Celebrating the life of Andy Williams aka DJ A_Dog in Burlington, Vermont, USA.
I heard somewhere in my travels that as a community we get sick or we get healthy together. What I witnessed Saturday August 26, 2017, was a community of people coming together in memory of Andy Williams. Skaters, DJ’s, artists, friends, and family. A community of people commemorating a Burlington icon, featuring both established and emerging talent.
For myself, it was a dream come true. Participating in this year’s event was truly an honour. Thank you to The Friends For A_Dog Foundation for approving my project and allowing me the creative freedom to create an installation that held true to my vision.
‘Timeless DJ A_Dog’ is a mixed media art installation. A medium mash-up of ceramics and printmaking. Translucent porcelain skateboards with screen printed images of DJ A_Dog. Displayed using plexiglass, wood pallets and salvaged wood. The structure and decks were illuminated by LED lights that were sound responsive to the music.
How on earth did I come up with this idea/ concept?
In the last year I have made a continual effort to keep my finances in perspective. I make art but I also sell art.
In order to keep producing and doing the tasks I love I have to become proficient in other areas too. Keeping accurate records, accounting, promotion, and marketing. It’s helpful for me to have this artist module in my head to use as a working example.
A lovely lady brought it to my attention that I will never get rich off ceramic art. I replied:
My plan is not to get rich. My aim is to feel fulfilled, challenged, and healthy. My intention is to understand on a personal level what artists struggle with and why.
Putting into action the theories taken from inside the classroom and applying them immediately.
I have recently been working on ideas for packaging and displaying art. Trying to simplify the merchandise setup for nights that I am not available to attend.
It seems that no matter how much I plan every venue has its own challenges. The location of the merchandise table is crucial. The best spot is an entrance or exit. Stage left or right seems to be the Achilles heal. Especially if the crowd is on the older side. It’s better to have half the audience walking by then being visible to everyone but inconveniently located.
As an artist I struggle with the shameless self-promotion aspect of selling my own work. Having Kendall and the band helping with that initial awkwardness has been a blessing. I have no problem promoting Kendall or my artist friends work… Just my own. It’s a weird sensation of insecurity that creeps up on me. With time thankfully it has been easier.
The art generated a buzz at Rock of the Woods… Which echoed in the Cowichan Valley into the next weekend. I was asked by the city of Ladysmith, BC if they could display the mural over the long weekend! I thought it was quite the honour.
Meanwhile, back in my studio I had fallen behind on t-shirt orders and also ceramic wares… I needed a full day in the studio to evaluate how long it would take to catch up, so I could promptly inform my customers.
After three phone calls.. I could kiss my day working in studio over. I would spend the rest of the day setting up the art and getting the artists approval. I was torn between my own work and representing others.. But I felt compelled to get the visual artists as much exposure as I could for their dedication.
I witnessed an amazing spectacle at the new Showroom location in Duncan, BC! I was witnessing something fresh. A change had taken place. Kendall Patrick and the Headless Bettys were not only entertaining the crowd but captivating it. Instead of the normal on stage banter, there was improvisational theatrics. They played new tunes and demonstrated how talented they all were. Taking turns dazzling the audience individually and as a group.
As their manager, I was shocked. I threw down the gauntlet to them last week and said: I want new songs and I want you to have fun with it. They did that and more.
Most days in our private life I am three roles constantly interchanging between the lover, manager, and very dramatic premadonna artist.
When I am working on the pottery wheel I convince myself this mug might just save the world.. It’s like an artistic god complex.
I find it very hard to be objective of my own work when that creative mojo is pulsating through me. It feels sacred.
On nights like June 3rd I don’t question my purpose or direction in life. It’s clear to me that I am right where I am supposed to be.
At the encore of last nights performance an older gentleman went up to the stage and whispered something to Kendall. I could see in her face that she didn’t know what to do.. The gentleman who I had never seen before requested a slow song as the encore. Kendall did her best to handle the situation and almost turned down the request. Without hesitation I yelled… You better take that man’s request! She played her singer/ songwriter heart right out. The whole crowd appeared to be holding their breath. The man that had made the request was now glowing. He was now a solidified true fan. It could have gone a different way.
My mother would always refer to the customers at the ristorante needing to be fulfilled and leave feeling special. They might then tell one or two of their friends. If they left mad or unsatisfied you could guarantee they would tell at least 5 people and might not ever comeback. The customer is not always right, but they deserve to feel as though they are. It’s a rotten business in that sense.. No room for excuses or alibis.