Thursday, December 6, 2012; 2:13am
First and foremost, I want you to know that you are one of the people I look up to most. Even among the ranks of those such as Trevor, Natalia, and even established artists we both look up to, such as Marina Abramović, you are one of the most prominent influences on my work, and that is because of how much I respect you, both as an artist and a human being.
This, I hope, explains why I always look to consult you for feedback when developing my pieces. I hope that you don’t find me obnoxious when I ask for it because I find your feedback to be some of the most insightful and relevant I receive from anyone, friends, undergraduates, graduates, and professors alike. Not only has your critique substantially influenced and impacted my work - I firmly believe that my art practice would not be what it is today had it not been for your pushes for something greater.
To prove to you that this is not just some attempt at heartfelt words, consider a recent example: all the help you gave me developing and executing my one-year performance. Although you might see it as a portfolio piece for me, I don’t know what the hell I would’ve done if you hadn’t gone out of your way to shop for last-minute materials for me as well as complete last-minute set-up for the preliminary. You allowed me the mental space I needed to stay grounded enough to perform vulnerably without cracking. And it was even friends that I met through you that assisted me in documenting the piece, and that documentation has become essential to the performance’s growth over time. The piece would not be the same without your influence.
Since I began to gain a sense for how great your work is - and what potential you had to create even greater work - from our humble beginnings in our introductory performance art class, maybe you noticed that I have always wanted to offer my help to you. Whether it was to help you develop your concepts, set-up installations, or even collaborate, I wanted to help you not only to show you that I have your back as a friend, but also because of a desire to want to be a part of your work in whatever ways possible. Because I look up to your work so much, whenever I got the opportunity to even be a minute part of your work, to have a touch of contribution to the greatness, I found the experience gratifying.
I could write lengths about how aesthetically and conceptually strong your work is, but this you will hear in your critiques. More importantly, it is your passion - which translates to your unique sense of style - in your work that I admire most. In other words, your pieces are exclusively yours and would lose significant meaning if another performer were to attempt to replicate your work. I think this is a level that many of us strive for as artists.
Although I write this to you, it is true that this is not something you can put on your resume nor will it guarantee you exhibitions and shows. It won’t get you a job, and it would do little to influence a judging panel. However, I do hope that it reminds you that your work does touch people, and it does influence people to reconsider and question their own lives. At least I can say that it has such effect on me.
And isn’t that one our primary goals as artists? Not whether our shows get sold out or we get commissioned for the next piece in a museum’s permanent collection, but that our artwork, a creation that previously did not exist in this world, somehow causes someone, another being or even ourselves, to feel something that they also had not previously realized before.
Your work does have this capability. You can consider me as your evidence.
And if you continue to stay true to your work, your work will grow and flourish, expanding on this capability. The exhibitions, the accolades, and the recognition will follow naturally as symptoms.
But you could have told me that one.
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