Out of nowhere, a swan appeared the park right near our home.
This lead to a google search for swan imagery, which lead to the above, which might have just lead to my latest obsession, just in time for spring break and a week of painting that I’m looking forward to more than I can even explain.
Swans. And teeth. Go on, do your worst on your interpretation of that, I dare you…
Really. And as if that’s not lame enough as it is, check out the color I’m in love with:
Yup, it’s white. And not just any white: Flake White. The yummiest, most luscious white out there. And plus, it has lead in it, so it can kill you.
Beautiful but deadly: who can beat that?
Here’s the multiple I made to give away at the Armory Show – a little pop-up, printed out on my inkjet printer. I have a few left and if you bump into me and ask nicely, I will hook you up…
I see my artistic practice as an extension of my desire to prove to myself that I’m still here, I’m still alive, and that I matter. I see teaching as an extension of my artistic practice, one that moves the focus off of me and onto a community of young artists that I try to nurture around me. It seems to me to be the next logical step in my practice.
I’ve been thinking about this stuff lately. Actually, I think about it all the time, it’s just that lately I’ve been thinking about it more. I want, endlessly, to be a better teacher, just like I endlessly want to be a better artist. There is no endpoint; when you do something really great, it just raises the bar even more for next time. And when you fuck up, you just have to dust yourself off and start again, hard as it is.
Tom offered me the opportunity to propose a course for SVA’s summer pre-college session. I should do this: It’s the kind of thing I’ve never done before (teaching high school students) but would be fun to try and lord knows I could use the money. I’m just not sure how to go about it. What changes when you’re working with students much younger than you are? What do they need to take away from the experience?
I don’t know. This has been a really long week in Teaching Land and I’m probably overthinking this way too much. But that’s what I do.
*Update* – in that way that everything at SVA seems to work at a breakneck speed, I woke up this morning and wrote the following course description while still in my pjs. I sent it on to Tom who really liked it and is going to push for it to run in July. I’ve been getting excited about it all day. So if you know any super-amazing high school students you want to send my way, please do!!! As tired and as, er, hungover as I am, I’m really happy to have a new challenge come my way.
This class will be an investigation into three key concepts championed
in 20th century art-making practices: collage, process, and
site-specificity. Every class will feature an historical lecture and
discussion of some of the key figures involved in each practice,
enabling the students to get a head-start on some of the grounding
concepts of Modern and contemporary art. Assignments will involve a
variety of media, including but not limited to: painting, drawing,
design, digital photography, installation, performance, and sound.
This class offers students a chance to sample a variety of different
disciplines and ideologies in a hands-on manner, in the pursuit of a
practice that reflects their individual interests.
I think I’m going to try and do a pretty long series on this theme:
I’m thinking about my favorite art quote ever, from Philip Guston writing about the experience of being an artist in America during the Vietnam war:
The war, what was happening to America, the brutality of the world. What kind of man am I, sitting at home reading magazines, going into frustrated fury about everything — and then going into my studio to adjust a red to a blue?
Yep, right there with you, Phil. What kind of (ahem) person am I, pushing paint around in the studio when so much of the world seems to be going to hell? I don’t think that making drawings about this sort of thing actually accomplishes anything practical or meaningful, do I? And if not, they why do I keep doing it? And what (exactly) happens when I keep doing it, even when I admit to myself that it accomplishes nothing?
I don’t know. I really sincerely, deeply don’t know.
I’m actually no more or less depressed by all of these thoughts than I usually am. I’m actually just more curious than anything else.
This is sense, this curiousity – is more and more what I want to zero in on with my work. Rawness and honesty, more now than ever. How can I push myself – to be more honest and more open, more vulnerable and more present in my own work than ever before? I don’t know, but I guess that’s not the sort of thing you’re supposed to know. You’re just supposed to do it.
(Update: I actually like these drawings enough that I took the extra step of adding them to my “real” website. If you want to see them bigger, you can click there and it will lead you to larger images.)
Gah. Somehow – and I’m not really sure how it happened – another Armory Show is breathing down my neck. Am I crazy, or is this thing usually in March? No matter: it’s here next week, whether or not I want it to be.
I try to make a small, homemade edition to give away for every art fair I go to. I like giving away something for free in the middle of everyone selling such expensive things. It’s fun. I can’t really say it’s subversive or anything, but it is fun. (In order for it to be subversive, I’d have to be giving away something actually useful. This whole line of thinking eventually leads me to wonder if maybe I’d be a more popular girl at the fair if I were giving away cupcakes rather than art, but I’m going to try and delay that thought from setting in as much as possible.)
Anyway. This is what my Sunday afternoon is looking like: a sweater, a pair of scissors, tracing paper, a book on how to make pop-ups, and the dvd remote:
Oh (technically) I lie. I wasn’t watching dvds. Actually, following the instructions in the book were enough of a challenge for me without trying to get the dvd player to work. Seriously, all those tabs and folding and cutting… yikes.
So the plan is that somewhere between now and Thursday, I will have an edition of pop-ups. Maybe. A lot depends on how my printer’s doing, how much the ink costs me, how my attention span is faring, how crazy school is this week. We’ll see. Still, I like the ideas I’m coming up with…
Today was a pretty productive day. I got these three done, and another three on the way. They’re small, and I see them as studies for a painting I want to make:
They’re watercolor on paper with collage, including scotch tape wings. It frustrates me a bit that even in a piece this small, the details are really lost in a scan. You can’t see what’s shiny and what’s matte, or really even where the paint piles up on the paper vs where it’s simply black. Oh well. I made a detail of the second one, so maybe you can at least get a sense of the scotch tape wings:
The wings were a real last-minute decision, but I like them a lot. I like the way that the tape isn’t totally opaque and it obscures the image of what it’s taped to. I’ve experimented with a bunch of different materials trying to get this effect, and it’s so funny that the solution wound up to be something as simple and straightforward as tape.
I like where the palette is going on this one:
I’m buying some big paper today, somewhere in between poking my head into the CAA convention and seeing the Martin Ramirez and “performative drawing” shows. A long day ahead of me, definitely. I’m trying to finish up a few things in the studio before I lose the rest of it to chugging around NYC in the cold.
Goodness. For a total workaholic like me, it’s been a really long time since I’ve updated this thing. I’ve been working on a bunch of new things all of which are half- or nearly-done, but this is the first thing I’ve completed in a few days.
I really want to do (and this drawing is a step in that direction) a series of drawings incorporating bits of the Futurist manifesto (well, of one of several Futurist manifestos – they were pretty fond of writing them) along with my own writings. God, I love Marinetti, but the guy was such an asshole. Anyway, the way he speaks about war and violence… well, it’s out of my worst nightmares. He’s good at that.
So in this one, the text in the ocre box up top is by him and reads:
We intend to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and fearlessness.
These are really, super quick. Thinking about: blurring, light, solidity vs. transparency, and losing yourself in a crowd.
I’m tired today and I have a lot of prep for tomorrow’s class. Still, I think it might be a productive day. We’ll see.