Friday, September 17, 2010

Put the Needle in the Dot.

Oh, dear, readers! It would seem like my turning 30 means I have no more time for you!

But alas, I have only been storing up all sorts of amazing stories to tell you!!

Where to start?

Well, first of all, I have had an amazing past week. Or two, actually. Right after my birthday, Tim took me to the aquarium here to see an exhibit on Jellyfish. I WISH I had the footage he and I took of these amazing creatures. Living poetry, honestly. I told Tim he should use some of the footage for a music video. It puts art to shame, honestly.

What else? Well, this past week was particularly eventful. Where do I start?

Well, I guess I will start with the magic that happened to me at the library.

The UTC library is a glorious thing in Chattanooga. It is home to more art books than anywhere else, is open until midnight, and they don't even seem to mind if you are lugging along your cold coffee in hand. So I went in this past tuesday, and decided, since I am still frustrated and totally obsessed with this motion series I am trying to, very slowly, paint. I looked up books on Futurism, since that is the only period of past art I can think of that relates to this specific cause.
What I found was mind-blowing. I picked up a book on Boccioni.
Now, when I think of Boccioni, I think of the Italian nickel (pre-uaro days) and a very blurry art history class in Rhode Island that I should have been paying attention to. I think of this image:

Kind of amazing. A sculpture that looks like it is moving is no small endeavor. So that's what I thought I was getting. What was the MAGIC was this image that was painted a few years just before:

HOLY CRAP. I lost it. So, there have been two things I have been working on pretty intensely. One, being the motion paintings that I am struggling with, and two, a new painting technique that came to me somewhat out of nowhere about 6 months ago. It is where you start a painting using a series of dots, then layer their complimentary colors over it. (a little like Pointillism, without the garish colors). Now, folks, lets get one thing straight, I have NEVER been taught this method of painting, but have found it easier to work with, more enjoyable results, and able to compose more accurately.

The painting above is by Boccioni as well, and the technique is a series of dots that have been layered. It is called Divisionism.

Ok, freaky. I look up this artist for movement, knowing nothing about him, and find my own technique smack dab in the middle of the book.

(insert twilight zone music here)

He also painted a lot of very strange movement paintings with a lot of missing information.
Obviously, I want to do things a little differently, but I felt like I had just read about some distant soul that I had a lot in common with. Past Lives? Maybe. Secrets shared? Maybe. New crush on a dead white guy? Definitely.

What else? Well, this past week at UTC was an event called the Marek Visiting Artists Series. A very generous family, the Mareks, pays for two artists to come to UTC, stay for a week, speak to the students, and have a show in the gallery. This year, the two artists were Rose Freymuth-Frazier and Michael Vasquez.
I have to say, they were both wonderful people and excellent painters. Both are roughly my age, and had a lot to share as far as professionalism, materials, themes, and just living the artist life in general. I felt very lucky to be able to spend a good portion of the week with them.

And since all my posts have to have something new-agey in them, I want to share that today I went for my first session of acupuncture with Wayne Stephens.
Now, I don't know how many of you have seen an acupuncturist, but it is not what I thought it would be. Or feel like. I went because I had (yet another) headache. As a promise to myself when I turned 30, I have decided to take better care of myself physically. So, I decided to give acupuncture a whirl.

I'm a new addict.

Wayne was not only kind and generous in explaining to me how it is done, but he zapped my pain.
Entering the house where Wayne's studio is set up, you open the door to very faint NPR and the fragrant smell of lavender. The rooms are clean, if not slightly bare, but kind. There is a good energy to the place. There are books about China in the waiting area, and a photo book filled with pictures of foreign places.

"You had me at China"

Then I picked up a book called "The Illustrated Guide to Chinese Medicine". Hmm... like Chinese Medicine for Dummies?
Not quite. The first chapter seemed to be about Yin and Yang mostly.
Ok, so I kind of think of Dolphins and Sunflowers and YinYang charms in 1994 when I see this symbol. But as I read about Yin and Yang, it occurred to me that I know nothing about what the symbol means, except some random guess that male/female-all things-change-and-there's-nothing-we-can-do-about-it sort of thing.


Yin is dark, passive, restful, potential and downward. Yang is hot, active, bright and upward. What was funny about this book is it had little quizzes at the end of the chapter to see if you understood. Like a picture of ice and asking if this was a Yin or Yang property. Hmm. It's Yin. Water or steam would be the Yang. The only way I could remember was "Yin" sounds like "in", and inwardly we are quiet and full of potential.
This book said that illness is caused from too much of one or the other, or not allowing one to turn into the other. Like a fever is too much Yang, but when it breaks, it turns to Yin.
Confused yet? I had to read it a few times. I kept thinking of my motion paintings, and how much I find them in the world.

But I've led you down a rabbit hole (full of Yin).

Back to acupuncture.

So once I told Wayne all about my headaches, he got behind me and pushed on my neck in a place that no massage therapist has ever seemed to find. It was sore, and I hadn't even known it. He did this poking several times, in my neck, up and down my spine and so on. Then he left and I got under the sheets on the main massage table and waited.
Then he came back in , and the needles began.
When I was telling this story to Tim afterwards, I could see him getting green at the word "needles". Ok, so acupuncture isn't for everyone. But just an fyi...the needles are as thick as two human hairs. But they feel AMAZING when they are in the right spot. The ones in my neck I could really feel. It didn't hurt, it just felt like some very ancient pain was being poked for the first time.
I paid for a session for next month already. It's a slightly expensive habit, but well worth it, I think. Plus I really liked the ten minutes when he left me alone, full of needles, and I pretended I was a porcupine. :)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Some day I'm going to be famous.

I'm over the hump!!!

Ha ha! Just kidding.... 30 is still far from any hump (insert obvious sexual comment here). I had a FABULOUS week. 30 is proving to kick 29's ass, as it turns out. The week was complete with massages, sushi, birthday breakfasts, flowers, obnoxiously bright festive decorations, a few too many vodka tonics, a stunning homemade cake, friends, hugs, and the obligatory drag queens.

So tonight, I'm sitting on my front porch in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The heat, for the first time in almost three months, has let up. It is a perfect temperature.

I tried to write a post about an hour ago. But it was just so damn happy and boring, so I erased it. And one of the cool quirks with Blogger is that you can look at other blogs you have written. So I started to read my blog from 2 years ago, openfire. It is absolutely hilarious! Ok, so the last post was very, very sad. I was very, very sad. A large part of this year was spent licking the wounds from that time. I spent the rest of 2009 lost, I can say. I also had some amazing things happen to me . I met my most amazing boyfriend Tim last December. Poor Tim had to deal with a lot of the scars on my heart from last summer. And wait it out with me. And put up with my knee-jerk reactions. But people come into your life right when you need them. And the ones you don't need find their way out.
Ok, but I'm not ALL sadness! Some of the posts are a total roar, if I don't say so myself. There is a post entitled pack rat that was written about my sister and her hoard of bizarre hobbies that I almost pissed myself reading. Or when I went to New York and heard Enya playing at a Burger King in the Bronx. I'm not ALWAYS writing about Zen and keeping it all together and letting the moment be with you. Sometimes I just want to laugh my ass off. Sometimes artists get SO caught up in their survival and what it all means and all the hustle that is required, they forget to take a freakin piss at the world.
Tim and I had this conversation recently. He has a man-crush on some photographer that doesn't post anything about himself, just his work. On FaceBook. Freakin' FaceBook. The guy doesn't put photos of himself, or any info. That's fine... I get that part. The only info he DOES put, however, is that one day he is going to be famous.
Don't get me wrong, the guy is very talented.

But what a D-Bag.

Tim, having seen this, became self-conscious about how much personal info he has on the internet. He likes to write on FB about what people are doing, what he likes, photos of those around him. His website has info about him, his background, etc...In short, he is connected. He opens himself up for targets and also for friends.

He was self-conscious about not having enough mystery, and therefore, not doing a proper job in selling his goods.

I truly think, in my heart, that mystery is overrated. It is obvious, it is everyday. Move on. We can't know. That is so, so obvious. But to use this fact as a sales tactic, is, in my opinion a waste of time, in the long-run.
Ok, not everyone should know when you go to the bathroom and wipe you ass. There is a grey zone here. But to purposely HIDE yourself is something totally different. There are repercussions. No one ever knows you. No one can see you vulnerable. No one can know you are HUMAN.
I know some artists (including myself at different times) who only put out information that sells them. No funny business. Make a buzz, sort of speak. And, supposedly, their artwork is enough for you to know about them.
Ok, let's set things straight. I think artwork should speak for itself. It doesn't matter who the artist is if it sucks.
But, BUT, do the REAL great artists conceal everything?? In my mind Thom Yorke and Bjork are two VERY great artists. I know exactly why Thom Yorke has a wonky eye. I know he laughs like a dork. I know he is a classically trained musician. I know Bjork was a slightly bored teenager who took long trip into the wilderness. I know she is a total nut and hard to listen to in interviews.
And I love both of them even more for this. I love that they talk about their work. I love that it makes the work more accessible. I love that I can enjoy their music even more. I am officially obsessed with both.
And one of the most redeeming qualities about all the hoop-la surrounding artist Richard Schmid is that he put info about himself in his book, Alla Prima. It is not a dry, sterile book on painting. It is full of laughter and wittiness. It is a little piece of him.

What do you think??

I don't have anything figured out in this business. I suck at it, frankly. But I know, in my gut, that hiding myself isn't a smart move. I'm smart and fairly together... why wouldn't that help me sell my work? I don't think my personality will take away from my art. Hopefully, someday, my work will be thousands of miles away from me. And I can laugh my head off as best as I want to with my friends and it won't make me a less professional artist.
But what do I know.

For now, I'm happy to laugh, enjoy my friends and family, and try not to get too serious about myself. It's not always easy.