If you live in Hollywood, you may occasionally notice faces on the sidewalk made out of found debris. These are the work of Caren McCaleb, a film editor, who walks her dogs there. Caren created a popular Instagram called @sidewalkface after the response she received from showing friends photos of her creations. It started with wanting to add purpose to something that was already pleasurable, walking her dogs. She tasked herself with looking for faces on the sidewalk as she walked. There might be a smashed grapefruit with promise that with some berries and shards of flowers suddenly becomes woman with a slight smile but mournful eyes. The faces always convey some emotion that speaks to the viewer. Caren creates these faces very quickly, like an alchemist, transforming trash into something that brings joy. Like the artist Keith Haring, Caren believes art is for everyone. She works with speed (after all, the dogs are pulling at her) and leaves a little something behind her that will spark joy. Caren likes working with constraints, like using only what is right there and not laboring over them but because she creates rules, she can break them as well. Sometimes, if one is really good, she’ll put a little more into it. The main thing is that they either happen or they don’t, and she is fine with that. She feels the same way about @sidewalkface, not letting it weigh her down if she’s not posting. It’s all about the process, not the end result.
I love so many things about this project. The idea of taking what is tossed on the ground and making art out of it, adding purpose to pleasure, self-assigning creativity, and most of all the letting go. Letting go. It sounds so easy but so many of us struggle with this concept, becoming stuck, depressed or anxious.
What would our lives look like if we freed ourselves from expectations. To accept where we are right now in this moment and that who and what we are is “good enough”. Good enough for now. Not forever, just for now. You don’t have to be there forever, just long enough ground yourself and find your inner strength and get in tune with yourself. This is how you build strength to move forward. Think of a toddler that is running before they can walk, propelling themself into a room. They are moving but they have no idea where they'll end up. With stability and centering they may move slower, but they'll get to where you want to be. You can too.