While I am very much looking forward to Fremont First Friday Art Walk tonight at the Saturn Building in Seattle, I was surprised to get a message that some of the tenants in the building are offended by my piece entitled Play Time. I was then asked to take it down. Play Time features several well loved and well used old toys that are very much the type my brother and I played with as children. I was so sad when I got the e-mail and, frankly, somewhat confused. I’m not a particularly ‘offensive’ sort of artist. All of my work is kid-friendly. My themes are almost exclusively healing in nature. Frankly, I feel like it takes a lot of effort to get offended by my work. Then I took another look at the piece through over-sensitive eyes and I saw it! There’s an old cap-gun at the center of the piece. GUN! GUN! GUN! If one were to look at the piece and fixate on that GUN!GUN!GUN!, then sure, let’s all be offended together. Heck, we should probably burn the artwork in effigy.
Then I moved back into my brain and asked if I could post an explanation of the piece rather than take it down since the sentiment behind it so speaks to the good works the therapists in the building are trying to achieve. Here is my explanation of the work as well as a photo of it. I don’t ever aim to offend…only to mend myself through the process of creating art and if I’m able to help others heal as well, even better.
Like all of my work, this piece came from a place of processing and healing. This resin based collage in a salvaged frame includes remnants of a toy tractor found during a low tide beach combing and other well-loved toys. While the tractor piece instigated the overall design, this piece was very much inspired by the life and death of my brother, Matt. Our childhood together was full of imagination, games and, yes, similar toys to what are featured in this piece. Like so many adults, Matt forgot how to play as the pressures of being “grown-up” suffocated him.
As you search the piece, what do you most connect with? The sling-shot? The stick horse? The cap gun from the good old days of playing cops and robbers? Or were you the builder? The car mechanic? The sailor? The Commander of your little green army? Whatever your toy of choice, Play Time endeavors to remind you to remember that kid…the one with the big imagination and plans to change the world. Honor your childhood no matter how busy, serious or ‘important’ your life may seem by making time to play. With no work/life balance, we find ourselves with only work and no LIFE.
Metal tags read: Make Time To Play. Find Balance. Simplify. Salvaged.
This one is in honor of my brother. Lessons learned.