This weekend i learned that even artwork is a material possession, and sometimes you have no choice but to let it go.

Iowa has been flooding this summer, as i’m sure you’re all well aware. I blogged about the floods in ames, after that happened Des Moines also flooded, and just after that Cedar Rapids and Iowa City took it in the shorts big time. As it turns out, the storage unit that my mother and i had a lot of our worldly possessions stored in was overtaken by about 2.5′ of water, and we didn’t have the means to deal with the aftermath until this weekend.

Mom lost all of her furniture except for a desk we acquired at a garage sale at some point for $5. I lost whatever nostalgia i had stored in there except for my stupid fucking beanie baby collection, one other box of toys and some lightweight box i didn’t bother to open.

I had figured that my old journals were destroyed, and i discovered they were. I’ve been keeping a journal for ten years now, and the earlier half of them is gone. My high school letter was in there, no big deal. And my portfolio. That portfolio had probably eight years or so of artwork in it. My charcoal self-portrait. The sunflower i hated but mom loved. The conte and oil pastel drawings i did in my last drawing class. The graphite drawing of a rose. I don’t even know how many other pieces. I never found my old sketchbooks or the three-dimensional artwork, and so those are probably in there somewhere, too.

Self-Portrait in Charcoal
This is the self-portrait in charcoal, which is destroyed now.

I cried when i saw the portfolio. I discovered that my drawings are worth more to me than my writings. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but i think the two are incomparable. The journals were mostly full of drivel i’d written about boys i ought to have forgotten by now anyway. Which reminds me, the statue i was given as a gift once upon a time was destroyed as well. Sadly, though, i suppose that’s only fitting.

Metallic statue of a man's face kissing a woman's face

I’m grateful for what i still have: my more recent journals, all of my photo albums, all of my black-and-white photo negatives and prints. My poetry is all preserved on my computer. I have the people i love and my own life, and that’s actually worth more than everything i’ve ever created or ever will create. As an artist you imagine that the things you create might live beyond you, but i’ve never done anything of that importance anyway.


Des Moines Arts Festival

Mom and i visited the Des Moines Arts Festival this weekend, which is one of my favorite things to do in the summertime. We’re lucky to get such a wide variety of artists from all over the country, some of whom even come more than once despite the awful weather–be it sweltering heat, torrential downpours or, this year’s surprise, a gale storm.

Here are a few of my favorites, or at least the ones from whom i was able to snatch a business card with a web address.

KEITH GRACE – This one appealed to the graphic designer in me because of the bright colors, simple images and the use of typography as texture. Fun collage/paintings, just really cool to look at.

CHRIS HONEYSETT – Obviously a great black & white photographer. Who doesn’t love fog photos?

BRUCE HOLWERDA – These paintings are just so whimsical and colorful and beautiful. I love that he captures the magic of dance and uses techniques like splatter painting and collage-like color so that the image almost seems to glitter.

So check out their websites, buy me a print or two… And come with us next year. We’ll get a four-dollar beer and gripe about all the other gawkers.