I work long hours at an easel as a practicing artist. Then there is my apprentice time in an art gallery where I am learning the ropes. I welcome the opportunity to get out now and then for some fresh air. Plus, I like to see what is going on in the neighborhood. From personal experience, I know that inspiration is everywhere. Recently, I found it at a street festival a few blocks a way that I visited with a friend. We both love a fun atmosphere and seeing the excitement on the smiling faces of the kids near the bouncy house. It makes us feel more alive. Kids will bring out the best in most people. We decided to spend considerable time and observe and take photos. My friend is a writer, a different kind of artist, and took ample notes.
The young ones didn’t take notice of our presence. No one else seemed to mind as we were bearing down on the revelers. We watched and waited as the line of children dwindled. Each one had his turn in the bouncy house. Inside were brightly colored balls and the little heads would pop out of the mass of roundness with glee. It was magical as the balls moved quickly around to form new configurations. Suddenly, I had an idea. I would create an artwork out of these colored balls. I could either paint them on a large canvas as an abstraction or I could literally use them in a “construction,” a type of sculpture.
When you use something that exists in reality already such as a ball, it is called a readymade. I had never done anything with such objects before. I thought back to the bottle rack of Marcel Duchamp from the early twentieth century. I would be in good company if I pursued my idea. I thought long and hard and abandoned the concept of a painting. That would be too simple and mundane. I started looking online and found that you could find a cheap bounce house for kids, and asked the supplier about acquiring just some balls. They do sell them for people who have purchased a bounce house and need some spares or just want to decorate their kid’s sandbox. I selected about a dozen of them in assorted colors.
I took them up to my studio and arranged them in an interesting group. I sat and contemplated their sizes, shapes, and hues. This is the essence of art. I then made a wooden fence to go around them to kept the design intact. It was starting to look interesting. I needed to keep the balls in place so I inserted a piece of plastic under the entire construction. Then I decided to change the placement of the balls. I hit the nail on the head this time. When the work of art was on view in a gallery (my dream and fantasy), the observer can change the composition at will. He or she could be imaginative and contribute to the artistic experience of my original object. The day at the street fair had been very profitable.