Tuesday, 20 September 2011
Friday, 26 August 2011
Much has happened this summer and unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to update my blog. Actually, who am I kidding, I actually haven’t WANTED to update my blog.
The reason is I have been working on some very big life issues this summer. I had got admitted into grad school and was planning a move to the city of my dreams, yet there felt like something was missing. A couple of months ago my partner actually turned to me and voiced some concerns about my plans. It’s not like he didn’t want me to go to school, but he did ask me why someone who is avidly pro-financial independence would be willing to go into tremendous amount of debt for art school.
And I couldn’t give him an answer.
Isn’t it that way with those who are the closest to us? They can sometimes see big truths in us; truths that we just overlook every day. I decided that since this question vexed me so much, I would give it the attention it deserves and for two months I did nothing but soul searching. I spent my time, planning the move, packing, selling my belongings, and in between: I meditated, talked with friends, and read some amazing books. I got inspired by authors that wrote about living an authentic life, about fear, and learning to be vulnerable and imperfect in a world that pressures us to be conformist. I searched blogs of people who live non-conformist lives like:
Niall Doherty’s “Disrupting the Rabblement”
Lori Deschene’s “Tiny Buddha”
These guys really made me think about the possibility to create change and do some of the stuff I love without having to go the “conventional route”.
In the end, I finally realized that the main reason I wanted to go to grad school, was because I felt illegitimate as an artist without a degree. For ten years I have been studying and sketching. I have sought out professional artists for their advice, critique, and methods. I have taken night classes to fill in gaps of my education, but I have no art degree…and I finally realized that the one thing that has been keeping me back from submitting my artwork to galleries and selling aggressively online was because I felt like I wasn’t a legitimate artist. In fact, I felt like I wasn’t even an art student….more like a pre-art student, preparing myself for art school.
Not only that, but in the process, I uncovered a deep seated dream of wanting to help affect social change through my writing and art and I really had to sit and seriously had to weigh if spending 3 years and $80,000 was really in line with the things I wanted to do.
The resounding answer I got was no.
Now I’m not saying that I feel all happy and carefree, because honestly, I am scared shitless. I have no idea what I’m going to do now, but like all the other amazing movers and shakers I’ve been researching, I know that is actually a wonderful place to start.
I do have plans, though. I sat down in the last month and wrote up a list of things I would like to do:
• Travel: Peru (to visit Machu Picchu), England and southern France (to visit friends), and Japan (to study Japanese calligraphy and visit Shinto temples)
• Blog: I want to take my blogging to a more professional level about not have it only about art, but psychology and emotional identity
• Move: I still want to move to San Francisco. I really feel like it’s the right move for me and my partner and he thinks so as well
• Mentor: There is one professor at the Academy of Art that I would like to take classes with: Henry Yan. I had fallen in love with the way he captures portraits and I really wanted to learn his techniques.
• Community: I want to get more involved in art communities and help develop programs to get both artists and non artists together to collaborate and express ideas.
So there you have it, some of the big things that I wanted to do when I got out of school and now that I realized that I don’t need a degree to do any of these things, I’m kind of excited to start tackling them.
The first thing I’m going to do is start a blog based on my personal philosophy of learning to find beauty in anything…and how to overcome obstacles to creativity and self expression. In fact, once I pick a domain, this will also be the first post for that new endeavor.
The small picture I drew above represents exactly how my heart feels right at this time. When I started to ask myself some hard questions, all I saw was a tangling of emotions and thoughts. I saw excuses that I used to avoid acting on my dreams, and ways in which I hid so I wouldn’t have to face my fears.
Yet, there is an incredible beauty to entangling forms. Like roots, our entanglements can not only ground us, but protect us and provide endless hours of exploration. Just like a tangle of roots, strings, or cables, emotional entanglements can carry a beautiful asymmetry to them. All tangles grow organically and are all very much a product of both time and action.
Through all this I learned life is very much a series of entanglements…you untangle a set of emotions, you create a new set, you unravel it yet again. Each conundrum that we face is not permanent, nor is it the last one we will face.
Like all living things, I think we excel in getting tangled, but if we can learn to unravel every once in a while, we just might find incredible treasures we once thought were lost.
Thursday, 4 August 2011
Wednesday, 13 July 2011
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
I look back at times when I had to work on life stuff and didn’t work on dream stuff and I realized I spent a lot of my energy berating myself for not being productive. It’s amazing to see that one of my biggest obstacles was myself…
And now that I’ve gotten out of the way of myself, life seems to move at a pretty beautiful rhythm.
In the last year, I’ve not only spent a lot of time culling my possessions, but friends as well. I realized that I had always gravitated towards people who were a little more selfish and demanding than most and I would spend a lot of my time worrying about how to please them. I often did this at the expense of myself. Once I figured out that I'm better off without those encumberments, I have a lot more time to work on the things I love.
It’s nice, actually. Most days I just chill on the porch, sketching or looking in my microscope, learning as much as I can about art and biology… I feel like parts of me I thought long gone are regenerating…
One wonderful thing I have been reading has been “The Element” by Sir Ken Robinson. I really recommend this for anyone who is involved in education (even students). I could summarize it in one sentence: Everyone should do what they feel is right. There’s more to it, though. The stories are so encouraging, so heartfelt, and for the first time I don’t feel like a freak for loving the weird things I do, or thinking the way I do. Robinson basically breaks down the fact that each of us has a uniquely developed intelligence and combining that with our unique perception of the world, he shows that each of us has something to contribute to the world. He also really emphasizes to educators that we shouldn’t fall into stereotypes when it comes to encouraging kids to think about careers. In the future, it will be probable that people will not only have multiple jobs, but multiple careers in one lifetime (due to readily available information and networking tools) So why are we teaching kids that they should just do one thing? Why are we limiting ourselves to just one career? Diversity and Creativity will be our greatest asset in the future…
It’s pretty amazing stuff, actually and it applies to so much. Often it is only ourselves that keeps us from our dreams. In the end, what grades you get and whether or not people think you’re successful doesn’t really matter. We have all read stories of people who force themselves to do “the right thing” whether it’s for financial stability or that it pleases their family, and they always end up regretting not living thier dreams. They always end up leaving the well-worn path to thier own personal one. Whatever the reason, if you hate what you are doing, none of your reasons will matter in the end. It’s just like Joseph Campbell says, “If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it's not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That's why it's your path.”
I sat for a long while and asked myself really, “What is my dream?” and it’s pretty much been the same thing since I could remember. I want to inspire people.
I just want to inspire others to be happy and think about beautiful things and I’ve pretty much spent 38 years chasing down what inspires me and figuring out why it does. Honestly, I have no idea if I will be an artist forever. I don’t even know if I will be able to make it as a professional, but I love it, so I’m going to try.
I’ve had a lot of people tell me for too long that I can’t or shouldn’t do things and I’ve just decided that I’m not going to listen to them…I think if someone shares with you thier dream, the best you can do is say go for it. Even if you think you know they will fall flat on their face, at least they will be doing something they love while falling. We all fall and make mistakes…I would think it’s much better to fall and be surrounded by self-satisfaction than loathing your decisions on top of your hardships.
My motto lately is if someone says “Hay maybe I can do this…”, I say “Go on and try it!”
Change cannot happen unless all of us go outside our comfort zone.
OK, so as I’m getting off this soap box, I just wanted to let you all know that I’m pretty much saying this for my benefit as well as sharing with all of you…the reason is that I’ve noticed a lot of people come up to me and try to tell me what I can or cannot do. I swear, some days I wish I had no sense of empathy so I could just block all of them out…but then again, that’s part of why I feel like it’s my job to encourage others.
So I say to all of you out there:
What is your dream?
Really, I’m serious, What is your dream?
….Now go on and try it.
Monday, 27 June 2011
Sunday, 5 June 2011
Tuesday, 17 May 2011
Monday, 16 May 2011
Tuesday, 10 May 2011
Thursday, 28 April 2011
Yay! I'm finally done with the last portrait for the semester...and a class early, to boot. Here's Sarah's portrait, the amazing art model. (She's the only model I have known that can keep her face absolutely still for over an hour at a clip.)
Friday, 22 April 2011
Sunday, 17 April 2011
Saturday, 16 April 2011
Thursday, 24 March 2011
Sum of Her Parts
I have always been impressed with the phrase:
"She is more than the sum of her parts"
As if each of us are made up of blocks
and easy to dismantle
Yet, even though you count
All of the digits -
Fingers, toes, eyes
Legs, Kidneys, Ears, and teeth
There is just something more
Even if you dissect each of her memories
Write them all down
Years by hours by decades
There would still be something left over
Something you missed
Like the moments she stole
Before work, to smell the spring air
Or that smile she gave to the
Person sitting across the bus
Moments upon moments
The in between times
That seem to slip by immeasurably
And even though
People try to "size" her up
There is always so much
Left unaccounted for
Thursday, 10 March 2011
Thursday, 3 March 2011
Sunday, 27 February 2011
Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Monday, 14 February 2011
Sunday, 13 February 2011
Thursday, 10 February 2011
I was thinking about this last night and realized that I often rush my pieces because sometimes I get so excited and I’m afraid I might lose something…some insight or color, that I rush to capture it all and miss some critical details. While this works well for writing a poem, it does not work well for measured drawing. It uses a completely different part of the brain, in fact.
This had me thinking about mental space last night and how I could cultivate a sense of patience in my artwork and I thought about making this mental “bubble” of sorts when I approach painting. It was kind of like convincing myself that I’ve just entered this magical land where time and schedules and responsibility does not exist for a moment….
And the funniest thing happened…I stopped stressing about the drawing. I just experienced it.
To many, I’m sure this comes very easy, but I really had to draw from my experiences with meditation and yoga to try and cultivate this…but once I did, it was well worth it.
I’m starting to see art as an experience, not just me creating works…and from that sense of gratitude; I have found there truly is a Zen to measured drawing.
Monday, 7 February 2011
Some days I can smell
The rich oaken scent
Before the ink pot is even opened;
While pens and brushes are singing
For a pair of hands,
A gentle eye.
It always makes me tremble
To see the beauty
In one strong line
Etchings into paper
Space within space
Forms rising from nothingness…
I am overcome.
Thursday, 3 February 2011
Sunday, 30 January 2011
The sunset brings a heavy sigh
From cold lips rising to dried rose hips
Dusty with last year's fall clinging to dried red pods
A. Gentle. Kiss
The ocher leaves seem to crumble
Under the weight of this late winter sunset
Like the heavy beats of my heart
In. This. Moment.
A soft grieving of daylight
Lays on my fingertips
And I urge to capture this moment
A. Futile. Attempt.
I mimic sunlight and tree
But there is a loss of the sounds
Of my nervous system
A. Lost. Heartbeat.
In some ways I feel lucky
Lost in one mad moment
I am alone in this wildness, yet
Not. So. Far
From many of you
Lost in your mad moments
With breaking hearts in
A. Perishable. Paradise.
Monday, 17 January 2011
Friday, 14 January 2011
Some days just seem to take me
Morning rushing into the office
Bits of sleep-smell quilts still clinging to my face
Bodies like machines, churning works
And I don’t get to feel right again until
That mid-day break.
The moment opens like a door
Fast scented smells of roasting coffee and tomato soup
Reaching greedy hands into my brain, urging
To take a space, a time, a small window
To stare out
At grey skies, the bicycles, the bodies
And wonder at all the other
Machines rolling on through their day.
Yes, some days just seem to take me
But I escape,
Often into paint, tea, and dreams
(In no particular order)
And the moment of escape is so soft
That I cannot help but be thankful
Of the chance to have something to escape from.
Tuesday, 11 January 2011
There is a moment during the first snow fall
Not the light dances of flakes that happen in December
But the glorious world-stopping storms of January;
The first thick blanket that descends from the grey sky gods
As you snuggle in golden homes
Brightly tucked in with the whistling songs of Borealis
With cats curled like pill bugs
And steaming mugs that warm a smile on your face.
It is a moment full of reconnection
Full of letter writing, old movies, pictures pulled out of boxes
A time of memories and sadness, but happiness too
Because it’s this first blanket that marks the end of things
And also a beginning:
A darkening of last years plants and plans
So that in the spring, under dark decay
New growth can sprout anew.