How one devoted artist showed me how to really seize the moment
This week, I’m working on a mural for the City of West Hollywood, with a world-class environmental sculptor named Tom Deininger. He makes stunning wall reliefs out of consumer trash. Today we stopped by a sprawling city “dump” to root through garbage and tossed plastics Deininger needed to complete the piece. (Pic #2)
Immersed in the debris, and pressed by a tight schedule, Tom stopped in his tracks to tear across the warehouse floor to get a closer view of a filthy, rather unspectacular window. It had a gooey film of thick brownish gray residue from corner to corner. And it was peppered with splotches and scratches that let light seep through in interesting patterns.
Tom couldn’t wait to break out his own pen, turn it upside down, and start scratching his own design into this “blank canvas” of pure dirt. He just started sketching a pair of eyes he would later use for his mural design. (Pic #1) I was inspired by his childlike enthusiasm to simply create.
He told me he just has “a peculiar instinct” to see the beauty in everything. It’s that fresh approach to familiar or ordinary surroundings that I adore. I’m convinced it’s what defines a true artist. But it’s my contention too, that we are all equipped with the those perceptual powers — as long as we are willing to allow them to interrupt our day.
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” — Henry David Thoreau