Just posted some new work up on my site for my black and white series. It's been really interesting to see how a reduced color pallet can be so complex. Looking forward to pushing the work more.
The month of April was supposed to be a month of creation and all things art. After a long-ish stint doing some freelance work, I was ready to get things going in my studio. That didn't pan out the way I expected.
A combination of things made to this not happen. Honestly, the motivation wasn’t there. Normally, I am in a go-go-go state and work ethic is on. But, I was tired and drained. I found myself doing mundane chores around the house instead of going outside to my studio. I just felt off. Even when I did go into the studio, I didn’t quite know what to do with myself once I was there. I’d pitter patter around and not be productive. Also, mercury was in retrograde so the universe wasn't helping either.
It’s a bizarre feeling when you know you’re off – even just slightly. It took me a few weeks to even realize that I was. Instead of fighting it, I tried to make peace with it. I acknowledged all the transition I have been through the past couple of months (slash years) and realized sometimes it catches up with you. I couldn’t beat myself up. I’ve struggled with various mental health issues (depression and PTSD among them) and have learned that when you fight it or try to ignore, it rears it’s ugly head even more.
All the good things: plants, being outside, and dogs
Being an artist, you spend a lot of time alone with yourself. This intensifies all the feelings and really makes you live in them. There aren’t that many distractions from yourself when it is just you. For better or worse you are in your head. But when your head isn’t at it’s best sometimes you need to get out. Those outlets for me tend to be doing something physical or reading and watching. Yoga during this time kept me sane and so did Bob’s Burgers.
I met with a couple other creatives for coffee and/or lunch and had some really honest conversations. A lot of them as well have been trying to regain their creative mojo. These conversations made me feel so much better because I realized I was not alone and it is part of the process.
I also went to the doctor to run some test. I found out I have Hashimoto’s among some other things that were contributing to my physical and mental symptoms. It's good to know what I am working with.
Changing spaces, locations, and staring new adventures are all transitions. For me, I find myself most productive when I feel settled. This takes time. Sometimes a week, sometimes longer or shorter. Living a creative life seems glamorous from the outside but in reality, it is one of ebbs and flows. I needed the ebb to slow things down so I could mull it all over. It forces reflection and allows space for tasks I might otherwise put off such as reading and researching.
After 5 weeks being in the ebb, I feel like I am finding my flow. While traveling the other weekend I was craving being in my studio. I couldn’t wait to get back so I could be in there and get to work.
Ok, enough typing – the canvas is calling. Time to pick up that brush.
As I begin my class Claiming Voice at PNCA I have been thinking about what I want to research most. Communication has always interested me. I even have my masters in it. How humans connect and communicate. Looking back, pre-language marks and the graphic language are examples of a basic need to leave one's mark.
Can't wait to really dig into this topic and learn more.
PRIVATE PLACES: SECRETS
Group show: Katie Aliprando, Aline Cautis, Sonja Gerdes, Lia Lowenthal
The seed was planted in my head at the tail end of my residency at The Banff Centre. I was having a studio visit with Rachel Bacon and we were talking about the differences between painting and drawing. With my background in watercolor I’ve always treated my paintings like drawings. The essays I love center around contemporary drawing and mark-making. I relate more to the language of graphite than that of oils. So she prompted me with a simple question…
“Would you ever try this in black and white?”
Talk about a light bulb moment. That is exactly what I needed to do to push my work. I could see it in my head so clearly. Conceptually I can justify the shift. It made sense. Take the color out of it and let the marks sing.
With the start of 2018 I’ve entered this new phase excitedly. I started with some small canvas test, works on paper and now am in the middle of a large canvas piece. It's quite amazing to see these pieces come alive even with a reduced color pallet.
The bustle of December has got me in hibernation and refocus mode. I finally had some time to think what I want my 2018 to look like and how art can be at the center of it. With the New Years and all the talk of resolutions it got me excited because I realized this is my first year where art is my focus. That said, there is a lot of unchartered territory that I needed to think about. With the help of some art/business/everything-outside-the-studio books and creative podcast my thoughts began to form all throughout December.
There is something to be said for getting it all out on paper. I used to journal all the time throughout middle and high school so it feels natural. It really helps me sort through the ideas/thoughts and make a plan. Not going to lie, buying a new journal and pens always gets me going. I am a visual thinker so just listing things out doesn’t work for me. To make sense of it, I have to map it out. Luckily I found a method that is great for connecting the dots and helped my brain get organized.
Since my return from my residency I have been chomping at the bit to do some explorations of my work in black in white. By simplifying the pallet and removing the color story the marks and their narrative really have a chance to shine through. I am really excited about some of my starts and can’t wait to keep pushing it forward.
This lifestyle isn’t just a change for me but for my crew too. The dogs and I are trying to negotiate studio space and when/if/how they are allowed in there. I love their company but sometimes I need to focus. Luckily Gian’s shop is finally all setup so when I am in my studio he can be out there making furniture, knives and whatever else he imagines. That’s the idea at least, we’ll see how it goes.
I know a lot can happen in a year and I am excited to see where 2018 takes me.
since july of 2016 my crew and i have been in full on go-mode.
we packed up our first home and moved to a place that i had only visited for 2.5 days the month prior. we both left our jobs and set off on our own path in the same location.
when you are in go-mode you set mile markers to hit. you know where you are going but are constantly thinking in immediate next steps.
unpack, find a house, make it home, find a job, find creative community, get a dog, change plans, sell house, fill boxes, take a break, pick a place, find a house, move stuff, unpack, artist residency, make house a home, be an artist.
we made it back to portland +1 fuzzy friend.
it’s a little weird moving back to a place. it is familiar but, at the same time, disorienting. it’s like a dream; it all feels right but it’s different. a continued state of déjà vu. nothing has changed and everything has changed. there is this underlying comfort that feels good but there is a lot of unknown which feels strange. it’s terrifying and exciting at the same time.
when we moved away i learned how to direct my energy towards a single goal: focus more on my art. this is something i set in motion back in 2016 but when we moved to a new space, this idea finally had room to come to life.
here i am, 479 days later, and i've made it to my final mile marker: be an artist.
today, i start working in my own studio… so i guess i am one step closer.
It’s been a whirlwind. Lightening speed until today and then calm. I packed up my work and painted the walls white. My supplies and artwork is neatly tucked in the corner of a now empty studio. The end comes back to the beginning. A state of freshness and renewal that only white walls can give.
Here are the top 5
1. STUDIO VISITS
From curators to peers it’s been amazing to talk shop, ask a questions and poke holes in my practice. Lots of little light bulb moments that create big change on how I think about my work and what I want to do next. I am so grateful for the time people were willing to exchange and share.
2. WALL SPACE
It was amazing to be surrounded by all the art I made while here. I was crazy productive and it was really impactful to see it all up in one space. It was a lot to take in but it allowed me to see how far I have come.
This residency has been intense. From switching between solitude and group hangs in a new space it has been nice to kick back and relax a bit with a glass of wine with new friends. There are a lot of good people here that have helped me stay sane or at least can sympathize with my thought patterns so I didn’t feel alone. Unlimited cheers and thanks for the words and laughs.
4. PHOTO SERVICES
The trio at photo services is amazing. They documented all my work for me and captured some amazing studio shots along the way. I am so excited to see my work professionally shot and I am so grateful for their time and their talent. They literally saved me over 3 days worth of work. Total GODSEND.
I thought I would be tapped out and need a break from art but honestly, apart from going home and reuniting with my crew, I can’t wait to get back to work. I have a flood of ideas that I can’t wait to try out. I want to push, pull and break my process. Remove the scaffolding and see what I am left with on the page/canvas
NOW time to eat asian food with some of my favorite people and then drive to the airport to pick up my FAVORITE PERSON IN THE WORLD.
you get a strange feeling when you're about to leave a place...
like you'll not only miss the people you love but you'll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you'll never be this way ever again.
found on the wall in the bathroom at the bear's paw bakery in jasper. timing is on point. thank you azar nafisi for your words and to the bakery for toilet and the latte.
Well things have picked up quite a bit as as we progress into the final two weeks it feels crazy to me that I am start to think about wrapping everything up. But before I skip ahead here are my top 5 for the past two weeks.
1. Pause, A Break
We did a group show. By we, I mean 4 painters and 1 drawer. All femme, all good. We were surprised by how well everything came together.
2. Open Studio
Last Wednesday we had a self-directed open studio. Geo-Time residency was winding down so we decided to open our doors and peek our heads into each others spaces. We got to see everyones progress on their own work and also talk about our own. Very refreshing to have these conversations. Also, I sold some art!
4. Reinvigorating Work
While work was up in the gallery and then for my open studio I took a semi-pause. I went to the library to get all new books and inspiration for the paintings I started next. I stretched two large canvases and started 16 new large paper pieces. I am trying to plan out the rest of my time here so I don’t create more of a mess. I will say though I am loving spray paint. Luckily there is a separate booth for that.
The cafeteria and restaurant are my main sources of food and serve pretty basic stuff. Not much flavor or too much of the same types of flavor. This week, I got to eat ramen! It was so good to get that spicy broth and noodles. Craving it all the time now.
5. Studio Parties
We work all day in solitude so socialization and hanging out is a must. Work hard, play hard sums it up. We’ve had some solid hangouts/parties. So. Good. Geo-timers headed out this Saturday and so we had one final hoo-rah with them Friday night. I danced my face off and Karaoke happened as well. Yours truly did not grace the mic but made up for it with dance moves. I will miss my ladies dearly. Global friendships, here we go.
I’ve been in my studio for three straight weeks and among the solitude I keep returning to a single question: WHY?
Why am I doing what I am doing? Why marks? Does it mean anything? Why is it important? Am I crazy? What am I trying to do?
I by no means have a final answer around this but I do have some thoughts. I will lay them out as best I can. These ideas are fluid and not fully formed.
. . .
I’ve realized my current body of work has two primary influences: a life outdoors and my career in communications and graphic design.
Nature has always helped keep me centered. Its been my part of my internal compass and center. Living a life where I can be outside and connect with the world around me makes me feel part of something greater. I love how the vastness of spaces makes me feel free like a bird and how the impressiveness of mountains make me feel like an ant. I am constantly navigating, exploring and trying to figure out how I fit into this world around me. The physical world gives me energy that I internalize and then externalize through my work. There is a constant exchange between intake and output.
My work uses color and form to create a language and express/communicate intangibles. I categorize intangibles as all the stuff you don’t see going on behind the scenes: ideas, emotions, energy, thoughts. These are things where, for me, words fall short.
I really try to think of painting as a construction of an image. Dealing with things we don’t have proper language for. The neologism is there to address when language isn’t enough. Through repetition of the mark there is this desire to try to invent something.
– Julie Mehretu
I have built a visual vocabulary of marks. I am fascinated with repetition and patterns. I love how a set of marks looks one way but when you change your material it changes the entire ethos of those same marks. I often think I am crazy. Repeating the same thing over and over again on multiple paintings. Is my language not diverse enough? Am I just making the same work over and over again with different colors? We are all critics but I am always my greatest. This is when I have to reach outside of myself and look to others.
One mark leads to the next and then feeds onto another painting.
– Heather Day
"I love your use of marks. When I look at them it makes me want to make marks. I just love the tediousness of some." – Soundbites from peers post Pause, A Break
So I am not alone and I am not crazy. This does mean something. What I’ve realized is that I am obsessive and I am endlessly on this pursuit to sort out what is going on in my head and the world around me. I’ve always leaned on my internal states as the subject of my work and I am creating a language for me to process it all. So yes, for me, my work is personal but it isn’t just about me. If it was, my language would be way more specific.
The unconscious is a language.
– Lara Pawson
What I’ve realized is that working in communications/design I’m always looking for the most simplistic way to convey an idea or a thing. A reduced visual language to show the thing in it’s most simplistic but informational form. I love in the Netflix mini doc series ABSTRACT with illustrator Christoph Niemann when he talks about using a heart to create a symbol for love through his ABSTRACT-O-METER. He sorts out how to convey the idea of the thing versus the actual thing itself.
I am constantly intaking the world around and within me and regurgitating it onto my work. I create a world where triangles are trees, directions or movement; wonky lines are trails, a ridge line or my own path. Where dashes can be the wind, migrations, or thoughts and color can be landscapes, water or emotions.
The form is the body of the color.
The color is the soul of the form.
– Kevin Gerstner
It is important for me to create something that show opposite states co-existing within a single piece. I’ve always framed it in my mind as states of control and lack there of. Order + chaos. Rigidity + fluidity. Spontaneous + intentional. Guttural + soft.
“Something effortless and something considered”
– Heather Day
That is important to me because as entities (humans, landscapes, etc.) we are dynamic, constantly changing, reacting, growing and shifting. These altered states demonstrate states of flux that coexist amongst one another. Complexity + simplicity.
So I return to my first question:
W H Y ?
I do it because I have to.
Yesterday was the opening of the BAiR (Banff Artist in Residence) 2D show in The Project Space Gallery. It came together beautifully and I'm glad to my art can hang among some badass babes. Here are some photos - hopefully we can get some better quality ones later.
the form is the body of the color. the color is the soul of the form.