Be Happy Anyway

Be Happy Anyway
From Brave Girls Club

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tales of Passports and Thoughts on Art

First of all, I was greeted today in my mailbox by a great surprise.

Which means I will soon be able to take my own picture of this:While sharing laughs with this person:

Now many of you maybe wondering why I didn't already have a passport for a trip that I have been planning for going on three years. Well it is a strange little story that I will begin with another little story.

When my cousin Pam and I were kids, we noticed how much I resembled her mother and how much Pam resembled my mother. We would joke that mom had Pam first (she is a year older) and wasn't married (not a funny joke in the Catholic church) so she gave Pam to my aunt with the understanding that after Mom got married, my aunt would give her the next born child. This has been the hidden joke for years, never telling our mothers.

When it finally came time to order a passport, I had lost my birth certificate. I filled out all the proper paperwork and mailed a check to the Vital Records office in San Antonio. Here is where it gets weird. They never heard of me. (Were my cousin's and my funny joke more truth than fiction?) They called me and told me I had to contact the state of Texas to do a search for my birth certificate. I immediately called my mother and said, "You lied. I was not born in San Antonio." Well that took her aback. She said, "Yes, you were born at Lackland AFB in San Antonio." Well guess what. That is not San Antonio according to the office of Vital Statistics. I had to wait almost six weeks for the State to find me in their records. I finally told my mom and her sister the story of being switched at birth. I don't think she thought it was too funny.

The other problem I had going to get a passport lay in the hours of operation of the passport office. They are only open until 3:30 p.m. I get off of work at 3:15 p.m. and I had used all of my time off for kidney pains and kidney surgery. I thought I was never going to get to go to that office before they closed. But one day I bit the bullet and, like a teenager sneaking out to meet her boyfriend, I had my team cover for me and ran to the post office to get a passport. I was certain I was going to be found out. When I got to the post office with forms filled out, there was a family of 6 applying for passports in front of me behind two other people. Of all the luck. When it was finally their turn, I heard the clerk tell them that they had to have a photocopy of their driver's license and that they don't have a copy machine there. Who ever heard of a Post Office not having a copy machine. She directed them to the nearest library, two streets over and four blocks up. Mind you, it is now 3:05 p.m. I quickly followed them out, jumped in my car, sped through downtown to beat them to the copy machine, praying I had some cash. As I was making my copies the mom walked in. I smiled sheepishly, took my copies and flew back to the post and stood in line again. I felt like the world was working against me. Finally, I was able to turn in my application and pay my fees with a heavy weight off my shoulder.

So you can see why I am so happy to have received this little package today.


Thoughts on art...

I was on this site today. And she started a conversation about whether art is a luxury, so I thought I would join in here.

I think the first thing you have to ask yourself is, "What constitutes art?" Does it have to be a million dollar Monet or Picasso? I don't think so. Sometimes I am more impressed with an artist trading card or someone's art journal page. This level of art can often times be affordable. My question is, "Who determines how much art costs."

Recently, a friend of my saw journal page I posted and it spoke to her. She asked me if I would make her two and that she would pay. First, I was stumped that someone would want something that made just for fun. Secondly, I didn't even know what to charge. So, I went on ETSY just see what other pieces like mine were going for. The only way I could really judge was based on size and medium. The problem with pricing my work that other artist might encounter is that I didn't see myself as an "artist." I am just a mom who sits in her bedroom looking for a enough peace and quiet to be able to pull out her paints and brushes.

The next thing I wonder is, "What is a luxury?" It comes from a word that means excess. If a person only has enough money to meet basic needs, then purchasing art is probably not on the top of their financial needs. What else is art, then, but a luxury? It's something that you treat yourself to when you have the extra money to do so. That is part of why you value it so much. You see a piece of art that speaks to you and feel this desire to own it. You look at the price. It could be $20 or $2000. It doesn't matter. You have to decide whether you have the money now or if you will have to save for it. There have many a time I have seen something in a store or at a show and looked at the price tag and decided, the next time I have XX dollars, I am getting.

The final question, "Should art be available to everyone?" Yes, of course, but there are many other ways of enjoy/appreciating art other than buying it. There are so many public arenas where you can experience various media. Some of them are right in the open to be admired by anyone who passes by. One that particularly comes to mind are the many sculptures on the beach at Bondi, Australia.
by Keld Moseholm. to be or not to be. Sculpture by the Sea, bondi 2009. Photo Samantha Burns

And another that comes to mind are the sculptures in Vigeland Park in Oslo.
This is art that is available for free 24 hours a day for anyone to photograph, sketch, stare at, whatever. No one asks your income. No one checks your credit rating. The rich stand next to the not so rich and nobody says boo. This is they kind of art that often speaks to me the most. Art that is for the people.

What do you consider art? Do you think it should be a luxury? You can post your own response to this and link it back to this article.


miruspeg said...

Finally you have a passport Annemarie!!!
I thought I was going to have to smuggle you into my large suitcase.
Heres to lots of adventures and laughter.
Peggy xxx

Chris said...

So glad that you were able to get your passport. Your trip will be so wonderful. I think art should be accessible to everyone but I don't think that's a very universal idea today (and really through history hasn't been). We have a small art museum in the town where I live - it costs to get in but twice a year there are free Saturdays and they get a good-sized crowd. I will follow your link to read the article. have a great day!

Brandi said...

So glad you recieved it!

I thought of you last night! My fortune from my cookie read - "The answers you seek are in Norway"
So maybe you could look for me while you are there! LOL

Have a great trip!


MJ said...

What an ordeal you had to overcome to get a passport! I have maintained I've been adopted since birth & just happened to be in my family of origin. They don't find this too flattering but it seems so obvious to virtually everyone!

Congrats on your first commissioned piece! What a compliment!

(PS: when you eat lefse, think of me! I like mine with white sugar with a whiff of cinnamon!)

Andre Rodriguez said...

I think art should be accessible to all, but not everyone appreciates art and one person's art is another person's crap.

Pricing your work is touchy, but there are ways. One I like is to say, if I were to do this for a living, how much would I like to make in a year? That helps to determine how much you would have to earn per hour to make this amount. Then determine how much time you put into a piece, add material costs and you should have a ballpark figure. You might increase or decrease the amount depending on whether you are comfortable with the results or if you think they are fair to you. It comes down to how much you value your work.

Thinkie said...

Oh I wish I could go back to Norway! I'm sure I will, some day. This year it's Germany, Germany again, and France for me, so I can't complain ;-)

In The Hague there is a free open air sculpture exhibition each year.
And we have a museumcard, it costs 35 euro (+- 43 dollar at the moment) and allows us free access to most Dutch museums for a year. When you visit museums as often as we do, it's a great way to save money, and for people who have a little extra money for outings but can't afford a vacation it's a nice way to enjoy art and learn things. I guess art is a little bit of a luxury, you can't eat it and usually you can't wear it or live in it. But it doesn't have to be expensive and you can make it yourself so if you have a little extra money and a little time you can enjoy art. and off course the internet makes art much more accessible!
Last year we visited some artists studio's on an open day and I saw something I liked very much but it wouldn't match with our interior and we couldn't afford it at that time. It got me thinking though, that one day I might enjoy having a wall with small pieces of art, some bought, some made by me, some photo's we made and maybe some pretty postcards.
Art has been a part of human life for so long, if you think about cavedrawings and such... It's part of cultures, of expressing our identities, part of civilization.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the passport dear, don't loose it!!! LOVE the "birth switch" story and love your thoughts about art... and yes, we still "connect" as I thought about this question alot (and writing about art for my latest workshop) It's almost midnight overhere though, so I won't write it all down. Just letting you know I'm still in cyberspace but a bit quiet and waaaayyyy busy!!!

Anonymous said...

I remember getting mine. Such a special day!

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