Overheard at The Self Portrait Show

 Visual Art Exchange

Right there — yep, just beyond that pretty window — is a fabulous, non-juried exhibition at the VAE Gallery right here in the heart of Downtown Raleigh, NC … and yours truly actually got my piece down there… just in the nick of time to be a part of it.

You heard me correctly : On. Time. Yes, me.

Go on, I’ll hold while you dish out the applause — cause we all know, that making a deadline truly is a miracle right now for me; given how many directions I’m being pulled at any given moment. Oy.

Here’s the nitty gritty on this fabulous, diversified exhibit: (copied from here)

People You Know August 1-28, 2008

Self portraiture is a time-honored tradition. Painters like Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Kahlo documented their artistic and biological maturation through countless portraits and interpretations of their physical selves. People You Know is a non-juried exhibit of self portraits, featuring artwork that creatively explores the artists’ likenesses.

When I initially saw the call for artists on this show, I was ecstatic since I actually had just received back one of the pieces that are featured in the upcoming Mixed Media Self Portraits Book. (If you missed my post on it, take a gander over here..)

Which is also why I can only show you a tiny portion of it until the book is released. The nerve of publishers making you sign those pesky consent forms

 'Tis Me

One of the things I most enjoyed at tonight’s reception was remaining anonymous. Standing around listening to people comment on my piece… I abso-friggin-lutly LOVE the honesty that I hear this way, when people aren’t afraid to hurt my feelings. I have pretty thick skin, and when I create any piece — I know there are three reactions I will inevitably receive upon sharing it:

” I LOVE it! “ or the inevitable, and less desirable “I Hate it!” and let’s not forget the … “I could really care less; I just don’t get it” remark.

All of which are a-ok with me. It’s just part of exposing yourself, it’s unavoidable (you know what they say about opinions..) besides, I rarely create anything seeking someone else’s approval. Creativity is one of those sacred kinda things I do for me. Mostly, anyway – sometimes, bills really do just need paid.

There I go, getting sidetracked again — My point being, I know I did something right If my piece evokes any kind of emotion from the viewer. If it makes people feel. Whether it’s happiness, sorrow, that squirmy-kind-of-uncomfortableness we all experience at some point, humor … or anything in between — if what my lil’ hands created gets a reaction, any reaction – if I somehow made that connection with another soul, made someone think – I feel I was successful. That’s all there is to it. Simple, eh?

My piece is placed in the middle of the gallery, on it’s own panel. Kinda cool, almost seems prominent (or it just didn’t fit in with the others on the wall...) … but I’ll just delude myself into thinking that’s something of importance. Why Not?

Anyway… you might be wondering what I heard tonight as I stood there looming, and invading people’s conversations with my eavesdropping… here’s a small sampling of the remarks overheard.

<deep sigh> “mad brilliance” <typical gallery head nod in understanding followed>
“I just don’t get it”
“The artist is definitely tortured inside, conveyed so well.”
“I want to learn to do this!”
“The depth, and layers to this… wow.”
“Umm. Ok. Weird.”
“Now that is truly original. Unique.”

You get the idea — people loved it, were freaked by it, fascinated by it. By far though– the best reaction I witnessed was from a child, who I would venture to guess was around 9 years old…

” DADDDDDDDDDDDDDDYYYYYY … what IS that? ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww… creepy, I’m scared!”

I couldn’t help it, I was chuckling..and chuckling to myself.

I think the coolest part of it all was watching how nearly everyone – really – it amazed me… stopped in their tracks to turn and study it. It definitely got some attention, and drew stares… which is ever so satisfying.

The self portrait piece I titled ‘Raw’; well, It made folks curious. It made folks feel.

Misson Accomplished.


P.S. Go check it out if you’re in Raleigh, and let me know what you think! I promise, to share more photos once the book is released and it’s all legal-like for me to do so:-)

7 Responses

  1. Well! I am SO excited that you got those reactions! I love art that provokes you! I love to provoke people! I am SO proud of you for getting it down there and watching the reactions bravely! It is hard! I have done that with my crazy quilts! Standing right there as people criitic your babies…it can be rough and amazing!

    I wish I could see the show in person!

  2. Now it is even harder for me to wait until I can see your piece in the Mixed Media Self Portrait book…arhghghhgh..!

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this experience! I have my very first craft show tomorrow so it will be the first time that a group of many (hopefully many) people will be seeing my work personally rather than online. Of course, they’re going to know that it was me who created these things and I won’t be able to stand off to the side to see their reactions. But that’s fine with me because my skin isn’t thick at all! But even so, I imagine I’ll be able to see it on their faces if they hate it. I know it’s something I’m just going to have to get used to. But I’ll be soaking up any little compliments I can find! :-)

    Congrats on being included in such a wonderful exhibit like this and attracting so much attention – and for having your work published in a book. I can’t wait to see this particular piece of work. I think they should do this in art shows – show just a tiny corner at first and make people wait to see the whole piece – it really sparks interest!

  4. oh my!! what an amazing story my dear~

    I wish I could see the whole picture! I can’t imagine anything that you have ever created being “scary”

    You are a brave girl…after the first couple of comments I would have been crying in a corner..I am sooooo not ready for real art galleries~

    I hope your piece sells…controversial pieces usually do sell & sell well, it sounds like it must have been the topic of the night & will be in peoples minds for a long while` Congrats Chrysti you are a true inspiration!!

    xo! ~Bella

  5. What fun! Thanks for sharing. I believe that provoking a reaction, any reaction, is key. Those overheard statements say as much about the viewer as the art – always entertaining! Love the 9 yr old’s reaction :)

  6. What wonderful news! Gee, I just love it when people whose art I admire get recognized and the person shares that good news. Get so tired of hearing bad news. Wish I could go see the exhibit but it’s not going to happen. Looking forward to seeing photos when you can share them. All the best. Hugs, SherryD

  7. […] I mentioned before ( here & here ) I was fortunate enough to be a part of this seriously amazing book (something I really […]

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