There’s something about the start of a new year that always gives me this feeling like I can restart, redirect…reboot my life. This year, rather than resolutions, a friend suggested the idea of “devotions” which took things in a direction of intent, rather than product. A devotion is a more fluid and thoughtful experience…it evolves over time. So my devotion this year is to make work, since that’s the core of who I am as an artist. This past semester was a fallow time - too much energy was going out to really have the mental space to make new work myself. Now, it’s spring (well at least it feels like it in SoCal) and the energy feels like it wants to move forward. I’ve worked on putting into practice the LensCulture written reviews I’d discussed earlier - it took a while to process - the experience is still informing my choices,
A few months ago I entered a LenCulture portfolio review because it was going to be a written review of your work - one that would answer specific questions. The review arrived today, which was interesting because my semester has just ended and I am faced with loads of projects to review and grade myself. While I have been to many in-person reviews, this was the first time I’d gotten a written one - and it was (in many ways) a much better experience. With an in-person exchange, there’s a lot of energy just dealing with this new person you’re talking with that you often can’t really take in what they’re saying.
The written review gave me a chance to read it in the quiet of my home and to really think about it. Even as I write this, I glance over at the words (I printed it out) and am aware that some of the suggestions will take time to fully process. But, it also gives me a deeper understanding of the power of the review interaction and my responsibility as an instructor. Yesterday, I had individual meetings with all of my students and many of them asked the same questions I had asked - “how do I move forward from here” “what can I do to improve” “how do you see my work” - all of which I answered as best/honestly as I could at the time. Going through this process myself gives added insight to the experience from both sides. I’m very grateful to have received what feels like a very thoughtful consideration of my work - but also grateful for the added awareness of my students’ experience as they sit across from me.
The above still is from my newest video - I’m addicted to this new medium and feel like it’s been inside of me just waiting for its turn.
“It’s hard to write about nothing” Patti Smith
I’ve been re-reading “M Train” and that line has stuck with me. Of course, she’s not really writing about “nothing” - her nothing is the stuff of our everyday existence. It is the “doing” of how we move through time and our life. I’ve always felt that you must love the “doing” of whatever art-form you end up pursuing. Photographers are constantly taking photographs…whether they have a camera or not. We are captured by the light, or an expression, or the way a set of lines converge or cut the sky into pieces. We are passionate about a cause and how to best express / sequence / present it. It is in the “doing” that we spend our time as creatives - and I think it’s true about life in general.
My latest “doing” continues to be the animated shorts. While the set has placed itself in the same original image, the process is changing. Now the path has evolved towards sound. Initially it seemed logical that each should have a soundtrack - but when I added music, it changed the visual…made it too pretty. So, instead of music, sounds have become interesting - using them as a narrative that guides and supports the visuals. Each segment is starting with a “sounds” track, which I listen to with my eyes closed…visualizing the imagery that will be laid in later.
With the current set (screen capture above), I’m using rain and the modulation of the images to feel like you’re slipping in and out of this experience. At a recent art talk by Betty Ann Brown, I was taken with how she explored the difference between Art and Commerce. Commerce, (to paraphrase), is a set point that’s easily consumed and has a specific defined effect in mind. With Art…it’s much more vague as you shift into evocation, the unknown, the unsettled, the unresolved…which is where I seem to be heading.