‘A Mess in June’
The piece of driftwood for the driftwood sculpture ‘A Mess in June’ spent it’s life as a section of the root base of an old growth tree along the shores of the Neuse River. When I recovered it in thigh deep water, it was covered with algae, mud and small mussel shells. It was June, and it was a mess. Coincidentally, I was a mess as well. My wife and I had downsized our small family business from 7 employees back to its original state – just Rebecca and me. I was soul searching hard trying to figure how I had ended up back at square one. It was the culmination of years of misguided work and business turmoil. All the way, I felt like no amount of work could fix the issues. I became depressed, and spent hours thinking about all the circumstances leading up to this point, and how I was going to turn it around. It seemed impossible the amount of determination and work required to get where I wanted to be. During this period, I could see far enough down the path of self destruction to understand how people do terrible things to themselves. I realized, ‘Wow! This is how this feels. This is how this happens.’ I decided no matter the amount of work, I was never coming back to this place again. Every day after, I got up in the morning, and did as much as I could. Some days were better than others, but they were all moving in the right direction. I felt like a weight had been lifted. I began to realize it was unavoidable, and that I was meant to have this experience.
Meanwhile, I finished sanding, sealing, and fabricating wall mounts for this piece of driftwood. I made the mounts out of polished stainless steel, a first for my driftwood sculptures. I didn’t fully have a vision for the piece, but I felt like it was going to be special. I also continued working on my list to repair my life. I started going to the gym to strengthen my body, and going to church to repair my spirit by answering the message that had been sent to me. I found 5 daily duties to get where I wanted to be: accept God in to my life, work hard, eat right, help keep our family strong, and stay fit. If I covered these five, everything else would work itself out. At this point, I moved my shop back out of an outbuilding at our house where I was working to a small space in town. I kept the driftwood piece on the wall in the office. I decided which fish I wanted to use to finish the driftwood sculpture, slowly made a few of each here and there and put them to the side.
Late summer 2017, Rebecca talked to me about a fall exhibit in the Cameron Art Museum that I should enter, but I blew it off because I didn’t have a completed piece to show. At this point, I didn’t have a time frame or plan to finish the piece, just ‘one day when I have time’. One Sunday morning, I woke thinking about the piece, and how it had been on a journey with me as I had developed my faith. I thought about how when I found the piece of wood, I felt it was really special. Something awesome was going to come from this. I found a direction for the piece. I was going to finish it, and enter it in the CAM ‘State of The Art, Art of The State’ exhibit. I even knew what I wanted to name it, and exactly what it meant to me. Most of these days I started work around 5:00 am, and used these long days to finish the piece the rest of the way 3 days before the exhibit opened. The ‘State of the art, Art of The State’ exhibit was a 10 month long display open to all artists who had an art piece they wanted to display. To enter, I had to give a video interview about the driftwood sculpture. During the interview, I gave a brief explanation of our journey, and that the name ‘A Mess in June’ is an anagram. The second part of the anagram represents my faith, and how it changed my life.
‘In Jesus’ Name’.