Week 42 of 48 (10 Months!)

November 23, 2010

10 months down! 1 until the new year, then 3 more in 2011 before I’m off to NYC! I am so ready to go but also looking forward to having those extra months to pull a new body of work together, another show and then packing it all up to move on. For the month of December, the number one focus will be pulling the suit of armor together, as well as some other odds and ends around studio, in order to photograph it and add it to my portfolio before MFA applications are due in January. I spent part of the week drafting a new artist statement, which I always dread, and will be focusing on that as well as the website for the next week or so. I’m using the Thanksgiving holiday as a “stay-cation” to crank some work out in studio that’s been stressing me out of late so I’m really looking forward to having almost a full week of uninterrupted studio time. Anyways, enough miscellaneous talk, here’s some pictures!

arm guards after a week or two of growth

pink knits growing in a green tank

green crystals growing on the side of the tank

Week 19 of 48

June 14, 2010

As promised, stills from last weeks Dawn to Dusk project—the first of what will hopefully be several time-lapse videos of sugar diamonds in the outdoors. My show at the Red Mill Gallery is exactly 4 weeks away so I will be spending 100% of my time between now and then preparing for that. Since there isn’t a reliable way to show video in the gallery, I probably won’t revisit Dawn to Dusk until after the show is over…

funny jerry-rig to protect the laptop from stealing hands and pouring rain

three diamonds sun bathing between bouts of rain on day 1

four diamonds and the jerry-rig: you can actually see the video image on the laptop inside

some close ups at the end of the first day, before it really started pouring...

four diamonds enjoying the sunset together... compare to the next image...

taken after five hours of non-stop downpour... they didn't last long on day 2...

skeletons at mid-day... the rain wiped them out

And of course, the video itself:

Week 14 of 48

May 10, 2010

I feel a little bit bad for the May residents; their arrival yesterday was greeted by snow. Two weeks ago it snowed a foot in the middle of Vermont Artists Week—and I mean a foot of accumulated snow, not just general precipitation—but none of the Vermonters flinched though there was some surprise. Yesterday it snowed with a cold blizzard-like wind ALL DAY as residents arrived and dragged their luggage from check-in to their rooms to their studios. Yuck. We are all keeping our fingers crossed that there will be no more of that until November. Enough is enough. Now for some miscellaneous art-ish things…

3D doodles...

Been having fun making these inbetween bouts of endless plaster carving

they make me feel like I am accomplishing something other than making the pile of plaster dust bigger

don't ask me what they are... nothing more than doodles for now...

after well over 40 hrs. of carving in 3 days, the bottom is almost complete...

This weekend marked the end of 3 months (counted in residency time, not calendar time) here in Vermont and was filled with a lot of reflection about my place here. April was a tumultuous month with mud season, issues with residents and staff, difficulties reigning in the office work and very limited time in studio. Cabin fever has been in the air along with wondering if I can actually survive a year in this bizarre contrived community. Every day is a roller coaster of emotions oscillating between really wonderful moments and complete despair over how trapped I feel here. It regularly occurs to me that I might hate living here. I love it as a residency, but to stay year round is something else entirely and I am losing all enthusiasm about this situation. It becomes more and more difficult to be excited when meeting new residents and to pretend I enjoy being here; more and more difficult to want to work to improve things, to invest any of myself in this place. Today marks the beginning of Vermont Artists Week, a one week residency just for artists who are Vermont residents, and then the following week is what is known as “Work Week“, the only week ALL YEAR when there are no residents at all. Rumor says it’s the best week all year for getting a lot of work done in studio because there are no residents to interfere and no scheduled activities. I can’t wait. I’m also hoping to use these two weeks of supposed good studio time as a gauge for whether or not I can stay through the year. If I can’t get good work done during the best week of the year, then I’m not going to be able to get good work done any other time and I need to leave. So wish me luck! I have made myself a new schedule that I think will improve my studio hours and includes good chunks of time everyday for walks and yoga to mentally escape a little. I also set my studio up so I can spend nights there in order to hide from everything/everyone when necessary (I’ve been going crazy at my complete lack of privacy)—all of which I think will really help in the future. I’ve also talked with my roommate about borrowing her car on occasion since I have no means of getting out of this stifling town and that should help as well, though I can’t go too far with it since it isn’t technically hers. That’s where I’m at with everything and I will keep you posted on how the next few weeks go. If this weekend doesn’t become a turning point in my time here, then I will have to start working on an exit strategy.

finally made myself stop working on the top of the diamond... I could continue carving away at it forever and never be done since it would never be perfect, so I made myself stop here...

Some new green casts

lime green transparent gem

they had already degraded a bit before I took these pics (with the new camera!)—all the little pock marks...

I intended to write an anniversary blog entry in a more timely manner, or have a party, or otherwise find some way to commemorate this momentous occasion but kept forgetting about it! A year ago, last March 6th I believe, was my last day of work as an exhibit designer. Normally that wouldn’t mean much other than looking for a new job, but for me it meant an unprecedented commitment to art making. I know I’ve said this before, but just to remind you (especially you, Errol!), I loved a lot about my design job and miss a lot of the wonderful people I worked with back then. Quitting was really about the art making, not about the job per se, which is why it feels important to acknowledge it. I mean… seriously! Look at what has happened in only a year! I’ve given up nearly everything recognizable about my life at that time and fully embraced something completely different. Or at least done my best to fully embrace it—I’ve been better at it at certain times than others. Quite a rollercoaster the last year has been, and it just keeps chugging along! Anyways, let’s see if I can put together a little before and after…

A year ago, I was here…

Boston! With Matt!

Doing this…

Toxic things in my apartment

Now, a year later…

Alone, in studio, Northern Vermont, March...

Crazy, I know… You are astounded.  Of course, the benefit back then was I had money. I should have bought a camera, knowing mine would die now… Which brings me to appeal number two for anyone out there who might have a spare camera lying around. It’s really hard to write a weekly blog or document process or time based artwork when you don’t have a camera. The situation is getting a little desperate… I’ve been borrowing the studio center’s camera but it is a pretty sad little thing (probably donated when someone else got a new one) and I’m going to have to bite the bullet and come up with another solution soon. Ideas anyone?

Lastly, I will close this little anniversary entry with some eye candy. Hahaha, I am so clever (sorry, really weird mood—new crew of residents arrived today and I think the turnover is making me a little crazy…)

More successful hollow casts...

Diamond-like

Week 6 of 52 at VSC

March 14, 2010

I think I am finally beginning to really settle down a little—emotionally, mentally, spatially. The studio is closer to being a space where I feel like I can get work done; the office is not settling down, but I’m getting used to the idea that every week will be different so I can’t plan on much of anything, and I’m better at figuring out how involved to get with residents, resident activities and other scheduled events. There’s been a lot of thought going into learning to be OK with where I am at on every level; with the artwork, with the office work, with my life outside of studio and with the limited amount of socializing available in Johnson, VT. In terms of the artwork, I had my first studio visit with visiting artist Carol Hepper on Friday and her suggestion was to stop limiting myself. To use rules and other constructions to get started but to let go of them in order to move forward without getting hung up on self-imposed restrictions. She walked out of my studio reminding me that I’m here to break the rules so do it!

First round of casts of the glass knobs

A couple fresh casts

New pink gem

A bright red cast in the other knob-like molds

The bottom half, half red, half amber...

Shelf Update

Onward and Upward!

I have officially survived my first month as a year-round staff member. Woohoo! It’s actually quite terrifying to think it is March… I’m not ready! What happened to February?! It flew by so fast I can only imagine that the rest of the year will go by equally, insanely fast. It feels like I haven’t gotten anything done yet, which is slightly disappointing, but then people keep telling me that the first month doesn’t count… Regardless of counting or not, I am still working on polishing off that diamond in order to make a mold of it and I started making molds of a bunch of smaller faceted forms. Oddly enough, I found some glass knobs (purely coincidental that the previous candy test pieces look like door knobs) that are perfect for the job on one of the antique chest-of-drawers in the office, so I am borrowing them for the week. I also started a new batch of grow-your-own crystals. The package claims they are aquamarine and the solution is certainly bright blue but we will see what it actually produces after a week or two. Already they are looking pretty fantastic, after less than 24 hours… Outside of the 3D world, I have given myself a juvenile drawing assignment of sorts. Realizing that I have a horrible relationship with drawing, which hasn’t always been the case, I am trying to draw every day. Initially I was supposed to start and finish a drawing a day, but I have already broken that rule so instead I am trying to just draw every day; either completing a drawing or adding to one I’ve already started. So far there have been some interesting results, though I think I will save sharing them for next week… Without further ado, this week’s photos:

mold making station

antique knobs and one fake acrylic one—so obvious which is which!

After about 18 hours, crystals were growing up the side of the container and out of the blue solution

these images don't do them justice—they are quite amazing looking

Oh! I listened to the new Knife album today not knowing it is an electro-opera that hasn’t been released on CD yet (only for download until tomorrow, March 1st). I had NO IDEA what I was listening to because it was so weird—I thought maybe I had downloaded the wrong content since I didn’t recognize any of the vocals. Over half way through I finally recognized some of it, so I looked it up to figure out what kind of crazy concept album it is and not only is it an opera, it is also based on Darwin’s, The Origin of Species, AND these illustrations are part of the album art:

how insane is that! fig l. is a diamond! life is so weird... illustration by Sara Hernandez

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