I’m a bit late on this week’s post because I’ve added another commitment to my slate: an internship at Brooklyn-based art nonprofit NURTUREart. I first heard of them in an art magazine in a Barnes & Noble in the art desert that is Long Island, and immediately followed their Twitter feed, where I found the internship. I will be installing exhibits and editing their yearly catalogue, besides whatever else needs to be done.
Even though time is my most precious commodity, I don’t feel encroached upon, which is what I feared in giving away what is essentially studio time. I have four jobs now, if you include my studio work (which I still insist gets at least four hours a day), but I’m too old to go without proper sleep and food. So I trundle my breakfast lunch and dinner around in a big Chrome bag on my Proller/Kickped, and while I watched from the fire escape today for a food delivery guy, I realized that this was a religious experience.
Not in the sense of g0DD speaking to me from a burning bucket, but because I am giving my time for something I believe in; the abstract principle of Art and its redemptive/illustrative/revelatory powers. Neither is it charity. It’s a literal sacrifice for a metaphorical end that I’ve only seen in Church or benevolent society contexts. I’ve done more of that this year than ever before, which is not to say a lot, but the bit I’ve done feels great. It makes me want to do more. I donated a dyed aluminum plate (“Just Deserts”, above) to artist Trevor Jones’ Trees For Life charity exhibition, the entire proceeds of which goes to help restore the Caledonian Forests of Scotland, and am giving my still more precious time to NURTUREart two days a week. I’m also mulling donating a piece for their benefit event at the Chelsea Art Market.
In unemployment past, I’ve hidden in the studio and worked 16 hour days towards some process breakthrough, but unemployed friends are volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Food Bank for NYC. I wonder if I missed the point all this time, reaching my ripe-enough age without ever really having given the only value of worth to me: time. My work, too, is valuable to the extent that it is a crystallization of my time and experiences. I’ve always thought giving money is too easy and almost insultingly impersonal, a casual palliative—so I’ve given nothing.
I’m excited to see what will come of this “volunteer” involvement, which seems especially Olive Green because the original connotation of the word, circa 1600, was “one who offers himself for military service.” The only martial dimension here is the discipline it will take to make this schedule hang together.