A month-long van trip circumnavigating serious portions of the U.S.
Leaving from Palm Beach County we first go south, and then across alligator-laden swamps to Naples, on the bottom of the west coast of Florida . . .
Tallahassee, where we’ll meet two artists.
Then Texas, where we’ll meet one.
Santa Fe and Las Cruces, New Mexico. Artists again.
You get the picture.
We’ll be easing our way through the Southwest, then up the California coast all the way to San Francisco.
Over to Lake Tahoe. And Park City, Utah. Then Chicago. Hopping from artist studio to gallery to roadside attraction, again and again.
It seems a good life: Bouncing from one creator to another. Caught up in the aspect that defines our era and our species: the creative impulse.
Yet it could have died numerous times. I was ready to kill it last night in exhaustion. Technical problems with the alarm on our van pushed us so late that we were loading paintings and sculptures at night . . .
When I should have been packing I was standing with Kris in the dark playing an adult, very three-dimensional game of Tetris. Trying to optimally pack sculpture and paintings so that nary a cubic inch of space was wasted.
And still we had to leave three artists’ work behind. Which will necessitate another trip to the Southwest . . . Which means thousands more in expenses.
Sometimes all you can utter is fuck and move on.
Appropriately enough this art business started in the middle of the night with the wispiest of things in the universe. An idea kernel that popped into my head as I drove across the state of Florida.
It was around midnight, maybe later, when I found a payphone in a desolate Central Florida town surrounded by Everglades . . . and sugar plantations . . . I called Ann to tell her:
“I think I’m going to start an art gallery.”
“I’m in,” she replied instantly.
We’d only been dating a few months.
Here we are now, 20 years later. What could have died in infancy — if we hadn’t gone full bore into creation mode — lives.
It could have died in the wrong location. Twice.
It could have died in the year four hurricanes swept through our area, the last one knocking down the building under construction for the gallery’s final move. We lost a season and well over $100,000 on that.
It could have died after a major break-in cleared out our inventory.
It could have died in each recession. Or after 9-11. Or in the crash years. It so easily could have transpired then.
But no. It lived.
Because we kept breathing life into it, even when we felt too exhausted or numb for breath.
So here we are embarking on a workcation. Road tripping in the name of art.
You know what’s missing in the list of near-death scenarios above?
All the moments of spazzed-out elation. And the incalculable and quieter bliss whispers that circulate through a life committed to creative contribution.
There are a lot of them when you’re working with people you admire. Artists and clients and co-workers and vendors.
People come alive in an art gallery. There’s something pulsating beneath the need to make payroll and rent.
It’s what’s pulsing in you. Your commitment to your thing. Your determination not to let it die. It is fierce and beautiful and demanding.
As we embark on this art trek around the nation, I celebrate this thing we have in common. To create a voluptuous and meaningful existence. To create something that matters.
Let’s take a breath or three, and then let’s step into again. Let’s go at it again. You and me. Let’s keep at it. That’s all it asks.
For you —
Click here for (occasional) notes at the intersection of creativity and spirit. Once a month, maybe.
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