I think this is my new default thing when I don’t really have anything to blog about: a shot of my work table:
I have a doctor’s appointment/physical exam tomorrow – my first in 5+ years. I have no reason to fear; I eat well, exercise a lot, and really don’t engage in any sort of bad-for-you behaviors. And yet, I’m terrified. This is why I haven’t gone in 5+ years. Blech.
Few people have been quite as supportive of my work as John Haber and his site Haber’s Art Reviews. Just yesterday, John updated a long article he has about me and my work, which spans the last five years.
It’s a little crazy for me to read an article that considers all the NYC shows I’ve had. The last five years have been nuts. I’ve barely had a chance to slow down and really think about them. I found it a little overwhelming to see this article, but also of course really wonderful and I’m so pleased that John would consider my work so seriously.
Hm. Seems to me you can’t really grow your own vegetables and make your own clothes and bake your own bread and ferment your own kefir and then turn around and pay someone to cut your hair.
Having said that, I miss my old haircut already.
TOTES GO ON SALE TOMORROW!
Wednesday, May 12th at 7pm, you’ll be able to buy them here.
(The page is nothing to look at until 5/12 at 7pm. But then? Woo boy!)
I will release ten of them a week. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.
In the meanwhile, here’s some pictures from our photo shoot yesterday:
(more tote bag porn in a bit…)
Every time I wake up – whether it’s from a short nap or in the middle of the night or in the morning – I face this strange version of a panic attack. Between about three seconds and a minute, as I’m just starting to realize I’m no longer asleep, my mind plays this trick on me where I become convinced that I’m not in my own bed but rather someplace else (actually, there are three specific places that reoccur over and over as being where I think I am, none of them pleasant). It’s rare that it passes in under 30 seconds; for the most part, I lay there absolutely cursing my life because of where I’m convinced I’ve woken up, until something comes along and convinces me that no, I’m at home and everything is fine.
Most, that “something” is just me waking up enough to look around. But there are two things that can drift in and save me; two things that can hit my consciousness before I’m fully awake to know anything that’s really going on:
1. The feeling of a breeze coming through a window (as the rooms that I’m afraid I’m waking up in were all pretty airless)
2. The sound of prog rock coming from Jeff’s study. Obviously, this only works when I’ve gone to bed early and Jeff has stayed up late, but it has happened many times. Instead of stirring and thinking, “Where am I… oh, shit…”, I instead immediately think, “What in god’s name is… oh, it’s Peter Gabriel.” Immediately, I know that I’m home and where I should be.
Special treat for reading about my psychological trauma:
If you’ve ever had any inclination to start an urban garden, you’ve probably had someone try and sell you on the idea of growing herbs. I’m not quite sure why this is, but “Why don’t you try basil?” seems to be the standard answer to anyone interested in turning their stoop, windowsill, alleyway, or what have you into a fertile little patch of land.
In my book, this is some of the worst, most life-draining advice you could ever give someone. Yes, yes, it’s very nice to have fresh basil to put on your pizza or fresh mint to put in your lemonade, but for most small (one-to-three person) households, you’re left with this plant that produces much more than you could possibly want, to the point where the wannabe gardener almost resents it. That is, if you can even get it to grow for you at all.
For me, the true magic is in leafy greens. Collards, kale, swiss chard, escarole, arugula, lettuce, cabbage… when you start growing that stuff, that’s when the lightbulb goes off over your head and you understand why there are people who are so passionate about gardening. Leafy greens grow almost effortlessly outdoors, they produce tons, and they feed you really, really well.
I have a very small square foot garden (about 4′ x 4′) and also a very small container garden. The square foot garden is in an unused part of the front of our building and some of the containers are right next to it; there are additional containers in our windowsills.
It’s a very, very small space. And yet, when I plant leafy greens in there in the late winter/very early spring, they grow like crazy. It’s almost hard to keep up with them, and I swear – all I did was create the container for them, dig a hole, put the seedling in (I start from seeds mostly, but that’s another story), and water it every couple of days. Nothing fancy. And from the end of April to the start of September, we really don’t have to buy veggies at the store. (Bear in mind that I’m vegan and I try and eat a LOT of raw greens… probably a normal person would be stuck with a surplus to freeze and keep for the winter.)
So far, I’d estimate we’d had about 10 cups of greens from the garden, and it’s only the second of May. Not bad!
Pics of the garden forthcoming…
Special bonus video (if you know me personally, you knew this was coming). Oh Blixa, you sexy man:
The semester is almost over (one more day!)! I feel like every year I say this, but this year was the toughest. I try to really challenge myself every academic year to step it up in terms of what I give my students, and balancing that with my own work and my life… well, something has to give. I’m lucky it’s mostly the blog that suffers (and also, the cleanliness/organization of my apartment).
But summer is here now and I want to get back to blogging. In fact, I want to start blogging something every day – maybe not something substantial every day, but at least a few words and a picture or two. And this leads me to another thought I’ve been chewing on for the last few weeks:
More and more, I’m incorporating stories and experiences from my life into my work. I’m very happy with the writing I did with It takes time to turn a space around because I feel like I finally found a way to weave my personal stories in with observations about the “greater” world (politics, news events, etc) in such a way as it actually all makes sense as one big narrative. But then doing that has lead me to wonder if it makes sense for me to blog about art and only art (which has been my goal so far with this blog, not that I’ve always achieved it) and to keep curating out things that I do that are somehow not art, or that I think would be utterly uninteresting to anyone reading my blog.
I promise I won’t start blogging about watching my toenails grow or something like that, but certain things that take up my life/time/mental space and constantly reoccur in my work could make for some interesting blog fodder, I think. Stuff like: my vegetable garden, my experiences in Jersey City, vegan cooking (and why being vegan is so important to me), friends, crafts, news, music, and so on.
Well, it’s an experiment, and we’ll see how it goes. But I’m going to try and blog every day. May 1st seems like a great day to start.
This is going to seem like the silliest thing to put in an art blog, but bear with me.
I bought a pair of ginormous bug-eyed prescription sunglasses. It wasn’t really my intention to do this when I walked into the Lenscrafters, but I’ve been needing new sunglasses for ever and this pair was on sale, and I’m always saying I want to try a different kind of glasses, so why not? So I got them, didn’t think too much, ordered the polarized lenses, and waited a week. They arrived two days ago.
Here’s why I mention it: Seeing the world through ginormous bug eyed glasses is a completely amazing and all-new experience. For starters, THE COLORS. I had forgotten how amazing sunglasses make all the colors look outside; that the sun sort of bleaches the color out of everything, and walking around with sunglasses on is a little like being Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when suddenly everything goes all technicolor. Blades of grass twinkle (the tips of the blades of grass now clearly a dark yellow unlike the base of the blade which is a fierce green with a little bit of blue), individual leaves up in trees shine and glisten…. it’s amazing. And then secondly, the field of vision is way bigger. I’ve been wearing smaller glasses forever and have totally forgotten that oh yeah, there’s a whole world that gets edited out when you see the world through 1 1/4″ lenses.
Anyway, I am psyched to see if this has any affect on my work. Already I’ve been planning on making some very large scale drawings, but now I’m thinking all about color – intense, pure color, the kind that makes your eyes pop out. And I pretty much never want to take the sunglasses off.
I’m trying to de-clutter my life. In particular, I need to truly overhaul my entire studio and clear out a bunch of junk. I want to spend this summer working on some really ambitious projects and to do that, I need space.
It’s sort of humbling to go through all your junk. Picking through my shelves (which basically have layers and layers of stuff just piled on them in no particular order) is like going through some sort of three dimensional scrapbook that I started around 2004. That’s basically when my life got really busy, and being organized was a luxury I had to give up.
I’ve already carted out six gigantic garbage bags – and that’s just my studio. Gross, I know. I’m horrified by how much stuff I have accumulated. And all the stuff I’ve felt stuck with, either because it was “too good to throw away” or because I thought I might need it one day.
The stuff falls into two broad categories:
1. Things given to me – either because of some sort of professional obligation (goodie bags from art fairs are a major culprit) or gifts or even little things that friends have found here or there – like on the sidewalk or in their own cluttered studios – and brought to me. I’m trying to resolve what to do with that which I feel some sort of connection to, but the vast majority of it (especially the bulkier stuff) is the kind of thing I don’t feel any nostalgia for (I don’t need to keep a beachball from a PS1 giveaway three years ago, etc).
2. Unfinished work. Boxes and boxes of unfinished work. I was slightly horrified to discover that I had become, without even realizing it, one of those artists. You know the type – they get started on a painting or drawing, work work work on the thing like crazy, then abandon it when it’s 90% done. And then when the work is uncovered years later, it’s not really like they can go back and finish it now, because the moment is passed – they can’t remember how you were going to finish that sentence or complete that scene. Everybody does that now and then, but I recognize that it’s really not so healthy to have stacks and stacks and stacks (and stacks) of work that was so close to being finished, but not quite, and now totally doomed. I see it for the kind of self-defeating practice that it is – a way to keep yourself constantly busy and going crazy, but never actually accomplishing anything because you never finish. You’d be better off spending your time at a bar than torturing yourself in the studio, if you’re never force yourself to confront the ending of a work.
So, no more. I’m thinking about stupid yuppie phrases like “work better, not more” but mostly I’m just getting rid of that habit. I keep thinking about how, over the last few years, I’ve given up nearly all of my OCD habits/tics, how absolutely excruciatingly hard that was to do, and how this might be one of the last to go. Not the acquisition of clutter – I’m not a hoarder; the clutter comes from a combination of busy-ness and laziness. But more this torturing myself over projects that go nowhere – that’s got to go. When I started realizing that I had so many incompleted projects, my heart started racing and I found myself feeling absolutely terrible – which is a good indication that there’s something going on here… and that it has to stop.
Focus, Amy, focus. Forget about those old projects, but resolve to see your ideas through from now on.
I know – I’ve been MIA for a while.
About a million things have happened, and I will happily bring you up-to-date on all that on some other day. But for right now, I’m reminded of a bumpersticker we used to see around New Haven (“My kid and my money go to Yale”). If I were wearing a sign right now, it would say “My brain and my heart belong to the Degenerate Craft Fair.”
I am way to flustered to blog correctly, but here are the basics:
The DCF is being put together by me and Shannon Broder. It involves 20+ artists and will run for five days spread out over three weekends, the first being this Friday night at a DIY place called Silent Barn. The weekend after, it moves to a storefront in Williamsburg, and then the weekend after that it’s in Chelsea at BravinLee. For allllll the details and info, see our website: http://www.degeneratecraftfair.com
A slight aside: Have you ever been to Shecky’s Girl’s Night Out? It’s this really terrible event in the Puck Building – you pay something like $20 to get in; there’s tons of goodie bags and freebies and free ultra-sweet alcoholic drinks, and lots of vendors selling stuff. You go, the whole evening is a blur, and you wake up the next morning with a pounding headache and a brand new purse next to you that I guess you bought (probably stuffed with other things you bought), but good luck if you remember actually doing so.
Ok, so the Degenerate Craft Fair is supposed to be the good version of all that. Vendors (aka artists) selling FUCKING AMAZING stuff at fantastic prices, giving you lots of things to give as ultra-cool Christmas presents or maybe keep for yourself. And yes, alcohol and music and a party-sort-of-atmosphere. And also free to get into. Fun!
So basically I’m scrambling to get all my own work done (tons of cheap editions I’m making – books, “records”, other fun stuff) and also help organize this thing. It’s a lot. But I really hope you’ll consider coming and maybe even re-blog this event if you keep your own blog.
I have a million things to do, so let me close with some of the work that you’ll see at the fair…
(and dare I say, “and much, much more…”?????)