My first chance at creating public art ended in an unrecognizable disaster.
About a thousand years ago when I was a freshman at Hayden High School–or perhaps I was a sophomore–the entire class was gathered together to design our homecoming float for the annual homecoming parade. This was a bad thing for my class.
For some reason the class of 1985–at both HHS and later at Southeast of Saline HS where I would eventually graduate–had an intense dislike of planning such spectacles. I don’t know if this is because we lacked a leader or because, as I suspect, to a person we couldn’t have cared less about the parade. When asked to come up with designs we just kind of stared at each other and went “you decide”.
Eventually, someone, I think his name was Randy, suggested we just have a float with a giant fist in the center and nothing else. Because no one hated the idea, that became our plan. The next step was to find someone to design the float. Because I was interested in drawing random things, everyone looked at me and I was chosen.
If you are keeping score: for sports I was chosen last; for bullshit jobs I was chosen first.
I had no clue what I was doing but managed to produce a sketch of a fist made with chicken wire and we all met at someone’s house to build the float and “pomp” it. For the uninitiated, pomping involves twisting bits of paper and tissue into chicken wire to give the design “shape” and “color” and “life”. It is also one of those jobs where no matter how long you do it, you never seem to make any progress. In fact, it’s the closest you can get to Purgatory without experiencing physical death.
Things became complicated when our faculty adviser (I don’t remember his name) decided that the float needed more than just a fist. In fact, he decided, the fist should be punching the mascot of Whatever The Hell It Was High School (not a real school). This prompted a redesign and pretty much all my effort was ignored as all my designs were thrown out the window. (Many years later I’d read The Fountainhead and realize what I should have done to protect my vision. I could have even given a sixty page speech at my trial.)
For reasons I don’t remember, I wasn’t able to go pomping more than once. Apparently neither was anyone else in my class. The final float looked half finished and no one understood what it was supposed to be. We finished last in the judging. I don’t remember anyone caring much about that.