2012 Spring Art Mart
April 27-29, 2012
521 E. Lawther Drive
Dallas, TX 75218
The most concise summary of this rambling missive would be to succinctly inform the reader that, after a scheduled appearance at the Bath House Cultural Center's Spring Art Mart, The Morpheus Company will be taking an extended hiatus from public exhibition.
Mind you, that summation would be akin to describing the Crusades as a church trip to somewhere out East.
One does not simply end a decades-tested pattern of behavior without some amount of explanation. And so, with a tacit presumption of tangent-prone storytelling firmly in place, I feel safe to cry havoc and let slip the dogs of brevity.
With that in mind, let the madness ensue...
To fully comprehend our arrival at this particular juncture, three seemingly impossible facts must be taken as a theatrical conceit:
- Within physical reality exists a spherical object named Lucky.
- Lucky is magical.
- Lucky is purple.*
*It has been pointed out to the author that the third item in this trio of key elements could potentially be considered less than crucial. While potentially a valid concern, it should also be noted that the modus operandi of the storyteller is to provide vivid imagery wherever possible.
I first met my squishy* purple friend in the latter months of 2007.
*I intended to mention Lucky's pleasantly pliable texture previous to now, but it was a point of concern that I might be overstimulating my readers with unnecessary detail. That said, it does provide some context and precedent for referring to Lucky as my squishy purple friend.
After a lifetime of primarily sedentary pursuits, I found myself seeking something to break up my comfortably-seated monotony. Shortly after this out-of-character contemplation began, I had a chance encounter with an old friend who shared with me his life-long love of juggling.
His obsession with object manipulation ran deep enough to be an actual character trait. His enthusiasm was clearly abnormal, and I have since suspected that it was contracted virally.
Specific conjecture as to whether or not he was actually contagious is best left to the medical establishment. Suffice it to say, shortly after our meeting I caught a serious case of the juggling bug.
Not having my own bag of tricks from which to learn the dark arts of chucking things about with style, I ordered in a small collection of props to explore.
Which is how I came to be in possession of Lucky.*
*And possibly vice versa. Which, were I a more talented writer, might be considered foreshadowing its arcane nature.
I bartered a bit of my own artwork for a custom-made leather pouch, and when not dancing about my hands Lucky spent the better part of the following three years literally at my side.
It is here that things begin to take a turn for the dramatically weird. You see, having a magical (and squishy) purple sphere as an adventuring companion will do profoundly bizarre things to (and for) your life.
For those who have not seen me recently, the physical changes are likely the most noticeable. Lucky disguised countless hours of cardio as playing with a ball, and I've successfully misplaced around a hundred pounds of formerly obese artisan.
Transformations have happened on the inside, too.
Either Lucky managed to rewire my brain, or the chip on my shoulder was actually located in my excess flesh. As I lightened up externally, I began to lighten up figuratively too. Years of depression melted away as my skills as a juggler slowly increased.
For nearly twenty years prior, I had developed a reputation for being one of those absurdly-moody artist types.
I used to smoke two packs of clove cigarettes a day, considered myself dietarily a "fast-food-etarian" and considered exercise beyond swinging hammers in my studio a cruel violation of the Geneva Convention.
Dropping a magical purple ball into that vat of angst-colored persona did more than change it. It ultimately shattered my previous identity.*
*Thank you, Lucky.
As being in my vicinity ceased to be such an intolerable burden, I found myself surrounded by new friends. Unsurprisingly, more than a few of them were accompanied by seemingly innocent items. Magical objects that, if you asked them, had profoundly changed their lives in similar ways.
A brief sidebar for the "magic" impaired:
If all of this talk of life-changing magical balls has you skeptical, allow me to take a brief sojourn into the realm of science and psychology. What my prop-wielding pals and I have experienced is, truth be told, not magic.
It's the rediscovery of play and its inextricable connection to a very well documented mental state called Flow.
In simplest terms, when we mere mortals challenge ourselves and succeed it makes us happy. If we raise the bar on those challenges and repeat the cycle, it encourages skill development in staggering ways.
If you apply this iterative process to something like juggling, you lather, rinse and repeat the process until one day years later you find yourself in possession of some rather circus-worthy skills.
Which is exactly where Lucky and I found ourselves two years ago when we decided to grab those circus-worthy flow-filled friends and start our own variety performing troupe called the Circus Freaks.
To suggest that I had lost my mind and ran away to join the circus would be woefully inaccurate. By my own explanation, I technically lost my mind and went about starting my own.
And because that didn't sound enough like a midlife crisis, my friends and I came to this decision in the midst of an economy so downturned that bringing back vaudeville entertainment seemed more like a thematic addition than anything else.
Ready for the punchline? It worked.
For the last year and a half, I've been working almost exclusively as a variety entertainer. The Circus Freaks have become something of a local phenomenon, and our weekly variety show (the Open Stage) has pushed us to polish our skills for even bigger challenges.
What little time I have spent in the artist's studio has felt like the winding down of an era. One day I realized I was rushing through things in order to get back to my job of running a circus, and that's when I knew it was time to make some big changes around here.
On a personal level, I view this as a natural progression of my creativity. The original goal of The Morpheus Company was to produce quality art irrespective of medium. Jewelry didn't become the studio's primary form of expression until a year or two into that journey.
I've been itching to work on something "bigger" for years. By habit, I had assumed this meant moving ultimately into larger-scale sculpture.
Truth be told, I can't think of anything bigger than a circus...and there's nothing else in the world I'd rather be doing than clowning around with my friends.
As a victory dance for nearly twenty years in the sculptural arts, I'll be a participating artist in one of my favorite shows. The Bath House Cultural Center has been an incredible supporter of my work over the years, and I can think of no better place to show my final collection of Mitsuro jewelry.
Answers to questions I've already been asked:
Ok, cute story. What "really" happened?
I'm pretty sure I covered it. The man behind the curtain changed enough that he wanted to come out onto the stage.
So, what happens to The Morpheus Company now?
For the moment, it will sleep like an old Lovecraftian god.
What about the studio/website/your clients?
I've already downsized the studio considerably, and the 2012 Spring Art Mart will be my last public showing for a while.
The website will remain online, and I won't discount the possibility of other artistic undertakings bearing The Morpheus Company name in the future.
I am keeping a set of core tools necessary to take on commissions that interest me, as well as any molds or client design files I need to take care of my patrons.
I've also partnered up with a couple of local studios, to provide me space should I need it in order to work on anything down the road.
A circus, seriously?