“If being an egomaniac means I believe in what I do and in my art or music, then in that respect you can call me that… I believe in what I do, and I’ll say it.”
Artist-run gallery spaces that predominantly feature the art of the one running the gallery seem suspect, little more than vanity projects. The notion of going down such a path myself has always struck me as abhorrent.
And yet here I am.
How else is one to understand Bruun Studios? And to boot, I have the temerity to launch a fund-raising campaign on behalf of Bruun Studios, directly supporting my social and civic practice as an artist, curator, and community activist.
Ego is a tightrope we all walk. Too much or of the wrong variety, and we are arrogant puffs or deluded fools; too little and we fail to chase our dreams or serve others. A balancing act, perils left and right of straight-ahead.
How do I justify Bruun Studios and the self-promotion such an endeavor demands? Susceptible to insecurity and fearful of self-indulgence, I worry about Bruun Studios being that vanity project I judge so harshly.
It is a risk I have accepted, but not lightly. Before taking an action, before sending out a public communication, I reflect: what is my motive? I sit with the question. And though I can never be sure the answer I land on is not a skewed rationalization, I try hard to be honest with myself.
I try to judge whether the ego involved is of the good kind or the bad.
In recent months, I’ve worked on increasing the public profile of Bruun Studios, most notably through the recently launched 50-mile fund-raising campaign. This has been a time of much reflection and self-questioning.
I have elected to give myself permission to move forward for one simple reason: I believe in what I do. I believe it is valuable not only for me, but for others as well—for audiences introduced to slam poetry or contemporary percussion for the first time; for young people who until they took part in a Bruun Studios event had never before been applauded for their art; for the hard working leaders of tiny and critical non-profits who need both the affirmation and exposure Bruun Studios provides. I believe Bruun Studios is good for Baltimore, and that those who care about Baltimore will support it.
A fool’s ego or a healthy ego, nobody can know for sure. But I choose to move forward.