While it is debatable whether home is where the heart is, I will not argue that home is where all the baggage is stored. This Christmas I have returned to the house of my father to dwell with my family and celebrate the season. I sleep in the same room that I lived in through those shaping years of middle and high school and look around at all the old paraphernalia of years past that were too superfluous to ship to New York but too meaningful to throw away.
There is the framed drawing of the Pitt River’s museum that I drew and poem that I wrote for their poetry contest from my month in Oxford. There is the cardboard and paper Valkyrie helmet that I made for a costume. There is the bowl with a phoenix on one side and Cerberus on the back that I painted at the beginning and end of a relationship, respectively. There is my printer, which I would kill to have in New York but cannot afford the space or the shipping. All lie around, along with many other tidbits that will be eventually thrown out the day that my parents decide to sell the house in favor of traveling around the world.
But what fascinates me most at this time are the two art works on my wall. I made them in grade school, while I still lived in the Bay Area, and to this day, I derive the greatest immediate pleasure in these two personal accomplishments than in anything that followed.
The first piece that I made is constructed with a piece of tin foil that covers a collection of different objects that define the texture of the tin foil, accented by a layer of india ink. There is packing popcorn, string, ribbon, cardboard, dry pasta, textured plastic, and other odds and ends that were methodically placed on the backing and then sealed under the tin foil. It was one of those times of me “me” as Nørretranders described in The User Experience. It is the time of uninhibited flow where one acts on instinct rather than conscious effort. A pied was place because that was where it belonged.
The other piece is rather more architectural in bent, constructed of plastic strips cut and glued onto a tan piece of board. The plastic is actually collected from plastic containers. The pieces originally wrapped around the lid of the containers to seal them. It was a matter of collecting them and reusing them to create abstract shapes in a similarly liminal flow.
Neither piece is necessarily innovative or definitive pieces of art, but I have always found that they spoke to an inner creative spark to re-purpose and explore alternative aesthetics. In a way, these really express the direction of my work that followed. It is the creative use of materials that later became the mantra of my middle school days. It is the hacking of my undergrad and the assembly of my graduate school.
And so, they hang there on my wall waiting, I suppose, for me to find a place that I will stay at long enough for that phone call home when I ask my parents to send them to my new place. Maybe that will show when I have actually settled.