Now I need to sell
an idea; that is the job at hand. And I must be convincing, so compelling
one will support
the idea aesthetically and financially. I’ve been at it for almost
a month; it’s the hardest job I’ve ever endeavored.
The plan is in place, the challenges are known, the ducks are lined
up in a row
and I’m afraid of wetting my pants. The art action is underway and I can’t
stop it now. There have been many fine moments of glory but the process feels
like a back alley beating. It’s raising issues.
they pay salespeople more. A salesman gets paid extra for the rejection.
And the gall. A salesman has to up the banter and step ‘n fetch.
It’s a hard job.
Especially in the arts. Artists tend to be sensitive and are unvarnished for
slick sales appeal. I’ll admit it; I am. I hate showing work for that reason.
Much effort goes into an artwork, aesthetically and personally. I value that
effort and I’ll be damned to share it with damn fools. (This theme is
replayed in various melodies with a chorus of whimpers.)
Braving the cold,
I throw an arm and hand out from under the warm covers, toward the
Venetian blind. It snaps and slaps up to reveal a medium grey sky,
without definition, no clue to its time. I can’t tell if it is morning
or evening. Who knows? Maybe I slept the day away. I’d sure like to…
Stretching one’s limits and pushing the personal envelope can be exhausting.
Talking to people is hard. Recovery time is longer than I thought. For every
hard-charging day, I need two to recover. What am I doing?! Morale is manic
or depressive. It is either a day of brilliance and harmony or a day of soggy
despair. Nothing in-between. Am I going stone mad?
Not so long ago,
I had this vision. Which gave me my destiny. So, I’ve
been busy working through all that…
The Fellowship of Fortuna is a conceptual piece in the school of Phenomenology.
If religion is the most-pressing geo-political issue of our day, then let
the FoF be America’s fastest growing art-centric religion. Why ‘suffer
in quiet despair’? We’re aiming for a life of heaven on earth.
Naturally, there is an idol to worship. Fortuna the Roman Goddess of Luck is
quite the vixen.
Chance serves as the springboard for secular philosophy. A complex, multi-purposed
work, one component serves a curatorial function as an arts collective. (This
is forward thinking, as institutional programming budgets are going to get smaller
as fundraising becomes tighter.) The breezy hyper-reality is wrapped in an artful
package with a lot of soul and a yen for fun. It is Disney-esque in its breadth
I am well packed
for the voyage. The FoF has had two shows and won an award. With
a bold look and eye-poppin’ images, there is an eighty-eight page ‘Introduction’,
a 130 page ‘Plan’, three videos, four more related books,
several websites and a ton of artwork. Phase One has been successfully
and mapped. Now I need a swift schooner so I can set sail.
Phase Two takes the conceptual work to a personal level. Branding gives
the concept a value and inspires involvement. The enterprise must be
a smart plan has been hatched. An entrepreneurial guru and grad school
has given his thumbs up. Now, it’s a matter of selling the idea.
As every artist knows, an idea isn’t worth much. A factory and equipment
has a quantifiable value but a good idea does not. A notion requires a ‘leap
I have been to
the Mount. I have seen the light. I have been warmed by the brilliance
of the Burning Bush. But, I’m tellin’ ya,
when that bonfire goes out, it can get kinda chilly.
I am invested. In this work, I have had several experiences of pure
transcendence, wild, weird moments of a ferocious sublime. I’ve
seen things. How do you communicate that? Do you even try? Is it advisable?
I am now speaking in tongues. On one hand, it’s great. Very liberating.
It just babbles out. It feels like sex. On the other hand, not many
people understand. You get odd looks.
The hardest part of the job is communication. What do I tell, to whom?
How do you talk about art and relevance? Branding as an evolution?
How can I
sixty-five year old white male understand what a nineteen year old
intuits? (Unfortunately, sixty-five year old males have more disposable
than teenagers.) This is
a liability. There are inherent challenges with any innovation but
when you throw ‘art’ and ‘philosophy’ into
the mix—it’s like shooting yourself in the boot.
I have authored a word. Mortilarious. It is defined as ‘an experience which
mortifies in a hilarious manner.’ I’m laughing and crying
at the same time. And speaking in tongues.
The current art
action has been titled the Colonel Sanders Project. It is designed
on chance and simple probability. The legend is told
and self-help seminar. Allegedly, Colonel Harlan Sanders, armed with
and spices, needed an investor for his first franchise chicken stand.
It took over one hundred presentations before he finally got a ‘yes’.
One hundred grueling rejections is a long stretch.
With the Colonel Sanders Project, I will be talking to one hundred
people, spreading the word like a country preacher. At present, I’m
in the early twenties. I’ve been calling approximately half
people that I know and the other half are strangers that catch my
this makes for an interesting phone conversation.
I’ve been at it four weeks and the call list is damn impressive.
talked to a slew of heavyweight business types, collectors, one of
the Vanity Fair media power hitters and the dean of a grad school.
Well over half of the reactions are positive. Some have led to very interesting
referrals and new contacts. I need people with a Rolodex larger than mine.
The personal effect of this has been like a firework, a beautiful
explosion of buoyant elation, support and courage... However, the
cup being always half empty,
the fireworks fizzle, pop and evaporate rather fast.
On the other hand, a shovel full of confusion, rejection and defeat
carries more weight. It’s bone-crushing. It’s so painful
that I scramble to run from it. I pray that Fortuna will end this
quick. I don’t think
I can make it to one hundred. I need to wrap it up in thirty. Jeez.
The more calls
I make, the quicker I will find who I’m looking
for. I figure it will be one or two people who will put the ball
understand the concept quicker. It will be someone with a track
record in business who understands pop culture, media trends and
likely a drinker.
Sense of humor. Monied. Fun. Entrepreneurial. Jeez, this sounds
like a dating wish list.
or madman? For everyday I feel the former, I spend two days believing
the latter. Has my rowboat gone over the
It’s easy to
question genius. Genius like Walt Disney? Or genius like the guy at the end of
the block with a foil helmet on his head? Is my work gorgeous? Or is it closer
to the mad manifestos left behind at a Kinko’s on Hollywood
Boulevard? If every village has an idiot, then there is a high
could be me.
In all honesty,
destiny is a drag. I have always imagined it would be light, airy
and ethereal. It’s not. Destiny is a burden. It’s
like suddenly adopting four bratty children. There are no benefits,
special powers or even
a costume. Just a lot of work and a cross to bear.
To keep sane, I
had to start a series of paintings and drawings. Making product,
something tangible, grounds me. It keeps a
button on the victory
of the real
over the imaginary. I am bewitched by ‘Wanderer Above The Sea of Fog” a
lush painting by Caspar David Friedrich (1818). A sporting
gentleman stands, with is back to us, on the apex of a rocky
Far below and beyond,
he looks out over a swirling world of wonder, of mystery
and terror, love and pain,
glory, defeat and infinite opportunities. I paint and draw,
recurring the image of the man on a hilltop, a man looking
over the many
As a painter, I’ve
learned that you never know where you are going to end up. You start
a little doodle and keep
been given my destiny and now I need to fulfill it. I must
follow where the idea directs me.
This is an all-American notion, America being one of the
few places where I have the opportunity. In Europe, nothing
nothing is possible without the mafia. In China and Mayanamar,
nothing is possible. In the US, any dream can be realized
hard work, a local library
with a large self-help section and easy access to capital.
Capital is key because gumption, hard work and self-help
The metallic whiff
of sweat and desperation is on the wind. The project is a year behind
where I’d like it to be. Time presses. Materials are sweating
green. My financial countdown is ticking in the red. If Fortuna doesn’t
spin my way, I’ll have to shift focus and dive
for rent money. That would be a grave, grave tragedy.
As I boldly march
into the New Year, kicking and screaming, I am empowered by an old
Smashing Pumpkins song with
the lyrics, “You know you are never
sure, but you’re sure you could be right.”
In that Great Spirit, I cordially invite you to invite
me over for coffee or cocktails. (If you live outside
friends. I’ll bring FoF materials and goodie-bags. I will be happy to share with
you the liberating freedom of the Fellowship of Fortuna and the power of chance.
Who knows? I may convert you to Fortunism. You’ll
become a Fortunate. And better for it.
GORDY GRUNDY is a Los Angeles based artist. His visual and literary
works can be found at www.GordyGrundy.com.