I do a lot of different things: original paintings, portraits, design work, live painting, a daily project, prints and more. My subject matter ranges from humorous to beautiful places to plants and people. The sizes I have worked in for the last 6 months have ranged from 3 inches to 6 feet.
I often think I should be more focused with my art, that I should be working at X size or with X subject matter or making my website look more like X. Or maybe I should...Agh! SHOULD! I hate that word.
I want to be really expansive with my work and let it go wherever it goes. Last year I started doing paper installations, which were incredibly enjoyable to make. Right now I am sketching people's dreams at The Snooze Bar (see tomorrow's blog post). I love how very different these things are, yet their commonality is that I get to make them happen.
After art school, I got tired of the formalism and seriousness of the art world. Artist statements can sometimes be the most dreadful thing to read and egos of some artists are unbearable. Recently, I've grown tired of the maker/handmade/product world. It leaves me looking for meaning. Now, I am not sure where this puts me, maybe somewhere in between. This summer, I'll be making a lot of new work for a few fall shows and I'll be starting my children's book. It can be easy to get caught in familiar formulas and I want my art to challenge and push me. I want to do things beyond a painting hanging on a wall in a gallery. Even though I'm not sure yet what that would be. All I know is I feel like I have a really good *flow going right now.
Here are some things that have been helping me get here:
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
I've been training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for the last 5 weeks. I have been going 4-5 days a week. It has been amazing both mentally and physically. When I first walked in the door, I felt kind of nervous. The athletic activities I tend to do are swimming, hiking, yoga, running, all things you can do solo. With BJJ you work really closely with just one other person. It's intense, rewarding, frustrating and fun. When starting something new, there is a lot of mystery in figuring it out. When I enrolled in sailing lessons last year, I felt the same way. It's so refreshing to get out of your routine and do something you aren't good at. And when someone has you smashed down on a mat, you feel like you can handle anything that comes your way.
I love this podcast I discovered recently. DJ Douggpound has reminded me I need more humor, spontaneity and integrity in all parts of my life. Listening to these guys talk about tiny houses, Pere Ubu, banning toilet paper, likes and dislikes ("big ups" and "shots fired") or whatever is on their minds has made me remember I have been ignoring some of the things I love most: being silly, discovering new music, saying whatever you want, taking care of the environment and other randomness in life. If you don't like a little bit of raunchy humor, then this one may not be for you.
Kyle Pellet's Instagram feed
I love Kyle's art. It's the best. Of course the simple shapes, vintage technicolor and brilliant titles of his paintings are why you would follow him on Instagram, but the little extra is seeing his strange and mundane suburban scenes of San Jose. Kyle, thank you for bringing us back to reality.
I worked with this pair of artists on a mural a few months ago and I just love what they do. This video, reminds me of what artists used to be like in San Francisco. Not so perfect and curated, but brilliant art all the same.
Riding my bike and listening to music
We don't need a calendar to tell us when it's summer in California (it was 95 degrees when I started writing this the other day). Lately, I've been having the best time riding my bike and listening to Glass Candy and other old favorites (is this also reverting?). There's a lot of good thinking time while you are on a bike. Plus, you learn a lot about physics and when you have headphones on you feel like you're in a movie.
Life is what you make it
My mom often said this phrase when I was growing up (apparently Eleanor Roosevelt said it first, according to Google). She also said "C'est la vie" ("That's life" in French), which I find too accepting of the way things are. Life is what you make it. I think it's true. Sure, we can be dealt some pretty bad cards, but there are choices and risks we can take to make it more exciting or improve things. My horoscope above feels like it fits right in with this. I think it could also be "Luck is what you make it."
Disappointments can be a good thing
Pay attention to the disappointments in your life. They might be trying to tell you something. I received a library science degree after my art degree. During a bad economy. The library I worked (hard) at for 5 years interviewed me for a librarian position and didn't end up hiring me. Neither did the two other libraries I interviewed with. So, I went back to art. I'm happy about that. Recently, after a couple disappointments I found myself in the midst of really cool projects.
Focusing and daydreaming
It is hard to focus with the internet around. I have been more careful with what I look at and absorb from the internet because as someone who is interested in a lot of things, it is easy to take in too much or get annoyed. Not having internet access for 6 days while on a trip a couple months ago was pure bliss. I now catch myself and step away from the stupid phone or computer. I don't wake up and look at my phone. I make coffee.
A few months ago, while working on my Home Art Studio Project, I mentioned the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I had to stop the clean up and studio project because of other projects, but I am getting back to it. We all just have too much stuff.
This past week, I have been thinking about the younger me. When I was a teenager, I hated things that were popular or mainstream. With the internet, it always feels like a popularity contest and I always avoided that. I dropped out of high school, never went to school dances, dyed my hair, ignored most people and hung out with the weirdos (which back then, we were actually weird). What did I love? As a teen, I loved The Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, politics, things not made in sweatshops, recycling, riding my bike, hiking and liking being different from everyone else. While we should always be evolving, I think your younger you shouldn't always be ignored. Does watching Jon Stewart daily count as being political??
Spontaneity, Fun and Humor
I've followed my intuition, tried something new and cracked up at stupid things.
So yeah, whatever!
* Flow is a good book I read many years ago. Check it out!