Tuesday, September 17, 2013

This is my version of culture shock:

This is my version of culture shock:

Does anyone know what the American equivalent is for Herculite No. 2?

Why doesn't this reading discussion group have a pot of tea going?

There are so many babies everywhere. (new projects and spaces also count as babies)

I thought I remember driving my own car was kindof fun, why does 20 minutes seem like too long now?

Besides Vince C's blog is there seriously still no critical art writing in Detroit? Isn't there a ton of money kicking around right now for this sort of thing?

/// /// ///

In artmaking news, I am looking for if there is anyone that knows how to disassemble a large xerox copy machine and can help me make alterations?

Is there an equivalent to the U of M's Property Disposition or MSU's Surplus store closer to Detroit?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Finally an appropriate entry that I can post since being back in Detroit.

Before I express my plans for "What I'm going to do next", I've taken a hiatus from making art for a bit, and I'm just reflecting, there has been a nice journal entry for every day since we got back into the US, and this is the one for today.

I've had grand plans of doing so many things now that Rachel and I have been back, but I think I'm going to stop and relax. If anyone wants to hang out, I'm free, but I don't have the energy to do anything as of yet, which includes coming over to someone's place (unless I've invited myself over), I'm kindof in hermit mode.

These grand plans included: 

  • Writing a thesis about a Detroit-Glasgow connection, but I've decided to work on it and publish that privately. 
  • Updating this blog to rehash all of my favorite moments from the last two years and the lowest points that started to occur near the end when close friends began relying on e-mail as the only form of communication as our time in Glasgow was coming to an end...
  • Posting a blog on glasgowmiracle.blogspot.com about how I just dropped off an 'artwork' that is an archive of important documents of the last two years into Glasgow School of Art's archives based on discussions with the other volunteers and the archivists that worked there on what they wish someone had left for them.
But I'm not doing any of that sh*t because first I have to worry about: Getting an appropriate part-time job, moving out of the Russell Industrial Center, paying to get my car patched up because it could get even worse, getting things back that I have strewn around town from drum sets to computers, getting settled into a new studio that I will be sharing with Rachel, getting a new website sorted that actually does justice to where my work currently is, finding an appropriate way to rebuild the work that I had established in Glasgow back in Detroit to replace the older work, and familiarising myself with the Detroit and friends that are here considering I feel like both me and Rachel have changed considerably since leaving for Glasgow...

I haven't said it yet but... Glasgow I miss you, friends who used to live in Detroit, I miss you, friends who haven't said welcome back yet, I miss you.

Tuesday, 10th of September.

I saw this image of a friend from Glasgow, and it made me think about the kind of images I make nowadays in art...

Ian M. as filtered through a lego app.

I've never stopped loving abstraction

Pixels are somehow a part of it all to me too, 

You see the parts (the process of making patterns), the whole (the illusion of content)

I was looking at a digital image one of my very first paintings when I learned how to paint with oil, and I put it on an online account where there are a lot of eyes, telling me if they liked it, that they liked my approach, but more specifically they would tell me if they liked what they saw. (It's called DeviantArt)

But I was the only person who appreciated this particular painting, and that's when I realised that I never thought about what other people saw (because it doesn't look like anything, you're eye searches for too long for a composition that never feels resolved), it was a painting that actually helped me retrace that moment of looking at a still life, and what's better is that I even wrote (a little apologetically) about how the piece was unfinished and  went to describe what was present on the table that I had been painting and the painting assignment that it came from. 

Titled: Still Life 3 Unfinished

I could remember cutting in with paint in one direction or another to create the illusion of depth, or of discrete objects and my eyes would dart re-creating, almost repainting the image and seeing that I had worked so hard to 'figure it out'. But what did I figure out? No one else could see this organisation of good paint let alone of an exciting exploration of form. I figured out how to make me remember that act of almost tracing the entire scene in front of me with my eyes. Like a dream that has no peripheral vision and auto-corrects to assume normativity in irrational circumstances, it was about the play of construction where there is a constant flow of it being built, rather than being able to deconstruct it. 

I could look at this image with pride and know that I had nailed an illusion, and secretly what this formed, was a pleasurable palate of vibrant colour textures and patterns that would not have come together that way if I had just attempted to invent it. There was a rigour to it, but there was also a sense of that bowling ball game where you try to roll it soft enough to make it go over a hill, but not so hard that it rolls over the next hill, that is if creating each mark made up the push of a hand… 

A lot of my paintings that are unfinished have much better compositions than my overworked monstrosities. 

What I guess I'm getting at is that there are three perhaps four things that are exciting in the lifespan of this art work or perhaps this type of approach to art, making abstract paintings, work that didn't begin with a concept, but the desire to create my own problems to solve. 

There is the joy of creativity (1), something for me, but there's also myself as the original audience, a sense of pride that comes after not just that painting but seeing how it was the first of so many many paintings (2). There is also an assumption that there is an abstraction for an audience to consider its emotive qualities either from finding and recognising content but to also seeing the paint for what it is. It takes time to figure it out and there's an expectation that it should be a rewarding search (3). This particular painting is not too rewarding after one sees what the things are, after all, the imagery I selected to paint is not particularly symbolic, suggestive or autobiographical, it's a study.

But I can look back to my first paintings and say to myself, this is the beginning of why I'm committed to making art. It started from somewhere that was about trying and how fun it was to try something fairly difficult and for me and it would continue to demand mastery if I was to join the ranks of 'actual painters'. From here I can remember that I had altered a painting palette thatI presented as a finished work, which meant that I was interested in questioning the beginning, the end, and framing of the language of painting or artwork in general. 

Titled "Open Palette" and I found an alternative title that I ended up using for my first solo exhibition: "Start Somewhere"

I remember the moment when I realised that the surface that one prepares to paint on is the stage where people will get themselves situated to see the show that you put on, not the process of what it took you to get to 'the work', but I sought the mutual appreciation of the process, because it was something I wanted to share, that feeling of being creative, not being celebrated for having done creative things, but it could be work, a creative act, to look at work and be partly responsible for the meaning that is evoked.

I remember being asked for that piece in an art trade and remember thinking how disappointed this person was in me that I hadn't kept it aside for them for a trade because I sold it I believe for something like 75 dollars at my senior thesis show. There was the collapsing of the journey into a monetary exchange and I said to myself that it's alright whatever artwork goes because I'm interested in the next piece that I make, and that's where I find myself now, thinking about the work that is to come ahead. 

Shoot ahead to my last "solo" show where all the work was installed by John Nicol and I was also using the palettes of other painters to create the works, this one was by Lauren Wells.
This is me revealing the backside of a painting also part of "Indirectly, Yours"

What artworks in grad school were like that abstract painting for me? The beginning of realising that I had the "knack" for making art? The piece that I might look back and think that I haven't taken care of it fully, creating holistic considerations to firmly place it into context where it could flourish and even grow? These are not just high expectations, this is a lot of the point of art, otherwise, let's face it, these pretty pictures are just part of interior decoration. 

Taking risks plays a big role here, but it might not be the absolute first priority.

Trusting one's own instincts, I've rediscovered that my signature on that online website (that is now well populated by high school drawings of anime, furries, digital paintings and nude photography, it seems there's no place for me that there once was in the cheerleading efforts that the site represented from strangers) that it was this: Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts, and never hope more than you work.
- Rita Mae Brown. 

That's a powerful quote about how art is about you and the importance or celebration of creativity as cheesy as that sounds. Art depends on you to be an inspirational human being in order for it to have a chance, it demands a work ethic that too is about constant self-development. In a sense, your best work is a by product of imagining better things, and that's why that quote is not actually about creativity or individuality, it's about making the best work possible. It's about getting yourself in proper shape because good work will take care of you in so many different ways, and nothing keeps good art chugging along, but you. Reciprocity between high-expectations and chance outcomes. It barely worked or perhaps it failed, and you go on to make it even more challenging for yourself because you want to. Flow. Waves. Being.