Modeled after agricultural CSA programs, Community Supported Art is one of several innovative ways LAL is supporting local artists. CSA artists get paid to create new work and art appreciators who don’t happen to be millionaires can afford to buy high-quality, locally grown art. (Though, you know, millionaires welcome too.)
Most CSA artists created fifty pieces of the same work, and they are all genuinely awesome. These artists did exactly what LAL paid them to do.
Stacey Chinn, however, did not. She did even more.
And that is totally okay. In fact, it’s way more than okay, it’s freaking fantastic!
The fact that Chinn knew LAL would support her decision to grow her project beyond its assigned parameters means that LAL is creating a safe, stimulating environment for artists to take important creative risks.
Chinn developed an entire body of work in a series of sculptures called Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover, which, for her, was a way to work through upheaval in her personal life with creativity and humor.
Recently, Chinn shared the fascinating backstory of Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover. Here she is, in her own words:
When I was invited to participate in the LAL’s CSA(rt) program, I said “yes” right away because I recognized it was a unique approach to supporting the local arts community. Not only is it a great value for collectors, it is also a terrific opportunity for area artists to show off their individual talents, gain exposure, and be guaranteed a certain amount of return on their efforts.
I knew that creating fifty pieces would be a particular challenge for me. I tend to produce distinct works and resist making multiples or reproductions. Little did I know what would evolve while working on this project. From the initial idea to the last daub of paint, this body of work offered me new experiences I would have never anticipated and influences that will undoubtedly reveal themselves in future works to come.
From the get go, I knew I wanted all fifty works to relate to one another in some fashion. I immediately began thinking of the number fifty and its correlation to things like the Unites States, the Atomic Number of Tin on the periodic table of elements, etc. Then, one day, a friend said, “You should do Fifty Ways to Leave your Lover”– and it evolved from there.
A fan of Paul Simon myself, and considering the events taking place in my personal life at the time, it was a real “eureka” moment. For me, making artwork and living life have always been interdependent. As I touted the project to friends and co-workers, my list of “ways” began to grow exponentially and in a very short span of time. Everybody had ideas and I was glad to have their input. Fifty, sixty, seventy “ways to leave your lover” later (and a few hundred dollars missing from my bank account), I had more than enough material to work with (both literally and figuratively).
Some pieces were well planned from the initial sketch to the finished work, and I executed them by acquiring and manipulating the necessary materials. Others were responses to objects already in my possession or ones I bought because they somehow resonated with me. Still others could be considered loosely controlled flukes.
I admit, the making of each piece was, for me, rather therapeutic. The freedom to experiment was exciting. The chance to let loose a little personal angst while preserving a sense of humor was revitalizing. And, though I spent untold hours producing the Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover (and a couple of sleepless nights), the final reward of completing the pieces (actually 52 in all) in a fairly short amount of time is the sense of accomplishment I feel having made a series of works on which I am happy to sign my name. I hope the individual works, or perhaps the entire group, reverberates with others as well.
I would like to send out a heartfelt thank you to a few people who helped me along the way:
The LAL staff for the invitation and their continued support of my work; Amelia Stamps (also a CSArt artist) for firing “Hitchhike” for me and donating her own porcelain plates for “Take a Dinner Train” and “Toss a Pie in the Face”; Jerrill Johnson for printing the head in “Justice” and Chris Rawlinson for the use of the 3D image of his head; Joanne Meckstroth for her fabric and input; Jill Richeson for the initial idea and understanding; my mother and daughter for their patience; Kathy, Glenda, Siobhan, and the many others who offered me inspiration and support for this project (even the kids down the street). Thank you, very sincerely. My share of the crop was truly a communal effort.
Once Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover got started, there was no stopping it. The project continues as I hope to publish a coffee table book with the same title featuring photographs, sketches, and short essays about the works. Stay tuned also for the possibility of Fifty MORE Ways to Leave Your Lover.
You can take home one of Chinn’s “ways” to leave your lover from 6-9 p.m. during Friday, June 26th’s CSA(rt) Pickup Party by becoming a CSA shareholder. Shares are $400 for nine works of art (about $45 per piece) and “sharing” your shares with friends by splitting the bill is always welcome.