Thursday, June 9, 2011

Passing Conversations in an Airport

Candy Store Grid on the brain
Specifically in the hallway to the bathroom...

I had one of my most interesting artist days ever yesterday while installing the Candy Store Grid at the Columbus International Airport, Gateway to the Arts.

It all started with Francis and I furiously trying to cram ourselves and 101 paintings into the Subaru, before our trip to Columbus.  Not having coffee yet, this felt like a painful logic puzzle.  After some cardboard boxes were swapped out and some Saran Wrap was deployed (don't ask) we headed out.

The installation itself took forever - hanging light paintings on wires in a somewhat regular grid formation actually isn't that easy.  So we had about nine hours of time spent in the long corridor in CMH while probably a couple hundred people hurried by on the way to the bathroom.
chairs and painting glowing
At least ten people asked some variation of which kids / schools made the artwork we were hanging.  One woman was even disbelieving when I said it wasn't kids' work.  "Oh really?" she asked.  Yeah trust me, I know this one.  Some people then seemed a little embarrassed when I told them that no actually it was my work, "made by just one big kid" became my refrain.

Obviously, in the Midwestern mindset at least, my work reads as children's work.  I wonder why?  Francis told me it's because I need to be more somber to be an adult.

Thank goodness for Francis!

A number of folks (mostly older gentlemen) asked Francis if he was the artist.  I figured my hot pink Pondo Beara t shirt would show obvious solidarity with the paintings on the wall.  I guess having a penis trumps a hot pink t shirt when it comes to assuming who the artist is in a given situation.  It also seemed that when Francis would redirect these guys to me they would lose interest pretty quickly - but maybe they just needed to use the john.

A few folks used the word "decorating," as in we were decorating the hallway. The words "pretty," "fun," and "adorable" (once in a genuine way and once in a sort of fake way) were all thrown out.

entry grid

Some folks seemed really interested and engaged with the work and actually stopped to comment and ask questions.  One man had an astute observation on how difficult it is to organize patterns that feel random, but not chaotic.  One woman helped me finalize the arrangement of the small grid in the entry way.  Once the changes were made, she had her baby clap for me. 

tired at the end of a long day!

The experience was like having a completely objective critique all day - by mostly non-art seeming folks.  It was kind of wonderful and terrifying at the same time.  I think I might pay for short term parking and go hang out in the hallway to catch some more passing conversations in an airport.