Monday, June 1, 2009

secret spaces...

Spent all morning on the most lovely hike yesterday! I hike regularly, but this one was particularly nice because with the show opening over and new projects not yet begun, I was in the perfect space to just be present in the hike and enjoy. Moments like this come rarely lately- there is always something to either rush off to or my mind is obsessing about needing to get back into the studio. Central Texas is so beautiful this time of year- hot enough to swim, but not yet hot enough to make you feel like you are being boiled inside your skin.

In the spirit of being leisurely, we decided to wander onto some new trails and see where they led. We followed a tiny mountain bike trail down the hill towards the creek. Around the bend of an s-curve, my son suddenly exclaims "hey- there are Christmas tree ornaments in that tree!" He was right- ornaments hung nonchalantly from tree branches with a gold garland winding up the trunk. Nearby, we discovered the sweetest little fort that someone had built in the middle of the greenbelt. The creativity and fun involved was apparent, and while the maker(s) of this space had to at least be old enough to be allowed in the woods alone, it was hard to say whether an adult or older children or both had created this. I love finding these little expressions of anonymous humanity that blend into their surroundings while creatively asserting themselves at the same time. It was such a fun discovery!- we poked around for a bit, looking at the ornaments, finding all the details- like a mock campfire with an action figure placed in front of it and a pine-needle broom, and taking pictures of the dogs inside the fort. While it was just a small portion of our hike, the image of it lingered in my head for hours after.

Most of the time I hike, I am looking down at the ground for little objects and things to place into my collages... I forget about all the times I have stumbled on spaces like this- a set of stones stacked artistically together, a circle of branches, a chair or sometimes a group of plants or flowers intentionally placed or planted. Or even in the middle of a city to find a random sticker with a lovely image stuck to a pole, or a little note.These moments and spaces are so inspiring in their unobtrusiveness and their mystery. There was no need for recognition in their creation, just the simple act of sharing. I love this type of artistic expression because it is about contribution and taking one momentarily out of the mechanical mental place we tend to reside in. It makes me question my own art and ask "what am I doing to contribute and what is the result I am looking for in my own art?" I get inspired to randomly give of my own creativity so that someone else may enjoy for a bit without the trappings of a gallery or designated artspace. Brings back to mind the roots of creativity- to just create for the pure expression/pleasure of doing so.

This brought the idea of a little side project- to look for and document such spaces around Austin and compile them every now and then, posting them to into this blog when I find them. Nothing fancy- just most likely with my camera phone and a desire for creative discovery. I am hoping that out of this I will create my own little anonymous art project and join in the creative expansion!


Kristin Summerlin said...

What fun! I love your discoveries, too. Something of what you wrote reminded me of Andy Goldsworthy -- and yet the people who created those little spaces you discovered probably had no inclination to create Art.

I'm so behind in posting... We've got nearly 24 hours of sunlight in Alaska now, and each passing year I feel how fleeting summer here is. It's hard to make myself stop and write or even work.

But you've reminded me why I wanted to blog in the first place, so maybe after a few hours sleep I'll hit it again.

B Lancton said...

What a wonderful place you all stumbled upon, and thank you for documenting it. I love it because I love secret places soooo much and this one is absolutely fabulous.

When I was young I used to create secret places similar to this, but without the actual ornaments (egads...I would have been in trouble), and I played in them for hours. They had "rooms" and makeshift furniture from stumps and logs, and my dolls were my companions, along with my horse statues.

Funny thing is, I had completely forgotten about these places until I read your blog. They are happy memories and they also give me some ideas. Thank you! You always have a way of stoking my creative embers, Jayne. You have a beautiful artistic soul.