I remember visiting the Rhode Island School of Design when I applied to graduate school there (may they forever rue their shortsightedness). The Chairman of the Fine Arts program said that they taught their students to fail, and try again, and fail, and try again. And Milton Glaser, famous graphic designer and founder of my school, SVA, has said, “You must embrace failure. You must admit what is. You must find out what you’re capable of doing, and what you’re not capable of doing.” I would add to this that sometimes the failure is in the idea, not the execution. Each failure teaches us something, so that if we continue to take risks, we fail up.
Hence the end of the big blue box. I got it to work, my concept was sound, I could imagine the stack of ever-smaller boxes reaching to the ceiling. But then I realized that I was avoiding my studio. I couldn’t make work. That damn blue box was sucking all the air out of my space. Aaah. Space. That was the problem. That studio wasn’t big enough for the both of us. And it wasn’t fun anymore. It was a chore. Art made without passion cannot communicate passion to the viewer. Even giant origami.
I tentatively approached my friend Rachel, who had toiled so hard with me to make the enormous albatross, and told her I was thinking of getting rid of it. She laughed and said she had wondered how long it would take me to figure out that it had to go. She generously helped me lift the lid, fold it carefully and take it to HER studio. She will no doubt find something incredibly meaningful to do with it. Then I cut all the supports out of the bottom of the box and crumpled the 225 square feet of heavy ocean-blue paper into the world’s largest paperweight. It now sits in an empty studio around the corner. One of my classmates will want it. There is very little waste in communal studio space.
I feel much lighter now, and ready to go back to work. How about some teeny-tiny origami?