Have you ever been in a situation where a group of people are feeling the same emotion at the same time? It could be the tense crowd at tight hockey playoff game. Or the moist-eyed audience at a film festival. Or you could be one of the artists getting ready for the Eastside Culture Crawl, Vancouver’s biggest open studio event. Usually my studio building of fifty-odd (or merely peculiar) artists is relatively calm. Some artists are there everyday, they treat their art as a regular nine-to-five job, and work accordingly. Most of the furniture makers and some ceramic artists fall into this category. Others are deadline driven, they appear shortly before a show and whip up tons of work in a frenzy. Most of the painters fall into this category. The Culture Crawl means everyone has a deadline at once, and our “to do list” includes scrubbing and purging the studio as well as creating some (hopefully) excellent artwork.
In these last ten days before the Crawl, things are getting hectic. Yesterday my studio echoed with noises of neighbouring construction, paint splashing, deep cleaning, music and swearing (not mine, some unknown workermen!) Behind every door was action, as well as a general feeling of excitement and anticipation. Closer to the event, that excitement may turn into stress, as a flurry of last minute tasks mounts.
My name was just installed both on my new pink door, and outside the building for the first time. I am a bit nervous opening up my new solo studio for the first time, but I’m also proud of the work I’ve put into it. I have the freedom to hang my work as I want, to play my favourite Canadian indie music, and to create a fun energy in the room.
Opening up your studio for the Crawl is like hosting a party, you invite people into your home and hope that they will enjoy it. Your studio and your artwork reflect who you are and invite judgement. I admit it’s painful when people take one look at my studio and leave, but many more people are generous with their interest and comments about the artwork, which makes the Crawl quite rewarding. Artists usually work in solitary splendour, but occassionally we throw open the doors, and get to hear what people think. When I get back to painting, all the feedback reverberates in my head.