Paxus has been asking me to write this for a while.
What is it like to be an artist living in community?
I should first state that I live in an intentional community, or commune, as the out of the know folks call it. Here I must work 42 hours a week doing various tasks. Generally, I answer phones calls from customers with thick accents insisting that “send ’em their dam sweet potatoes” and that I gladly do. Proving that I am more organized than I would generally appear to be.
In this wonderful place I am allowed to live in chaos in my room. I am one of those disgusting pack-artists that needs to save everything. I am a stage 0.01 hoarder.
My partner asked “why do you need this? It looks like garbage. ”
“Why wouldn’t I need it?!” I replied. “I could do so many things with it!”
An Explanation: My fellow communard and friend, Paxus asked me to paint the Post Office for the regional Burn Transformus. This lovely ball of color and dirt was a result of my artistic process. When I thought the Post Office needing some quick jazzing up as the deadline approached, I decided to put masking tape arranged as stripes on the Post Office. I then painted on the tape and took the tape off once the paint was dry (Yay for my best friend acrylic paint being a master at fast-drying).Even though the tape had done its job, it was no longer needed. I thought the colored tape looked really pretty, especially because I used splatter paint against some of the tape. I figured I could glue it to later pieces or use it to make jewelry, either way I have an eventual plan.
The best thing for a hoarding artist living in community is the fact that, even though you have a private space, you are basically living amongst other peoples shit. Random shit current members, past members, interns, fucking guests that were here for a single day, left lying around. Often times if there is no piece of masking tape with a name on it, it is fair game and becomes commie. (commie= communal AKA for anyone.) I love using random shit in my art. I’ve been living here for about nine months and now the other humans living here KNOW I will take their garbage.
EXPLANATION: A few months ago one of my dear friends left, a provisional member. One of our longer term member’s daughter was going to move into his room. She decided to go take a look and see what his room looked like. She was DISGUSTED at the state of the room. He had left a bunch of his stuff that she now was left to clean up. Much to my excitement she let me look through the bags of trash before she threw it out. I found a variety of tiny containers, Broken MP3 players and a bunch of CDs I’ll never listen to. He was also an artist and had some paint. Probably the best find was the broken mirror that he’d never chosen to clean up. This angered our current mother member, but I was thrilled that I had a broken mirror to mess around with. I’ve had it since three months ago, but the other day I finally decided to break it up into even smaller pieces so I could use it for a work-in-progress. It is such a work in progress that I now have a mug filled with shards of mirror in my room waiting to be glued.
Young women come here often and learn that they can tell societies beauty standards to go fuck themselves. This usually begins with them getting some sort of hawk, or shaving a part of their head. This one girl very awesomely shaved her entire head and she had LONG TUROQUOISE HAIR that she donated to my random shit collection. I walked around the entire day saying to anybody who’d listen (some probably didn’t want to.) “this is the most exciting day of my life.”
Her hair has gone to be part of my most “almost completed” painting of the moment and to be accessories for my lovely mannequin heads hair! It will probably be the best part of many other pieces I will create!
Lets not forget how awesome it is that there is a fuckton of construction going on the commune right now. LOTS of scrap wood! In fact, both pieces sampled in this post are done on such surfaces.
The other day, someone tried to give me super fine-tip pens.. more traditional art supplies and they didn’t even work.. I’ll find something to make them into I am sure.
I don’t just paint! I am also making a mockumentary, to be posted on indiegogo soon!
Much love and to the fellow communards readings.. GIVE ME YOUR RANDOM SHIT! Or your hair.. or your toenails!