I had the pleasure of participating in AHA last Thursday (March 19, 2015) with old friends and new friends in the heart of the Mission District of San Francisco at The Lab, where I demonstrated my harmonograph and 100 harmonographic drawings. This experience reinvigorated my faith in art practice as a viable way to carve a path towards a kinder and more mindful future.
AHA brought together artists to create a night of sound art, video art, performance art and visual art in a unique and collaborative way to meditate on the notion of epiphany. Rather than organizing an event around an exhibition like traditional art shows, this event was the exhibition.
This show was organized by (photo from left to right) Anjelica Colliard, Caity Ballister, Jim Jameth, Monique Islam, and Caitlyn Grams, a collective of creative and progressive Bay Area women who seek to illuminate emerging and underrepresented local artists.
During the process of setting up, showing, and taking down our work (which was about 24 hours total), I thought a lot about the nature of permanence and transience in art practice and how all this adds up to moments of epiphany and action.
I had three moments of epiphany after the end of the show.
1. ART CREATES CHANGE
A day before the show, we realized that the AHA event had to revolve around the production for another art event on the following month — for a group show with the much more well-known artist, Ai Weiwei. At the time, working around Ai Weiwei’s use of The Lab’s space was a huge headache and forced us to use the space in an unintended way.
But WOW, us twenty-somethings with nothing more than a vision and a space showed our work where the world-renowned Ai Weiwei will show a few weeks later. After the show, I did a little research on Ai Weiwei’s work.
My first epiphany was brought about by looking at Ai Weiwei’s work: artists create important dialogues about society which have the potential to bring about real change. If you have any doubts about this bold assertion, please watch this documentary about Ai Weiwei. He is an inspiring artist and fearless human being.
2. THE IMPORTANCE OF SPACES AND STATES OF MIND
The AHA event and my trip as a whole to the Bay Area made me realize that I NEED to be in there to grow as an artist and business person. The City makes me feel alive, creative, and bold. There is so much change happening in the Bay Area. It would be a shame to not be a part of it by staying in the hot hot heat of Los Angeles.
During my trip, I experienced two very distinct groups of twenty-somethings: the struggling artists and the young urban professionals who unknowingly kick them out of San Francisco. Just as a preface: I don’t want to use this article to discuss the moral and social dilemmas of gentrification because there is so much already written about it. Instead, as someone who identifies as both as an artist and a businessperson I have come to the realization that I need to think critically about my role in the Bay Area. There’s always this dilemma between making money and pursuing creative projects. But this time, I have a plan.
That counts as an epiphany, right? Now for action: Bay Area here I come!
3. KEEP ON MOVING