On my quest for making my world better–along with the worlds of my children, my son’s children, and all others who want a better existence–I often say a quick pick-me-up prayer to the universe: “Give me this or something better.” My intent is to channel my gifts and creativity into meaningful energy flow (often financial) and to create links to others who seem to have mastered this feat. On November 19, I met a self-taught visionary artist who exemplifies that mastery – Matt Lamb.
Chicago-area based, Lamb’s intent is to achieve world peace through the creation of art. With his daughter, Sheila Lamb-Gabler as President/CEO of Matt Lamb Studios, he has established art museums throughout the world. But until artist and art patron Barbara Budish invited me to Lamb’s Burlington, Wisconsin farm, I had not heard of this amazingly prolific artist or his work.
Another friend, Lori Pitts, drove us to Lamb’s farm. With instructions to wear old clothes, because we might be involved in producing something, I went fully prepared for the 40-degree temperature and working outdoors in concrete. Budish said, “Matt is very cool for an almost 80 year old, and I know you will enjoy this experience.” Layered in two sweaters, rubber gloves, a lined jean jacket, lined jeans, a long coat, my garden galoshes, two hats, I even brought an extra sweater and gloves.
When we arrived about 10 am, a truck was pouring concrete in wooden forms outside one of the barns. Lamb described the experience on his blog: “Well over 100 people worked together with me on 70 different installations. We used 250 gallons of paint, 3,500 pounds of concrete mixed in a huge truck—and we all worked together, creating these installations that will go around the world (to institutions and museums), so that blind and sight-impaired people can interact with art.”Following instructions on color sequencing, participants poured paint over the green concrete in each form. With his galoshes and a long utensil, Lamb mixed concrete and paint. My galoshes allowed me to join in.
Participants were invited to create permanent memorials in remembrance of anyone they wanted to honor. Budish, who had lost her cat Elizabeth the night before, embedded many objects to memorialize and celebrate their shared love. Others placed personal items–baseballs, a camera, jewelry, paintbrushes, hats, etc.–ceremoniously into their compositions. A handkerchief fell from Lamb’s pocket and became embedded. I finished by embedding my used pink rubber gloves. Drying time for the installations require two years lying down, plus one year standing.
Later, we walked through a large barn that housed a collection of 3,000–5,000 Lamb paintings arranged in shelving units by various sizes. Warm food, desserts, liquids, and apples were consumed in the main house. After refreshments, in another barn, Lamb spoke of his desire to bring people together through art. Using large brushes and acrylic paint for our last event, alternating groups of participants took turns painting whatever they wished on a large canvas-covered wall.“Love is the overriding factor in the human species,” Lamb states on his blog. “Art is the perfect metaphor for understanding and loving one another. We all look at the same thing, but we all see something different. We question everything, we debate, we doubt, we argue. That’s fine, as long as we don’t physically beat up anyone or kill one another over these issues. Art teaches us about being different, bringing cultures together, and coming to the conclusion that we will never agree, but we will never commit violence because we disagree.”
He blogs about other things that I often say, such as, “I believe you must leave a record of why you do things… Otherwise, people make up things about you after you’re dead! I believe you should leave some type of a written history behind so that history will be made from fact, not fiction. That means photograph your art, telling your story, having accurate press releases, doing Facebook, doing YouTube, and so on. You can articulate what you’re doing with all of your reality, your foolishness, your sincerity, and your doubts. Lay it all out.”
Frey Hoffman Productions, a company that has filmed for Kanye West, is creating a documentary about Lamb. I was interviewed, although I was certainly not dressed to be on camera. Such a memorable experience! It comforts me to know that Lamb is dedicated to producing his authentic brand of “something better.”
–By Evelyn Patricia Terry, www.evelynpatriciaterry.com