Thursday, July 26, 2012

Stealing Second

“Progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first base.”
- Frederick B. Wilcox

Yesterday, I took my foot off first base; now I'm in the danger zone between first and second, not knowing what will come next.  

It all started with fear.
A couple of days ago I made a silly decision to go see "A Dark Knight Rises" as a minuscule act of resistance against fear.  What I received for this act was 2 hours and 44 minutes of non-stop violence and a disturbing view of an apocalyptic world.  I can't recommend this movie … take that precious 2 hours and 44 minutes and make life with it.

However, this thinking about fear prompted my current leap into the void.  Last December I was thrilled to be accepted into the Gallery at Marina Square in Morro Bay.  It is a beautiful space filled with the art work of almost 70 artists run by an inspired and very patient leader, Jane Siragusa.  It has been a great experience … I've learned a lot, met inspiring artists and was stretched to a new level when I was given the privilege of being a featured artist and had to fill 22' of wall space with my art.  

Acceptance into the Gallery was a major factor in my decision to move to the Central Coast … a decision I'm grateful for every day.  However, yesterday I resigned as an artist in the Gallery … turned loose of my safe, accepting, friendly and supportive place and decided to steal second.  The Gallery sits in the primary tourist area in Morro Bay so it gets a lot of traffic but most of its sales are jewelry and small pieces of art, often related to Morro Bay and its signature rock.  

In the past several weeks, I've spent a lot of time trying to find a strategy for making my art fit this market so that it would be financially more viable.  The problem is that I want to do bigger pieces, not smaller, and I want to do the work that calls me rather than what I think might sell.  

I believe in art.  I think the act of creativity heals our Universe … any act of creativity whether it's art, poetry, gardening, raising a child, teaching or dancing.  Creativity is not about the end result, it's about the process of pulling a piece of ourselves into the "real" world.  Focusing on the end result affects the creative process.  

The Gallery fits some artists perfectly … what they are called to create happens to be what the visitors to the gallery want to buy.  For me, it was a mis-match.  The safe route would have been to adapt to the market.  I'm choosing a more risky path leading to somewhere I can't see.  

Only tomorrow knows where we're headed.

About this image:  Into the Abyss

Harmony is a small art community here on the Central Coast, population 18, with a glass blowing and other art studios.  One day i was visiting there and, as I was walking toward the glass studio, something in the weed-filled area in back of it caught my eye.  It was just a wooden wall, burnt and weathered but it called to me and from it came this image.


  1. I support your decision, Joyce, and your courage to acknowledge that what you create and what the gallery primarily shows and sells are mis-matched, as you say. I commend willingness to take risk over safety; it's the conquering of fear, including fear of failure, that matters. Even in failure, there is success.

    Just yesterday I had late morning coffee with a young artist from Canada in town to photograph the AIDS conference. We talked for more than two hours about art, identity through art, where the impulse to create art comes from, and so much more. He told me he was trying to figure out where he wanted to go with his art and how he could use his art to engage with community and at the same time not feel so impelled to have to "play the game". He was very articulate; he's enormously talented. I applauded how much careful consideration he is giving to being an artist on his terms. It was so invigorating. I wish you could have been a part of it.

  2. You go girl! Life's an adventure and as someone very smart said..."Everything will be alright in the if it is not alright, it is not yet the end."

  3. You have amazing artistic talent to draw from, and you are a very creative writer... You see what many of us don't want to dig deep for and express it beautifully. I think we all struggle for our artistic niche. Being on the path is the experience of joy.
    How brave to go that movie... I am going to pass, but then I am reading the Hunger Games... and that is scary.

  4. Maureen ... I, too, wish I could have been part of that conversation ... we need them.

    Re ... You are a great role model for life as adventure ...

    Vivian ... I thought Hunger Games was really well done (the movie) ... while it included violence, it was handled in a less fearful way.

    I'm so grateful to be on this journey with all of you.

  5. Joyce, sounds like you made the right choice after considering all the variables and going with that gut feeling. Best wishes, Pia

  6. Thanks, Pia! We do our best going forward and then watch the feedback that comes back from the Universe. What an adventure life is.

  7. Gorgeous image, Joyce. and I, too, support your decision. And I know how much courage it takes. I think most of us struggle with the gap between what we feel called to do or make and "what sells." Certainly I bump up against that all the time -- and my house is filled with pieces I adore that didn't sell; I just have to assume that eventually they'll find good homes.

    I find myself chafing at times under the yoke of what the gallery wants from me for a particular exhibit; I try to interpret each request (always for a particular subject matter) in ways that will stretch me without making me feel I've sold out. Sometimes it takes me to an exciting new place, and sometimes it's pretty discouraging. But it's always an adventure -- mostly because, whatever the challenges, I know they're the right gallery for me in this place. Perhaps galleries are like husbands: you don't look for perfection; you just look for what works!

  8. "Morbid Symptoms of the Interregnom" -- Michael Hammer, author of Reengineering the Corporation, in his speech at SAP Customer Conference in Philadelphia, PA. Those five words resonated loudly as I sat in the audience, because the "good stuff" emerges there for me. Artist, best wishes!