This has been a busy week for me…mostly getting to hold, kiss, smile at, and play with my nephew Oliver. My sister stayed an extra week after the bday festivities to hang with mom, dad, and I. Oliver started to crawl in earnest on this trip. he learned that if he whines Grandpa will ALWAYS pick him up in under two minutes. And he picked up a few more gibberish noises for his arsenal. We all love to roar like a lion with him. Overall, days fly by when a baby is around. You are tired and happy the whole time.
Joy created this amazing drawing of her hand. It's her first sketch in her new moleskine. I was WOW-ed by it I love the use of the line and how she plays with negative and positive space with how the letters are created by where she doesn't draw. As someone way to fond of block letters as a default I enjoy this ingenuity. It made me want to talk about my feet. And how they save me daily from the nerves and anxiety I can carry around. I thought about all the places I have gone all the things I have seen and how they all start out on shaky uncertain steps. That maybe I look confident to the world but each time I try something new it is always the same that excited nervous that I don't know if things are going to work out how I thought they would.
So after my nephew went to bed, I started my shaky steps drawing. I am thinking a lot more like a illustrator than a painter in my mind. Which is new for me. I have to think about how words will look. This is also quick. I am not trying to create something that will take me months to finish. So this is a new way for working for me. I have never been much of a sketcher. I usually write and make big complicated projects that now half the time are performances. So I got out the crayons and tried to just have a little fun.
I finally finished the drawing today, a Sunday. While being very lazy after a fun filled weekend. My friend Anne came to Minnetonka for the weekend. Anne is the most committed artist that I know. She is creating a ceramics studio in her family barn. She has created a community fundraiser that is so thoughtful and perfect for the project. She can do everything from make wood cut posters, create a local concoction of bouja (soup), de-shingle a roof, through 100s a bowls a year, and have time for her creative ceramic work…when we were younger I was just plan jealous of her virtuosity in everything she put her mind to. She was envious of my ability to be loose and wild and throw paint at a canvas or sew a face into a bed sheet. She is just plain one of my closest friends.
With my living in the suburbs my friends take forays out there to make sure I don't go insane while I wait to find a job (almost there) and an apartment (I am supposedly looking on craigslist). Anne and I went to The Soap Factory. They are showcasing 5 Jerome grant recipients in their mid-career place, the show is called "Art(sits) on the Verge 5." *I first types Art (sits) which I find hilarious. Truthfully, with being stuck in the 'burbs, I was just glad to be investigating art. The one thing that bothered me was the show was how low lit the space was which I found a bit depressing. The Soap is a huge cold space and I understood the curators were trying to keep your attention on the art and not the overwhelming warehouse like feel of the place but I wanted a bit more light.
I love how the Soap doesn't feel like an art space. It feels illegal that these items are placed in what looks like an abandoned building. I want to find people camping out in corners and a big fire in a barrel in the basement. But anyway Anne and I enjoyed Katie Hargrave's installation listening to"Sugar, Sugar" on head phones and understood the juxtaposition of the notes from union meetings on the other head phone set. Anne enjoyed the craftsmanship of the sugar vinyl (records made of sugar). That all got to the ideas of labor. Really hidden labor in the commercial items that crowd our reality. There was a table with an embroidered table cloth that I believe represents the tables around which union members eat and organize around. For me I wanted to be at the dinner not see these embellished memories but thread around a wine stain did get me to feel involved emotionally somehow.
Our favorite installation was the inter-art space communication system by Emily Stover of putting a piece of paper in a mailbox at a desk and getting to put on our mail person cape and using a tech-y mail card try to find the projection that would read our message on the wall. We never saw our message and some of the projections only showed 1/4 of someone else's mail card, but it was fun fun fun to wonder how it works and like the craftsmanship of the call box you but the card up to, to activate the projection.
We spent an intense time chatting about parents and our generational difference over dinner at Fasika. The St Paul restaurant that I can never get enough of. I want to eat ngiri every month…and hope not to run into cute men afterwards with the effect those lentils can have on any person's digestion.
Anne and I are both living very unorthodox lives. The lives of an artist. Anne lives with her parent's on their farm. I am crashing at my parents house and there is a LOT of guilt I feel about the decision to have a, what is turning out to be two month residence in my old room. Anne confidently says "No shame in that Paige. What artist doesn't get support from their community?" And I step back and realize she is so right. Artists are creating things that don't fit into our capitalistic culture. The time and effort and emotion, the spirit that resides in my work doesn't have an equal value in a store or even in a gallery. Most of the works I saw at the Soap Factory couldn't be sold and installed in a person's home. I mean I would want the tendrils Alison Hiltner installed that hung down from the ceiling that traced circles in the ground….but I don't think there is a MARKET for them. At least not yet. :P What I am trying to say is….I don't CARE if the tendrils or my work find a place in the market. Art is a rumination on culture and our souls and it is important. So important that it is ok for me to ask for help to free up my time. It is ok for sketches just to stay sketches. In giving artists the time and space to make gestures is that these gestures in some round about way change the world. It is ok for me to say, I need a month to create this work. Shit, it was ok for me to ask for this past year. Strangers have written me saying hand holding is powerful. At this point I am itching for a job and a place of my own. I want a studio. I want a boyfriend. I want some stability. While I am already planning a new adventure with Joy. What is the importance of two thirty somethings exploring pathways while being separate by an ocean? I don't know but it is.
I sure as hell wouldn't be where I am now, a truly healthy place, without this past year. To expel some demons and to work hard and make an art dream come true. What a year! I did it! I am doing it! Being an artist is my reality! Now to keep navigating it! To pour even more courage and nourishment to follow my creative urges to grow more beauty and depth in the soil of my dreams. I got real close to throwing out this way of life. Why? Cause truth be told I am sort of awful at life in general. The basics. I dislike thinking about retirement, what coffee table I should get, or what is coming next when it comes to mundane things. I am great at grand gestures, and big movements. So I thought I had to just focus on the mundane cause that is what gets us by. Well, I have to find a way to be stable enough to keep creating these wonderful grand gestures. My gestures of grandeur are important and not a waste of time. They are art.