In 2014, I had a fleeting thought for a project that seemed like complete pie in the sky. As an artist, ideas for projects float in and out of my brain. Some ideas are stay for about 3 minutes, some linger and hang out for a week or so, and some permanently attach themselves, refusing to leave.
When you have those pie in the sky ideas, they’re fun to dream and fantasize about. You think in your head “wow, that would be so awesome…” and “if only I could pull that off….” However, there’s the skeptical, practical side of my brain which reminds me of the brutal logistics of reality, and basically obliterates those pie in the sky dreams before they even get a chance to be even considered.
Well, this particular pie in the sky dream didn’t get obliterated, it survived-for a very, long time. And yes, it got me into a lot of artistic “trouble.” I slowly started following a trail of tiny bread crumbs that started to appear in the forest. Sometimes it was months of waiting between each bread crumb, and it was the greatest test of patience for someone who has very little patience to begin with.
Then, some wheels really started turning, and I realized that I was on a gigantic roller coaster ride that I wanted to stay on forever. Except that this roller coaster was in complete darkness, and it didn’t have all the tracks ahead finished yet. I was moving on the roller coaster, but frantically laying the tracks in front of me about 3 seconds before I went over them, all in the dark.
And then before I knew it, I realized that the roller coaster had grown so big that I couldn’t do it by myself anymore. I needed a partner and a team: a fantastic, superb group of art students, emerging artists, and numerous professionals who could help me build the tracks, shine some light on the roller coaster, and make pie in the sky real. This is the most extraordinary group of people I’ve ever worked with, and I cannot remotely come close to accurately expressing my tremendous gratitude towards their tenacity, perseverance, and faith in our project. Without my team, pie in the sky would still be an idea floating in my head, or it would be a mediocre effort that lasted for a few months and then drifted away.
This has been the most exhilarating, terrifying, stimulating, difficult, electrifying idea I have ever experienced in over 15 years as a professional artist and teacher. Every time I thought I had just finished climbing Mt. Everest, I was told “You have to climb Mt. Everest again.” I would finish my second climb, come back to the bottom and be told “Sorry, that wasn’t enough-you have to go again.” Every time I thought I had reached a milestone, or pushed myself as far as I could, the challenges only grew increasingly larger and more difficult, and I had to rise to the task in a way that in a way that was unprecedented in my life time. On top of that, I had to keep this project top secret for TWO YEARS. I’ve been jumping out of my skin, and can’t wait to release the hounds.