It’s probably not a surprise that I have a lot of art supplies. I have boxes of paper, notebooks, pencils, markers, tape, canvases, paints. I have scissors, brushes, hole punchers, paperclips, rulers. I have everything that I need to make art, except the motivation. I don’t lack ideas. I don’t lack talent or skill.
What I have is depression, which likes to tell me that nothing matters. It likes to tell me that nobody cares about what I make, so why bother. It’s hard not to listen to that voice when it’s been talking to you for your whole life.
Today, I remembered the wish tree I saw in Washington, DC last year. It’s an outdoor art installation by Yoko Ono–a tree with wishes written on paper and hanging from string. The wishes are written by the public, so the art grows and changes each time somebody adds their wish.
I knew I had tags in a box, and I knew I had string in a drawer. But as I was looking for those things, I found a box of sidewalk chalk I bought last summer at the dollar store. I wrapped a piece with masking tape to keep my fingers clean, and then I walked to work, earlier than usual.
The first thing I wrote on the road was KEEP GOING. I live halfway between the beach and uptown, and it’s a very steep hill to climb. I know how hard it is because I do it every day. Then I drew a heart because that’s what you do when you have pink chalk. But as I kept walking, all the words coming to mind sound trite.
All the streets in White Rock have names, and all the streets in Surrey have numbers. As I cross from names to numbers, there’s a water fountain on the corner. A week ago, somebody left a piece of paper with three pennies taped to it. They had written, “Make a wish, and have a good day.” Judging by the handwriting, it was probably a teenage girl.
That piece of paper is gone now, and I don’t know if anybody got their wish. But, inspired by that teenage girl, I wrote, MAKE A WISH, in pink chalk letters around the edge of the water, and then I added a wish of my own: MAKE ART IN PUBLIC.