There is a box, and there is stuff and the stuff gets put in the box. The marker has gone missing so the box is unlabelled. It doesn’t matter because the stuff will only stay in the box for a short while and I will just remember what is in it. I go away for a year, I stay away for three. I return and more time passes. Somehow I never choose to sort the box, there are better things to do or even the opportunity to do nothing.
More time passes, it is obvious that what is in the box, (now forgotten) is clearly not very important to my life. Still, if I have kept it this long surely it is worth continuing to keep. So the box moves under my parent’s house while I go traveling again. I put it up on a brick to keep it dry.
At some stage I open the box, take a look, decide I am not in the mood for dealing with it and close it again. A few years later I open it again, play with the stuff in it, can’t make up my mind what to do with it, and put it back. Then this week I realize that I have been sitting on some of this stuff for 17 years. That is a lot of procrastination.
Some of the things in the box were these
They date back to 1996, to the day I left Melbourne after living there for 4 years. Friends had been invited to drop by for some cake and at the last minute I decided to get out some fabric paint and calico and invite them to paint. Being in a rush I ripped the pieces up randomly and they ended up different sizes. Friends called in and painted and chatted and said farewell.
Later that night I left on the coach to Canberra and took the pieces with me. I wanted to sew them up into a flat collage to put on the wall but they were different sizes in every dimension and I couldn’t quite get them to do what I wanted. They ended up in the box. They stayed there. At one stage I threw out the ones from people I was no longer in touch with, I backed the others thinking it would make them easier to use. I still couldn’t work out what I wanted to do with them. They went back into a box.
This month’s theme, ‘sitting on stuff’ has got me thinking. If I still like these paintings, I can display them, if I don’t like them I can throw them out. I am in control. I sent pictures of some of them to their creators. Only one person remembered. Seventeen years is a lot of procrastinating. I realise I sound like I have some kind of hoarding pathology. I don’t think I do. I just wanted the art to be just as I imagined and I couldn’t let go of the image. Do I sound like I am in denial?
I love that these paintings are from people I knew from a different time in my life and that I still know them. They are an afternoon captured. One friend was learning the drums at the time. Another painted the kind of doodles she used to draw in class. Life was changing and full of possibilities.
This may well have been the first ‘artist called anyone’ activity that I initiated. For that, if nothing else, I want to keep these paintings, display them and remember that getting anyone and everyone to create things has been a passion for longer that I had realised.
So today I have sewed them up, ignored that they are different sizes, ignored the original vision that I had, (luckily I have kind of forgotten it anyway) and put it on the wall. They are on my wall in my creative zone and if nothing else, I can enjoy that I have finally made a decision.