Heart is Where the Home is.
A task of the artist is to find a suitable place or locale for one's finished artwork post-completion (if completion even exists). Art can seem most at home in the artist's studio where it was made. Yet most artists make work with the intention of bringing it somewhere else to dwell, even if it's only for the length of an exhibition.
Interestingly, a descriptive word which stops artists dead in their tracks is the word “decorative.” A word can be no greater abhorred by a majority of visual artists. If a critic or peer describes your work as “decorative,” most of the time this adjective is not happily received. Curiously, artists who make work to sell in commercial galleries intend for their work to be bought by collectors, which generally means the work will end up “decorating” a wall. What a paradoxical predicament.
Exploring this notion further, I am now led to think of the physical wall in which the art piece is installed. What else will be hanging on that wall? Will the wall be painted a color, or will it mimic a gallery’s white-cube aesthetic? Will there be a sofa, bench or a piece of furniture juxtaposed near the work on the wall, creating an interplay of objects? Is this wall in a corporate building, a public space, or in a private home?
I am interested in the concept of “home,” home décor and the elements people bring into their living spaces to feel a greater sense of comfort. It is this investigation which promotes my urge to create home for art instead of creating art for the home.
Home and art share a plethora of similarities. Both are created by humans. Both are fundamental to human kind. Both share a twin history of cultural development and evolution. Both depend on taste culture and aesthetic decisions. Both have class hierarchies embedded within their creation. Home and art are reciprocal as home offers a space, art requires a space (so in that regard, art is more akin to the human beings who inhabit the home).
On a personal note, I was born in Ontario, Canada, however my family and I moved nomadically between Canada, Australia and the United States. Since we typically dwelt in one place for no longer than one year, I learned to find constancy in transience. Home was a concept that was constantly in flux. Sometimes it took the form of a subdivision house, sometimes it took the form of a relatives guest bedroom, sometimes it took the form of a hotel room, sometimes it took the form of a tent by a lake over the summer.
Furthermore, relocating often gave me the opportunity to play with my identity, as each move brought with it a chance to start again, a chance to make yet another first impression as the “new girl”. These experiences shaped my ideas about the nature of identity and the role that home plays in one’s personal narrative. Recently, I have found an outlet for these ideas through my work. The trials and tribulations of my unsettled upbringing continue to contribute to my artistic visions as I explore identity through subculture, body language, costume, and décor.
Even in my thirtieth year on the planet I still lack a sense of home. I've been living in Los Angeles County for the better part of six years, yet I feel like a visitor driving in the streets of LA. However, when I visit my brith-country of Canada I don't feel any particular sense of returning home either. Perhaps home is more of a state of mind, or a place you carry inside yourself. "Heart is where the home is" flips the phrase "Home is where the heart is" to subtly inquire if "home" can exist in a place devoid of physical locality. Perhaps it can exist within our bodies, our hearts and our mind.