Maybe you remember this, but my beloved YTV used to air a show called “What-A-Mess” in the mid 1990s, based on British children’s books of the same title (episodes can be conveniently found on YouTube!). At the time my parents were trying to monitor our television consumption, so my sister and I were allotted 30 minutes a day to ensure we didn't transform into the mythical couch potato, which meant only one show. HOW DOES ONE MAKE SUCH A DECISION?! Ultimately, I settled on “What-A-Mess” and now looking back it seems like an oddly prophetic choice. What-a-Mess is an accident-prone dog who loves to eat and run around outside, overly dirtying his clean coat and getting blamed for things out of his control, so naturally I related. At the time I felt like I was just a mess waiting to happen, like trouble was was some sort of invisible badge that pinned itself to my chest without my permission. I hated anything that had to do with cleaning up, but loved the process of making the mess, much to my parents chagrin. It wasn’t just about getting my hands dirty: my face, hair, and clothing also had to confront the wrath of my self-indulgent disorder.
In essence, What-a-mess was my childhood spirit animal, not just was he so true to himself and owned his natural tendency to get a little mucky, but he was SO HAPPY to just throw himself freely into life and that meant making a mess along the way. Pure joy was found in the filth and I connected to this informal chaos, which has translated into my studio life today. Ah, the simple pleasures. It’s by no means a glamorous or romantic space, but it is my tiny little piece of the world where my imagination can thrive and I don’t have to clean up for anyone. In a way, I find that the constant set-up and take down breaks the fluidity of the artistic process. Maybe you can relate? It feels less natural and requires more effort, which means that by the time I get things set up, the desire to create fades a little. And so I keep the mess present, and What-a-Beautiful-Mess it is.
Sorry I didn’t clean up for you! My cat doesn't seem to mind.