Broken Candy

December 30, 2009

Now these pics are exactly 2 weeks behind.  Two weeks ago, I was still in the bubble that is Vermont Studio Center, playing with candy, walking in the snow, enjoying a 6-pack of local beer with new, but instantly tight-knit friends. Now the holidays have passed, time with old friends, family and places of my childhood has been spent, and the new year is bearing down with its ideas of change, resolutions, progress, movement and growth. I am back in Boston face to face with the intensely fast, oftentimes painful, changes I have brought upon myself by deciding to leave in order to return to the bubble that is VSC. Nothing in life is easy, and while in the past it has seemed that the hard things were entirely out of my control, this time I have to acknowledge that this is a difficulty I have chosen. Somehow it seems appropriate that while all these melancholy thoughts are floating around here in Boston, I would share the most depressing part of the residency; cleaning out the studio and packing up in order to head home…

I purposefully shattered all the forms

Including the kick balls (I kicked them!)

In order to dump all the shards into a pan to melt back down into solid blocks of candy... to be re-cast later

I have some hilarious videos of the destruction involved in shattering all the pieces. A lot of it was quite violent! I nearly lost an eye, broke a foot, and left a nice big hole in my studio wall. Ha! Talk about going out with a bang! I will try to post those soon… In the meantime, I will be spending the month of January working out the logistics of leaving my life in Boston instead of doing any artwork. There will still be updates, especially the aforementioned videos, but day-to-day life will have a very different focus for a little while.

Merry Christmas Eve!

December 24, 2009

I am kind of in shock that it is really here! Being secluded in Vermont for the majority of the pre-Holiday season meant that I missed out on all the reminders of the Holidays. No commercials, no decorations, no gift buying, no shopping, no Christmas carols, no Christmas food or drink, no Christmas parties, no candy canes, no silver bells, no Christmas trees or ornaments or lights, no malls, no movies, no bilboards or other forms of advertising to remind me ’tis the season. Without all of that, it was so easy to forget the Holidays were approaching and that perhaps I should be thinking about them. Instead, I was spending every moment of my days and nights thinking about candy, sugar, gemstones, diamonds, relationships, forever, permanence, the ephemeral and transitory, jewelry, value, icons and symbols, and of course people, new friends, old friends, potential new co-workers, old co-workers, jobs, life, change, and movement. So without further ado, a few more pictures from my studio… taken almost exactly a week ago!

This is a giant plaster model of a standard cut diamond in progress

A close up of the texture while building up the plaster little by little and cutting it back to keep it all consistent

After roughing out the basic shape, I mapped out the facets and began carving them in with a file. Long, slow and exhausting work...

I had hoped to finish this process before leaving, but I only got a little over half of the facets cut before it was time to clean up and prepare to leave. As soon as I am back in Vermont, I will finish this monster off and then make a mold of it so I can cast the candy in the mold and create giant diamonds and gemstones made out of sugar. Once a few gems are cast, I have a few vague ideas about what to do with them, but I sort of want to wait to see how the casts work before I commit to anything, so we shall see… I also made molds of the top and bottom half of the fifty cent vending machine toys I showed in an earlier post.

Here they are covered in plasticine, ready for a plaster mother mold

I did at least finish these molds before I left, although the food grade silicone didn’t set up in time for me to actually cast any candy in them. Again, these will be first on the list when I get back to Vermont. Cast a few sets of candy into each of them and see how they turn out…

Time

December 21, 2009

Posting all of this retrospectively is sort of sad and surreal. Without my VSC calendar of scheduled events in front of me, I have no idea what happened on which days and sometimes I can’t even recall the order of events. Time as we logically construct it had such little meaning there. I have no idea what day of the week anything was as the only day that mattered was Sunday when we had brunch and an early dinner… Time only mattered as time in studio, time with people, time eating and time sleeping. Scheduled events were announced every day, so you didn’t need to look at your calendar as long as you paid attention to announcements. These included 4 resident slide nights, 3 resident readings, 2 open studios, 2 visiting writer readings and 4 visiting artist slide shows. Most of these were followed up by intense happiness, pride to be surrounded by such a great crew of people and joy at all the amazing work everyone was doing. There were also plenty of off calendar events organized by residents themselves like art shows by Avantika, The Thing and Sweet Brown Baby Jesus, The Color Bar bar and dance club, scheduled dance parties in various studios, bonfires led by Harrison, NOOKS and CRANNIES art show and Critical Mass events by Tiffany and myself, etc. etc. Even the occasional impromptu performance, laughing yoga session, pick up soccer game, bingo game, would you rather session, or trip to the local bar, The Hub, were all great. Now it all seems to just be a whirlwind of busy, exhausted but wonderful happenings, of which I can’t really tell up from down (not that I need to). Keeping up with the blog would have been a great way to help sort it all out, but in the end, I guess I decided doing the thing and enjoying it in the moment was better than stopping to write about it, despite the struggle to remember it accurately later…

These photos do them such little justice, I almost didn't show them, just try to imagine floor to ceiling globs of stelactite-ish candy

These were the last of the direct candy experiments

Home

December 20, 2009

I obviously did not come even vaguely close to completing my goal of writing a blog entry a day. I managed exactly two weeks of consistent entries and then it seemed like all hell broke loose for the last two weeks! I found myself going into a crazed sort of panic mode wrestling with what I could actually finish before we had to pack up and go home. I also didn’t actually complete my work goals either, but I’m OK with that since the new ideas are much stronger than the original anyways. At a certain point, it became more important to spend as much time with people as possible since I knew the work would continue after the month was over, but time with this group would not.  So if I wasn’t working in studio, I was socializing with everyone and writing dropped dramatically on the priority list. To make matters worse, things got extra complex when I had a staff member inform me of a job opening and strongly urge me to consider applying for it. Days were lost debating whether moving to Johnson VT was something I could or should do at this point and torturing over what it would mean for the life I had set up in Boston. Great new apartment, great new neighborhood, cat, partner, great job at Harvard with great people… And before I knew it, it was the last week and we were all in shock regarding the rapidly approaching end. So many new attachments and friends that seemed impossible to let go of, not to mention the facilities and continuous access to coffee and food. How will we all stay in touch and will we ever see each other again? It didn’t take long for a sad aura to settle on the group as we thought more seriously about the end of our time at VSC. There were tons of scheduled events, parties, shows and other means of socializing to help battle the growing depression. But as all things must, it did end and I find myself back in Boston, torn between reminiscing on all the wonderful and crazy moments and people and thinking about the future that awaits me. Two days before we all packed up to leave, I was officially offered the job as a staff artist, to stay in Vermont year round with a studio, housing, 3 meals a day, access to all the facilities and visiting artists, in exchange for graphic design work in the office. I accepted on the spot. By then, I had had plenty of time to decide that having time, space and focus to make work is exactly what I need at this point in my attempts at some sort of “art career.“ Leaving Boston will be incredibly hard, but I can always come back after my year committment is over—the city won’t be going anywhere, only I will.

The studio at the end of the month, before I started cleaning up...

Untitled 14

December 8, 2009

I swear I will write a real entry soon! It is just so busy out here I cant seem to find the time to sit down and actually write anything! So for now, just more eye candy…

I was curious to see what the candy kickball would look like with a light in it, so I set this up for open studios

and with the lights off...

It is lighting up some of the other smaller pieces that were pinned to the wall

I will try to write something next time, I swear!

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