Mouse Dreams, 1991 – sculpture and foto by Smith
Walked over to Metro Hospital today to see if my Mickey Mice sculpture was still there that I sold them 19 years ago for $1,000.
The sculpture resulted from one of those Jungian Synchronicities that keep seeping through my life.
Back in April 1991 I drank myself to death, vomited blood for 14 hours as I lay in my bed dying, bleeding to death, passing in and out of consciousness while wondering what sort of great art piece I could create out of a bucket of my own blood. I mean, buckets of your own blood ain’t easy to come by.
Unfortunately after I was in intensive care for a couple days and a few more days being cauterized and analyzed, the bucket of blood began to smell and Mom dumped it down the toilet. Everybody’s a friggin’ art critic.
After a week they released me and I walked home to find a call from art agent Kate Tabor asking if I’d be willing to do an assemblage sculpture using some of my Mickey Mice collection for the Childrens Wing of the hospital I’d just left.
Her offer astounded me because she’d curated a Warehouse District Artists show a couple years earlier when I was a warehouse artist and she kept me out because my art was too dangerous (yet she actually bought a piece later on).
She told me I’d have to write up a proposal for the Metro Hospital Art Board and I laughed, told her I never knew what I was going to do until I started doing it because it was a collaborative conversation between the found objects and myself and besides, I couldn’t draw a lick so even if I did know, I couldn’t show them.
She asked how much? Said $500. She said I’d get $1,000. She borrowed my big black garbage bag of antique Mickey Mice and friends, walked into the Art Board’s board room, emptied the bag of plastic mice on their board table and said he can’t write a proposal because he doesn’t know what he’s going to do but this is some of what he’s going to do it with.
They said yes, gave me $500 up front and promised the rest when I delivered.
Scared the shit out of me to be pre-paid for something that didn’t exist, that I had to create, and not only that but it had to be worth $1,000.
It was actually easy once I got over my fear and started because I loved the old toys and since I was making it for the Children’s Wing where kids would be in wheelchairs and pain, I made it a fairy tale piece to make them smile.
Oddly enough when it was picked up, the driver said “Thank God, finally something subversive in the collection.”
So today I walk over there to see if it’s still there. After all it’s been 19 years and I’m not what you call well known and I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be there but hoped a lot it was because I’m in great physical pain from my bum leg and some minor mental turmoil from my wife’s mania lately and just wanted an ego booster shot.
I walked down section after section of corridors seeing no no no no when finally there it was. Made me smile. I took a lot of fotos and I have to tell you folk taking two-dimensional fotos of a three-dimensional object protected by a Plexiglas case sitting next to two large windows ain’t easy. But here it is – Mouse Dreams by Steven B. Smith, 1991.
The Mickey Mouse right behind the mannequin head is lying on his side resting his chin in his palm and dreaming of being the human the art piece is.
The 3-Ds on the front are thick high-quality ones from Big Fun in Coventry.
And I noticed it’s been damaged – probably in some move the sculpture tilted forward and broke one of my mannequin’s fingers, but the dress pattern I covered it in keeps the broken finger dangling from the hand – which is cool, because if it fell off, the hand would be giving you the finger and that is not my intention for kids in hospitals — although if they noticed, they’d likely laugh.
Mouse Dreams, 1991 – sculpture and fotos by Smith