“How’d It Go…” by Erika Tysse

I just commissioned my first piece of original art as a gift to myself. I’ve been very fortunate to have retained some beautiful work of friends and students, but up until now, I’d never actually bought an original work.

It should look very similar to this piece up above. It’s sad that it took me this long to start collecting work. Ten years ago, as a poor, starving art student (the violins can cue in anytime here….), a beautiful, black and white, grainy image caught my eye at a sidewalk sale at the Munson Williams Proctor School of Art in Utica.  It was a photo of a circus clown, his head thrown back and laughing in a heavy rain. Everything around him was dark, save for him and a hint of a circus tent and stake highlighted by a floodlight. It was a mere fifty dollars, which I didn’t have. I still think of that image.

I love this. It speaks to me of secrets, and the lightness that comes with releasing them.  I don’t like harboring secrets. They’re too heavy to lug around. Though I’d never betray a confidence.

Another funny detail of this purchase is that the artist resides in an area of Norway, where I lived for a short while in 1999. She lives just about a city or town over. I’ve watched Erika’s work for a couple of years now, and I hope this purchase is the beginning of a collection. She reminds me just a bit of Lenore Tawney, whose postcard collages I admire.


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June 2006
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