"What's it supposed to be?"
or "Does it mean anything?"
Often times for my artwork the answer is as simple as the question.
"It's a sculpture."
I have a part of me that is drawn to making art out of steel. Maybe it is because Dad has the steel company and it worked its way into my subconscious. Maybe I like how incredibly strong the material is. Maybe its the raw textured surface or the beautiful oranges in the rust. Maybe it's a crutch since it is what I know. Whatever the case may be, it is my material of choice right now.
I have always enjoyed the process of making anything from cupcakes to sand castles to sculpture, I like to make things. I am an object maker.
When I was thinking about what this piece would be, I sat down on the floor with a bunch of pieces of steel in my studio (as I often do) and started to put the puzzle together. In my mind I had various things going on, but I had just gotten back from a nice visit home to see my family. Just like everyone, there is always something going on in my family – a holiday get together, someone's feelings are hurt, someone got a big order at work, someone didn't call enough, someone is having a birthday, someone is in the hospital, someone is getting married or someone is moving etc . . . etc. It affects me and it comes out in all different places.
Since then I've had a conversation with a dear friend about idealizing your family. I do this. Really, we are just like any other family, we go through the same struggles and love each other just as much, but it's different because they are my blood. Anyone that knows me knows I am a "Dad, Mom, Sister, or Brother" name dropper. I love their patience, spunky-ness, generosity, faith, unique talents and light they share with me and the world. We are family. I am who I am because of their nurturing, arguing, laughing, unconditional love, and calling me out on my bullshit.
I have thought a lot about birth order and how I fit in with being the second born of five kids: Dennis, Dustine, Dianna, Danielle and DeAnn. But as I get older and my siblings get older (the youngest turns 21 in few months), we are molding into something that is more adult somehow. The boundaries of what my parents can tell me to do or my other siblings is not black and white anymore. Our relationships are more transparent and we don't really have to "hide anything" from Mom & Dad anymore. They just have to hope that what they taught us gets us through whatever stage of life we are in. We, as siblings, are thinking more about taking care of our Mom & Dad as they get older. The roles haven't reversed, but we are thinking about when they might.
So this led me to think of my birth order as less relevant and that my position in my family as more relevant. I was fumbling around with seven steel rings and this (above) is the configuration I chose for reasons stated above and many more still in my head.
We are a family of seven welded together. I am in the middle.