Sunday, October 9, 2011


Have you ever wondered what kind of bauble machine would appear in the kind of grocery store that caters to people who jog or bike over from their bayou-side condos? One of them would be the art-o-mat, a re-jiggered cigarette dispenser that now provides boxes the size of a deck of cards filled with the flotsam of creative people.

It's genius. And a good excuse to stash the Pumpkin King in the car and drive down into the the city and remember what it was like to not be afraid of the freeways, to deal with the constant construction, and to see the new face of Houston as it swells out along I-10. For me, this counts as a vacation (meeting the following criteria: I haven't been to this particular store and I hadn't driven this particular freeway in at least a year and it was at least an hour away from the house).

We had a fun time playing grocery store tourist and I had a blast deciding on the piece that we would bring home. My brother the art snob thought it was hilarious, but I think it's easy to miss the point when you're fenced in by criteria (or possibly just have to look at a lot of "draft" art). This happens to me when I'm writing, when I forget that I'm telling a story to someone.

The piece that I have is by Klop and it consists of a copper wire that holds two strands of found beads within its web. The artist included a brief note regarding where the materials come from, how they found themselves tangled in this egg-shapped armature that looks like art nouveau sieve that accumulated wooden beads that have lived through washing and fumbling fingers and one clear blue plastic bead that functions as the soul of the piece--it is the one thing that will not change or wear as even the metal will over time.

I can look around my desk and open drawers and see the kind of flotsam that I acquire. I am the Sargasso Sea, a still spot that spins around the things that come to it until there is an imagined ecosystem that gathers rather than wanders. But...that's just the structure of how I chose to interpret the things around me, including this new piece that seams to be a metaphore for the whole. The truth is that everything that I hold close is proof that I've slipped out at times. Even if the escape was no further than to a suburban dream of an urban grocery store.

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