I had some posters in college that I bought at hole-in-the-wall poster store on Belmont near the El stop. We liked to go in this store to just poke around and find funny or interesting artwork or kitschy posters. It was the kind of store where they let you sift through their posters for hours and never bothered you about it. Just a few shops west of the poster store is the locally (perhaps nationally?) famous restaurant Ann Sathers (yuummmmy cinnamon rolls!) and across the street is Igor’s Dungeon (tawdry sex and drug paraphernalia). While I was in school, I bought 4 posters from this poster store. The posters were Romeo and Juliet, Jack Vettriano’s the Singing Butler, the VJ Day Kiss and another with a couple hugging at the train station. These pictures hung frame-less on the walls of my apartments in college for several years before I moved home after graduation.
When I was moving home, Mom asked me if I had any artwork that I might want framed. I hesitated when she asked and had to think about it before I remembered these four posters – I guess I hadn’t thought much about framing the posters. I mean, they were the posters that I sticky-tacked up to the wall in my college apartment. They were the posters that were part of a bigger wall-collage of sorority paddles and random pictures with friends and inspirational quotes. I had never thought about these posters as art, but when my mom asked me if I had any artwork, I thought, “yeah, I guess I do!”
My mom does an excellent job decorating, but I was still surprised at what an awesome job she did picking out frames for the posters. While I would have done something more ordinary (and well, lets’ be real – plain) – she picked out these gorgeous ornate frames. The pictures that I looked at for years on my apartment wall looked COMPLETELY different in the frames she picked out. They went from being college dorm-room blah to grown-up chic in less than five minutes. I smile whenever I look at them because they reminded me of something very important:
How an image is framed changes how you see that image. We talk about this concept in our culture a lot using phrases like “Perception is reality” and “Attitude is everything.” The way the pictures were framed changed how I interacted with the pictures, where I place them in my current home and how others saw them. Artists play with this concept by taking ordinary objects and “framing” those objects differently so that the ordinary objects are perceived as art.
I talked in my previous post about the different themes running through my life right now and that definition is one of those themes. When I think about how I am defined, I realize that the context is just as important as the content. I am well aware that the same word in different contexts can mean so many different things. The question, “Why?” can be insulting, intriguing, lamenting, fatiguing and energizing, all dependent on how the question is asked.
I have a lot of different contexts that I exist in. Sure, I am a wife and a family member and a friend and a coworker, but what kind of person do I want to be in each of these contexts? I mean, yes, there are things that will be consistent in each area – I am a Christian in all of these areas. But what kind of wife, family member, friend and worker do I want to be? And how do I feel about how each of these categories is shaping up?
I like to say “yes” to everything. It has been an epic battle for me to say “no” more often. I think when I was younger, it was probably wise to say yes to a lot of things so that I could have a wider experience, but perhaps it is time to become more selective, picking the projects and paths that are of more interest to me.
I lamented the other day that there was nothing that I am passionate about. I feel that have spent so much time trying lots of different things that I never really specialized in one area. Today I was thinking on this topic a little bit more and a few patterns of behavior are emerging that give me a few clues about more dominant personality/skill areas that I could work on.
So yeah. I know I started rambling, but I guess in a nutshell: I’ve got a lot to work on. And I will probably write more on this because I feel like I didn’t say everything I wanted to. But it is late and if I don’t go to sleep my context tomorrow will be viewed through sleep deprived eyes…