no forwarding address. / by Jeff Herrity Artist

So, I survived my (e)merge art fair experience relatively unharmed. Well, actually, I think I came out of the other side a different person and different artist armed with a better idea of how to talk about my art. It's interesting to me to think that I may make different art now. Not different in that I am going to pander to the art community, but with the understanding that everyone will look at my art differently. the de-install of my piece

I cannot influence how people interpret my art unless I specifically say "My work is about..." or "This is what you are to think..." Hopefully, I will be able to be clear in my intentions with what I want to communicate - but I'm also secure in understanding that not everyone will 'get' it. That's ok from my perspective, just as it should be ok from the viewer's perspective.

Heading into the (e)merge show I knew that immediately after the de-install of that show, I would be installing my first senior show at school called FOCUS. This show sets the stage for our final thesis project and show in the museum. For many weeks, I worked and worked on a new piece for this first show. I was working on a large wall piece, or floor piece (I didn't really know) and was really struggling with what the piece meant to me and why I was making it. I started to enter my previous work style, and was forcing meaning that was not there. During my one-on-one meetings with my instructors, each gave a different set of critiques and I continued on my way.

the wall piece

On the Wednesday during my install of (e)merge Ivan basically challenged me about the piece and it did several things: 1. made me panic, 2. made me rethink the entire piece, 3. made me panic even more because I was already knee deep in working on a piece where I didn't know the outcome. So, now, I have two pieces that I have no clue what they were going to be. Fuck. I knew I wouldn't have time to completely make something new and I thought that I was going to have to go with a piece that I couldn't talk about and just take the hit. I knew that I would get slaughtered if I put up a piece just because it was pretty and shiny.

another view of the piece

Pretty and shiny doesn't always go well in art school. And pretty and shiny CERAMICS definitely doesn't (always) go over well...I might as well have said I wanted to be a visionary artist just for the trifecta of art school sins.

So, all during the (e)merge show I was fretting over what I was going to install on Monday morning. I figured I would just continue making the horns and something would come out at the right minute.  I thought the solution was to work with a different material - glycerine - and so I started working on those.

Still nothing.

I realized that I would have to make something work during the install and just put it all out of my mind and would deal with it at the time.

Well, just as things always work out, the (e)merge art fair came to an end. The last day was the best with so many friends coming to visit  - Beth, Art, Tara, the amazing Jen, Greg, Daniel, Jim, Judith, Novie (the owner of Flux Studios DC) and so many others. Forest Allread continued to be a great friend and we had so many more great conversations. The day definitely was ending on a high note.

Then it was 5pm. The show was over. Time to take everything down. Time to face reality that I still didn't have a good piece for the show the next day.

I got sad.

It was amazing how quickly the other artists were able to pack up their work and return this magical art wonderland to it's own reality: a parking garage.

I was standing in the middle of a parking garage popping garbage bags. Shit. Is this my future? Where was Jesus in the Clouds?

I continued to clean up my mess. Thinking about my work and what this experience meant to me. Did this work still exist? My strand of Jesus lights were revealed to me and as I unplugged them I jokingly said to myself: "Jesus doesn't live here anymore."

Then it hit me like a bag of deflated garbage bags - literally. All this shit i've been carrying around with me, this garbage,  was the work. All I had to show for this amazing experience was thrown over my shoulder and into the back of my car. I wanted to keep it, but also wanted to break out of it like a bull through the toreadors cape.

I had my piece for my FOCUS show. Dear sweet baby Jesus, I hope I can pull this off.

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