Monday, September 23, 2013

HMB Walk #2: Jamie

What is key to Walk with Me working is having a community member that can connect you to awesome people to walk with. And there always seems to be a reason why the people who say yes, do say yes.
Jamie is a friend of Laura, the woman running the residency. Jamie is an artist who makes amazing clothing from recycled fabric. It is more than that....I mean she made a dress out of a tent. Like in the style of a medieval woman. It is pretty awesome. She also draws and paints. She is a very composed woman. I mean she walks in and you are like. This person is put together.
The fogs were amazing. The sun was just burning through the it created this spotlight that made the plants brillant and then the background was grey and opaque.
She is also very open to walking with some woman she has never met in the tiny town of Half Moon Bay. We chatted with Laura and her daughter Coleen for a little bit and we got to walking. We walked along the bluffs and chatted amicably about family and moving from home to the wild lands of California. It was so refreshing to hear of someone so firm in her belief that this is where she should be.
Our conversation was immediately open after talking openly about life while with Laura. I was so impressed with how Jamie fell in love and with all that brings with it. Including step-kids, she seemed to know it was the right person. And there I was blurting out how I had been keeping a safe distance from people for many a year. Jamie clasped my hand and I don't remember what she said but it was a really soothing moment.
There were a lot of people about and after reading Jamie's reflections she was conscious of them. But during the walk, i would have had no idea. We just chatted along. She did sort of flutter her hands a few times....sort of like loosening them. And we did stop holding hands for her to show me the length of a shirt she had made.
It was a really really enjoyable walk. And over time the "reason" for the walk became apparent. We are two 30 something artist. Who wonder where the passion of what we do is? We are getting out of the rut of mid career artists. I didn't even see myself as an artist till a few years ago. But I have been doing this for, at least, 10 years. Jamie spoke of coming to NorCal and being so glad people didn't know her as AN ARTIST. I can see how this gives you freedom and takes off the pressure. Wow, that sounds nice. For me, I fight so hard to fit into the art world. I fight so hard to keep my head above water. To have people acknowledge I am doing this project and realizing my burn out is HIGH. That I want to just run away from something I can't really run away from cause it is part of me.
Overall, a great walk. Jamie wrote a lot about the sort of thoughts of apprehension women have when we walk on these walks. If other people are making assumption, thinking about the "male gaze", and if your mother would approve of this project. This quote is my favorite though, "Perfection is all in our minds as an illusion making us uncomfortable & taking us away from ."

the moment

Thursday, September 19, 2013

First walk in Half Moon Bay!!!! Walk with Me Part Deux: Walk with Kati

 While getting food, Laura and I run into her daughter at the grocery store! Kati had replied to my facebook invite and seemed super excited to be a part of my project! Which felt really great to have someone close to my age say "Sure! I'll walk with you!" The really great thing is Kati agreed that we could try to walk multiple times. In this way, we could maybe think up a deeper connection/profound project instead of just our reflections. Luckily, since this was our first walk....we just needed to walk and hold hands. Lofty ideas can be for later.

Kati met me at her Mom's house around 10am and we went over to Smith Field. A local dog park on the beach. It has a lot of great windy gravel paths. It was a warm day. Kati is an event planner and we ran into a dog walker she is hoping to have be a part of a dog friendly day at her work. I really like Kati's confidence and drive when it comes to her job. Truthfully, it reminded me of when I loved jobs I had in the past and I gave it my all. And then it reminded me of how in the past year or so, I had an experience where I grew so very tired of giving my all. It was so refreshing to see someone passionate about their job.
We talked a lot about relationships, the local area that I am learning about, about a mutual mentor who has helped us both make great strides in our life, and about the project. It was fun to see a landing strip for toy planes hidden among the reeds and pass by lots of dogs and their owners. Everyone was very kind to us and smiled hello.

What is great about my walk with Kati is it made me realize I can't come to Half Moon Bay and just keep reflecting like I have done for the last 47 walks. I am ready to dig deeper into this project. I don't know what that means yet. Perhaps visual sketches or different exercises with those I walk with.
What is great is that the effects of a walk have stayed the same. Both of us, were relaxed after our walk. A sense of joy and calm sink into me while we walked. I can't remember everything we talked about but I remember the view of the bluffs and the sea. The great feeling of starting again with this project. I have a lot of worries about how many people I can get to walk with me in this smaller coastal town. Especially with some people being a bit frightened of holding hands. But Kati's walk made me realize that just like my worries on my tour, they are just that, worries, nothing more.
Feeling so glad to be here at Laura's and having the time to explore and the time to take in the sea.
I don't always do this but Kati had the most beautiful words to record our walk:
"The sound of the surf meeting the shore anew,
As we learn from one another
about where we are,
where we have been, and where we will end up.
Reminds me that each day
brings new treasure to behold.
New memories to hold dear,
Just as we hold hands
along the ocean bluffs."
How perfect!

Half Moon Bay Introduction

It has been a long road to Half Moon Bay. And I held it in my heart as the end of a long journey. A place where I could hang my hat as they used to say. Arriving in Half Moon Bay was what I thought it would be because Laura, the woman opening her house to me is an amazing person. I have visited her as a friend two times and always left HMB filled with a sense of ease and renewed. We have been talking about me visiting as an artist in residence for almost a year now. I didn't realize that in my new capacity. I would feel a bit overwhelmed at first. We are planning an amazing large scale event. Where folks will come to Half Moon Bay and walk with strangers on the beach. It is just getting started but it will be a magical day.
There is a rhythm to being a nomad. Where the first few days are rough, and then you usually have a break down and then feel much better. Coming to HMB followed that ritual. I came in and got to meet all of these awesome Bad Art Night friends of Laura's and then I got to chill. In Paige style I am pushing myself pretty for a half marathon as I settle in. That has been a challenge but it also keeps my mind of the biggest stress/terror of all....having time to make VISUAL art! I have already been battling the....oh my visual art SUCKS.....I can't sell any of this....I shouldn't even get started none of my work will be any good. I still haven't ordered supplies to paint. I have watercolors and some illustration board. But I will triumph over this half marathon AND over my fear of more traditional mediums!
I will make sure to take some photos of the lovely folks of Bad Art Night, Laura will invite them to convene at the end of the month on Friday. As it is a bi-monthly art party of making BAD art! No holds bar, just do whatever you want. With my terror of VISUAL art, it is a great place for me to be. I will take some photos of what I make next week.
So I made it! I am here in Half Moon Bay!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Walk with ME: LA STUDS walk: Carole

For the past two weeks I have been in LA, I was able to get some work at the Ben Maltz Gallery deinstalling the "Chan & Mann" show and installing "Tapping the Third Realm." In July, I ran into Carole on the tour Elena Mann and Audrey Chan and she asked for me to do Walk with Me in September for STUDS. A new group of artists that will check out shows and have other artists give talks. A great little facebook group that shares info on openings. 
I expected a small group but Carole was the only STUD who showed. Which ended up being fortuitious so we could do a walk for the project. Carole and I walked at the beach at the end of Ocean Park Blvd around 615pm. I wasn't nervous to walk with Carole because she is an amazingly outgoing artist who from the get go has been easy to talk to. Every time I see her I feel inspired to keep making work. Carole was wearing her hair up in these great braids. And after a week of really hot weather, it was cool at the beach. Wrapped up in a long sleeve shirt felt wonderful! 
After chatting on the cement for a few minutes about living life on the road, we started out going towards Santa Monica Pier. The beach was sort of crowded since it was a Sunday. But it wasn't overly packed. There were tiny little shells lining the was strange as there were baby shells that seemed like they had living things in them. Why had they washed up on shore? 
Carole and I talked about the project, about holding hands and her husband, how used to people staring I have gotten when I walk with women, how gender is played out in this project. We talked about her growing up in Huntington Beach and how much nicer the sand is there. It was great because with Carole there were little pockets of silence that felt really wonderful. 
I am starting to feel really selfish. Because of the SURGE of joy I feel on these walks. I was just smiling away walking down the beach with my friend. What a great way to spend a Sunday. Made me wonder how do I make this art? Is it art inherently with the structure I put around it and the Artist Book I published. Does this need to mean more? Or can it continue to stay this simple as I continue?
Carole and I had to turn back so that her car wouldn't be locked up in the beach lot. We continued to chat easily and sat down to write our reflections. It was great how we kept holding hands until we got to the bench. A hobo was singing anti-rich people songs in the background. Talking about his thrift store clothes.

It was a great feeling to walk with Carole. She asked about gender and how people reacted. I brought up that for some there is fear of walking girl and girl. But I think she was trying to get to something larger. A different concept about gender. I will have to ask her about it. 
As I get ready to leave for Half Moon Bay to continue the project. I have been panic-y and I have been anxious. Wondering what was wrong. I think it has been that I haven't held hands in two months. I am panic-y because I haven't been doing the project. I am very excited to get back to it. Nervous to see how half Moon Bay will respond and to get to work. I am really excited to have access to a studio. I am excited to write and to draw and to paint and possibly to WEAVE. 

Thank you Carole for telling me I can keep making money in the corners of my days and keep this project a going.