Back in March, my blog-bud Karin - A View Beyond Words - suggested I join the Art House Coop, a gallery founded in 2006 by undergrads at the Atlanta College of Art. They bring artists together from across the globe to create exhibits that cross all barriers - conceptual, geographic, media and philosophical - and are definitely unique.
The Canvas Project, mailed today (the deadline, of course) was my first venture. Participants each submitted 5 words, and in turn received five 3"x3" canvases with randomly selected words to interpret (for a very small fee). The only rule is that the art must fall within the dimensions of the allotted space.
I like to challenge myself, often to my own detriment; I jump in over my head and find myself bailing buckets of ocean water with a tuna can. But, the upside is that I create work that I never otherwise would have dreamt up. My words arrived back in March; I read the instructions, thought how cute could those tiny canvases be, then laid them aside in one of my numerous piles in the studio.
Dates that are more than a week away can seem like an eternity, despite the fact that I ran a graphic design and marketing studio for nearly 15 years. The realization that our family reunion in Texas landed smack in the heat of the crunch time nearly sent me over the edge. Before I got this ridiculous arthritis I could burn the midnight oil... pump up the adrenalin and squeeze in hours before 7 a.m. Now, I'm lucky to string together 3 work hours in a day. So, my suitcase is still packed, I haven't seen my makeup case and my hair is in the same ponytail that bobbed along for the 15 hour trip home on Sunday/Monday. But the canvases are in the mail.
After the trip (and a week's withdrawal), when I logged on to the computer, I was totally upset to read that Karin's beloved Zack, her 17-1/2 year old cat, had gone to his final resting place. Like me, Karin has a chronic illness and doesn't get out much; it seems so unfair that she should be deprived of his warmth, playful personality and companionship.
Knowing there wasn't a darned thing I could do to help, it only seemed right to dedicate one of the canvases to her. So, I rearranged the 'stuff' I'd tentatively laid out in search of a word to honor their friendship. Knowing she now has another guardian angel, I chose Protect.
Over 1100 artists have sent in their canvases; after an exhibit at the Atlanta Airport (where we spent many hours on our Gilligan's Island trip home), selected works will be published in a visual encyclopedia. What a cool idea.
The neatest thing is that anyone can play, it's not juried (which might not sit well with some); there are some amazing works on their site and in their opening page, they say that Art House Coop is about Family. Kind of like Zack, and Karin, and my community of blog pals, who make my days cheerier, and, well, artier. Check them out: Art House Coop. You just might decide to join in the fun!