Academic journal article Afterimage

A Road Less Traveled. (Artist's Pages)

Academic journal article Afterimage

A Road Less Traveled. (Artist's Pages)

Article excerpt

Too often, artists tend to take for granted one of the most valuable benefits of being an artist: the creative act itself. We give birth and form to an idea from nothing. Artists ideally create something larger, outside of and longer lasting than our own mortal lives. Making art is a "greater good" for ourselves and, potentially, for others. When the individual artist experiences a crisis, these overlooked benefits become precious.

My life changed forever on November 22, 1989, simply by my getting into a car for a family visit over the Thanksgiving holiday. For the next six years, I spent most of my days flat on my back in unrelenting pain. I was forced onto disability at the mercy of the Social Security Administration (SSA) as one of SSA's first experiments with the Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS) program.

When my physical disabilities no longer allowed me to create art at a high level, severely limiting my media options, the "Eternal Network" of mail art became my adopted cultural family. Mail art was inclusive and diverse. Anything I created was accepted. Mail art was empowering. My work continued to be exhibited and valued. Mail art was free, except for postage costs. Since my savings quickly evaporated as the illness dragged on, I couldnit upset my budget over something extraneous like art. Mail art was political. My righteous anger found focus. Mail art provided anonymity. …

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