I’m so happy for the three finalists and I wish them all nothing but the best.

So this episode marks the end of a year-long journey. Last July I learned about the open-call to audition for a show called the “Untitled Art Project”.  I knew nothing about the show other than that it would be a reality competition show formatted like Project Runway, that it would focus on contemporary art, and that Sarah Jessica Parker would produce it.

After auditioning and moving along in the casting process (still knowing very little about the show) I became very excited about it. I’m still relatively young, but succeeding as an artist is extremely difficult, and I had been working as a studio assistant for two years and desperately wanted more time to focus on my own work. A lot of people had told me they’d love to see me on a reality show, and the idea of it was rather enticing.

BACK TO THE CHALLENGE:

I caught a bad virus at the Children’s museum a few days earlier, and I was definitely debilitated.  It’s very unfortunate timing to get sick and I did everything I could to work despite my condition.  I used any spare moment to catch up on sleep and regain my energy.

There is a scene of me sleeping on the couch that, admittedly, looks bad. I was exhausted because we woke up around 5 am and had breakfast, then drove to Connecticut, scavenged for materials in the rain, ate lunch, and then went shopping at two hardware stores and at Utrecht for art supplies. We returned to the studio at approximately 8 pm. We had dinner and then I took an hour-long nap because I was so drained that I couldn’t even function at that point.  I genuinely don’t believe this nap affected the outcome of the competition, but I can see that it looks like I wasn’t trying very hard.

The title, “The End” is a double entendre that signifies the illusion of an end to the water – the horizon – and the end of my journey on this show. The image was anamorphic, meaning the horizon was only in correct perspective when viewed from one specific point. This took a great deal of calculation – the pole in front lined up PERFECTLY from this one point, and the rock and the ring felt almost like a sunset.  Everything aligned poetically.

Jaclyn Santos, The End, 2009

Ultimately, I like my approach to this challenge more than most of the other contestants’.  I found the single most beautiful object I could find in that particular space, and embedded it with new meaning by re-contextualizing it.  It actually feels like a very feminine, delicate piece and has a beautiful sense of balance. I like that the rock and image were unique and could only have come from the park we were at.

The rock represented me in this competition. The stone was not supposed to represent freedom; the water represented freedom.  The piece was about confinement verses freedom.  I found a beautiful rock that was stuck amidst the others on the shore and I wanted to metaphorically release it.  In the gallery it literally felt like it was moving in the water.

I certainly learned a lot from the experience. One thing a commenter pointed out was that it seems I actually “default” to using similar themes like water and reflections. This was something I realized too after the competition was over. I’ve been accused online of defaulting to nudity when I used it consciously and effectively; but when I didn’t know what to do I seemed to turn to these themes, almost subconsciously. This is something I have been exploring lately.