The death of my father was a pivot point in the human life of Chris Zuege and his artful ego, Artemis Sere.
His exit introduced the need to exile some dreams, hopes, and identities I once held, and replace them anew.
Giving Up the Ghost
"You have to realize that someday you will die, until you know that, you are useless!” ― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
As I made my way through the fog of death that followed the passing of my father, I became keenly aware of the reaper on my shoulder.
I spent a decade of my life fighting two chronic health conditions. While I eventually won and found remission, the war with my own life led to the development of a very different person -- and artist. Through the loss of love, all material possessions and my own life, I became very close to death in ways that are far more than metaphorical or romantic.
My pain and darkness are remnants from which I draw content.
Life is our great battlefield, and any wise General knows you have to minimize the fronts you have to defend. An army stretched too thin is vulnerable to weakness and collapse. Human conquest requires great compromise and sacrifice, and the field of my history is filled with ghosts of dutiful versions of me that died for causes other than my own.
I am haunted by those specters; they peek through the paint and horrific canvasses that circle my world. These revenants gasp in awe, gawk in fear and scream for vengeance. I call them "the Od", but know there's little that is odd about them --
They are faces of my regrets, given acrylic flesh and form.
Blazing a New Road
"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference"
(Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken)
For my adult existence, I've been a man torn between human identities - son, brother, boyfriend, professional, marketer, ex-husband, stepfather, artist, to name some. Each version of me has pulled my attention and resources in directions that were mostly out of my control. For decades, I struggled to survive; for the last decade, I worked hard and survived well. And now,
I'm taking complete control and changing my choice of path.
To some, what I'm about to reveal will be a shock and surprise, and cause for questioning my sanity. Others will understand my redirection into unfamiliar and uncharted territories as the natural progression and evolution of the art of Artemis Sere.
I have decided to
relocate my person, profession and the Artemis Sere brand to Modesto, CA in September 2019 to introduce the Art of Artemis Sere to Calfornia, to start the development of SereSteel Metalworking art and to establish a metalworking business (Bonesetter Metalworking). July 2019 Update: See Updates regarding Dunwoody College below.
Yes, I am leaving great friends and a loving family for a brave, chaotic new adventure.
Yes, I am putting a promising career as a Corporate Digital Marketer on hold and/or in jeopardy.
Yes, I am leaving an amazing global company that has offered me generous benefits, opportunities, and upward and international movement.
Yes, I am accepting a huge step backward in pay.
Yes, I am flipping collar color from white to blue.
Yes, I am going to tell this story from start to finish (see timeline below).
Yes, it's on.
Bonesetting with a Blowtorch
If you're familiar with my brand, you know my connection to the "bonesetter" concept. I plan to expand that concept with metalworking art and exploration of "hot metal" art. As my art grows, I plan to grow the talent into a business that can service central/northern California.
Why metalworking? In short, I want to work with my hands as I edge into retirement over the next 20 years. I want to have a job that moves me and keeps me on my feet, but also engages my hands-on creativity as a creator. Through my career at 3M, I've been exposed to amazingly talented metalworking art and artists, and I hope to someday be regarded in that conversation. I plan to tell the story of this transition in a book entitled "Metalmorphosis: From Marketer to Maker", which I will elaborate on in a future blog.
Why California? The beaches and coasts. The wine country. The mountains. The history. The culture. The list feels endless. I've lived in the Midwest and frigid Minnesota for the majority of my adult life. I want to relocate to a state where I can be physically active year-round, possibly do hot metal art regardless of the season. Ultimately, I am a wimp when it comes to cold weather. I'm also drawn to the many diversities that California has to offer, as well as the rich art scenes at my reach. Further, as a staunch supporter of Democratic politics and liberal values, I am excited about living in a state where I don't feel like I have to hide who I am.
In the phases below, I highlight both the relocation/transition of the Artemis Sere brand
to Modesto, CA (central/northern California) in September 2019, and my long-term plan of establishing a respected, influential metalworking business. Phase timelines/targets will flex as resources allow.
I appreciate the patience of my family, friends, fans and colleagues as I undergo this exciting
#artemissere #setinmetal #steelage
SereSteel Project Highlights
GOAL: Expand Artemis Sere brand/market to include saleable metal art and establish multi-service metalworking business in Northern California by 2024.
PHASE 1: THE RETOOLING
- JULY 2019 Update: Transition away from 3M Personal Safety and comfortable, common employment that draws from my Marketing talent, experience and education
Move person and Seretic Studios to Modesto, CA from St. Paul in September 2019JULY 2019 Update: After visiting both my selected CA schools and Modesto, I've decided to stay in MN for training and then move to CA following my education (and not Modesto. No good). Conduct "Sere Art Yard Sales" June-Aug 2019 to reduce stock, increase resources for moveJuly 2019 Update: As my moving plans changed, I decided to stay in MN a bit longer, and in the same housing, so will continue to evolve the Gallery.
- Publish "Xenobleed 1: X&Why"
PHASE 2: THE FLAME
- July 2019 Update: Publish "Xenobleed 2: Coagulum", and "Xenobleed 3 : Shadowheart"
Gain Welding certification at Cal-Trade Welding school in Modesto.July 2019 Update: Gain Welding & Metalworking Degree from Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis, MN
- Start professional work in welding/metalworking industry in CA (2021/2022)
- Establish/market SereSteel metalworking art.
PHASE 3: THE JOIN
- Launch Bonesetter Metalworking, multi-service metalworking shop in Northern California.
- First SereSteel Gallery show.
- Publish "Metalmorphosis: From Marketer to Maker" book.
Unknown Welding Sculpture
from Franconia Sculpture Garden, Franconia, MN (https://www.franconia.org/).
Image photography and art remix by Artemis Sere.