Wednesday, October 15, 2014

One Year Later, An Empty Chair

It's been over a year since I started The Target Practice Project, and what a difference a year makes. New to me? To this? The Project is a global collage collaboration based on the use of a single core image--a 1960s Sears archery target, piles of which I discovered in my father's garage when cleaning out his house after he died in June of 2013. The Project didn't come about as a sweet memorial to a loved one but rather as a means of seeking truth about a life gone awry. My life. If you don't dig around for the truth, all the worst stuff stays in your mind. Worse yet, it stays in your imagination, eventually cratering into a deep pit of murky influence that threatens to drown all the good things that come your way. Being raised by a narcissist will do that to you, and even after your particular narcissist is gone, his or her impact lives on.

One of the first pieces to come into the Project was this one by Michael Tunk, a prolific collage artist out of Alameda, California. Entitled "The Narcissist," this is one big piece both in physical size and in impact. It's also a literal piece, a work of solidarity reflecting what I had written about the Project at its inception. (If you're playing catch-up, have no fear: Links to everything appear at the bottom.) I had seen "The Narcissist" online in the various Project collage groups, of course, but it wasn't until a few weeks ago that it made its way home to me here in New York, with a casual suggestion from Michael that I might want to put on my collaborator's hat and add some of the original 1960s target fragments to the image. "Of course," I said.

"The Narcissist," by Michael Tunk, one of the first collages to come into The Target Practice Project in 2013

The NEW Narcissist," a rogue collaboration by Michael Tunk and Laura Tringali Holmes, 2014
Like I said, a lot can change in a year. One year and a few months after the death of my father, after bailing out a lot of my personal crater's dark muck one wee coffee can at a time, I realized that, miraculously, I had found a little more than a modicum of peace. I had, again miraculously, recaptured my humor. Since Michael had included guns, I made a pun on the word "range" by including an appliance ad from an old edition of House Beautiful. Narcissists do so love gain without pain, so what better tribute than to give my own narcissist a shot of "glamour" but "without the expense"? I added the original 1960s target fragments that Michael had envisioned, abrading one into almost-transparency to suggest a letting-go. And then, atop that abraded, letting-go target, I put in a little red chair.

That little red chair's for me. Notice how I'm not sitting there anymore.


  1. Congratulations on getting through it all, finally = Cheers!
    and a great project too -

  2. I was already familiar with the collage. A lot in it resonates with me because my grandfather was a narcissist who also hunted. The writing is so beautiful and emotionally brave. Congratulations. With my grandfather, you had to shut up, sit up straight, and never ever question him. He drank heavily, daily, and killed things for fun. So I appreciated what you said about the little red chair. I had no idea this was all so recent for you. I think the target practice project was pure magic and I was thankful to you without knowing the healing nature of the back story.

  3. Practice makes a man perfect .what you said here is absolutely correct .A project manager needs have a perfect project practice project practice of carrying out all the phases of a project starting from inititaing to implementation.Then only a project can be sucessfull and fruitfull.