On Saturday April 11th, I presented a talk to the participants of the de Young 19th Annual New Generations Student Showcase. It was an opportunity to share my artistic experiences and the important role of legacy into one’s practice. The goal was to stress the significance and rarity of the event. I wanted the students to embrace and enjoy every minute of it.
This year’s exhibit features 27 student artists from local university and college programs. The artworks are based on the theme of DIVERGENCE: EMERGING LEGACIES. From the de Young’s description: “What legacies are you inspired by, and how does your artistic practice emerge from these inspirations? Or do you diverge from traditions that you wish to change? How does your legacy connect to the de Young’s collections and exhibitions?”
The talk discussed my background, the current status of the art world, Susan O’Malley’s life, rejections, future legacies, and at the end opened the discussion for student comments/questions. Highlights included trying to demystify the gallery system in a new economy. In addition, shared that rejections are great and one step closer to an acceptance! I stressed to have no fear of participating on planet Earth. As Susan O’Malley would say: “THIS IS ALL PART OF THE PROCESS.”
Afterwards, several students shared their backgrounds, fears, and hopes for the future. I recalled that same time in my life. All the questions about the unknowns and how to create a place in the world plague one’s mind. Getting older, the unfamiliar becomes more certain and the excitement of new possibilities grows. How does one tell a younger self this?
I wanted to talk to Susan O’Malley in person about the experience. She would have genuinely loved hearing all about it. Part of her practice was listening and editing information to the highest forms of wisdom. It was what made her a master. To me, legacy is an interesting concept. Does one realize what their legacy is while living? Or is legacy left for friends, loved ones, and admirers to remember, cope, and emulate? We might not ever know. But if I can help others define their legacy, hopefully that is part of mine. Susan O’Malley taught me.
DIVERGENCE: EMERGING LEGACIES, 19th Annual New Generations Student Showcase, April 24-26th, Piazzoni Murals Room, de Young Museum.