Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Meeting

Thanks to everyone who guessed at what 'the object' was, I enjoyed that. If I come up with something suitably absurd which could serve as a follow up, we can do it again.

I thought it was kind of funny that nobody remarked on my impending fame and fortune... well, fame at least... make that possible fame... due to my email from the TV producer. Maybe my downplaying of the whole thing was so successful that nobody took it seriously. Hell, maybe you thought I made it up.

Well, I didn't make it up, and the meeting I had been asked to attend happened today. I was dying of curiosity, re-reading emails for any hints as to what they might be planning. I had imagined all kinds of scenarios, each more fanciful than the last, up to today's scenario du jour in which I envisioned myself lured into a trap where an assault team of journalists would pounce on me and start asking me all kinds of uncomfortable questions about my graffiti.

It didn't turn out like that at all.

They didn't have us sign a non-disclosure agreement, and I specifically asked them if it was okay for us to talk about what they have planned, and they said no problem. So I will. Actually, I won't. I'm not going to say anything about the program they are putting on- hopefully I'll get a chance to do that later. I'll just tell you about the meeting.

I showed up early, early enough to make my momma proud, which is saying something- she has a physical aversion to being late for things and I've partially inherited it. I wasn't even sure if there were going to be other graffiterios there. That was the first mystery solved- I discovered about ten of us had been contacted. Okay, that's cool. I sat down and looked at magazines, of which they had a rich and arty assortment.

A few minutes later three other graffiteiros walked in, all of whom I knew. A couple of them looked surprised to see me. They are all 'Big Guns' in the Salvador graffiti scene, which... isn't saying a lot, but it is saying something. They were probably thinking, as I was, that I wasn't in the same league with them. They were friendly enough and we all sat around and chatted. A bit later a fourth graffiteiro showed up, another very visible and prolific artist here in the city, and someone I've wanted to meet for some time. Then the meeting got started.

There's something I should mention before I proceed. I was nervous when I got there, but after the other guys showed up I started to get self-conscious. This happens to me when I'm surrounded by people who I think are out of my league. I get self-conscious, and I think it must be really obvious, which it probably is. Contributing to this is the fact that I figure one of the reasons they had us all sit down in a room together was to see just how telegenic we all are, and the self-conscious guy looking small in the group probably doesn't come away with high marks for telegenosticy. Plus I don't have dreads or a shaved head or any tattoos, other things that would help in the visual selection process.

This brings me to the next item- the selection process. They told us pretty early on that they were only going to need three of us for their pilot program. I think that caused us all to deflate a bit. They might want more, for a future program, but for now, just three. I surveyed The League (of which I am out of) once more and figured my chances of being selected were quite slim. Especially because they are holding a second meeting tomorrow, with a bunch of other graffiteiros to pick from.

I had been wondering if we would be asked to say anything, any kind of audition/interview section of the meeting. I had thought of all different kinds of things to say- about how my work is different from what everyone else is painting, how I'm older, my experience is different because I'm an estrangeiro, stuff like that. Of course, I promptly forgot all that in the meeting and I sat there desperately trying to remember what it was that made me so special. As it turned out, all they wanted from us was to know if we liked the idea and if we had any questions or previous commitments. There was very little of any of that.

I'll know soon enough if I got selected- I believe they want to start shooting next Tuesday. But even if I don't get picked for the show, they told us something that I liked very much. They told us they'd done a pretty careful pre-selection process to arrive at the group of ten that got invited to the meeting. That means that at least as far as they are concerned, I'm one of the ten best (or perhaps most interesting) graffiteiros in the city. That's pretty cool, especially when you consider I haven't really been at it that long, and I figure I still have a ways to go before I get to be really good at it.

It's a bit strange being a semi-hermit and then going out and doing these large-scale artworks in very public places- I never really know what people think. I'm not tied in to the art community, so I get no feedback from them. Since I know the other graffiteiros, I know that they look at my work, and at least claim to like it, but if the other graffiteiros aren't looking at what you're doing then you aren't trying very hard. It's nice to know that other people are looking too, and that they can find me online if they make an effort.

If there's one thing I'm going to take away from this I believe it can be summed up in two words:

DON'T STOP.

2 comments:

Fabio Bossard said...

Is it going to be a local show in Bahia? Is it going to be a Brazilian show or from an international network?

markuza said...

Fabio, it's definitely a Brazilian production, whether or not it's national I don't know for sure.