Sunday, May 23, 2010

Closing Time

When I began this site in 2004 I had no idea where it would go and how it would be received. I began out of a desire to create. I wanted to write on a regular basis and I wanted to justify my weekly compulsive visits to yard sales. A few months after I began this project simply as a creative writing exercise I began adding photographs. I then started getting feedback and some press for my efforts. Soon my work in this genre helped boost my career as a visual artist. Perhaps my highpoint came early with an exhibition at an established local gallery where I staged a yard sale as a conceptual interactive installation. I remarked after the opening of this well received event, by quoting a line from the film Ed Wood in reference to Plan Nine from Outer Space “This is the one they will remember me for”.
Five years and several other exhibitions later I continue my work. But as each year passed year I wondered where this would go and when it would end. Last year after watching “Julie and Julia” I pondered the turnabout of one woman’s life by starting a blog that led to some notoriety, a book deal, a feature film and finally a change in life as she went on to start a career as an author. I had hoped something like this might happen to me. My intentions was to get a publishing contract for my work. I was told by several literary agents last summer that this was not a good time for publisher and they did not know how to pitch a book on yard sales. I also looked at the success of other sites that have arisen in the past five years giving financial success to their creators. The site featuring the horrid pictures of ugly ill-dressed people at WalMart caught my attention. It appeared if I wanted financial success it I was doing the wrong thing. But I have had success in other ways. I didn’t make any real money from my efforts. I didn’t become famous but perhaps I did become noted. But most of all this may have saved me and kept me busy, it gave me something to focus upon and something creative to do. Each Saturday morning became an adventure not knowing what wonderful things I might document in the yards of clutter. It kept me writing and it kept me taking photographs. My continued efforts established me as an artist. It opened some doors and led my life into a better direction. But all things must end. I’ve known this for some time. My writing was getting stale I was doing fewer and fewer entries. The satisfaction level of what I was creating was declining. A good artist knows when to end a series. Maybe I’ve seen it all maybe there are no more stories for I have to tell. But the other factor is that after five years I want to move on. I do not want to be remembered as the old guy who takes pictures at yard sales. I want this to be a line of my obituary not the entirety of it.
Yesterday while at an estate sale near my home I wondered about the basement of and found a box that must have had three dozen or more pliers in it. I’ve often wondered how does this happen? Accumulation sneaks up on us as we proceed through life. We must remain aware and focused on change and be ready to leave things behind. I don’t want this site with its multitude of words and images to be like that box of pliers. I want to move on.

Will it all end? Not really, I plan to continue some other web presence in some form and on some topic I have not decided upon at this time. I have considered a site about yard sales where the readers furnish the most of photographs and the text. I will be continuing to have a presence on Facebook which seems to be the last refuge of a lazy creative types. There I may not have full freedom and control but will have access to a large following. Currently I have two groups open to all users “Yard Sale Addict” where I plan to continue posting a photo every week and “Sign of the Week” where I and anyone else who desires may posts images of interesting signs. You can also befriend me on Facebook and follow what ever I’m up to. You can also gift people with images on "Yard Sale Junk" made from my photographs.
I will continue to seek to exhibit some of the thousands of photographs created for this series. This week one of them is included in a noted juried show in Decatur. Perhaps if I give an artist talk I can say that I used to publish a web site about what people were getting rid of in their lives.
Divestment can often be a blessing if done at the right time. This is the right time for me and Yard Sale Addict.

I would like to thank all the writers that have written about this site, all the galleries who have showcased my work from this series and all the friends I have made through this endeavor and especially everyone who has had a yard sale, garage sale or estate sale that I have visited and documented over the last five years. Pleas visit all the related links on this site but most of all get out and go to yard sales.

Tom Zarrilli
May 22, 2010