I just got back from the club – the club where I have spent the past 4 year curating erotic art in their gallery space.
I recall when my friend approached me for it. “You’re a photographer. You have a good eye for art. We need another person or two – you should help.” Help I did. Then a year later, I was sitting in front of the club owner as my cohort handed in his resignation, handed me the key to the club, and said “and here is my replacement”. We really didn’t have much of conversation beforehand, so it was a surprise to me.
Find the local erotic art community, the owner told me – and find it, I did.
I have been so proud of finding the artists who had been lurking in the edges of the art scene because they did “erotic” stuff. Artists who should be showing, but never got a chance. Artists who had a desire but never a reason to push forward. Artists who used the space to celebrate the project they proudly did for years that finally saw the light of day. Artists who just wanted a chance because they didn’t think they were that great – but who really were that great. I’ve had artists that have sold so much art they were almost drunk after the 2 hour show. I’ve had artists who still are getting contacted for art sales. I’ve had artists who have sucked the fucking life out of me with their disorganization, their crappy prints, their constant rescheduling for art drop off that I wondered if they are even going to follow through with it.
I have, right now, at least 12 artists who were hoping to show in the next 18 months. They had been booked. They were making art. They were checking in with me regularly, and they were excited.
I hate all that has happened that has led to the club closing.
Art is something that has always been in my blood. I kick myself to this day that I stopped drawing when I got into high school. I was actually pretty good – but stopped because it would never make me money. I never felt good at it even when people told me I was. But I knew it was a flight of fancy – not something that I could do seriously – I needed to be serious in my career selection, so I stopped art.
In college, I was forced to take some sort of fine arts class. Music or art. I chose art. And I loved it. So I did more of it as I could. I found it balanced me. After many classes where the focus was 0s and 1s and logic and code and rules – to take a class where it was creative and colorful and pushed outside of the rules made me happy. I found my art almost always reflected my life. I watched G’s friend and roommate capture amazing photos with his camera (old school film) – and wished I could do the same. One photo I took of G while in college showed I had an eye – I just viewed it as an accident.
After the kids were born, I took more happy accidents with my camera, then digital camera. I never viewed it as art – just accidents – I mean how can accidents be art. I remember getting my first DSLR….and, it fed me. I took some amazing photos and it drove me to learn more. I took lots of shots and figured things out. Ironically, I never considered myself an artist. Four shows later, I’m still not feeling legit.
But the gallery – ah, the gallery made me feel close to it – closer to it than I had ever felt before. It fed me too – just in a different way. And I had artists – real artists – give me feedback on my own stuff that was like “maybe it is good – maybe it is art”. A month ago when the group I am helping was planning their launch party, I was asked to be a photographer for the night. I said yes even though it makes me nervous on so many levels – even though it taps into my insecurities (am I good enough to do this?) I took a deep breath and said yes.
The gallery door is closed. The door for me, as artist, seems to be opening.
I just hope I can make the leap. I hope every shot I take is good. I hope I don’t come across as an imposter.
Because art runs in my blood – it feeds me – I cannot deny it.
I just hope I can make it work for me…..somehow…..because it cannot go back to nothing.