Lately I've been thinking that David and I should have a talk together. The opening reception for our show is this Saturday (from 6-9PM), and it seems appropriate for each of us to get some clarity about what the other is up to. Can the left hand talk to the right? While they are interdependent and governed by the same ultimate arbiter, sometimes it's easy to lose that perspective. And an underlying theme of the ongoing project we are collaborating on is certainly integration. So I've decided to write this post in interview form. Please be patient with the both of us.
Merge Divide: Are you excited for the show? I know you've invested a lot of energy in this (and so have I), and I have to wonder about the state that you are in.
David Grim: Hmmm... I'd have to say that I have mixed feelings about it. I've always gotten a bit anxious before my openings. There will be a mix of people there-, some of which I have known well for a long time, some will be acquaintances that I'd like to know better, and inevitably there will be some that I have never even talked to. I'll be trying to manage the representation of myself while keeping a mindful state about my social relationships with whoever shows up. It's a little overwhelming, to tell the truth.
MD: Hah! I remember your strategy last year at Imagebox. How well did that work out for you?
DG: We don't have to talk about that. Anyone who was there can tell those stories. It's a new year and a new approach this time around. I'm trying to do justice to the work I've done, and that requires a commitment and level of effort that I'm now willing to invest.
MD: Don't strain yourself, tough guy.
DG: If I only had your confidence perhaps I would be excited in a purely joyful way. But you have to remember that I've never really stepped out with my drawings to this extent. Hellfire, before I started the "Book of Life" project, I had only drawn about 15-20 works in the previous 15 years. Comparatively, showing photographic images is easy going.
MD: I'm not sure if you are minimizing my efforts, but whatever. I feel GREAT about the images on my side. Maybe I'm a complete egotist in this regard, but i still love staring at them.
DG: Perhaps that's because they are mediated? You have a technological device between your eye and the subject. For me it was the visceral connection between the pen and the paper. You could also simply eliminate whatever shots you felt weren't up to your standards. EVERY mistake I made in the two and a half years I worked on the Book of Life is on the wall. That's not a common approach for an artist displaying his or her work.
MD: Well, you've made some radical assumptions about my process with a camera. But I'll let you control the direction for just a bit. If what you are saying is true... why throw it all up on the wall together? Why do you think people need to see your mistakes? Maybe we do share an element of narcissism, you and I.
DG: That's fair. But I think it's an appropriate decision, given the process and the concept involved. Why shouldn't the "mistakes" be included? The Book of Life is partially about the relationship between the artist as Creator and his/her subject. To think that an artist can really achieve, or should even try to strive for "perfection" seems like a folly. If you can't see that flaws run through the entire thing, then I think that you aren't paying close enough attention. And I'm not trying to get clever with metaphysics either.
MD: Yeah, you gotta watch that, dude. Don't crawl up your own asshole.
DG: Jeez. I'll tell you what... sometimes you should stop and think about framing before you make a point. Especially when you are analyzing others.
MD: Well... if you don't already see that in MY work, then maybe YOU aren't paying attention.
DG: OK. I realize that I need someone to keep me in check, now and again. I do appreciate it. Next time I tell someone I'm going to kill you off by the end of this show, I'll realize that we have a special connection and hold my tongue.
MD: Do you need a hug?
DG: Umm... I don't even know how to answer that. But I do think this interview is over, for now.
MD: Fine. But remember you still have a lot to answer for. I'm not done with you.