Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wow... again.

Finally Art X is over and now I'm back being busy making new paintings, working on commissions and getting back on horse, making sure I catch seeing Bruce High Quality Foundation and band practice... all of this kind of being 'busy' seems like nothing, it's so easy compared to Art X Detroit...

I had a really good day! Had great interactions one after another... Josh-Zeb-Mike-Adrian-Crystal-Daniel-Simone-Dooligan-Chazz-Lou-Sean-Cassidy-Dorota-Dan Tartanian-Rachel-Corrie-myself

It all began with me sitting in my room staring at my iPhone realizing that I needed to get out of the house, especially since I wanted to write my thank you letters to everyone who helped me with my Brixel project. (I imagined a fantasy studio where other people were busy working on their own projects and some of them would bring up their heads to see who just entered as Caribou softly plays in the background... Large open tables are still available although many are covered in projects that have to be finished before the end of the week. There are many tools, rulers, various neatly organized pencils, watercolor pencils, pens, replenished as they become used or tucked away in someone's pocket. To the side of this warm area lit entirely by the sun coming in is a closed off area that is practically sound proof, where people can relax and talk with each other, there are no TVs, no microwaves that need be cleaned, but there are various snack foods, kale chips, hummus as well as veggies that are in a deep round orange plastic container, three pizza slices are also left, not to mention the unhealthy snacks there too... ) I have to get out of this house and FIND THAT PLACE!

I immediately called my Vitamin Water boss Josh and arranged to deliver the trophies I had made for the Music Awards, we talked about meeting in an hour, easy enough, but somehow I was still 10 minutes late... I just hope I'm not going to be like Aero Saarinen who was practically late for everything and hated being early.

Once out of the house I had intention to get into my ritual which involves sending off Netflix in the hopes of getting it back to copy it onto my computer to watch it in the future. It is one of the few routines I actually have in my life.

From there it was a whirlwind of chance encounters in this small town and enjoying every second of not getting any 'art' done but definitely just being in a 'Detroit' moment.

Chatted it up with Zeb about how much can 500 dollars pay for in terms of a sign for 'HATCH'

while he downloaded and we played Oregon Trail on his iPhone, turns out he's an expert at what things will cost... everything. 500 dollars is feasibly a good amount for cutting out 2D letters out of marine grade plywood painting them and then sealing them, and affixing them to the building. Ideas of making a full on sculpture out of the word 'HATCH' or a birdfeeder or making them a neon sign... not so much...

This makes me very aware of how much of a novice I am as an artist in this aspect, I'm losing about 300 dollars from taking on the Art X Detroit project from my original 1,500 dollar budget, no one got paid enough... although it's not like everyone wanted to be paid a bundle, I definitely didn't get paid... I should've actually asked for 5,000 in order to accomplish what I actually am about to 'finish', 3 large murals in Midtown. Me and my friends have put in so many hours that I don't want to calculate because it will just remind me how much money I didn't budget for... But then again I think about how crazy my expectations were.

from one brixel to another from Cedric Tai on Vimeo.

Imagine yourself and a slew of your friends and you're all asked to make the best work of art you can with a loose budget of perhaps 2,000 dollars and it will be put on display in a museum, you have 1 month to make it happen, 4 days to install and 3 months to plan it. If I was to ever do this again, I think I'd shit a brick... it's so stressful, it doesn't seem like nearly enough money and on top of that imagine not having enough time to see all of your friends work when everything actually opens. And yet it doesn't really seem like it's all over...

[To remind myself of what I would've done differently I'm going to take a moment to rewrite my own budget.

Pay myself $25 an hour when I'm 'working' and $10 dollars an hour when I'm just figuring shit out. Keep track of my hours somehow, perhaps tally it up every two days.
Pay for an assistant to keep me on track where I need to be at any given time and what needs to happen and when.
Pay for a coordinator to keep people on track for where they need to be and make sure everything's running as smooth as possible.

Pay for people to hang out in my 'Research Studio' and show people how to get involved.
Pay 2 professional painters to give advice about the best locations, color schemes, how to apply the paint the best, how to get supplies at the best price and lastly pay them to help organize the paint job

And if whoever worked for free/very little would have gotten every penny they deserved.

That would be on top of what I actually did pay for, but in the end this whole project reminds me of what everyone was willing to give me... for no cost, just for wanting to help me with my project. It was like I was given $2,800 worth of favors from friends... I don't know what the hell I would've done!

Leaving MOCAD to meetup with Mike at the Dagleish Garage I stepped inside immediately setting off the alarm... That building is a perfect location for Brixels, but also once we went up the stairs, bringing scaffolding to hang off of the roof there seemed practically impossible. I realized... the only way I can get it done is if I actually have a cherry picker... poop.

I happened to run into Adrian Hatfield bringing his class to MOCAD. It was a great happenstance because I got to bring in the largest group yet at a given time to see my Research Studio.

The best hairstylist in Detroit is in that class, Crystal! So I talked with Crystal and Daniel about making them crepes and having them see the cat, but they have to bring what the crepes will be filled with! Daniel's getting new glasses and hopefully a class to teach in the Fall... funny to me how changing your hairstyle, or glasses will change how people perceive you, how you navigate the world, it can change your life!

Walked with them over to Re:View Contemporary where shortly after Adrian's class and talked with Simone for maybe an hour about the realness of forming a relationship between an artist and a gallery that represents the artist, but also the realities of what Detroit means for us as artists and the dreams we have for what it means to be an artist and how we really need to alter how people think about Detroit as a place to get art on the cheap. She said I made her realize that she's a cross between Barack Obama and Leo Castelli, but that's part of a larger conversation that you're not privy to, you just get the amusing one-liner. From there we went on to tackle the fresh concept of putting artwork in the hallways of Willy's Overland lofts and went to see the amazing views of Detroit from the 5th floor's unfinished development...

Willis overland lofts before dividing it into manageable spaces from Cedric Tai on Vimeo.

We share a very strong philosophy: Have a goal but be flexible. It's taking us so far and now that it's worked so much for us we are just taking bigger risks and digging deeper into what we truly believe and who we are and trusting our instincts.

Walking out of there I remembered that at a certain time loaves of bread are half off at Avalon Bakery and who's at the front of the line about to order and pay but Mike Dooligan getting his usual, a loaf of bread and a peanut butter brownie. He kindly walks and talks with me even though his bike is parked just outside of the place. We talk about how great Dan and Duke are as a couple and it make me so happy to imagine and pretend that it's has something to do with Miriah Carey.

We break off once I got back to MOCAD and I remembered that there's people I still need to talk to... open ends that need tying.
So I call up Chazz Miller and he happens to be ready to meet up with me and grab a poster from me that I used in my 'Research Studio' and I realize how badly I want to make him a Prezi presentation to talk about what he does because I want to imagine him doing what he does well, community art, and not having to worry about having to keep pitching the same thing over and over without engaging people visually.

He takes off just as Lou Casinelli and Sean Hages and their friend Sid and I can just feel the excitement that they all have hanging out with each other... And then it forced me to figure out when Lou, Vanessa, Andy and maybe even Piper can meetup and talk again about Access Arts... It's so odd that I saw the e-mail and worried that I wouldn't get in contact with him soon enough... I had that awful feeling that I was going to forget completely and here he was with that half-cocked grin and his sleepy eyes that match his voice so well. Some people seem to have wider mouths when they're mouths are closed, Frank Pahl is like that, actually sometimes he reminds me of a muppet.

So at this point I've realized that I've spent way too much time in that parking lot now so I finally figure I should start going somewhere... so since I'm on a really good 'not doing what I planned on doing' kick, I remember picking up the 944 magazine and seeing my paintings in the background so I decide to drive over to Mike and Kristin's place to pickup paintings from that Detroit Young Professionals party, since I'm in the area, and gas is high, I might as well try to see if they're around.

As I arrive right at their place I get a phone call, from an unknown number, some girl who is pretty surprised that I actually answered the phone and she quickly hangs up. She calls me back, to let me know that she's nervous because she's never talked to a 'real artist' before and she wants to help do the Brixels project! Part way through the conversation Dorota walks by! We chat about doing a performance on the people mover on Sunday and getting artwork ready to be in Team Detroit's building before I leave for Glasgow.

Wow another person I didn't think I'd run into, but it's a good thing that I did, clarifying things, moving forward... That was easy.

On my route back home I thought about stopping by Halima's place to drop off a check to her but she didn't answer her phone but I did notice that Showtime had its doors open! I stopped in and it was a quick hello and a 'so whaddya think of the brixels!' turned into a long talk about what it means to be present, what are the perspectives that we have way beyond just being in Detroit, what does it take to survive in a place that has seen the rugged days into today with the eventual push out of crime out of Midtown into areas just outside of Midtown... At some point we were talking about how he truly embraces not buying anything foreign, especially by not shopping at any generic chain stores, and then the importance of meditating, how to tell people's motivations and the funny stories that happen when you keep your wits about you.

I think I got there around maybe 6 and I left around 8:30? Time flies.

Back at home I find out that Rach has somehow realized her calling, she too had a great day, she feels on top of things, she's feeling she has a grasp on what she 'does' as an artist, she's interested in storytelling and depicting stories about the fear that we go through and the fears that are unique to particular people. It makes so much sense. It then also reminds me of Leon Johnston's artist talk about the conglomeration of objects and works in the N'namdi gallery as dealing with 'Masculine Fear'... I imagine his voice saying the word 'pleasure' and think about how wonderful it is to see all these interconnections playing out in a single day from one person to another to another, remembering what its like not to sit in front of a computer running to keep up with people but actually getting in contact with them... and even with new people... Adrian's students, friends of friends, unknown callers, what busy day I've had... not doing anything.

I have this bucket list of things to do now that I know I'm going to the Glasgow School of Art, everything seems like I'm just a tourist in Detroit, I'm understanding how much I'm going to miss everything spontaneous about this city, this house that I needed to leave so badly, the constant contact with the friends that like being around... It reminds me of the routines I begin tomorrow... walks once a week with Rachel as soon as we wake up, making a Tumblr with Corrie to keep in touch, Rachel reminding me to Skype Andy T... Checking on my studio and finding out how insane everything is changing at the Russell Industrial Center...