BT Robinson

Harrell Fletcher: Reading #2

In Photographic Interaction on February 15, 2011 at 2:37 am

I’m scared. Very scared. A couple months from now, I’ll be released out into the world, my degree like a note pinned to my shirt saying, “Be gentle. I’m an artist.” But also, “Be cruel. I went to school, and this is what I have to show for it.” Of course, this isn’t the case. I also have my work, that which I’ve done, and that which I’m doing and will continue to do when I leave.

Why am I talking about my future? Because, damn it, I want to be Harrell Fletcher when I grow up. The academic in me wants to scoff at every idea he has, but the artist in me says, “yes, me too.” I don’t know what the hell to do. I want to make work that gives publics the opportunity to think differently, and I want to survive. Can I make a book of bug drawings, share it with people, and make a living? Can I collaborate with Miranda July to make a website of deceptively simple art ideas, fill said website with user-generated content, and pay my bills?

If it isn’t glaringly obvious by now, I’m scared because I don’t think I can be who I want to be and survive. And yet, here’s Harrell Fletcher, surviving, teaching, creating Masters programs, brilliantly creating work that engages both the art nut and non-art public. To me, it’s magic. Pure and simple. It doesn’t make sense to the Protestant work ethic/guilt trip of my upbringing.

“Largely I think of what I do as an artist as just pointing to things that I think are interesting so that other people will notice and appreciate them too.” He says that. That son of a bitch. Show me how this works. Please. I’m talking to whoever is reading. Help me figure this out. If there’s a “How To Be Harrell Fletcher” booklet out there, I want to read it.

And didn’t I just read it?

Damn it, I think I need to think about this some more. Oh, ego!

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