October 13, 2015

10/10/15 – Forming a Breakfast Tradition with Kirsten Lund

Artist: Kirsten Lund

Location: Honest ? John’s


KL – The Special? (something like eggs, bacon, hash browns, no toast), tea with lemon (maybe honey)

SRS – Coffee (cream, little bit of sugar), frosted flakes french toast, sausage

I had business reasons for meeting Kirsten for breakfast this weekend – I was lucky enough to score her kind contribution to the amazing art auction that Mary Fortuna staged on behalf of her (and many peoples’) friend, Ellen Phillips, who is suffering from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS). Just a beautiful example of the way this tight little community supports each other, and the Facebook quasi-silent-auction, complete with Mary’s running reminders for people not to make comments other than bids, was a lot of fun and quite heartwarming to participate in.

But all that aside, also, YAY NEW ART. Although I am more familiar with Kirsten’s 3D stitched works, this little watercolor triptych clearly captures the same type of inspiration on a different plane.

I’ll be honest, Kirsten and I mostly talked a lot about we are confused by weddings. I would go farther, and say I really hate them for the most part, but I don’t want to implicate her in my dramatic statements. I think, for me, a lot of “traditional” ceremonies are sort of meaningless. The idea that we are doing something because it is something we have always done is anathema to me. Circular logic at its worst. Part of thinking critically is looking at something we do and ask why we’re doing it. Does it retain its significance to us? Is declaring people to be bound together forever by God and society still a relevant practice, now that we (largely) choose to marry people we have met before and know and presumably love rather than be auctioned off as trade commodities between men? And, you know, a lot of us don’t actually stay together forever anyway, God and society notwithstanding.

What I’m saying is, please don’t invite me to your wedding.

But, you know, artists like to make their own rules, maybe more than the average person. When it comes to generating meaning for ourselves or other people, we are driven to create rituals that sit a little outside the mainstream. Does it make our meanings more meaningful? No, but maybe a little more original than the 1 millionth reading of Corinthians 13:4. And actually, yes, it is more meaningful than four back-to-back groomsmen toasts by your fraternity bros, all referencing an inside joke called “the el baño incident.” No amount of open bar is worth it.

Sorry, I am wandering off topic again. Kirsten and I did talk about the next upcoming OPEN TO THE PUBLIC event by Creative ManyProfessional Development Seminar: Critical Contexts, on October 24th. There’s a lot of value to these events, I think–and it doesn’t always have to do with the content (though that’s good, too). It has to do with being out there. As artists, we love to believe that the work is the most important thing, because that’s the part that feels the best to us. But actually, getting the word out about the work, making personal and professional connections that support your practice, and sharing skills, knowledge, contacts, and habits that lead to a more fruitful arts ecosystem are all really, really important, as well.

Because it’s a whole environment–and Mary Fortuna’s art auction for Ellen Phillips is a great example of it functioning on a micro level. We’re in this together, actually. If practicing art and thinking about art and leveraging the power of art to change the world in some way is important to us, we need to reflect that priority by being REALLY GOOD AT IT. Not just the great part, where we make intuitive decisions and geek out about materials. And not just the part with free wine and shmoozing (although that’s helpful). The part where we really think about what we’re doing, and ways we could be doing it better.

Because otherwise, dusty traditional people with their dusty traditions will decide what’s important in the world, and we will all be stuck at Table 13 watching them cut the cake and eyeing the exit…okay this metaphor has gone off the rails, but I think you feel me. I’m sorry I brought you into this rant, Kirsten, you deserve better.

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