As Seen At: The Cleaners via The Hello Sessions in Portland, Oregon

I don't even know...

how to begin this post talking about my art installation in Portland at The Cleaners. In part because I feel like I don't know quite where the the story started. So, humor me while I time-travel back about four and a half years ago.

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I was a grad student working on getting a masters degree in Counseling and things were... fine. I was making the grades and reading the books and writing the papers but I didn't feel like there was a space for my creativity.

Sensing the need to have that space I started a blog because it was 2012 and that's what creative people did. I was much too scattered to be a "good blogger" but I loved learning about the online space and community where other people where making and learning and growing. Because of my incessant curiosity (and rural Arkansas insistence on not doing anything half way), I quickly fell into a group of women who were also curious and creative.

These women were...

the ones I would tweet at midnight and say, "I just broke my website!!! What do I do?!?" (answer: call customer service). They were also the people I would chat with and say, "this company wants to pay me to promote their product but they want to pay me in tootsie rolls. What do I do?" (Answer: it's okay to say "no". And they were also the ones I would go to and say, "Design Sponge just liked my photo!" (Reply: Squeal with excitement.)

This last one my husband never really understood.

Regardless, that is why, when one of those ladies said last year, "me and a friend are putting on a conference," I said, "I'm there."

And when that same friend asked me to display my art at the same conference I (in my typical non-existent self-confidence mode) said, "I'll think about it."

What a wonderful opportunity

Right? The chance to put my work in front of 50 of the brightest, funniest, smartest bloggers and influencers on the West Coast- who says anything but, "yes!" to that?

Me.

I had so much fear. Fear that my work would never be good or hip or trendy enough. Fear that I embarrass my friend. Fear that I couldn't problem-solve the logistics of moving 20 pieces and a vintage type-writer 2,000 miles. Fear that I couldn't construct an art installation without some sort of "diy post" to refer to.

But I said "yes".

Despite loads of fear

and lots of anxiety I did it because I wanted to be the same sort of friend that Joy had been to me. I wanted to be brave and willing to put myself out there even though failure was a potential option.

And it turned out wonderfully.

With a little bit of masking tape and countless as trips to the hardware store and my friend Laurie's vintage typewriter and a spark of an idea, I now have art that lives on both coasts. I couldn't be more proud. And grateful for friendship and community that pushes me to be more and better.

Ps. I'm working on a post describing this project, which I'm calling, "What is Your Adjective?". Stay tuned to learn more about this series and how you can own an original piece of art as well.

About

Paige Meredith Ray is an artist who resides in northwest Arkansas but who, through some wonderful weird twist of fate, has managed to be in Portland during the autumn for three consecutive years. She recommends you eat at Toro Bravo, Pine Street Market (ramen! And ice cream!), or Beast. Because food is her preferred way of experiencing a city.