July 30, 2010
This is a confession. As those of you who read me regularly, you know that I don’t confess often. I do share quiet a bit with you but I like to keep somethings to myself. I don’t enjoy vomiting out my insides to strangers. After all, I believe that somethings should be private. However, I am making an exception today as a testament of my commitment to this road that I have chosen to travel.
I have been a little depressed of late. Nothing major. Nothing that I am unfamiliar with. I know that this state will pass as it always does. It is only challenging because the overachiever in me has a hard time letting go and simply BE and not need to DO. My partner in art world domination (an amazing artist) Kesha says that once you sort out the internal, the external will follow. With that I added, if your internal is out order, we no longer know which way we should direct the external. All goes to say that I have spent a great deal of time in the last 21 months questioning everything. There are many many days where I am absolutely clear on what it is that I want. What my big story is and what I want to dedicate my life to. Then there are days like these past couple of weeks where the fear tape turns up the volume and I can no longer hear myself with clarity and focus.
As a way to get myself back on track, I decided to re-read Chris Guillebeau’s “A Brief Guide to World Domination: How to Live a Remarkable Life in a Conventional World.” He is remarkable in many ways and is quickly becoming a good friend. It is always better to have a partner in crime than not. Especially when your goal is grand and world domination is the name of the game, why not have as many like minded conspirators as possible? Chris asks two very important questions:
#1 What do you really want to get out of life?
#2 What can you offer the world that no one else can?
So I sit with these two questions and I think hard. No one really likes to share these answers because it leaves us naked and vulnerable. However, I will share mine with you today. Today, there will be no boundaries of inside / outside.
#1. I want to change the world. I want to make the world a better place. I want to experience every bit of magnificence it has to offer, I want to taste it, feel it, dream it, love it and be embraced by it. I want to live life to fullest. I want to never say no because I am afraid. I want to change the world though the art I create.
#2. A vision. My vision. A voice that is both from the inside and the outside. A point of view that is compassionate with out being sentimental.
When I was 18 and wondered into the market with my Nikon FE in hand, I never thought that I was embarking on a project that will define the next 20+ year of my life. I never thought that from that first click of the shutter on, every time I come across an article about food, market, foreign lands, poverty, economic policy, food policy, art that I would think about it in relation to Wok the Dog and how it all ties in together. I never thought that Wok the Dog would be something that I dedicate every bit of my resource and attention to.
Now we are at year 13, 15 countries / 55 cities later, countless amount of film and over 170+ images in the current final edit, I am ready to take this to the next level. Some of you often ask what is the final plan for Wok the Dog. I some times don’t like to answer the question because I have this weird fear that if I talk about a plan before it is in place, some how it would jinks it. Again, I am breaking some rules today.
1. 25 more countries. I want Wok the Dog to be a comprehensive documentation of market places around the world. No, I am not going to every country for this project but I think my current list will be pretty representative.
2. I want to be sponsored by a major foundation (but private money is welcome too) for the completion of the remaining portion. I want to finish the rest of the project within the next 36 months. (Gates, Rockefeller, Ford, Open Society).
3. I want to utilize the reach and scope of the funding partners and talk about issues. Wok the Dog is a great project and has enjoyed the long life expectancy it has because we can talk about so many different topics with it, beyond food and where it comes from. I want to have more conversations such as the one I did at the Getty Center and talk about issues and what we can do to bring about / inspire / create change. Wok the Dog has always been a jumping off point and never an end in itself.
4. I want Wok the Dog to take a final form as a book. Of course I would still continue to exhibit the series.
Now this is where I ask for your help. If you have any thoughts or suggestions or experience in grant proposal or know how I could find a way to fund the remaining portion of Wok the Dog. Please. I am eager to hear from you. If you know of any Universities and or have other ideas to none-conventional avenues where the work would be welcomed and we could have an audience where we can have a discussion, please, drop me a line. Conventional ideas, none-conventional ideas, doesn’t matter, talk to me …
The inside voice has been particularly loud these past 2 years. Every time I dig down and I ask what is it that I really want, “I want to change the world” is what the voice declares. The insistent repetition makes me think that I really should trust that voice. Yet I wonder where this “hippy” instinct comes from? Then it dawned on me today. I was thinking about the previous entry and the issue of survival, maybe the voice is so loud because it knows that we cannot survive traveling on this trajectory. Our oldest instinct is speaking up to ensure that we correct course and save ourselves.
… so talk to me won’t you … charliegrosso at gmail dot com
Hey Charlie! This is great. Well done on sharing your confession with the world.
The plans sound pretty ambitious, which of course is great. I'll look forward to seeing you achieve each of these goals and more.