Beth Meadows

If those buildings could talk/ Art as a coping mechanism

"art", "deep thoughts", "depression", "drawing", "exhibit", "funny", "historic preservation", "knox heritage", "sad", "salvage", "simple"B2 Comments
I've had an art show up in downtown Knoxville this month that I'm taking down next week. It's at Kate Moore Creative and Jennie Andrews Photography studios at 123 South Gay Street. You may still be able to pop in there to see it during normal weekday business hours Monday through Wednesday of next week.

The final product of this show was really surprising to me, as I had a different idea for it, even a week before the opening. Changing my mind right before a show, however, is nothing new. I intended to make simple graphite drawings of buildings, but the idea to make multiple xeroxes of those drawings didn't come until about 4 days before I hung the show.

The originals- graphite drawings

I still didn't know what the outcome would be when I began hanging it. It took me about 7 hours to install, maybe 2 to 3 hours physical and 4-5 hours mental (because I am A} mentally inept or B} a creative genius. The jury's still out on that one)

So I made these small graphite drawings of buildings which was a welcome relief to me. Through them, I fell more deeply in love with this mysterious thing called art, which has all ready cast a spell on me. Graphite on paper is the equivalent to young autumnal* love. I became lost in the simplicity, the honesty, the vulnerability of it.

I drew buildings on the Knox Heritage and East Tennessee Preservation Alliance endangered lists- beautiful dilapidated buildings, schoolhouses, and homes. I wanted to "give them a voice," so to speak, so I put speech bubbles above them.

I decided to leave the originals blank, being satisfied with them visually and conceptually (you can see one of them here), but I also wanted to add text, so I decided to make multiple copies of them at Kinko's.


Over the past few years, I've been recuperating from an emotional low that hit me right after college. (I mention it a lot. I apologize if it becomes annoying) It had been building up for years before then, and so it makes sense that it would take years to heal from. In an effort to reclaim a sense of emotional well-being, I have filled journals with thoughts, read numerous books, talked to generous and loving people, and even researched online how to cope with pain, suffering, and stress...


I decided to put these two things together- the dilapidated buildings and the research I found online, statements or words people can say to help them cope with pain or suffering. From there, I began looking up quotes from famous people on the subject of pain. I filled in the speech bubbles with these words on the xeroxed pieces.


It might be presumptuous of me to assume what a building would say if it could speak, but I soon realized this was more for me than the buildings. Making these was a way for me to cope with the fact that there's nothing I can do to help these buildings. I have no money, no power, but I can draw, that's it.

Also, I hate to even say this as I hope people would realize it on their own, but it's meant to be tongue-in-cheek. Everyone knows it sucks admitting you have a problem with anything, but when you come out of it, (it might take some time, but) you can finally laugh at how desperate you once were. And it's funny because I find the websites on coping to be just as depressing as being depressed (Here is an example). It's all just too much...

So anyway, here is my artist statement and more photos of the show. And thank you, thank you for going to see it if you did. You are the

Of course, there were mason jars ;)

*Autumn love is far more romantic than summer love, at least in my book.