13 February 2011


In December I went to a salon in Minneapolis and had dreadlocks done. The dreads were created with the use of a "dread perm" and I thought all was well.

The instructions they provided were:
  1. Do not wash hair for 3-4 weeks
  2. Roll dreads, once/week, with lock tightening gel.
  3. Come back in a couple months for a dread maintenance

I ended up needing a dread maintenance at 4 weeks because my hair grows really fast (since December 18th my hair has grown around 1 1/2" - maybe more...) and because the dreads were getting really lumpy and frizzy. I felt like a dreadlocks failure because I was following the instructions perfectly and my dreads were not coming out well.  I thought I was going to have to cut them off and I was quite sad about it all. I realized the once-a-week rolling wasn't going to work for me, but did not know exactly what I should do. I started looking around the web for more information about dreadlocks and ran across the DreadHead HQ website.

On the DHHQ site I learned that  that I should be washing my hair a couple times/week; I should be rolling my dreads everyday instead of once/week; and I did not have to pay a salon $50/hour to do my dread maintenance. After reading the site from cover-to-cover I figured out that I could have done a better job getting my dreads started without going to a salon (umm... $350.00, oh well.... live and learn).

DHHQ has a toll-free number. I called it and talked to Betseh. She was generous with information, helpful, and supportive. After hearing that I'd had a dread perm she was pretty worried about the state of my dreads, but after seeing the photos on Facebook, she said that my dreads looked remarkably well, considering. We talked about how I could rescue them and get them on  track to being exactly what I wanted them to be... 

So now I've done my first waxing (last weekend) and I've been rolling each dread for 1 minute each night (all 80 of them). I don't really fit nicely into the DHHQ alternating maintenance routine since my dreads were salon built and the perm did make them dread quite a bit right away, so I'm kind of coming up with my own way to work my way into an alternating schedule. I'm counting all the time since I had the dreads done as the first month. This past week I've had the initial waxing in my dreads and I'll continue that until next weekend. Then I'll wash out the wax and start the Week A week.

I've got great expectations - already I've noticed that my dreads are much less ziggiedy-zaggiedy and lumpy after just one week of the DreadHeadHQ method... stay tuned.

I'm working in the studio here - on a mosaic.

06 February 2011

Artist Statements

Art Amiba post - does art speak louder than words?

I am of two minds when I think about artists statements... primarily I think crafting an artist statement is a good exercise for undergraduates and emerging (gag, I hate that word, but for lack of a better one...) artists IF it helps them focus their passion into good art. And by good art I mean art that communicates something to anyone who invests the time to really look at - or listen to - it.  (Great art, in my opinion, is art that captures the viewer, art that insists the viewer invest the time...)

I believe that an artist statement should be about the artist, not the work. The work, when executed well, doesn't need an explanation. And in fact, I think the explanation usually gets in the way of the audience's experience with the art.

I think people worry too much about getting "THE" message of a work. When I talk to my students I tell them that every piece of art has a message for them and that their responsibility, as the viewer, is to discover that story. It will be an individualized story, the work tells a different story to each viewer, each viewer creates their own story. It may be the story that the artist intended to tell, but probably not. And that's the way it should be.  

I do think an exhibit should include an artist statement. But it should be tucked away in a unobtrusive, out-of-the-way place, available but not front and center, a way for the curious audience to get a glimpse of the artist's persona (note - persona, not person - very few people - artists or not - are secure enough, honest enough, or even self-aware enough to offer up a one page window into who they really are).

An artist or curator, who puts the words before the art is simply egotizing.