Abigail Foster's Photosynthesis Machine, Benson Memorial Library, Family, Libraries, Library Director, Life, Management, Titusville, PA

Where Are We Now?

About a year ago I hung up a bizarre painting in my office at work. To me it was perfect and just familiar enough that I thought it warranted a place in my life. As a person who always thought it would be neat to have an office and fill it with interesting things, the painting, when mixed with the Lego creations and drawings that Finn and Aero have created for me over the years, helped me establish this place my home away from home. When I feel comfortable at work, I usually am able to some really good and meaningful work. On the other hand I could also see how the average “I shop for my groceries at Walmart every Saturday at 1pm and have to watch the game and/or my sitcom at the same time every week” American person would be appalled by it.

One day I came into work to find that my painting was taken down. My coworkers took it down because, yes they were terrified and appalled by it. I guess right now would also be a good time to explain that due to limited space we’re all basically working on top of each other and that we’re surrounded by glass. It’s like a packed fishbowl in here. But to fully admit my feelings, I was pretty let down by their actions. It felt passive aggressive and overall it felt unkind. But in the moment I didn’t react. I just went on and say “oh, well that happened.”

You see as a Gemini I feel a duality to everything. There’s this part of me that always sees things from my point of view and then I almost immediately put that aside and see it from how others may have seen it. In this case: Justin likes the painting and hangs up the painting, Justin feels disappointed when someone takes that painting down, but then Justin instantly forgets about that and says “well I bet they didn’t like the painting so I understand that and what I thought about the painting shouldn’t matter because that’s selfish to only think about myself.” Over time, I’ve taken that approach to even more of an extreme: I guess in a way that by my coworkers actions I was able to put the painting to a much better use. It became the cover for my album Prozac Is The Dam And I Am The Dynamite, and I think it fit really well for that album. Having the painting taken down by my coworkers made me take it home, where I stared at it more and through those hours of staring it gave the painting more meaning and purpose. It became a visual representation of my life at the time, and when it merged together with the music I was creating it became a complete package.

You take all of these things together, stretch everything out by a few months, sometimes years, and what happens? You start to think about the first part (yourself) less and less until it almost becomes silly to even think about it in the first place. I think that’s where I am at now…after awhile of doing this here I am, a person that may be very capable about thinking of others but at the same time a person who doesn’t think of himself as much as he should. I’m overwhelmed right now and a bell goes off in my brain to remind me that this may be part of the reason as to why I feel this way. When you neglect yourself in some way, it all adds up. I stare at a lot of spreadsheets these days, and I like to think that my soul has a spreadsheet where it has been keeping note of the times I’ve put myself aside for others. It’s finally getting to that point where the spreadsheet is just too long and unruly and it becomes a hassle to scroll down the page because there’s so much data.

I’m on the cusp of something here. It feels exciting and at the same time it fills my soul with great fear, but I know that as with everything in this life it will come, it will go, and the next thing will happen. I feel lucky to be able to share this journey here and to have others be able to maybe understand and maybe feel like they may be in the same holding pattern at the moment.

Music: David Bowie “Where Are We Now?” As long as there’s sun..As long as there’s rain..As long as there’s fire..As long as there’s me..As long as there’s you

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Libraries, MAKE ART FOR THE LIBRARY

Making Art with Teens (THANK YOU)

To read all about the project (from start to finish) please click here

To view the artwork and also behind the scenes photos please click here

To watch our interviews with the teen artists, please click here

Thank you to Peter Hyde for helping bring the project together.  Before you stepped in, we only had an idea of what the project would look like but really didn’t have an idea about how to do it…you solved that!  We were very lucky to have someone like you as the first MECA intern to work on this project.

Many thanks to everyone from the Portland Public Library and the Maine College of Art who were involved in helping get this project off the ground and seeing it through to completion.  Extra special thanks to Portland Public Library Programming Manager Rachael Weyand for all of her organizing, publicity work, and more.

And finally, to the teens: Claire, Keanan, Paisley, and Reesey…THANK YOU for your participation, your work, your vision, your amazing artwork, and most of all, thank you for being part of the Portland Public Teen Library community.

Libraries, MAKE ART FOR THE LIBRARY

Making Art with Teens (PART 4)

Today I sat down with Claire, who is one of the teens participating in our Portland Public Library/Maine College of Art Teen Art Project to talk about the project now that her work is completed.

Later today, the Portland Public Teen Library will be exhibiting their new art collection – 4 pieces of art created through an Art Internship program organized in collaboration with the Maine College of Art (MECA).

The work of the four teens who participated in the program will be exhibited on the wall across from the Book Store (on the lower level of the Library) during First Friday Art Walk and then move to its permanent home in the Teen Center where patrons can check the art out!