Day 5: The Install That Was Never Finished

Written by jesgamble on July 12, 2016
(note: I started working on this piece earlier and released today, July 25th, 2016.)
As the Truth to Power exhibition comes to an open I'm reminded of some of my own experiences I've been going through with putting together my most recent solo exhibition as well as past projects including one in particular...
image: Seen here myself cherishing the last moments before deinstalling my installation, 2014. Installation, 18' x 20' x 50'
Seen here myself cherishing the last moments before deinstalling my installation, 2014. Installation, 18' x 20' x 50'
This was one of the proudest moments in my life.  Being accepted into such an enormous and monumental exhibition with all the phenomenal talent that was juried into the show and I was one of them! 
Me, who seems to struggle striving to do what I love best and what I can bring to the world besides a really incredibly well cleaned toilet and a feeling of being overlooked.
 
At times I try to tell myself, maybe people aren't ready yet or maybe I just need to show them.  But how easy is that with a lack of time and funding? Especially with the depth of ideas I have circulating in my head. 
 
Because, you see,  I have more to offer.  Don't get me wrong -- a clean toilet is essential to a healthy happy life and everyone should clean their own damn toilet from time to time --but I sometimes do it to get by along with many other odd jobs that only an artist and maybe only myself would sign up to do. 
image: Seen here myself during uninstall of the incomplete installation.
Seen here myself during uninstall of the incomplete installation.
Nothing too weird, just for survival.  For a roof, a clean pillow and some food.  My life is not typical and I often have to get very creative to have some sort of normalcy to life.  Many I feel see me as an awkward, tired motherly figure and maybe less as an artist who will have an incredible impact on the history of art. I have to ask myself if this is because too much of my time is swallowed by a need to have a roof, a clean pillow and some food? 
image: Myself uninstalling only the first few layers of what was to be many of the installation.
Myself uninstalling only the first few layers of what was to be many of the installation.
This writing isn't so much about the specific exhibition I previously mentioned but more so a revealing of what I've come to realize all too often like a sledgehammer to the face repeatedly.

It's almost as if life keeps slapping me upside the head saying, "Why are you wasting your time working for other people's needs and goals when you should be creating?'  But I then have to remind myself this doesn't happen over night and I'm on my own journey placing the pieces where I want them but they don't always fit or at least not at that moment.  Many times I feel like an outsider outside the outsiders.  And I've been asking myself where am I going to focus the next part of my life?  Working for others or working towards my dreams with the time I have left in this life?
image: A view as the installation walls were coming down.
A view as the installation walls were coming down.
A ittle back story on the previously mentioned juried exhibition:

Before the artists were set free to begin working on our art installations I couldn't help the tears that began to overtake my eyes and blur my vision while heat flushed my cheeks and consumed my body with a surge of feelings, including embarrassment and pride.

I've been here all too often with what some may consider my sensitive nature hoping no one in the room happens to notice the twitching of my face and the quiver of my lips.  Feeling out of place and that I'm the only one with hot pulsing flesh around my skull completely in awe and beyond thankful that I've made it this far.

During this exhilarating yet painfully loud internal moment,  I had never envisioned the outcome that would come to be so.  Don't get me wrong -- I had my many worries and doubts of course.  But not that I would never be able to finish the installation due to the Philadelphia Licenses and Inspection shutting down the entire exhibition.

Over 40 large scale installation artist teams were affected, myself being one of them.  But that wasn't the only problem I faced during that project.  I learned a great deal about having a team of art assistants that you unfortunately are unable to pay, with their own lives and financial demands,  who have only so much time to spare.   Of course my assistants were of tremendous help when they could assist me with their tight schedules in-between work and other obligations.  

I learned that when I have a gut feeling that I'm going to need more time for install and upon asking for more time that when I'm denied, to demand harder or perhaps walk away from the entire project saving myself from otherworldly emotional and physical pain radiating through my entire being like dull knifes scraping against my skeleton. 

I spent the vast majority of time installing by myself day after day through many a sleepless night.  No one should put themselves through the intense violent pain I was experiencing, not even me.

I also learned a great deal about people's personalities and who will be truly supportive even if only through words of encouragement and compassion.  I also learned I'm an incredibly intelligent and creative woman who has every right to pursue my dreams to their fullest capacity.
image: My Mother, Sister and myself rolling up the unfinished walls of the installation.
My Mother, Sister and myself rolling up the unfinished walls of the installation.
Each project, each experience adds up to help form our next decisions. The twists and turns greatly contributing one moment as well as previous ones contributing to the ultimate decision to do things on my own terms for my next exhibition. 
 
Once I received the news about the show being shut down my heart sank like death to the bottom of an ocean.  And yet at that point the overwhelming exhaustion was so strong, numbing my body while pulling my consciousness into a dark abyss that it was too much to fight against after not sleeping for days.
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Anything can happen at anytime when executing such large, consuming and demanding projects.  I completely get that. But I've decided instead of putting things in the hands of others I'm claiming it for myself and controlling my project and my art.  I can tell you I've been on this mission since the late Winter/early Spring of 2016 and it's been quite a journey.  But it's been my journey. 

My current immersive installation is thunderously more crucial than the previous mentioned install because I've set out to accomplish a very huge dream of mine on my own.   I have a tremendous road ahead of me and believe me it's not absent of hurdles both project wise and personal. But every day becomes more and more exciting as I step closer to this project becoming a reality.. 

With all this being said without going into more gritty detail of the hurdles I faced and will in the future,  I ask that you keep this in mind considering all the sacrifice including physical and mental demands that go into projects such as these. Over the course of the next 3 days I ask that you highly consider attending the Truth to Power exhibition which opens today.  And of course my solo exhibition that's on it's way!!!! 
 
(more news of my solo exhibition soon!!)
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When life and this project get difficult, as it inevitably does, I from time to time look at this fortune, and I feel a little more determined and a little more spirited!!!
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Other writings of mine in regard to the experience.

http://jesgamble.com/blog/253/

http://jesgamble.com/blog/250/

http://jesgamble.com/blog/the-people-who-helped-along-the-way-in-seemingly-small-but-tremendous-ways/

(Also, include more install pics)