In 2009, I participated in an international art collaboration project called “Art Spark”. The brainchild of Virginia artist, Amy Sousa, “Art Spark” paired two artists; usually one visual and one literary. Each artist would offer up a previously finished work as an inspiration for a new work to be created by the other. The writer, painter or photographer then had TEN DAYS to finish the piece and both were displayed side by side in a virtual gallery.
I had fun. Evidence below.
But I thought why can’t we recreate this locally, shown in a gallery side by side where the work can be fully (not digitally appreciated) and out of that thought BeMuse was born!
BeMuse is open to any artist who wishes to participate. You will be randomly paired with an artist-muse and will Be Muse for a fellow participant. Applications will soon be available (check this blog or Lalanarts.com for updates). Each participant submits a piece which will appear in a gallery(s) TBA. The opening show will be on May 1st. Arrangements will be made by email to deliver the work to the gallery prior to the show. Dancers, musicians or performance artists will be given time slots and venues and will make all needs known in advance to the show’s curator. We will do what we can to accommodate diverse forms but organizers reserve the right to restrict participation wherever other reasonable accommodations cannot be provided.
At the May 1st BeMuse launch party, artists will discover the Muses with whom they have been paired based on application criteria, randomness and organizers’ whimsy. The public will enjoy the show but will not know the otherwise secret pairings. Artists will have 20 days to create a new work based on the art/inspiration assigned to them. On June 1st-ish, the BeMuse relaunch occurs. Works will have been rearranged to show the inspired pairings side by side.
Gabriel Shanks and G.L. Morrison
Duet Of Myself
Created using G.L. Morrison’s poem (below) as inspiration
Howl for Me
By G.L. Morrison
I have howled at night alone like a dog, hollow and wild
I have coo-whimpered the dying song of a pigeon caught in the dog’s
my heart is a double-throated singer, duet of myself
I stalk myself through these mad streets
passing cars toss their headlights in puddles like discarded cigarettes
their reflection set my feet on fire
acid clouds darken with chemical rain
my shadow splashes at the side of building
gray as hiroshima ash
the best minds of my generation
were destroyed by greed
and doting parents and I didn’t see it
I was busy learning not to look, not look
starving in our mothers’ kitchens
clothed only in our father’s prejudices
starving, cynical, naked
we dragged ourselves through alleys
and days looking for nothing
anger is justice defiled but
we never knew her innocent
justice was turning tricks before we were born
we danced the faggot streets
knew everything, expected nothing
and were never surprised
burning adolescent tallow off our quick lit wicks
saving nothing for tomorrow
who knew we would survive?
starry nights, so many starry nights
seen through madhouse windows
constellations sordid and stale
yesterday’s failed suicide attempt
stars falling like accusations
beautiful in their falling
fireworks, light show, stars in death
the machinery of night
grinds on, gears slip
noticing us not at all
Canal and Mott
Inspiration piece provided to G.L. Morrison
Canal and Mott
By G.L. Morrison
The ghosts of what’s to come shop here.
Armed with bright shopping bags
that smell of cloves and Szechuan pepper,
but are filled to overflowing with totchke moments
savory regrets and battery operated
appliances of destiny, these zeitghosts overtake
our common sense(s). They are reverse
pickpockets who slip gaudy keychains
and snowglobes into the bags of unwary tourists.
Possibilities chase us up the street like rain
forcing us to take shelter in storefront windows
and kiosks full of everything we never knew
to need. Buy nothing and still it will all come
home with you. The open Air is five-spice thick:
the bitter hickory smoke of a street vendor’s poultry
competes for top note with the invisible breeze
of star anise and cinnamon that trails after
an old woman exiting an adjacent restaurant.
Pungent but good as the moment passed,
the moment to come waits like a mugger.
Stars appear in the still light city sky
distant and dark as fennel seeds in rye bread.
We can’t help noticing
every sixty seconds we spend here
we grow one minute older.
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