Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wow longest best day ever!

Imagine waking up from a only being able to sleep about 4 hours on a plane ride with very little wiggle room to realizing that your plane lands at 3 am and you have a interview/tour at 5 am. That's how my day started.

I'm in Glasgow reading Simply Separate People by Lynn Crawford, listening to music given to me the day before by a guy named Aaron. My favorite artists on his crazy playlist that only spans from bands beginning with the letter A to bands beginning with the letter B include Aavikko, Afro Celt Sound System, Arvo Part...

I was greeted with a couple of the best travel suprises you could imagine, first Scotland, my destination, for some reason or another allows free baggage claim. As I was getting off the plane I was told to go in a separate line because I had a foreign passport, it just so happened that it was a shorter line and I got to get in front of about of 100 people and got my little Scotland Stamp. Even though I was the first one out of the plane our bags were rotating on the little turnstyle thingy, and my bag was sitting there just waiting for me.

I met with Dr. Glyn Davis and I thought he was surprisingly young, I spent a little bit of a ridiculous time trying to get dollars exchanged for British Pounds so I could get a coffee, I must say I got some crappy weak coffee, but I made the mistake of travelling to far to try to exchange my money and so had to run up some steep hills to make it back in time. I made it just in time to the Mckintosh building and stood around a bit thinking about what possible questions he might ask me, I kept coming up with what I considered really weak responses: I'm here in Glasgow because someone told me that it was similar to Cranbrook, (which it is in that it is a tight knit group of artists that have a wide range of abilities. The work is distilled to its basic elements while giving their old work an experimental twist.

I got to sit in on some of the 2nd year students' work and I thought to myself that there sure were a lot of images surrounded by a lot of white blank negative space around the subjects, as I got outside during breaks I noticed how the overcast clouds seemed to become like a large lightbox... I felt like the environment instilled a kind of calm upon some of their work, letting them know, less is more, less is everything.

I feel a little embarrased but I tried a range of very abruptly interuptions to patiently waiting in plain view of current students in order to talk to them about their experiences. One student had an awful time getting his Visa, but he did let me know that Rachel could apply for the common-law partner VISA as long as we could prove that we've lived together for the past two years. I made sure to mention that it was my first time travelling alone and that I was here from Detroit and that it's nicer than the stereotypes. For the most part people would say that their news had recently and often talked about the very urban farming and other art projects that were underway in the city. It made me feel like I had a bit of cache behind me, some real credentials of DIY.

Other parts of the talks included someone quoting Samuel Beckett ''try to fail better'', another artist Katie talked about how she tried to get all the copies of 'Wealth of Nations' by Adam Smith and only was able to secure 30 some, another artist worked with implanting blank books into the library so that one had a space to open a blank book and settle the mind. All of this reminded me of the other great part of the school's partnerships which included that I had full rein of the art libray, University of Scotland's Library and even the gigantic library in Edinburgh where I could find any book. Any Book! Suzie's work really appealled to me, it had to do with being a printmaker but it was really beyond printmaking since it was so about the process of printmaking... one of her projects was giving people unique coins with a kindof woodgrain looking thumbs up on it that she gave to people for their favors, work for art. I learned that Paradelia means common things such as stains or decay being thought of as extremely important, especially when you think you see the face of Jesus or the Virgin Mary on a wee crisp. That means small potatoe chip, but you knew that.

Regardless of the fascinating artist talks I really had to focus on staying awake as we were reaching the 4th break in the day...

I'm looking at my notes in a datebook that is a Mike Spradlin wedding presents and it's already filled with nuggets of great advice: Think about your relationship to the other students, what are you able to actually accomplish in 2 years, what would you be interested in exploring? what are some technical, conceptual and material concerns for your work?

Later in the day I went to the hostel (because they don't open until 2) and grabbed my backpack and headed straight to a computer so that I could contact Rachel and find out what I could do about my really really really bad timing for my Fulbright application. (it's due the 23rd and involves sending images via a cd, I'm in Glasgow right now so that should tell you how organized I am to get that hard copy to them... I just found out I got an extension though *phew* now all I have to worry about when I get back is driving to Lansing to drop off the application, dropping off a three person show in Canada that's an hour away, getting ready for my artist talk on the first, as well as put together a proposal for another big art show possibly in six months... What have I done to myself? I apologize to myself right now, by taking this trip TO GLASGOW!!! HOLY SH*T I'M STILL IN GLASGOW! I'M TRAVELLING BY MYSELF IM FUCHKIN DOING IT!

So at the Hostel I was able to ask about walking Lochlomond which the cabbie on the way in helped me pronounce it (lock-lemon) and as I asked him about what non-artists think about all the art, he simply replied, the other residents don't seem to mind. I waited for a bit for Rachel Timlin's friends, one who invited me to something called Sense Scotland, which I later found out were art workshops made for people who are deaf or blind or impaired mentally and was about experiencing materials in new ways. Her other friend Guillaume happened to be a manager of the CBGBs of Glasgow and was having a hard time getting around without having to say hi every other second, but he really gave me all the attention for a real good hearted conversation where we basically described the history and future of two entire nations, US and UK over a pint of beer. Tomorrow I might ask someone what's with the protestant and catholic soccer team rivalries. They also treated me to the greasiest dinner and I was able to get away without trying a deep fried Mars bar. I really seemed to crack up the 2nd years when I asked if it was 'legal'. Hanging out with the Glasgow CBGB manager and making a ton of 2nd year MFA students crack up has seemed to help me get my foot into the door of this art scene quite quickly and easily. Who knew travelling would come this naturally for me? Who knew that everyone would reschedule so that they could meet me on my very first day in Scotland, on my own, on my journey towards discomfort and getting lost within the smallest amount of space possible... I look forward to sneaking in into more MFA talks...

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