Happy New Year! This is a wondrous day- 1/1/11. Looking at it just makes me soo happy. But first, a quick recap of what's happened since my last post.
Was very fortunate to travel most of December all over the South. Went up and down Florida stopping by my hometown of Tallahassee, then Tampa, then Miami for Art Basel, then stopped in those same cities on the way back to Atlanta (since I was driving). Then went to Birmingham, Alabama to celebrate Christmas with my homegirl Laura. Had to adjust being back on the East Coast, let me tell ya. Being in Atlanta and Tallahassee especially, took getting used to.
For one, I simply didn't recognize Atlanta anymore. What the hell is this Atlantic Station? lol I had to Google it to read up on it like a damn tourist. Man, I've really been gone for awhile that entire neighborhoods have been built! It's something to be excited and proud of.
No matter what, I love Atlanta. I love the history of this great city; I love my history here in this great city. I love the people who are die-hard Atlantans who represent this city. The city makes me feel rebellious and safe whereas in LA I have to be on guard all the time. Driving around ATL made me realize all the cool developments I have yet to explore while appreciating the memories here. Still, it was weird adjusting to being back. I couldn't remember the roads, lol...
But that certainly wasn't the case in Tallahassee (there are only five real roads there). Things pretty much looked the same, except the businesses weren't the same businesses that were there when I left ten years ago. Club Park Avenue is now some insurance company or something. lol I felt really safe there. Completely unguarded. I could just be anyone there. I remember after graduating highschool how I couldn't wait to get the hell up out of there and headed to Atlanta since it was the closest major city. But visiting ten years later, I looked forward to seeing those places that gave me so many memories. Tallahassee is pure. Reminded me of my own purity within.
I visited my pal Monica, my highschool art teacher Mrs. B, and my homegurl Amber. So great to see old friends, people you truly love. Let me tell you about Monica. I haven't seen this gurl in seventeen years cuz we lost touch after middle school but I found her on Facebook and was so happy when I did. We picked up our friendship like no time had passed at all.
Monica is special because she was my only friend in elementary school. My mom used to say, "Yun, where's your little black friend?" and I'd say, "Mom, she's not just my little 'black' friend- she's my only friend". Y'all, let me tell you. I used to get my ass BEAT UP by these other black girls in school. They were mean as hell- tripping me, pulling my hair, cursing at me, spitting on me. Just terrible.
Monica would be her lioness self and roar at them while my little timid self hid behind the seat on the bus. I remember one time she yelled at them, "Why don't you mess with someone black like you?!" lol Then they would leave me alone and just call me names but at least they stopped hitting me. Man, if it weren't for Monica, my Chink ass wouldn't have made it through elementary school. lol Yay, diversity!
The visit to my art teacher's house to see her family was just as heart-warming. I used to babysit her son when he was four or five. Now he's nineteen and 6'5". Damn. lol I love Mrs. B cuz she's the reason I'm an artist. The absolute reason. She loves all her students, but really kept her eye on me and gave me the extra encouragement I needed.
I remember one time we were at some art festival thing and she introduced me as an "artist". She said, "Yun is also an artist". Hearing it sounded weird to me at the time, but it was a turning point in my life. I credit her with giving me my identity as an artist - she was the first person to see me as that, even before my parents. So teachers, know that you have impact. Know that all the hard work caring and worrying for us kids really does pay off-it's life changing. Mrs. B changed my life. If it weren't for her, I'd probably ended up as an accountant (or something completely non-creative). lol No offense to accountants!
Headed to Amber's after that. Amber and I have been friends for fifteen years or so. Crazy huh? We headed to Thomasville, Georgia (a city known for its roses) with her husband and the rest of her family for a holiday festival thingy. Like I said, I had to get adjusted being back in the South.
We stopped by Harden's Taxidermy (Thomasville) and there were all these stuffed animals inside. I felt really bad for them since they looked so cute and all (hey if it's furry it's friendly right? lol). Look how friendly it looks!
Amber's mom suggested I buy this next thing with her for Amber as a Christmas present. It's a turkey shooting a bird! This is how Southerners entertain ourselves. I know, don't judge.
PETA I think you just got another convert! I had to hightail it out of there I swear the animals started talking to me....
All in all Tallahassee was fun. It's nice knowing it's only four and a half hours away anytime I need a little getaway...
Which brings us to Miami. The last time I went to Art Basel was in 2007 and honestly I had a fun time seeing friends but I was so exhausted from all that was going on. This year they had sixteen fairs including Art Basel and to fit all those in within six days was just too much. They even had an article noting the syndrome "Art Basel Frazzle"! lol Man, I was definitely Art Basel Frazzled. However, I did find the SCOPE art fair to be especially strong. Art Basel as always, impressive.
As I sit here late in the night pondering this new year and digesting the last- I am grateful. Grateful for my family, friends, and fans. Grateful for the clarity and support I've received. Most of all, grateful for LOVE in my life. Love has been the biggest inspiration of all. Love has healed me. Love has protected me. Love has made me brave. In witnessing all this love from LA and ATL, I can't help but become obsessed in learning, analyzing, and exploring it. What do you know about it, really? *tease Have you stopped and analyzed it concerning its presence in your life?
It's time to get back on the grind and back on the horse. Sure I may have fallen with my face grinded up against the pavement with somebody's foot smacked against my head, but all that has fueled so much as I'm still reaching. That's all that matters. The biggest motivator has been the eight galleries that's waiting for new work that's interested in showing my stuff and a few new curators I recently met that found me through my website. Not bad for having your face grinded up against the pavement, I would say. lol Either way Bunny it's time to get to work!
If I just love the world harder while becoming more authentic for myself and ride this mofo til the wheels fall off, that's all I need to worry about right?