The unapologetic, raw, unedited interpretation of living life. Each of us is the artist of our own life, constantly remolding, reworking, and roughing out the details and applying what we've learned to the changing canvas. There are no do-overs, no take backs...just rough cuts that release what lies inside us.

I saw the angel in stone and I carved until I set him free. - Michelangelo

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Flexibility of the mind: Sometimes you just have to push the envelope

I have been waiting for the right time to tell you about my Toilet Lamp project.  It seems talking about pushing the proverbial envelope is probably a great opportunity to let you in on one of my favorite projects, not because it of the final project when it became what it was supposed to be, rather because of where it took me as an artist and as a creator.  My senior year of college, I decided I would double major in Art.  I was taking 3 studio courses, for those not familiar with the demand of these classes - it meant I lived in one of three studios for the semester and spent all of my hard earned tips on art supplies.  I was immersed in a world centered around innovation and output; it was intense.

Enter: The toilet
My 3-dimensional class challenged me, stretched my imagination, and pushed me farther to do more with less and less with more.  A few weeks into class I became consumed with turning a household object into some abstract piece.  Then one night my roommate and I were taking a late night trip to get coffee and I saw - it was white, porcelain, and needed a few rounds of bleach but it was going to be part of something amazing.  We squished a perfectly used toilet into my 1994 Ford Escort hatchback and headed to campus (Don't judge me...I thought it was gross too, but worth every cringe).  It then lived in the studio, waiting, taunting me as project after project I tried to incorporate it.  My professor talked me out of every idea, threatening for it make it's exit.  Then it happened, weeks of patience and brainstorming.  We had to make a lamp.  It was the final project of the class...the light bulb went off (pardon the pun).  I went to work.

The plan
The idea was simple:  the bowl would contain a blue light bulb, affixed under the seat and the flusher would function as the switch to turn it on and off.  I decoupaged the entire seat and porcelain with cut outs from the newspaper - A statement that society shouldn't dictate how we feel about ourselves. On the morning of the project my professor saved mine for last as the toilet had become almost a mascot in the class.  I pressed the flusher and on came the blue haze from the abyss within the bowl.  It was victorious!

Transforming ideas, stretching the limits
The process of the Toilet Lamp was never about the lamp.  It was about stretching a material far beyond its original potential.  The only thing that toilet was ever going to be was...a toilet. Not very glamorous.  I made it more by seeing something no one else wanted to see.  Being able to wait and see where the process would lead us took a great deal of self-control and exploration. In my professional life, I am never satisfied with the status quo.  There is an intrinsic desire within me to take things where no one else has, okay it is probably borderline on obsession, but it keeps things moving forward.  It takes ideas places and to people within an organization that were not part of its original journey.

What journey are you on today?  What if you took an area of your life and stepped one inch beyond where you thought you should stop, would the next inch be easier, what about the one after that?  Once you have flexibility of the mind, the world of possibilities is endless because you will no longer see the horizon line...

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