Behind the Scenes, Part 2

Almost a year ago, I was at USC’s Innovation Lab, participating in the beginning stages of an thought-provoking transmedia project.  The entire experience was like a smorgasbord of ideas and possibilities, and I walked away with a lot on my mind.  All these months later, I still remember plenty.  Like the first time I saw the sign on the lab’s wall that said, “FAIL HARDER.”

There were a couple other surprising and somewhat subversive mantras stuck up on the wall as well, but “FAIL HARDER,” is the one that lodged itself into my consciousness.  I think there are a couple key reasons for this.  First off – hello, it’s only two words.  For an overly verbose goon, like myself, there is nothing more beautiful than the simplicity of just two perfectly paired words.  And they are perfectly paired.  Together, they are a groundbreaking curveball.  They speak to the very heart of what we want to become… free.

But what happens when you do encounter failure?  As an artist, educator and businesswoman, there is sure to be a lot of that!  What then? Does it smack of freedom, or the same pounding disappointment?  I’d say both.

This past week saw The Art Grist, “FAIL HARDER.”  For all of the physical and emotional energy we put into our muppet video for IndieGoGo, it was a complete failure.  The audio was sad, it was poorly lit and the muppet versions of ourselves were flat.  Late Friday night, after watching the video too many times, we both agreed to call it what it was, a failure.

I’ll admit, I did not feel free in that moment.  Or proud.  I felt aggrivated and insecure.  It took a fair amount of minutes before I could move forward and embrace the sign.  But I did, and we did, but not before trying to learn a little bit from our mistakes. We came up with a plan B, and moved as fast as we could to make it happen.

Plan B is an entirely different video.  No muppets, no script, just us.  And whether the video is successful or not, whether our IndieGoGo campaign is successful or not, I am proud of what we have done.  Each failure brings us that much closer to our dream.

If life is a poker game, then The Art Grist is all in.

For the past four years,we have been putting together a swell little art camp in the midst of Griffith Park, all the while whispering about the possibility of some day finding a permanent home for truly great art making. That day has come. Our vision for The Art Grist is ambitious, looking to combine classes for children and adults, with a supportive community for artists, and a forward thinking gallery. But to us, these things are meant to be together, mixing and blending like a charcoal drawing.

If this is your first encounter with The Art Grist, please take a look at our gallery to see what we have accomplished to this point. We are educators who live for art, and artists who see no shame in being great educators. Our emphasis has always been on relevent content and quality execution, and we believe that has been shown through the work of our campers. With a roof over our heads and expanded vision, we expect to take each of these elements to the next level.

We have scrimped and saved up for this moment, and we are putting our entire savings into the project. We’re all in – money, time and heart. Now we are reaching out to supporters to make sure that not only can we open our doors, but keep them open. The Art Grist is asking those who believe in our mission to donate, through our Indiegogo campaign. The Indiegogo link to the right will take you to our campaign video and information. Each dollar raised will be the foundation for groundbreaking education, unique events and support for emergent artists. You’re support will make all this happen, and for this we are extremely grateful.

See you at The Grist,

Heather and Kristin

Behind the Scenes

I woke up today with a large bruise on my left hip. Couldn’t remember where it came from. Mind you, this is starting to happen more and more, making me feel like I’m turning into my mother. But then it all came back to me – laying on the floor in the most awkward position, trying to do three things at once, repeatedly messing up, having my arm go numb – all part of our effort to put together a little muppet movie for our Indiegogo campaign.

In the past, we have made muppets at our camp. It’s something that, although a little time consuming, is a complete blast. You get the chance to build a real character as you go along, and the thing kinda takes on a separate life. The kids were so attached to their characters that they all put on an impromptu muppet wedding, with a muppet minister, a ring bearer, and a rather unique looking bride. That’s what we call a great day.

This time around, Kristin and I made muppet versions of ourselves. The results… well, I’d say passable. There were a number of yarn hair issues, and those really intense bulging eyes. But in the end, as we were outfitting them with infant clothes from target, they seemed to take on a separate life as well.

Controlling the puppets asked for a level of coordination that I’m not sure either Kristin or I have as of yet. There were times where I couldn’t control the puppet’s mouth, arm movements, and my voice very well. We give a big tip of the hat to those people who do that professionally, and do it well.

I’m not entirely sure what the film will look like – that’s the price you pay for standing in front of the camera instead of behind. But what I am certain of is the fact that we laughed quite a bit, even through the stressful moments. And that we owe a very hefty thank you to those who helped us with the project: Ivy, Stella, Maddee, Anton, Tristan, and Adam.