Archive for the ‘One Year…Explained’ Category

So, I think I explained the meaning behind the sides of my exhibit in past posts. But with the Gala event coming up tomorrow evening, I want to reiterate that this exhibit has been a significant healing process for me. The blog was meant to help me face the past and move forward and inspire others to do the same. With that said, I am learning so much more and I encourage you to come see all of the inspiring creations on exhibit at University Mall in Chapel Hill through June 30.

Here, I will only discuss my exhibit, appropriately titled One Year and Ninety-One Days. On one hand, I could say there is more thought in that project than any other of my career. And on the other hand, I could say that everything just fell into place. My design began as a very complex and detailed form that would have required me to revisit my math and geometry skills more than I really wanted. As time moved on through the holidays and into a new year, I woke very early one morning with an entirely new concept. Well, I guess not entirely new. I was still using many of the same materials, just arranging them in a different way. It was a clear answer that had me rethinking the overall structure.

I started asking myself the same questions over and over. This new idea may give a cleaner design that would stand the test of time, but would it convey the entire story? Do I need to tell the the entire story? Would people even care? Do I care? 

Then there was the issue of narrating an otherwise ugly story but  creating a sense of place for the viewer. Given my state of mind, I wrestled with the idea of truly dealing with the past. I was in a good place now and I wanted to incorporate that as well. Create a happy ending. A structure that evokes serenity. I wanted the viewer to become a part of the journey as I look forward to a new chapter. 

So, let me try to explain the exhibit:

Although all sides and planes relate, each gives a different view. Every angle has a stark reference to a period in my life and yet, if I were not trying to tell such a story, I am not sure I could have chosen such a beautiful blend of raw materials. The steel chainlink against the raw twisted tree roots. All at once the two opposing materials seem to work together. The manmade steel holds the door closed while a completely organic and natural formation holds the door up. What does this mean to the artist?

The ladder painted stark white and scribbled with drawings reminiscent of childhood dreams and casual freedoms. Why is it painted white and why does some of the original paint show through at the bottom? Why only the bottom? Why is the writing on the ladder written in pencil while most other writing is either computer generated or written in ink such as the thumbprint on the front and the transcribed words within?

Then there is the 2×4 that seems to be the only surface to not have endured any form of written legacy–why?

All in all, One Year and Ninety-One Days begs the question:

Does art imitate life or does life imitate art?

I hope to se you at tomorrow’s Gala event. Go to http://www.scrapelhillart.com for more info

 It was mid August. Things were going good as my daughter was now in school with a brand new outlook. I no longer had a job which, if that doesn’t give you a new outlook on life, I’m not sure what will! I started networking like crazy and volunteering in my community using the marketing and creative skills I know best. I trusted my own intuition and had faith that the answers I needed would come when the time was right. I just need to be patient. 

Late September came and, although we were getting answers, it became a very slippery slope. My daughter woke one morning in early October to the devastating news that a close friend was killed in a car accident the night before. While I could never fully comprehend everything she felt, all I could see was the stress beating her down. Every day was a new day and we took one step at a time. 

Two weeks later, a call from the police dept informed me they had a suspect in mind. The name did not ring a bell, but they said to call if I thought of anything. My daughter and I went out to dinner to “chill”. While driving home she got a text message that a friend of hers was in jail. We got home and I googled the kids name to find out more. This and additional texts revealed more disturbing information. Before I knew what was happening, I was more on edge than ever. 

The suspect of my breaking and entering case was involved in an armed robbery and murder and was now on the run. The two teenage boys, also involved, were in jail. For days I feared where this person was, would he come back, why did he do it, why my house, were the kids involved in our case too?

At least it seemed things might be coming to a close. The person was caught shortly after and facts were coming together. Although the case has not been closed and the person has not been officially charged, I feel as though the worst may be over. It was an unfortunate chain of events and I have since moved on.

I feel we can learn a lot if only we look hard enough at everything that life presents. It was certainly a tough life lesson for my daughter, one that no teenager should have to endure. And a trying time for me as well. I learned that I must pay attention to everything around me. Some things I can change. Yet so many other things I cannot. I might just need to accept it and move on….

Ha Ha! Starting out saying I am going to explain my back side sounds kinda funny, don’t ya think?

__________

But seriously, the back side is an integral part of my exhibit. It balances the front and creates the overall beauty of the whole. But, we cannot go there yet. 

why1If you follow the exhibit as it tells its story, you will read along the bottom base that the chaos and drama continued well into the summer. The climax this time was a second 911 call in response to what appeared, to my daughter who was inside,  to be a second break-in. This turned out to be a major miscommunication and was taken care of, none-the-less raising awareness and heightening our fear once again. I struggled with the simplest of decisions. I did not want to be home alone and I did not want to let my daughter out of my sight. In order to get through it all, I threw myself into work and other projects to keep me busy. Little did I realize how painful everything was for both of us. About a month later, a confrontation had us both hitting the breaking point and it is then that I realized the toll it was taking on my life. I had no choice but to rise above. 

That same week, I approached my boss and asked for a weeks vacation prior to the start of the school year. I just need some time for my daughter and I to get away for a while. Just a week. I was denied the requested vacation leave and the same week received a written warning. Despite my greatest attempts to stay, I left my place of employment and ended the struggle of keeping up with work and what is best for my family. 

I have to say, this seemed to be the start to my sense of optimism and feeling powerful once again. While I recall feeling numb riding the bus home that day, for that 45 minute ride, I had a sense of calmness about me that I had not felt in several months. From March 28 through mid August, I was constantly watching my back and feeling as if I was the prisoner. At home and at work.

It felt good to breathe freely again…

img_0656OK, now you deserve to hear the story about the right side…

As you look at the front and along the bottom of the exhibit, you read the words and get a sense of the initial shock and pain. You turn the corner to read more of the torment and sense little more than uncertainty. All I can recall is the panic and fear as illogical and unpredictable events continued. 

Indicative of my feeling then, is the openness of this plane. I felt very alone and scared, and desperately wanted something I could hold on to. But there was nothing there.

Threatening phone calls, strangers coming to my home for one reason or another. In my mind I began to question everyone – the pizza delivery guy, the people who visited my studio the year before, and even artist friends of mine. After all, they did tear up my paintings and I could trust no one right now because nothing was making sense. Then there was guy who meandered up to my door in the middle of the night to say he had run out of gas. He took my watering can to “get a gallon”. “Hey, if you are reading this, you owe me $15!”

Every car sound, wind noise, and creaking floor seemed to elevate my blood pressure. My little dog was jittery as ever. She was outside when the break-in occurred, but thank goodness was not physically hurt. Emotionally terrified however, she would flinch at the slightest movement and creep around furniture like nothing I had ever seen from her before. This behavior lasted a few weeks and was painful to bear. 

The single parent thing was getting old quick. With no family to lean on and not wanting to bother friends who had their own issues, I phoned several professional government support services to no avail. As in the past, a certain someone, who should have been there for my daughter at least, was far from helpful. Emotionally, I could take it no more and felt I was getting nowhere fast. 

I did my best to balance work and family while taking care of the legal and personal matters best I could. But…was it good enough…

One Year and Ninety-One Days (front)Well, since this blog is based on, and began with, my current exhibit titled One Year and Ninety-One Days, I thought there should come a time when I explain the symbolism and metaphores that are used in the artwork. No better time than now since the first of several special events is coming up. We have four days before the event and each day I will write about each of the four sides of One Year and Ninety-One Days. More information about the special events may be found at http://www.scrapelhillart.com

Although the exhibit was carefully designed to be aesthetically pleasing from every angle, I would say the front of the exhibit is seen as you look at the front panel of the door. This, of course, marks the first day of the story that this display communicates to its viewer. 

The destruction of the door, while still evident with the fingerprint dust and mangled siding, has been slightly camouflaged. The splayed innards are sealed and the damaged locks removed. Rather than a doorknob dangling uncertain of its whereabouts, a thumbprint marks the territory in a rather valiant effort. The larger picture of the entire hand is cast over the greater expanse of the door in yellow as if to heed warning to any visitors from here on out. Dripping with a white substance, the entire image is meant to leave a haunting yet peaceful feeling for any viewer. 

The door itself is nestled in a base made of reclaimed wood that now records some of my thoughts and internal emotions during this time. It rests precariously back against another very integral piece of this exhibit which will be explained later. The fact that it is leaning back is indicative of the trauma, but perhaps more importantly, is the fact that it is being held up. This is to be taken away as the stronger of the two sides of this story.

Come back tomorrow when I describe the “right” side of One Year and Ninety-One Days…

Today marks the first day of my journaling the forward track of my life, and I’ll try to not worry anymore. Having gone through more than I thought I could handle, I thank those who have been there to help me overcome the past year. While many of my closest friends were dealing with issues of their own, I turned to family. My family was more than willing to help but all they could do is listen as they were several hundred miles away. More often than not, an ear was enough.

On a positive note, I had many people who have been most helpful and may not even realize it. The law enforcement and detectives, school officials, health care professionals, and other driving forces have given their time, compassion and commitment to helping in any way they could. So many people have shown what true humanity is by going above and beyond their call of duty. From school teachers meeting with me on a regular basis to friends convincing me “I could do it”.

I have much to be thankful for now and optimism has played a huge role in that. I have a hard time differentiating optimism from ego or strong marketing skills. I guess they all connect in one way or another.

Over the weekend I reconnected with a good friend who I would often ask, “How can you be so happy all the time?” and he would always reply with a big smile, “What is the alternative?”

Sometimes I worry that I am not worried. Sometimes I just wonder…