Lying in my tent at night I am surrounded by new sights and sounds, ones that tell me it is almost time to end this journey. Why am I both so fascinated and repulsed by these freeways, planes and electrical wires? Grids that carve out the sky. I have just been ushered out of the forrest and born into this visceral visual auditorial nightmare landscape. The drive wasn’t even that long. I feel so out of context in my tent. I want to close my eyes but the blinking of that electrical plant won’t let me, can’t look away. Familiar sounds of my “herd” give me comfort. I know these footsteps, tent zipper fluctuations, and pre-bedtime rustlings. I will miss the backs of your sleep deprived bobbing heads while traveling in our van, your progressively soiled pants, and failing sneakers, your 6AM faces.
El Paso photo by jg
El Paso 10/28/2011
El Paso marked the end of our second journey, the destination after our stay in the Gila Wilderness, a relatively unspoiled retreat post Mata Ortiz. In El Paso I was able to reconnect with old friends who helped shape who I have become, familiar smiles at the end of a long journey. Both are San Diego based artists and UNM alumni. Roberto Salas, whose property we stayed on while working together to improve his childhood community of Barrio Buena Vista, and Yoshimi Hayashi, my former professor.
Personally, it meant coming full circle in my experience as an artist, specifically in regards to Land Arts, as Yoshi was Bill Gilbert’s student and Land Arts participant at UNM in 2000. Yoshi’s stewardship was not lost on me, his passion and dedication to Land Arts is a result of the initial and longterm commitment to the program by Bill and so many others. It has been an experience that will reveal itself more to me as time passes, re-contextualizing my future, supplying me with an infinite array of artistic fodder, and confirming my role as artist in my community, wherever I choose that to be. Proving to me that I can grow in my art practice anywhere, that boundaries are only set by my personal limitations, and that every person you meet has the capacity to teach you something new, Land Arts has been pivotal. It has shown itself to be a place I can forever return to, the only tools I need are lip balm, a compass, and a tent. I now have that and so much more.
"Mountain becomes Sardine" photo by jeg