Mind of the Heart Artist Talk – Emily Ezell

The informational plaque and brief artist statement that accompanies a work of art or a series rarely provide enough context for the artist’s piece. In my artistic experiences, I find it difficult to summarize every thought, sketch, mistake, lesson, and design that contributed to my process and piece. So, attending a lecture about an artist’s series presented by the artists themselves gave me the unique opportunity to learn about the complicated artistic process unique to these artists and their series. Maya Gelfman and Roie Avidan, two Israeli artists, began their artistic journey in Telaviv with a ball of red string and a single word: mindfulness. The English word mindfulness translates into Hebrew as “put your heart into it. This difference in translation inspired the two artists to travel across the United States following the whims of others and creating public installations along the way. The “Serendipity Project” stemmed from the artists’ question: When you go to bed at night, what five things needed to happen that day so you can honestly tell yourself ‘this was a good day?’ The answers: creating art, experiencing something new, connecting to others on a deeper level, significant encounters, and amazing food. A van named Woody—the artists’ car, house, studio, bedroom, etc—took Gelfman and Avidan to 42 states and connected the duo to a network of experiences. The artists used yarn, text, and found objects to make their different, unassuming installations stand out from other forms of street art. Unlike other street artists, Gelfman and Avidan worked in daylight and actively interacted with passerby. The installations served as a connection between the artists and viewers, hence the significance of thread as a medium. I found the presentation from the artists themselves incredibly valuable to my interaction and interpretation of their series. Avidan concluded the lecture with an inspiring message about success, “Find something you really want to do. Work your ass at is. And you will do it.” 

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