Writing letters, drawing, doodling, and even your handwriting can become art. The documentary 1000 Journals includes interviews with individuals who have received and/or given away blank journals. The creator of the project, Someguy (yes, this is the name he goes by) is based in San Francisco thus tugging a bit at my heart-strings since I call this great city home. The distribution and circulation of the journals has been ongoing since 2000 and it has expanded to 1001 Journals! The journals have gone all over the United States as well as 35 other countries (if I recall correctly). As the journals traverse the world, it’s fun thinking about where they’ve gone and all the types of individuals that have filled the pages.

I’m actually working on a project for Valentine’s day at the moment and hoping to get it done within the next few days. Of course, now that I’ve mentioned it, I have no choice but to finish it, which is a great thing. I’m pretty excited about it. In any case, my project, primarily, is based on tons of doodling (that would otherwise be in my journal). Seriously, like many people, letting go of my drawings and doodling has been made easier now since I’ve learned more about the 1000 Journals project. As I watched the documentary (which kept skipping due to a bad disk – does anyone use the word ‘disk’ anymore? I digress!), it occurred to me that many people wouldn’t consider themselves artists or creative but there’s something, intrinsically, that makes people want more in life. People want to be more than their job, more than the money they make, and to be more than what another person thinks they are. This wanting more involves the creative spark. Trust me, even mathematicians and scientists need to be creative when looking critically at problems. Likewise, artists must problem solve when they are creating art work.

One of the most wonderful aspects of the 1000 Journals project is the idea of impermanence. The act of letting go of what you have created can be difficult. Yet, knowing there are others that have created something from their unique experiences and perceptions of the world is pretty extraordinary. I highly recommend looking at the 1000 Journals project and maybe put in a request to receive and pass a journal onto another person. Whether you create something dark, happy, sardonic, scathing, highly rendered, classical, abstract and/or write in the journal, it would be exciting to see what other stories are out there in the world. 🙂

The Best Friend reading one of Ms. Ottinger's Books

At the beginning of the month, I posted a few photos I took at the Oakland Art Murmur. Jennie Ottinger’s show, Due By: Book show by Jennie Ottinger, at the Johansson Projects (JP) Art Gallery was my introduction to her work. Since JP is one of my favorite galleries in the Easy Bay, I usually prolong my visit and make multiple trips back to the space during the Art Murmur. Due By was one of those shows I couldn’t get enough of. I found it rather difficult to leave. As you can see from the photo, patrons were allowed to open the books. Interestingly enough, there were no signs or persons encouraging or discouraging the participation but it just made sense. What do you do when you see a book? You open it. Whether or not it has pretty pictures, that’s the nature of book – to be opened. Then, to illuminate or share a story. Jennie Ottinger, certainly, did just that with her work.

I wanted to take some time to write and let you know that I’ve got something in the works regarding Ms. Ottinger’s work and art practice. Her witty and clever take on literature classics is not only an innovative approach at engagement with the viewer, it is a meshing of many art practices into one that is worth the inquiry and the discovery (if you are new to her work). I’ll explain later…I promise.

First impression: Clever, witty, fantastic and engaging story-teller, well read (literally), prolific, lover of words and language

Lasting impression: Worth the time but wondering where she will go next…I’m hoping to find out!

Books and Paintings make an amazing combination!

I’m tired and quite frankly I want to go to sleep.

Now that I’ve got that thought out of the way, let me write a little something before I lay my head down. Who needs sleep anyway? I mean, really!

I was painting as a young artist and mostly I was painting these clouds and one day, sitting and painting looking in the sky, I saw twelve military planes passing by and they made these incredible drawings in the sky. I look at them and I said, God, you know, it’s ridiculous. I’m painting these paintings that are so two dimensional…So after that, I stopped painting…I can use any material I want. Fire, water, and the body. The moment I started using the body, there was an enormous satisfaction that I had. That I could communicate with the public…I could never go back to the seclusion of the studio…the only way of expression is to perform.

~Marina Abramovic, Excerpt from her MOMA interview regarding her piece, The Artist is Present

I think one of the many reasons I’m looking at Abramovic’s work, lately, is due to the fact that I’m trying to draw correlations between her and the work of Guillermo Gomez Pena and his performance troupe, La Postra Nostra. Both artists have travelled the world performing art (different from conceptual art, which deals more with materiality). Performance art deals, predominantly, with the body. Deep down inside, I’m a two dimensional artist but, recently, I have paid close attention to performance art because it does something that many art forms are unable to do – engage the public, physically. It calls for immediate presence and attention. It also draws the viewer into a unique experience that becomes a part of a moment versus something that can be relived (everyday) on a much more ocular level (i.e., paintings, sculptures, etc.). Performance art is not something you can collect, per se, but it is something that finds its way through our subconscious and provokes the mind to re-interpret life. It also gives you the option to participate, which is something I’ll touch upon when I gather my final thoughts about the Corpo Ilicito show.

Speaking of participatory art, for your reading pleasure, an interesting read about participatory art by Christine Wong Yap, Bay Area Artist. Enjoy!