Oh Big Apple

December 5, 2011

Does anyone even call it that anymore? In any case, I have officially lived in the big city for 6 months, and what a big city it is! There is certainly a huge adjustment period–especially after living in the middle of nowhere in Northern Vermont–and I would say that adjustment period doesn’t even really start until you’ve been here for 4 or 5 months. The first 4 months you’re in pure survival mode–scraping by on as little as possible, building up a routine and a familiarity with your new environment, learning the absolute basics of how to get by. It’s not until you’re a little more settled, a little less panic stricken by the whole thing, that the reality of what you’ve just done begins to set in. By the 6 month mark, you’re either completely burned out by the rat race that is life in the city, or you’re settled and comfortable enough to let those thoughts of doubt seep in. In either case, its time for those age old questions about what you’re doing here, and why, and to what end? Is this really what you wanted? Is it what you thought it would be? How long will you actually last here?

At least, that’s been my experience, and I hear similar reports from others. And I’ve heard that this is the formative point in your New York City experience. If you react to the 6 month mark positively, you’ll probably stick around for a while and things will get better or maybe even really great. If you react apathetically, you’ll probably try it out a little longer, stick around for a year or two, enjoy bits and pieces, really not enjoy others, but you’ll eventually move on to other, greener pastures. And if you react negatively at the 6 month mark, you’re probably doomed to hate the city forever. Even if you stick it out for a while and try to make it work, you’ll eventually walk away happy to be rid of it and not interested in ever going back except as a visitor, and even that might be pushing it.

This is where I’m at. The 6 month mark, wondering what I’ve done, how I’ll survive here, and whether I’ll find a way to be happy or if I’m going to come away hating it. I’ll get back to you on this.

In any case, I’ve been thinking recently about this blog and where it should be headed, now that life is so different… Not having written since October 1 is evidence of this… So far, I’ve kept it based entirely on my own artwork and process, and that form of documentation is still important to me, but my daily art experience is so much more than that now. Living in Vermont, and even Boston, my own art-making was all there was to report on, but here in the city, I encounter horrible and incredible art every day through my job as a sculpture conservator and in the city itself in the parks and streets, at galleries and museums, through articles and blogs, and in the studios of friends and colleagues. My personal art world has exploded exponentially, and if this blog is true to my art and its making, it has to reflect this incredible expansion as well. How this will manifest itself, I’m not entirely sure of yet, but by 2012, I expect some changes will be happening on here. Whether that will mean adding all these new aspects of my art world to this blog, or expanding to a new blog focused on all the stuff I see in my day to day routine, and still keeping this one primarily focused on the studio, I’m not sure yet… I’ll get back to you on this.

In any case, stay tuned for post holiday changes, and I hope you all have a great holiday season! See you in 2012…

Studio and Show Images

October 1, 2011

shot by Yung during the opening at Wayfarers. It’s always interesting to see your work and studio through someone else’s eyes… Go to his Flickr page to see all his shots from the opening.

Summer in the City

July 17, 2011

After six weeks in the city, with an entirely new life and lifestyle (nearly everything that can change has changed!), I am finally beginning to settle into something that may resemble a routine. I am getting the hang of my new job as a sculpture conservator, which is both crazy awesome and crazy tedious, the hour long commute there and back, the bike ride to studio, my new neighborhood of Bushwick, and all those little things like new bank accounts, po boxes, library cards, grocery shopping and cooking, laundry, cleaning, etc. I’ve managed to gather a lot of my stuff that has been scattered throughout New England, though I still owe Boston and Providence a trip in order to pick up a few more things stored there. The studio is as organized as it can get for now (still need to find some sturdy industrial shelving to get some of my crap off the floor) and I’ve launched into a new set of drawing experiments. Wayfarers will have our first group show opening September 2, so I’m hoping to resolve some of the work I started at VCCA in time for that show, though I have a long way to go! The work is heading in a new direction, which I am very excited about, but will require a lot of time learning and experimenting to complete. I’m going to try and get back into the habit of writing updates fairly consistently, but for now getting an entry every couple weeks seems to be about as much as I can manage. So until then, here are some images of the studio…

the studio...

stuff growing, two dimensionally and three dimensionally...

references and other stuff...

Focus…

May 19, 2011

I returned late last night (or early this morning depending on how you look at it) from a blitzkrieg trip to NYC. Am totally exhausted, but happy that I went because it confirmed pretty much everything about my move up there in just a few weeks–studio, apartment, and at least a temp job if not a full time one. Hopefully this means I’ll be able to set most of my worries aside and finally really focus on what I’m doing here in the studio, which includes:

sewing

cooking

crafting

patterning

knitting

Time Lapsed

May 12, 2011

After a week and a half at VCCA, I have to report that I haven’t had much time to work in the studio! Since it is my first time back in Virginia for more than a few days in… oh… 8 years? I’ve spent my first couple weeks splitting my time between visiting with old friends I haven’t seen in years and preparing for the move to Brooklyn. After my Monday arrival, I had just enough time to unpack and set up my room and studio before leaving on Thursday to see Cirque du Soleil’s Alegria in Roanoke with my family. Friday a friend visited me here, Saturday I met another friend in Lynchburg for drinks and Sunday my parents visited me so we could spend some quality Mother’s Day time together. Monday was relatively uninterrupted, then Tuesday I headed to Richmond to visit VCU’s Material Studies & Sculpture departments, crashed with a friend in Church Hill, then spent Wednesday with another friend I hadn’t seen in 7 years. Now that I’m back at VCCA, I have a couple days to do some more NYC job hunting (I told myself I would do it once a week, but missed last week because I just couldn’t make myself do it the few hours I was actually in studio!) and then I head to NYC this weekend to confirm my studio at Wayfarer’s Brooklyn, my apartment sublet in Bushwick, and to meet with a couple of job possibilities. THEN, I will finally have some uninterrupted studio time.

In between everything, I have managed to fill my first 10 gal tank with new work and fresh solution. AND set up a time-lapse video of the crystals growing in this new tank, so that’s something at least. Here’s some pics:

knit hardened on top of fabric armatures

knit without armature, almost ready to go in the tank

the first new piece, in the tank after 3 days of growth--the halo around all the strands are the first tiny crystals

a close-up of the crystals after 3 days in the tank

the camera setup for what will be a time lapse video

Kickstarter Success

April 30, 2011

Thank you so much to everyone who made a pledge and now a donation–the campaign was successfully funded on Monday night! I could not have hoped for such a strong response–the support of my friends is really astounding! This weekend I’ll be purchasing the first 200-300 pounds of sugar and deliver it, along with the rest of my tools and supplies, to the residency on Monday morning. I cannot wait to get started on this new body of work and to get my studio at VCCA up and running. In the last two weeks since leaving Vermont, I have done some preliminary work, but much of my time has been consumed with job and sublet searching for my arrival in New York after the residency. In the end, I decided to get a lot of the NYC prep work done now so that I can set those concerns aside and concentrate on the artwork. There will still be a lot of following up with contacts and opportunities, and probably a visit to the city to confirm those, but hopefully it won’t consume my next five weeks.

These “growths” are a first set of sketches, working out some ideas for forms that I may want to work with moving forward. None of these represent a final armature–they are literally just preliminary sketches. Once I’m at VCCA, I’ll be able to focus on pushing these and finding what they’re really capable of.

My make-shift guest-room studio

fabric sketches

a few barnacles

Playing Catch Up

April 22, 2011

Been spending my first week in Virginia catching up on all the work I neglected for… well, the last month really. I barely managed to squeeze in time to photograph all of my new work before packing it (or throwing it away) but didn’t have time to edit or post any of the new photos. The first half of the week was spent adding several new pages worth of work to my website and now I’m set up to do the physical prep work of building fabric armatures before the residency begins in just over a week. I took a few shots of the new 3D sketches, but I’d like to share a little last minute experiment I conducted before leaving Vermont. This experimental photo shoot was completed at the recommendation of visiting artist Phoebe Adams and I had a great time doing it. Due to packing and moving, I only had a few hours to play around with this, but it was super fun and I’m sure will influence future work. I would love to do it again with better lighting, but a lot of the pieces included in this were thrown away or taken to storage so they won’t be accessible again for a while…

Science is Fiction remix 1

basically took all the elements from the show and remixed them

into these bizarre alternative tableaus...

here's a second remix

I would love to do this again with better lighting

except that at least half this work doesn't exist anymore and the other half is in storage...

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