By the Side of the Road

Self-portrait by International student Jessie (Xiao Meng) Bi currently on display in the Student Show.I was born thinking about art. When I think about it, it started out that the first thing I did was make things when I was 3 years old. They were made out of clay and I stuck them around the house, and they melted and got ground into the carpet, and all that sort of stuff.

Now, 65 years later, they’re still getting ground into the carpet. So I think that for me, making art is kind of like the story that I tell. I’m driving to school, I’m late, I don’t really like to be late but I’m late, and I see something by the side of the road, and it is interesting.

Well, I think “what is that?” but I drive right on by because I’m late! I’m in a hurry and I’ve got to be practical. And yet , I pull over, turn around drive back, get out of the car, get my camera, take pictures of it …  and now … I’m  late. Not a very smart thing to do in this economy, but, I  had to. I was compelled to.

And then, this experience I had …  I need to share it! So that’s why I took pictures.

For me, that is what making art is all about. It is the process of being compelled to respond to experience, and to express it in some way, and then to share it.

And for most artists, I think, the first step is always to engage in the process of making — and then experience that, and then try to perfect that skill or that talent or whatever it is, and at some point they need to share it.

One of the things that’s been fun this last year and a half is being Gallery Director  and being able to help people share their work and put it out there and to promote it.

So for me, it’s nice to be able to make the work, it’s nice to be able to share the work, obviously it would be even better if you could make a living at it — but obviously, that’s a difficult thing. 

BUT being able to help others and work with students and allow them to be able to share their work with faculty, staff, other students and a community of art appreciators is a pretty cool thing. So now, we have the student show up and we hope people will come by, and check it out and see what we’re doing.

And the only thing that’s difficult this summer is that we don’t have quite the funding to keep the gallery open as much as we would like. But the hours will be posted if people want to come by and take a look, or they can email me and maybe set up a private showing — we can certainly do that.


Ross Brown

Gallery Space Web site.    Gallery Space Facebook page.

Ross Brown is Director of the Bellevue College Gallery Space and a Tenured Faculty Member of the Bellevue College Art Department. View more of his work at Roknob.

One of Ross Brown's sculptured metal and rock door handles.

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One Response to By the Side of the Road

  1. Megan says:

    I enjoyed reading your story. The lateness made me chuckle.

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