Alright, so, as ambitious as I was when I started this blog, I have obviously not been as ambitious in updating it. Instead of informing you of all of the crazy shenanigans and adventures I've been on since my last post, can we just pretend like we are ex-lovers who run into each other in a grocery store? Yes? Alright, How have you been? Fine? Cool, me too... alright, looks like we're all caught up, now...
I felt the need to blog about my day today because it was full of adventures and, well... blog-worthy,
My day started with an alarm at 4:00 A.M. in order to commit an act of (slight) civil disobedience. Let me explain: I'm currently taking an 'Art for Elementary Teachers' class (hold the laughter, please). Every week we have an art project to do... usually something simple, like a painting assignment, or come up with a lesson plan that teaches an element of art history. This week's assignment was, well, a little different.
This weeks assignment was to create a work of "guerilla art". For those of you who are not familiar with the genre, "Guerilla art, also referred to as 'street' art' , is a method of art making where the artist leaves anonymous art pieces in public places" (straight from the mouth of Wikipedia itself). The teacher showed us a few examples... mostly "funny" things... like someone changing signs for couches in stores to 'butt shelves' or strange random pieces that felt more like vandalism to me....
However, when I think of guerilla art, I tend to think of something slightly more... well... honorable? Guerilla art has always been a way to make a statement in my mind's eye... Like the Guerilla Girls:
So I decided that I wanted my art project of the week to have a message... no random pinwheels in a field or singing my order at McDonalds... A real message... so people not only just 'know that I'm here', but know that I'm here and want to be heard. Being at BYU and homosexual, it wasn't very hard to think of something to stand for. My mind immediately went to the recent article in the Daily Universe about helping LGBT churchgoes feel more welcome in the LDS church. I reread the article for inspiration and my eyes kept settling on the statistic in the article: 74% of LGBT BYU students have suicidal ideation, and 24% attempt suicide. The statistic is true, it's shocking, and it's personal.... And thus my idea was born.
I wanted to use this statistic and have an art piece that made it real for people... but not too extreme. I went to the dollar store and looked around for ideas. I saw the little children's inflatable arm floaties and decided they would be easy enough to tape together into a person...
After I taped them together into a (roughly) human state, I decided my little guy seemed a bit naked... I still didn't really have a game plan at this point, but I at least decided he needed some clothes. A quick scrounge through our apartments D.I. bag granted a pair of basketball shorts and a plain white tee (hey, there Delilah, right?). But plain white seemed kind of... well.. plain. I drew this year's Provo Pride symbol on the shirt and quickly wrote the statistic from the article on the shirt:
I realized then, that I still had to have a place to put this guy that would not be too extreme, and also, reasonable ( I obviously couldn't haul him up to campus without being seen doing it). Being made out of pool toys, I decided on the duck pond. It was not too extreme and I could easily "dump the body" quickly. I also decided to add some balloons to the piece for symbolism, color, and I was worried about the shirt getting wet and blurring and the message getting lost, so the balloons gave me another place to write the statistic.
The only thing left was to ditch the body and leave it to do it's job. I decided on 4:00 A.M. for the drop time so that it was early enough that I wouldn't get caught and late enough that it wouldn't be discovered before people were coming to school.
I was way more nervous about leaving this piece in the duck pond than I should have been. There was NO ONE there, and my friend Brecca and I were in and out in under two minutes, including snapping a couple of pictures to have proof of the piece for the assignment in my art class.
I stressed for the rest of the morning about the survival of my art piece baby.... I drove down 800 North instead of my usual route to check on the little dude... At 8:00 A.M. this morning, the piece was still there with several people checking it out. Sadly, by 10:00 A.M. when I got out of class, the statement piece had already met it's demise via the BYU grounds crew (those jerks...).
I was pretty depressed about my project's short life after I found it gone. But even as I'm writing this now, I realize that the passion, excitement, rush, and satisfaction of doing this project meant a lot more to me than it making national news. And while all of five people may have seen my statement, I still feel satisfied and liberated by my guerilla art and what it meant to me.
P.S. OH YES! ... so just as a last-minute side-note.... I also got to put my rusty first-responder training to the test today! A gentlemen in my Philosophy class this morning passed out, and in the midst of the panic and chaos, I sprung to action! Yep, that's right all you Philosophy students who look back in question at the weird, white-haired, tattooed girl that sits in the back row of your class... bet you didn't know I was a superhero! ;)