Curator and community organizer, Olivia White Lopez, envisioned HOARD as, "a group art show discussing the complex relationships we foster with the inanimate objects that populate our lives—the way a particular article of clothing makes us feel, the photograph that haunts us, or that scribble on a napkin we can’t part with."
At first I politely declined Olivia's invitation to participate. "I don't hoard things," I said. But a few days later, I still couldn't get Olivia's show out of my mind. The more I thought about it, the more I came to realize that I do hoard -- I hoard en masse. I’ve kept every sketch I have ever made. There were hundreds from that semester alone. Anyone who has ever visited my studio can attest to this. My walls are layered in sketches. I have shelves built for sketches, rolls of sketches in the corners, sketches under the bed, and sketches in the attic.
At the time of HOARD, I had not fully embraced the idea of process as art. I still differentiated between, "process works," and "finished works." My differentiation was very hierarchic. Sketches were, 'other.' They were valuable -- too valuable to give away, but not quite valuable enough to exhibit or sell. I was modest about what I saw, at the time, as mistakes or imperfections. My sketches were private, personal things I did not know how to let go of.
I created the installation, Exchange, for the exhibition, HOARD. I covered one wall of the coffee shop/art space, Kavarna, with layers of sketches and invited people to take one. In exchange, I asked folks to visit my blog and leave a thought about the installation, the drawing, the experience, or whatever seemed relevant. 'A drawing for your thoughts,' so to speak.
The response filled me with so much goodness. I was completely taken aback by the affect my sketches had on people. People went to the blog and wrote stories about their experiences with Exchange. It was both incredible and intoxicating to read about how my little sketches were affecting the lives of other people. Up until HOARD, their only role had been gathering dust. Now they were making stories.