Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lucky Unlucky

I officially had the worst 'adventure' I've ever had trying to get to Loch Lomond...

But to start off on a nice note, I tried couch surfing for the very first time and it was AMAZING! Although I did make quite a few friends at the Hostel so it's a toss up between having 1 person show you around that is a very thoughtful person, and having 3 or 4 people that check in with how you're doing periodically and share their wide amount of experiences about where they're coming from and tips for things you can do to make your life easier. I stayed with someone named Willem who came in at the last hour when the original person I had been in contact with stopped contacting me! I probably e-mailed Willem as a backup (my only smart pre-planning of the entire trip honestly) and he even gave my photo to the bouncers at the club that he was hanging around that night so they would know to expect me! He treated me to beers, showed me around, talked about this and that and then I had a great time going back to his place where we ate cocoa puffs, played his synth drums that some band used when recording at his house and watched stuff on youtube about British comedians I didn't know.

Before that however, the same night, I saw one of the funniest things I have ever seen. But first I have to introduce you to Guillaume and Audrey. So I met up with Rachel Timlin's (Aaron Timlin's sister) friends earlier in the week. Guillaume's from France and Audrey's Irish and those three first meet some odd 12 years ago and we inseparable from what I hear for that year. Guillaume is a manager at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut and he's seen some of the most-well known bands ever to have played that small venue. Audrey that week was  busy putting together an exhibition with Sense Scotland which was basically an art opening celebrating the work from the result of workshops created by sight, hearing and mentally impaired residents. The second night I was in I got deep friend Haggis, talked at length with both of them and then went on to talk with Guillaume for even longer at Variety about the politics of Detroit and Glasgow and in general what it's like for people to get around in these kinds of cities.

But the funniest moment happened a couple nights later when I was invited to Audrey's house and was introduced to a doll that Rachel made of Audrey. I thought it was store bought because it had a really nice box, it was handmade but with an insane amount of detail. Captions all over the box like, 'I like potatoes!' (she's Irish) and the best part was another caption that says, Squeeze my Butt and I'll Talk to You! but that's not all, there's an embedded recording where Rachel tricked Audrey into leaving a funny voicemail message which was unknowingly put into the doll. It had so much love put into the accessories including a wee camera (Audrey's a photographer) a wee cell phone, and a wee book, all about Audrey's love of potatoes. To top it all off they fed me and my phone was dying all day and they had something to charge my iPhone so that I could get in contact with Willem... thank god. I was actually thinking I might have to sleep in the streets for Plan C.

Let's see... before that  in the morning I accidentally saw a sneak preview of a show at Transmission (they forgot to put a do-not-enter tape across the door, I inadvertently met the artist but have nothing to show for it.)

Before that I was in Edinburgh the day before seeing ALL of their galleries too. I got lost... a lot and probably saw all of Edinburgh, which is exactly why I like the city. You can get lost as all hell, but it's so small that it doesn't really matter! You can always use the same landmarks to figure it out. I went to a tiny ceramics gallery/studio because I got lost, but I also found Embassy gallery which wasn't on any of the art maps I had been given. Just through word of mouth I was able to find a lot of artist run galleries! I saw these poor artists who had to sit at their own show in order to have it open, but on the upside the visitors can meet the artists for sure that way!

Before all that it was even MORE amazing, I basically got to sit in and listen to all of the presentations by all the 2nd year and 1st year (except maybe the first 4 the first day I got in) students that are going to Glasgow School of Art and I must say, I can totally imagine being a part of that group. Some of them already have prestigious gallery shows and for all I know museum shows, tons of awards... they throw the word biennial around like how we through around house party.

Ok, so the bad day that happened today...

"Full Blown Crisis" - Photographs, acrylic paint, spray paint, and cloth on acrylic plastic mounted on oak.
I'm not going to go into it. Anti-climatic huh? I pretty much didn't get anywhere for 5 hours straight of walking. That's the short story, if you ever really want to hear it, buy me a pint and I'll go through it all again.

Being in such a sh*tty situation (and calling my girlfriend Rachel freaking out, missing her, bless her heart) made me really focus on what I needed to do, which includes some slightly impossible acts of determination.

1. Rewrite Fulbright application in 1 day and drive it up to Lansing to be edited more.
1b. Read portions of the 3 books I bought to help support my Fulbright statement.
2. Refinish old work and bring 14 pieces to Sarnia
3. Finish my application to Glasgow School of Art and send it on with letters of rec!
4. Talk with people about secret collaborations and finish a proposal.
5. Figure out new works for District VII
6. Put up 2 new pages for artist pages
7. Paint sum bowls with DIA staff at 555 Gallery
8. Find artwork if I have any to put into Art Detroit now with Hatch
9. Respond to e-mails about commissions / where to get gallery space
10. Figure out what my intern can help me with!

All within the next week or possibly before Oct 1st...

So what I've learned from all of this... travelling helps me write, but otherwise I don't find any reason to do it alone again. Sh*tty moments help me clear what it is that I want, as opposed to just thinking about what I want. More concretely what I learned: Do more research, leave earlier, ask better questions, get offline maps for the iphone (that way you can still use the location services via wi-fi when you can find it)

Also in case you were wondering, I didn't eat any non-deep friend haggis, it rained three days, chinese food in the UK is different but still good, I was suprised by the number of people I met from Estonia, I like when people say cheers or Brilliant! and gar-ige instead of gah-raj and... lots of other things that I had to ask what people were talking about... What other crap would people want to know... Oh you can get a flight to Glasgow for just under 500 dollars including taxes if you plan ahead. I must admit though I am a bit afraid... I'm flying back through Heathrow (London's and possibly the world's worst airport) and I have been told that even though I have a 2 hour layover, if they can't check my bag all the way... and I have to pick it up at baggage claim, get through security a 2nd time, find the right gate and which concourse, and if the board on the screen says it takes 20 minutes to get there, (which means approximately 1 mile of distance)... RUN.

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