Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Coming Home

Like many, home is a place of complete respite and at points excoriating anxiety. I have fantastic parents who really care about what I do and have opinions about what I should do. Well, like many parents do. That kind of love makes me incredibly worried about messing up. Letting them down. I am learning to be ok with the anxiety and the calm that comes with home. It is strange as I have come here a few times as I have travelled around with "Walk with Me." That this time feels different. Why? Because I have decided to settle in the Twin Cities.

I am very excited to be coming home. For years, I have tried to escape where I came from and who I was when I was younger. I never felt that people in Minnesota accepted me as an artist. Coming back, I feel a comfort and an excitement at finding a place to be an artist in Minnesota. Excited to see where I fit in, in a blossoming community of artists, I am searching for jobs and places to live.

Like most young adults, I have battled with the expectations of others and my true desires. Stubbornly, I have stayed with art. Rightly so, as when I am not being creative, I truly go crazy. As I mature into my early thirties, I realize that there is another part of me, that of the healer. That of someone who has the intuitive nature and the finesse to connect to people. I am not interested in using that skill to sell anyone anything, not even my art work. What I am interested in is helping people find a way to live that makes them feel joy.

In the past four years, I have slowly slowly slowly made changes to my life that have had marked improvement. From weight loss, career advancements, and meditation have all led to a feeling of well being. Finally, I realize life isn't just about my actions but a very complex web of opportunity, luck, and a ton of hard work.

I was very lucky to be invited to be a part of "How to be Feminist Artist?" at St. Kate's in St. Paul, MN. Being able to walk off a plane and know that your work will be shown a day later is the way to enter the city. Getting to show "Walk with ME" again is a true pleasure. Along with the exhibition there is a publication with an interview of mine about my work! Truly exciting.

Let me just get sentimental on you. Both of my parents were at this opening. Which hasn't happened in a very long time.

Surrounded by amazing women and men artists here in Minnesota, my life coach and mentor, Laurie, is part of the show. Her work is inspiring me to work within the health field as an artist. Her husband is a long time friend and I got to spend time with him. My dear friend, Andrew, drove straight from work to be there for the opening.
To top it all off, my mentor from High School was there. I was part of an advanced student program and they paired me up with Sally and I learned a lot with the space she gave me in her studio. The alone time to create. What a gift to see her again. Then there is the sparkle of Pat and Elizabeth, two women that used their positions as faculty at two large institutions to further feminist at education and encouraging women to keep making art.

Celebration. That is what I have been thinking about lately. All these amazing things I have done and for years, I never took the time to celebrate them. Yeah maybe I have gotten drunk or taken a day off to go to the beach. That doesn't mean I ACTUALLY took a breath and let my stress level go down a few notches. Or believe that I could do more than someone else allowed me to believe. Saturday, I celebrated. Not in some crazy fashion. Just really let it sink in that my art is important. 

Today I started an application to a Health Coaching certificate. I have no idea how this an weave into my art career. Is this another distraction from my art career? Or with how in my life art/life overlap, is this a way to bring two parts of me together for something that could be very successful? Unlike the first 30 years of my life. I am going to try to be ok with ambiguity and just try it out. Go meet the faculty. Think about getting a day job and make art without anything extra. I think me being an artist can make me a fantastic health coach. I think my art could become deeper and more profound from the people I will interact with as a health coach.

Truth be told I want to not have to rely on my family when I am in my 40s when art once again doesn't pay me any money for my efforts. I want to be a self sufficient artist and health coach. There is some future I can't see yet for me. As our world shifts quickly, I am trying to hold on and feel good with what I have. Trying to stay flexible and see where all this can go. So here we go….at home.
Happy Self-Indulgent Selfie

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Neither Here Nor There

Awesome Door in Koreatown
Just trying to keep blogging and sharing as a new transition occurs.
I have been in LA for about a month now. I came here thinking I was going to stay. 
I had a place to crash. Part time jobs lined up. 
Every day was a panic attack. As I looked for my own place. As I searched for full time jobs. 
My parents said they would help me with a few months rent if need be. 
I was set. 
But I wasn't. Riding the bus around LA. The idea of commuting on two buses a day or a train and a bus…not knowing where I would fit in this huge city was getting terrifying. But I came back here cause I knew how it all worked. I was fitting myself into the box I had left. forgetting all I had learned the last year, I was trying to go back where I had been. Well that doesn't work so well. Suddenly, the air quality, the noise pollution, the way things were rubbed me the wrong way. Many conversations with acquaintances felt so shallow. So not what I am looking for in my life. I do not want to be seen as a whiner or as a spazz. There is just something to listening to your gut. I am know to have freak outs. I am trying to make sure that this isn't just a dramatic moment that I will regret later. 
Isa Ramen Tea Cup
I signed up for an amazing Chris Kraus writing class and would go to class all excited and revived. Making art has always been my escape and my elation…the best of life is in creating. Getting to focus and let go…just like in meditation, make me supremely happy. Plus, Chris is like a LA legend and I was so pumped to get into her class. I like a little art social economic value in my teachers. I must admit it was to be cool as much as to work on my writing. The results have been amazing already. I am engaged and adoring every minute of it. The thing is….if I leave LA. I will be leaving the class. 
Print Art from LA Art Book Fair
This post is about leaving. Losing. Getting swallowed up. Three weeks of panic attacks disappeared when I decided to go back to Minnesota. Maybe it is just a delay. Maybe when I go back to Minnesota, I will get panicked all over again about job finding. But for now, the decision feels right 90% of the time. I don't know maybe I was just stressed and I cried it all out on the phone Thursday. 

Here is the thing though. Home. I know it is a state of mind. I know families are a messy psychological state at best. Well, I just want all that. I want to see my mother. I want to see my father. I want to go to family events. More than that there is Minnesota. The land where I would stare at trees in wonder for minutes at the time. Learning to observe. Learning to see detail. LA is a land where time is  money. I can't seem to find room for me here. I came unprepared. Retreat! Retreat! Regroup! This city will eat me alive if I don't come back with better armor. With a job in hand. I don't want to scrap by for 6 months to a year. Hell, I miss trees. I even miss seasons. 

People are treating me like a walking wounded. Like I have a limb missing. I am just moving to a smaller art world where maybe someone will pay attention to me. This last year has taught me that I have it. I am passionate and I have follow through. I want that roll to keep rolling and LA was slowing my jam. So, I got to go where the flow is. As I saw friends at art events, rushing around with no time to be present with me. I start to think that I am making a good decision. 
Zines to research for LGBT elders book project
I am hoping to start a new project getting verbal histories from LGBT elders in Minnesota. I think we are at an important moment to collect the stories of those who lived through a time where they were more likely to get arrested for being gay and a time where in some states gay folks can get married legally. I would like to preserve those stories and make limited edition artist books with the interviews in them. 

I want the time for a garden. I want to have to wait through winter to see flowers bloom. 

Is Minnesota a for sure thing? No. No way. It will be just as hard. I have no idea what will happen. But my body and intuition say go home. Rest up. Try something new.