I’ve never made any kind of art this big before. When I got the acceptance email for The Temple Of The Inner Bitch shrine back in March of this year, I was immediately nauseous – and the feeling didn’t break for almost a week. Then I realized the nausea was FEAR and that I needed to re-frame that fear if I wanted my project to be successful. So every single time my stomach lurched, (which was constantly) I would stop everything, take a deep breath and say to myself, “This project is really exciting! That feeling in my stomach is excitement.” Did I think it would work? I’m not sure. But thankfully, it did start to work.
When I get fearful, I become shy. And I knew that being shy would keep me unplugged from solving problems and reaching out to people I needed to help me with this project. It takes so many people and resources to make a project like The Temple Of The Inner Bitch happen. To bring this crazy idea that once only existed in my head into actual physical form In The Real Life Physical World is a beautiful example of how great things can happen when a person is surrounded by great community. This is a sappy love post to give some recognition to key people who are helping to make The Temple Of The Inner Bitch happen.
My friend XT is a great connector-woman of resources and is really the first person who helped this project – she’s the one who alerted me that Burning Man wanted to commission shrines for this year’s festival. This opportunity would have slipped by completely unnoticed if not for her. And Burning Man! This project exists solely because Burning Man wanted to give grant money and an opportunity for artists to create a shrine of their choosing. And I’m honored they chose mine as one of their thirty commisions.
My weekly goal accountability partner and my weekly blog accountability partner are both wonderful women who keep me on track. Thanks ladies, you know who you are. Matt Tyler, my husband and partner is my rock, makes sure I eat and is full of daily encouragement. He’s also handy with engineering concepts. I bounce a lot of ideas off him. My friend Wa was the first person who talked about The Temple Of The Inner Bitch as though it already existed, way back before it ever existed. This is an important detail. She oh so casually mentioned it in conversation and I was all like, “Wow, someone believes in it! Cool. Guess I gotta go make it.”
Since I am a newcomer to New Orleans, I knew I needed to reach out and meet a whole bunch of people. I randomly met Alba Trejo Huddleston at a community fix-it session. Turns out she is a maker and has a group with studio space and tools called The Makers Of NO. They are a wonderful group of people – through Alba, I had an opportunity to volunteer for The Mini-Maker Faire here in New Orleans. She also introduced me to the staff at IDIYA labs. Andrew, Chris, Damien and Joe have all been amazing collaborators – they let me pick their brains about stuff and they let me goof around with them on their weekly radio shows. We’ve been having a great time talking about art and science.
I remembered about eight years ago, Matt and I were hanging out with his good friend CJ when I said, “Some day I want to learn to use tools and make some big art.” CJ said, “Hey, anytime you’re ready you let me know . . . if you wanna make giant Mickey Mouse ears in the back yard, I’ll teach you. Whatever you need, you let me know.” Then he gave me a blowtorch as a gift.
So even though it was a lot to ask my friend CJ to help me, I took a deep breath and I called him. He is an extremely gifted contractor in Columbia, South Carolina and just a really stellar human being. He is one of those people who when he does something, he does it thoughtfully, correctly and beautifully. This shrine has to conform to very detailed specs and be able to withstand 100MPH wind gusts; I needed the best. And CJ is the best.
After I designed the temple on paper, and built it in cardboard in my living room and learned how to draw it in computer 3D, CJ and I were going to build it together. Then he called me and said, “You know, I think it’ll just be easier if I just build it for you.” I was floored. Big thanks and big love to CJ and his wife Jamie and their kids in Columbia.
Getting the project from New Orleans to Burning Man was another big (fun and exciting) problem to solve. Someone told me about Brennan Steele, a super talented artist here in town who also is taking a big project out to the desert. Well, Brennan is – like about the nicest guy ever! I reached out to him on FB and asked about truck space for my project and boom! His answer was an easy ‘yes’ – then he introduced me to Ray who owns The Den of Muses studio space. Because once this temple is put together, I can’t get it out a standard door – which means I need studio space.
Part of the reason Matt and I rented the place we are currently renting is because it is right down the street from the Den of Muses. We have wanted to be part of the scene down there for about five years now. Here we are! Ray has been kind enough to donate studio space to The Temple Of The Inner Bitch.
The local Burning Man community has really rallied around this project too, especially Chelsea and Nolan Beaver. These two are becoming fast friends . . . they are so encouraging and they’ve worked on bigger projects and give great advice. Nolan is a lighting specialist who has always made himself available to me – I have tons of questions. I’m very grateful for these two!
Matt’s mom Nina basically gave us a mini-van so I can cart around art installations. Nina is all heart and I love her so much. The sheriff in Mississippi who decided not to give me a speeding ticket, thank you! To Christina who sold me a mannequin off CraigsList, you rock, thanks for selling the perfect thing at the perfect time and then being a supporter of the project. The guys at Helms paint store are probably glad I finally left, but they were helpful too. All the people at the junk stores who’ve given me great deals and asked me to please send pictures of the project.
My Bitch Collective crew have rallied around me since the beginning – they are the faraway peeps who encourage me through texts, emails and FB – these are also some of the core people who will be helping on playa – Bex, Lindsay, Sloan, Laura, Beth, Laurie, Jade. Thanks, y’all.
My aunt Jenny . . . her enthusiasm for this project has rounded out the full wind in my sails. She’s having a Bitch Crossroads Art Party today. Her and a bunch of her friends are making offerings to the shrine – and my heart couldn’t be more full.
And you, if you are reading this, then THANK YOU, you are making it all happen too! There are a whole lot more moving parts to finish up – I’m pumped. This art project is all I think about right now. AND I COULDN’T BE HAPPIER.
### That picture above is The Temple Of The Inner Bitch sitting in my living room, before I cut Christina’s mannequin to pieces. Next week we will literally raise the roof on this Bitch!! <3 And that’s Frank the cat sleeping in right of the picture. He’s my muse.