On Art and Loss
The other day, I got on the MAX, on my way home after a long, weird day of work. As usual, I put on my headphones, pulled out my sketchbook, and went to work in my little 2 feet of space. As usual, I stopped to check bus arrivals to see if I could hit the bus home so my lady wouldn’t have to take a trip out to the transit center to pick me up. No dice. No bus at that stop for another 30 minutes. So I head to the transit center. As usual, she picks me up, we drive home to make dinner. But when I got home, I noticed that my bag felt lighter. I looked inside, and sure enough… one of my sketchbooks was gone. It had either fallen out, or I had left it on the seat next to me, or who the hell knows. But it was gone. My reaction was a lot like being told I had some terrible disease or that my dog got hit by a car. Textbook grief in the span of about 3 minutes. Denial (It’s at the bottom of the bag). Anger (Stupid, stupid, stupid, how could you let that happen?). Bargaining (take my wallet, take my iPod, just give me my sketchbook back). Depression (fuck this shit). Acceptance (It is gone). Followed by a half hour of crying jags. Immediately, this came to mind:
In the last 30 minutes of the film, the epic book that our anti-hero, Grady, is working on, is destroyed in an unfortunate incident. Grady is lost. But then he takes on this sort of Zen acceptance. I hate the phrase, but “It is what it is.” comes to mind. My experience is pretty common. Lots of artists have lost art to floods, theft, carelessness, and fire. Even last year, James Rosenquist lost a good bunch of paintings to a house fire. Whole warehouses of art and history have been lost to our buddy fire.
This was hard to take. Easier said than done. I’d spent one and a half years slowly and lovingly adding layer upon layer to that book. I do have a record of it, thanks to modern technology, I had been scanning the pages as I went and showing their progress on my tumblr and in this set on my flickr page. Still, it doesn’t compare to holding it in your hands. I am all about the tactile experience that art can offer. I draw things that have texture. I want you to feel it in your eyeballs and your hands.
But I’m getting off topic here. Most likely, the sketchbook is gone forever. I have to let it go. Become Grady.
So this is my prayer. I’m leaving it to the world at large. It’s yours world.