This ended up being mostly a prep night, though Liz worked on her super fabulous leotard, and made quite a lot of progress with it. It’s nice to have an excuse to collage. Not that one actually needs an excuse, it’s just that I’ve had weird hang-ups about it for years. (If this doesn’t make sense now, it will once the installation is up. Hopefully.) I’ll get into this more later.
A friend of mine is generously allowing me to use a room in her home as my studio. When husband and I originally moved into our apartment, we both thought the living room and bedroom would be large enough for me to fit work spaces into, but the spaces always felt like they were battling for a clear purpose. While I will still have a small area at home to work in, it will be less overwhelmingly cluttered and used only for small scale projects. For a couple months now I have felt that my paintings and drawings needed to be larger, so actually having a space to find out what exactly that entails is really exciting.
The room was a boy’s room. The walls were bright blue, the way you imagine the sky is blue as a kid, and then later realize it isn’t that kind of blue at all. I inherited a small wooden desk with missing drawer handles and a pale blue-green dresser with paint charmingly chipped off and worn down. There are also scattered pins, pennies, pencils, and paint brushes. Oh, and two mirrors placed in such a way that I can see myself before I open the closet door, then immediately afterward as I step into the closet.
I like the history of spaces, real and imagined. Once, ballroom turned hospital turned theatre turned yoga studio. Then home turned hospital turned home turned dining room. I don’t know the history of Mira’s house, but I do know a boy used to have this room. I changed the blue walls to white and dark red. The ceiling still glows with stars and moons when I turn the lights off, and I enjoy that about it. It reminds me that I am just borrowing this space.
“Wouldn’t it be funny if we all achieved enlightenment and then the world ended?”
Apparently, 2011 was rough for a lot of people and now those same people are cartwheeling into 2012. We all look shinier, which might just mean we need a shower, but the shower will be a triumphant shower. With hot water and bergamont grapefruit scented soap filling our nostrils. With a sigh and cool, overcast winter light shining in on our fresh faces. This kind of optimism requires no smiles or cake or cards. Just… a shower.
(What I’m trying to say is that I’m still a bit dirty.)
I’ve been preparing to move some of my art materials into my soon-to-be new studio, where I will mostly paint and work on moderately large projects. Since I’ve been thus forced to acknowledge the boat load of crap that I own, I’ve also been purging a bit of it and devising a plan that if I don’t start using it all within 6 months, it’s gone.
On many occasions, my hoarding of papers and other materials saved me from having to buy those materials for a project; however, at this point my possessions feel more oppressive to me than time or money saving. They are an ugly reminder of all the time that I have wasted, opportunities missed, ideas forgotten, creative (redemptive) impotence. Instead of seeing the potential that I originally saw in them, I see myself failing. Constantly.
(See what I mean.)
I am giving myself the chance to use those items — at least to a degree that indicates productivity, instead of weirdo hoarder — and then if I don’t, I’m letting them go. Because I need to. I don’t even know how to sew and I have three large plastic bins of “scrap” fabric. Yes, three. That’s just one example.
(Yep, you see it.)
I will probably never stop squirreling away some materials because they are legitimately useful to me. There are other reasons, too, but I feel like that’s a given. Some stuff you can’t ever wash off.
Paint like this reminds me of images that I used to see of galaxies, celestial bodies unnamed in my mind. They have names. Everything has at least one name. My mind just didn’t know them, similarly to how it can’t match a Honda Accord with a Honda Accord. The car was dirty silver, like an old coin found in the street. The tree had leaves like pointy elongated tears. The fabric feels like a spider web looks.
No one seems to have much use for knowing the names of ghosts. Or whatever they are. Ghost is a name, too. We all know that name, like names of God, only more people snicker about Ghosts.
My throat is sore, my head hurts, and my nose feels like someone has been scraping the inside of it with a serrated knife. I need to get to work, but I wanted to take a moment to think about something else, and it ended up being this picture. Then it ended up being names. I still have to title my work.
Back to it, then.
The tantrums actually ended a while ago once I felt more secure in the progression of the work. At first it was not working out at all, my hands felt awkward and jumpy. Virginal in the ways of graphite and watercolour. Has it really been that long since I tried to draw something in earnest? It’s at least been a couple months. And before that I was busy masturbating a sea of hundreds, thousands tiny little black lines. Fight or flight, a combination of both.
My hands and my eyes remember more now, and I can see the faces much better. Soon I’ll move onto the figures. They will have to be quick and ruthless. In my head, they remind me of figures in the work of Kara Walker, Wangechi Mutu, Fay Ku, Peregrine Honig, and my former classmate Kenna Kindig (who needs a website or something).
Installation begins after this weekend, then a week until the opening reception. I knew there were some things I wouldn’t begin until I could move into the gallery, such as the mysterious substance flowing in and out of the figures, so that’s not really a concern. It will work. If it doesn’t I will burn the whole building down. (Not really, Karlota.)
By the way: I still need some pictures of faces. Just an up close portrait with no makeup or glasses. Unless you have a lot of facial hair, in which case I can’t really use you, but thanks anyway. Photos of random people on the internet just don’t work as well.
The work spaces I have in our new apartment are coming along in that they are functional, but I’m not nearly satisfied enough with their current states to allow them to remain that way. Since I don’t have a room that is specifically and only a studio, I’m trying really hard to prevent my work areas from making the whole space look cluttered and chaotic. (Anyone who has been in one of my studios can definitely understand the difficulty. A friend of mine once said, “I don’t feel like I’m entering a studio so much as I feel like I’m entering your brain. It’s kind of scary in there, like being inside a tornado.”) Although I don’t regret committing to living and working in this apartment for the next two years, I miss not being able to create a cocoon for myself.
The painting area is in the living room…
…and the everything-else-that-I-do-plus-some-painting area is in the bedroom.
I’ve decided that the trip across the country will take place in the spring/summer of 2013. This is so that I have time to save money for the trip, save money for a video camera, and become more acquainted with said camera. I would go alone, as She does, if I could. But I can’t really be trusted, now can I? Husband is coming along because he is my best companion.
I don’t want to plan the trip too much because I trust my instincts, and I think they will lead me in the right directions, regarding hotels and bars and roadside diners. I should try to figure how much it will cost, though, right? That would be really responsible of me.