Monday, August 31, 2009
After picking up dog poop for 20 minutes, Catherine had another task for me. She was trying to remove the door knobs off of 2 doors so she could replace the knobs and finish the doors. I spent approx. 10 minutes removing each door knob. I used both a phillips head and flat head screwdriver. I had about 2 minutes left, so I began to organize her tool area.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Received 5 more yesterday. The visual potential of 100 different envelopes is exciting. Each one is so different. I can't wait to see the whole collection.
As far as the 20 minute labor goes, I've done some 20 minute drawings and have some outstanding requests to pick up dog poop, help design a business card, collect plastic water bottles, write down my fears, then burn the paper, and give a 20 minute critique of someones art work. (with some encouraging words)
Having other people involved in an art piece really forces me to rise to the occasion. I'm energized and want to deliver the goods. I was thinking I would show this in a gallery space but now I'm thinking it makes sense to show it in my apartment. Maybe I'll have a barbecue or something. Not sure yet. So far I see displaying the collection of envelopes in some interesting way and projecting images and text from the project...images of labor, money exchange, written/email exchanges, etc.
Friday, August 28, 2009
I received 6 payments of $3.50 today by mail, and 2 in person. It was very exciting to get that much mail in one day, especially the fact that they weren't bills or junk mail. I have 3 requests for 20 minute drawings, 1 request for me to pick up dog poop for 20 minutes, and 2 requests for advice, one regarding how to properly paint an outdoor table, the other help in designing a business card. Another person wants me to spend 20 minutes with an animal at the humane society...despite my allergies I may wear rubber gloves. Many people neglected to tell me how they wanted me to work for the $3.50. It made me think of different ways I could do this. I could offer up ideas to them, ways I could do things in the community perhaps: picking up litter in my neighborhood, talking to a lonely person, etc. I guess it would be like "gifting" your 20 minutes in a way. I'm not sure. I hope I get more suggestions.
Honestly, I'm not sure if I will be able to convince 100 people to pay me $3.50 for 20 minutes of labor. Actually, it is the people that don't know me I'm worried about. Well, not worried, but I know that they will be less inclined to participate. I'm trying to put myself in their place. My idea could sound like a scam to people, especially given all the scams there are on the net. Perhaps I need to rewrite the project....so it sounds more like art. Because it is. Certainly, it is about paying my October rent so I have some financial breathing room. But it's also about engaging. I've wanted my art to facilitate connections for some time. I mean, it does but I like the idea of it being ABOUT connecting to community. I also like the idea that I don't know how this project will end. Most of my work starts with a kernel of an idea and grows from there. I have had one angry response to my project so far. I think the person saw it as a hand out. I should emphasize that I'm willing to work for it. Money is certainly a touch subject, understandably. But I'm trying to be proactive and do what I do best: make art. I'm also no solitary artist. I prefer to collaborate.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
The Rent Project is something I came up with a few weeks after losing my job at Lowe's. The idea for The Rent Project came from the necessity to pay my rent as well as the need to reengage with my community after about three months of depression. Here is the basic project.
1) I request $3.50 cash (3 bills, 2 quarters) from 100 people to pay my rent, $350. I am using Facebook, email and craigslist to contact people about the project. For the $3.50, I offer 20 minutes of labor. If you live nearby, I may mow a section of your lawn, fix a door knob, etc. If you live far from me, you could request a 20 minute drawing, advice, art idea, etc. The possibilities are practically limitless.
2) I will then create installation, displaying envelopes, neatly stacked bills and quarters, documentation of work exchange, anything related to the process/evolution of the piece, and invite landlady to show.
3) My address is 80 Division Street, 2nd Floor, Troy, NY 12180
4) I will stop at 100 people and send back anything beyond 100.
Background: I am a sculptor/performance/installation artist and have been for almost 20 years. Many of you know me, many don't. If you don't feel free to glance at my website warrenmacmillan.com.
A few weeks ago, I was fired from Lowe's for drawing on the bathroom walls. I was making $10.60 an hour. $3.50 is practically a third of that, hence the 20 minutes labor. My rent is actually $450 but my landlady allows me to do $100 worth of work on the apartment, painting, finishing cabinets, installing molding, etc. So I take advantage of that.
I am certain this project will generate some interesting material, connect me to new people, and of course pay my rent. This is also an attempt to get myself out of a rut. I've been in a funk for months, retreating into a cave-like existence. This is one attempt to resurface. This will challenge me to go outside myself though art.
I would appreciate any feedback or suggestions. Thank you.
PLEASE PASS THIS ON TO OTHERS. It's no easy to task to get 100 people involved in something....