me me me
Until late 2005, the written word had been my primary form of creative expression. I had identified myself as a writer, both creatively and professionally, for as long as I can remember. Although my Bachelor's degree is in film, my paying jobs were as a freelance music critic for numerous magazines and newspapers in the U.S. and Europe. I stopped globetrotting long enough to become Assistant Editor at a weekly newspaper in Miami (New Times) in the late 1980s. Major life change, major life move, and I ended up in Washington DC, eventually assisting associations and nonprofits to obtain grants and develop programs. More life happened, so getting food from store to table for the kids took precedence, writing not so much.
Here and there I cracked some time open to cut and paint wood pieces. Every holiday season, I make a personalized card. I slowly built my tool and software collection, taught myself how to use them.
Then, in late 2005, I had a creativity breakdown -- really a lack of creativity breakdown. The kids, full-time job, and volunteering responsibilities prevented blocks of time for creative writing, my spirit suffered. Walking through Bethesda one day, I passed the late, great Gallery Neptune and saw some absolutely stunning work by Matthew Lawrence. His beaded, glittery, palette-raiding, story-telling pieces burrowed immediately into my pleasure zone, affecting me like the Buzzcocks, David Mitchell, Bach, Almodovar, Husker Du. This was freedom: expressing one's self didn't have to remain within the confines of canvas and paint. So I started.
First try, "My Favorite Things." Then I started expanding by representing books I love, then even more so with specific words that constantly roll around my grey matter: "Deserve," "Religio," "Weight," "Empathy." Each project was a new experience, and I started pushing myself: making my own cabinet, purchasing a scroll saw off Craigslist, painting photos of our vacation onto a piece, using liquid glass, expanding to a larger (much) scale. And then when it got too cold in the garage to cut wood, I started playing with software. created "Metrophonic," an interactive piece; wrote and illustrated a children's story.
Participating in Artomatic 2009 further opened my eyes to possibilities. It helped give me the final push to cut way back on work hours. My scale grew bigger bigger, moving toward 3D stand alone pieces such as lamp posts, indoor lamps, and abstract sculpture. Began formally summarizing our travels. A small-press publisher in Spain used one of my pieces as a book cover for a translated Pulitzer work. Sold a very large bottle tree.
So many options when Artomatic 2012 came around, but I became co-chair of Site Operations, which took soooo muuuuch time. Encouraged by great people to keep pushing, so I did my first installation. Recycled wine and liquor bottles took over our bedroom until I could get them into the space. It was a really great experience.
Since then, I've continued working with various media, LEDs, optic fiber, bottles. And always wood. Often asked if I exhibit anywhere other than Artomatic, but nope. Not adverse to it, just haven't done the footwork. Always up for a commission or open to ideas. Please feel free to drop me a line. ea (at sign) eviealtman.com.