting, I may have inadvertently discouraged them from buying other things at the garage sale. People thanked me and said that it was a really positive project. I watched a few people read every tag. I even passed my contact info onto someone who thought they might want to participate in the project. Finally, the people that did participate and take an object included; the young kid building a tree house and a woman that herself left notes in public for people to find. By my analysis, they were already creatively inclined or interested in alternative art practices. Nonetheless it has reinvigorated my interest in this project, so if you'd like to participate, please drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would also like to point out that my show at RAC, the beginning of Elegy to Connie, are described in depth in this post by Andrew Raimist, check it out! It feels so good to have someone take the time to write about this work!