Sep 13, 2015

On The Importance of Grand Scale Etch-a-Sketching

Sometimes when I get an idea in my head I cannot rest until I bring it to fruition.  This madness was what scared me away from performance art (for a while) as this need has, in the distant past, led me to “steal” (borrow, really) gallery walls for one performance, and “break into” a computer lab for another.  So, for the sake of sanity I’ve gone somewhat “vanilla.”  

My vanilla self works a 9-5, is responsible, goes to sleep early (when possible), and generally functions as one would expect an adult to function in society.  My higher creative self wants to be awake at 3am when everyone else is dreaming and the air is filled with depth and truths un-hindered by everyday concerns.

Recently, I’ve realized two important points:  

1) Being vanilla may not pay as well as I thought. 

2) Being vanilla for too long may not be sustainable.  

And a third point: being vanilla is not nearly as much fun.

If I am to develop true connections I need to unleash my true self.  This means releasing my creative ideas into the world, sharing my innermost feelings, and bringing things to fruition.  

So, I’m starting small, a few blogs, a few Facebook posts, etc.  This renewed habit will surely gain momentum as I practice regularly and expose myself from the shadows.  It’s requiring me to release control of where things may go, who may see them, and what might be stolen (intellectual property-wise), but being myself, and letting others really see me, is worth the risk.

Now I’m not talking about a drastic personality change.  I won’t start dying my hair blue and wearing home-made couture fashioned from utensils.  Instead, it means letting things out more consistently.  It means completing smaller projects that may not seem important or meaningful at the time, but are a necessary part of my creative flow: an external realization of my innermost ideas…even those that seem non-sensical.

I digress…

"Sometimes when I get an idea in my head I cannot rest until I bring it to fruition."

I’m connected on Strava, a social app for cycling (and running), with a group of co-worker friends, where we can see each-other’s routes as they’re mapped via GPS, and can cheer each-other on (“thumbs up” style).  

One day when studying the map of Santa Barbara, where I live and ride, I noticed a perfect “J” when riding to the Mesa if combined with a ride up and down State street.  And then the idea hit me to write my name, etch-a-sketch style, using the app, my phone, and the bike.

I figured out my route, how I could use the APS to craft the top curve of the “e” and Sycamore Canyon to finish a large enough “n.”  I figured out my starting point, end point, and how I would need to back track.  On the first weekend day that arrived since having the idea, I had to make my first attempt (otherwise, as I’ve said, I could not rest). 

I loaded up my gear, walked a few blocks to my starting point, and began.  I paced myself, adjusted my plan to fix a mistake when my GPS was temporarily off (you’ll notice a strange diagonal in the “e”), and persevered through the mid-day summer heat of an el nino year.  More than two hours, and 22 miles later, I was cruising down the final leg of the “n.”  Mission accomplished…I felt relieved.

"This is not a masterpiece.  This is not anything that resembles an answer to any of life’s puzzles, but it needed to be done."   

This is not a masterpiece.  This is not anything that resembles an answer to any of life’s puzzles, but it needed to be done.  

It is one small expression of myself, of how my mind works, what I see, how I play.  It may not be “important” as anything more than a playful activity, but to me, it had to be done.  It is one tiny piece of my puzzle, one thin layer of my onion, and putting it out there makes me feel more connected to anyone that took the time to notice that I’ve carved my name into the city.  

So, I’m looking forward to sharing more often and having these puzzle pieces assembled, publicly, so that you will start to see who I am, and connect not to the vanilla version of me, but to the authentic ME.