Did You Make Art Today?

A piece of mail art I made for my son, Jeremy, this morning.

My son, Jeremy, and his wife, Stacy, moved to Arizona this past August. I was kind of bummed out when they left. My wife suggested that I use my sadness about Jeremy having moved away and turn it into something positive, like creating mail art. It was a great idea! I have always loved making and sending pieces of correspondence art, but had done little of  it in recent years. I now try to send at least three pieces of mail art to him each week. I use some of the pieces to encourage him to make art himself, whether that be in the form of mail art, sketching in his journal, taking some photographs, or playing his guitar. The piece of mail art shown above is sitting on the mailbox now waiting for our postal carrier to pick it up.

Perhaps that is something we all need from time to time….. encouragement! I wonder how much more time we would spend on our own art if on occasion we received a piece of mail that said, “Did YOU make ART today?”.  And yes, I know we could send these messages of encouragement vie e-mail, but isn’t still fun (and rare) to find a real hand written letter, or better, a piece of hand made art, in your mailbox, encouraging you to keep pushing you own art? Hmmmm….. perhaps I should spread this around and send this same message to some art friends of mine.

Charlyne Yi (photo by Phil Konstantin)

With the extremely cold temperatures the past ten days, Chris and I have been catching up on films at the theatre and on DVD. On the big screen we have seen Avatar, Up in the Air, and Sherlock Holmes. Our latest Netflix DVD came in the other day, a mockumentary (also refered to as hybrid documentary) titled Paper Heart. In this film, Charlyne Yi embarks on a quest across America to make a documentary about the one subject she doesn’t fully understand: Love. Michael Cera becomes the object of her affection. (I first saw Cera when Chris got into watching the tv sitcom Arrested Development. We later enjoyed his performances in the films Superbad and Juno.)  Weaving together reality and fantasy, Paper Heart combines elements of documentary and traditional storytelling to get at modern romance. Paper Heart follows Nick and Charlyne on a cross-country journey as she interviews ministers, happily married couples, chemists, romance novelists, divorce lawyers, a group of children, etc.

Chris and I both enjoyed Paper Heart, even though we agreed that Ms. Yi was just plain irritating. Her reactions to  her interviewees comments on love were more like that of a uncomfortable seventh grader. However, Ms. Yi is in her early twenties, so her junior high-like responses got old quick. Otherwise, Chris and I found the film to be quirky, fun, and entertaining. I was curious about Ms. Yi and how she came to be a part of this film, so that evening it was off to the internet.

I read a few internet pieces on Ms. Yi, but the one I actually found interesting was her blog. In this particular entry Ms. Yi answers all those people who ask her advice on “making it”. She goes on to tell her story and you discover that this young lady has determination and guts. I was impressed with what she had to say about believing in herself and dealing with a truck load of rejection. Yi got little encouragement, but she was persitant. Although her words are directed towards acting and stand-up, one could easily see her statements crossing over to  the visual arts. If you are interested in what she has to say, check it out here. Now if only I had that kind of determination and belief in myself when I was her age. And while I still find the “film version” of Ms. Yi to be somewhat irritating, she has earned my respect for her focus and determination to do her own “art”.

Ms. Yi’s “advice” in her blog reminds me just a bit of the old Calvin Coolidge quote: “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

And talking about persistence, did you make any art today?


1 Response to “Did You Make Art Today?”

  1. 1 Nancy
    January 8, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Great website, Bob. I like the new look.

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