Friday, March 14, 2014

Becoming Art

One of the wonderful benefits of experiencing Carnival with such a large group of friends was seeing the variety of approaches people took to their costumes and the characters who grew to fill them. Our group included a handful of seasoned costumers and a few actors, and of course we all wanted to see how they would take their art even further. But even more intriguing were “the quiet ones,” the sculptors, painters, and writers who usually send their work out on its own, rather than quite literally wearing their hearts on their sleeves.

The practical difference between the work of the visual artist and that of the performance artist is the difference between producing art and becoming art. With a painting or a short story, the work is completed in private, the artist having complete control over the process and not releasing it to the public until he or she is good and ready.

Nothing could be further from the truth for all of us as we squeezed into tall boots, cinched up our corsets, and balanced preposterous three-dimensional fantasies precariously atop our heads. No matter how many hours (days! weeks!) had gone into our costumes, now was the moment for it all to come together, the time to present the world with our creation. And the creation was us.

Karima Cammell and Duncan Brown

Just as a hem might be held up by a carefully hidden safety pin that we prayed would stay in place, so our confidence was buoyed by a mixture of belief in our preparations and sheer hope that everything would turn out all right. When the last of the costuming was in place and showtime arrived, we stepped out into the night with a gleeful surrendering of control, each of us opening up to the spontaneity that makes Carnival so magical.

Duncan Brown and Karima Cammell

When we become our art in this way, we can feel almost separated from our everyday selves, or at least the parts of ourselves that tell us we have to be perfect, or modest, or quiet. In the give-and-take with the world—our audience—strangers can become friends, and friends we knew just a moment before can change into beautifully strange and new versions of themselves. We dance through a waking dream. We become our own imaginations.

Karima Cammell

More photos on our Facebook page.


veuvemcd said...

Such imagination, such talent. Marvelous!

Isabel said...


Anonymous said...

Beyond amazing....Fairytale come true🏰

deb durant said...

A fabulous vicarious thrill you have provided us all... Grazie mille!!

peggy gatto said...


Marfi-topia said...

you're all stunning!
incredible art:)

Stephanie Wright Hession said...

Gorgeous, fantastical and beguiling. Thank you for. Sharing your dreams with us!