Art is about opening an enormous suitcase.

Not very long ago, I was in the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, walking from one exhibit to another, when I ran across a fascinating piece called “Spectacular Helmet” and a quotation from its creator, Melissa Zink.

It’s like you’re walking around with an enormous suitcase full of magic and you are never allowed to open it, because the rules say that things in the suitcase are not worthy of artistic consideration. Worlds, childhood memories, pretend, fantasy, ______ story, all that. And so, until I could open that suitcase, I didn’t really have anything to work with. It was like trying to paint with your hands tied behind your back.

– Melissa Zink, 1932 – 2009

A sailor's suitcase. Photo by Bob AuBuchon. Creative Commons license.

Unfortunately, my handwriting is so bad I can’t read the word that ends with “story” in the note I took.  And I’d never heard of Melissa Zink. But now that I’ve started to find out who she was, I’m fascinated, and I’ll have more to say about her soon.

But my computer is going into surgery tomorrow morning and is stuttering badly tonight, so this is it for Zink now.

Just take note: Says Melissa Zink, the artist must be able to use everything.

I agree.

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