Brain Travel

This piece has been on my mind, a lot. I made it for the second Jerusalem Biennale in 2015. My good friend and curator, Anne Hramodka went on a trip to Israel with a group of people and asked them all to collect ephemera during their stay, be it receipts, paper trash, bags, stickers, stationery, hotel matches, or whatever could be flattened into a suitcase and be brought back to me so I could make art out of it.

She Carries Me Home, 2015. Mixed media on paper grocery bags, 44 x 53.5 inches.

About ten people came back with two full bags of stuff and I was so excited to start putting everything together. I was looking forward to the overall shape of it once I cut the bags apart and laid it out flat and started sewing the seams together. I used almost everything inside the bags, like change, shells and rocks from the shore, and even a Coke can with a straw. I’m so glad I didn’t chop off the grocery bag handles.

Several artists from JAI were chosen to show in the Jerusalem Biennial for the exhibit entitled, 7,567 Mi.–>, which is the exact mileage between Los Angeles and Jerusalem. My name was not listed on the website, but I was a part of it and I also showed the movie, Up to Now–the one I made with Jonathan Nesmith and Susan Holloway. Pretty neat.

But back to this bag piece. I stuck all that stuff I had from the tourists to the paper bags and it looked kinda crazy. It looked like I just stuck a bunch of stuff to paper bags (obviously). I did do it as aesthetically as possible, but it still just didn’t look good.

So, I added a thin coat of blue on top. It wasn’t that thick at first. I noticed a few bright colors coming through from certain pieces that I liked and didn’t fully want to cover and added more blue to the rest and made it pretty indecipherable. At that point, I was going more for background texture than composition color. I wanted it to be monochrome for the most part. I had the plan to paint that red grid on top of it, which, for me, represented the Wailing Wall.

I’d been reading the poems of Yehuda Amichai and found the perfect one to write on there called The Tourist. I wrote it once in English and again in Hebrew. The title of the piece, “She Carries me Home” refers to Israel itself, “she” being the motherland.

So yeah, the piece has a lot of meaning, but overall, I like how it looks and now I want to do more. The only thing is that I also have my doubts about it. It’s because someone told me that it looked like trash. I mean, this thing was made of trash, after all, but I didn’t mean for it to look like trash. So, I am trying to dream up ways to use this idea and streamline it differently and see if I can’t come up with something new and improved. I need to travel deep into the smarter places in my brain, if there are any.

Stay tuned.

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