So when I moved my site hosting a few months ago, I found that I could easily add a WordPress blog to my site. Which is pretty neat, but then spent the next months passively pondering what the “Happi Blog” should be. Should it be purely dedicated to Happi doings? Should I go beyond that a bit, maybe talk about stuff that interests me? Keep it purely artsy related? Give my random 2 cents about what I thought about certain films? Yeah, there are tons of other avenues to communicate, but it seems like they’re all just saturated and more often than not, a interesting message gets buried, well, unless you pay for the people who already like your page to see your posting, I’m looking at you Facebook.
So after months of not really doing anything, I figure, why not just jump in and see where it goes, eh? So, I figure I’ll start will a little anecdote about what is perceived as “art” in America.
Several years ago, I was moving across the country. My 1985 BMW 325e was crammed with boxes and a mannequin that I had recently acquired. I had always wanted a mannequin to paint up in some funky fashion, though before leaving on my journey, I gave the mannequin a personality, and just couldn’t bear to cover her in paint. So I decided that I would create a travelogue for the mannequin, stopping at landmarks along the way to take pictures of her.
One of the early stops was at the St Louis Arch, and I’m lugging this mannequin from the car to the arch to get a pic, all the while getting quizzical looks from passerbys. Finally, a woman approached me and asked if I was embarrassed to be lugging this mannequin across the park. Don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t trying to be rude, but it just struck me as strange. I had nothing to be embarrassed about, and the possibility of being embarrassed had never entered my mind. I smiled and told her, “not at all.”
Now, fast forward a day and while driving through Texas and we stop at Cadillac Ranch [which, if you are unaware, is a public art installation in a pasture off Interstate 40]. While I was taking some photos of the mannequin posed by the Cadillacs sticking out in the ground, I was approached by an older Italian couple who were on vacation. The man didn’t speak too much English but his first question to me was asking if I was an artist. He was so engaged and excited with what I was doing that he asked if he could also join in and take some photos of her!
The two encounters always struck me as interesting at how different the people’s reactions were when encountering something that was out of the ordinary. Where the conversation the American woman was concerning my level of embarrassment, the older Italian man approached the scene with an engaged frame of mind looking to be a part it. With that in mind, I always try and take a moment to pause on something that I find compelling, and not shy away from engaging.