Performance artist Brian Feldman put out a call on Facebook for anyone with a video camera to record his performance of Happiness Hurts at the Orlando Museum of Art. I happen to have a video camera, so I sent him a message and he made arrangements to get me into the event. He created this performance for 1st Thursdays at the Museum. 1st Thursdays is a monthly event where artists are asked to exhibit work along a similar theme. I couldn't make out the theme by looking at the art hanging on the walls. Then Tisse Mallon finally realized that they must all relate to happiness. Brian's performance piece was the key to the puzzle. I spent some time getting the camera ready and there was some panic that the cord to the projector might not be long enough. At the last minute a longer cord was found.
Brian began to smile and the museum slowly filled up. Some people got the idea of the performance right away. I overheard one woman saying, "Smiling that long must hurt." I was the sketch artist and cameraman. I turned the LCD display so Brian could see his closely cropped face in the viewfinder. This allowed him to focus and remain perfectly still. I set my watch timer to go off in an hour and at that time I would have to replace the tape.
While I was working Sultana Fatima Ali introduced herself to me. She had helped organize a bicycle giveaway program called "Wheels for Kids" that I had sketched. On that day, she had seen me working and she asked a policeman who I was. He told her about my blog and she started reading. She has started following Brian's performances so she has started to appear in my sketches. As I sketched, I kept meeting people I know. I don't disappear into the woodwork the way I used to. I am slowly learning to balance the work with the socializing.
On the wall, Brian's smile was quivering; he was having trouble keeping his smile consistent. He had to keep smiling for three straight hours. With my sketch complete, I wandered around a bit and looked at some of the art. I had to leave early to go sketch another event, so I asked Tisse if she would pack up my camera and tripod and she agreed.