Monday, December 5, 2016

WHAT I LEARNED FROM ART BASEL


I’ve just returned from Art Basel Miami Beach, an event I look forward to for months in advance, and begin planning my outfits for weeks ahead of time. I planned to create three garments inspired by works at the fairs, and photograph them on site.  After a horrific paint spill and a disappearing painting, I didn’t accomplish what I set out to do.  In fact, I didn’t even complete one and I left Miami feeling unfulfilled.  But there’s always a silver lining to failed creative endeavors – you learn something about yourself and your process along the way. 

The photo above is an example of one of these failed attempts.  After losing an entire garment to an unfortunate paint spill in my suitcase on the flight to Miami, I set out to make a new dress.  Inspired by Kenneth Noland’s Mach II from Acquavella Galleries, a work of art I saw at Art Basel during the VIP Preview day, I hand-painted this dress in my hotel room using childrens’ finger paints I bought at Walgreens.  I wasn’t very happy with the result, given my limited resources, but set out to photograph the piece nonetheless.  When I returned to the fair, I found that the piece had sold, and was already out of the country with its new owner, a private collector. Slightly devastated, I posed for this photo outside the fair.  In a strangely poignant turn of events, when the photo was uploaded to my computer, it was slightly mutilated in the process, resulting in the bewildering version above.  In a weird way, the photo seems more like a work of art to me than the dress; all I had to do was remove my control from the process.

That, in a nutshell, is what I learned this year: no matter how much you plan and prepare ahead of time, there are always external factors that are out of your control.  The finished product may be completely divergent from what you set out to create, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a success – as long as you learned something along the way.

Kenneth Noland, Mach II, 1964 via Acquavella Galleries at Art Basel Miami Beach

Photo of me by William Sealy; painting photo by me.

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