Perseverance prevails every time… it's been a killer couple weeks...well looking at the last time I wrote...actually months. Though that's typical when you start a new job and for summer in our region there is no shortage of things to do. I love being outside so being tucked away in the studio completing a commission and readying for my show at Albany Center Gallery was difficult for me. Normally I tuck in during the winter but there was just too much to do.
All these many months I have wanted to find time to write about all the great experiences I have been having. Share my gratitude for my co-workers who have worked beside me all summer to pull off some great events.. Share more thoughts about my travels into the Adirondack wilderness on some weekends. Share my quest to finish the biggest piece I have ever made in three months while trying to finish a commission work where a customer for the first time gave me full reign to create something truly in my style depicting persons who are most precious to him. Lastly, share that I finally sold three pieces out of my first small group invitational.
Here and there I've posted some of these moments on social media but right in the middle of a week where my nerves were truly being tested I was reminded that I have a lot to say and these words though they seem to me somewhat self involved and meaningless, sometimes these words are also read and appreciated. I was reminded by students, friends, and loved ones that I have a lot to offer. That I have something to say. It is also the business I am in. It is my essence as an artist and it is my career path as an educator. I'm someone who sincerely wants to make a difference in the world no matter how small.
When you're caught up so much in the thick of it, you know good things are
happening but you forget how you survive it all. My path this summer was not without destruction, I think this week was about the third time where I was experiencing a slight breakdown, but I am feeling better today. The ride wasn't easy but regardless of how tired I get, I do seem to enjoy the challenges. That's what I perhaps like most about art, it teaches me time and time again about the person I am and the person I am capable of being.
Below are some questions I thought I would share that a friend (Liz Parsons, an amazing artist by the way too, http://lizparsonsart.com/) asked me recently. I am thankful for the reason to pause and reflect.
How or why did you start cutting out your drawings?
It felt like a really natural thing to do. I've always wanted whatever I make to float, always haunted by this idea that the artwork must eventually exist inside a frame or enclosed in some border.
Back in the Clemson days during a review a professor pointed out to me that I seemed to be occupied with always suggesting what existed just below the surface. It was the first time that someone put that innate need into words for me, it was the first time I actually comprehended it, and realized just how true it was because for years, even by that point, I always began a piece with a toned ground.
I hated the white of the paper or gesso because the process was always about adding something. I would and still do become very frustrated when working on a white surface. I came to realize in my more mature art making years that I deeply desired to expand the illusion of a surface, suggest a slight expansion of space in which that 1/2 millimeter thickness of canvas or piece of paper felt like it was ½ inch thick to 10 inches thick (or more).
For me, and I spend a lot of time doing this, it is like looking at the surface of water and being able to see both the illusion of the reflection and the substance beneath at the same time or looking through a multi-pane window and focusing on each surface one pane at a time. Time suspends when I sit in these spaces.
So what this all really came to mean for me is once I felt I had a firm handle on how to this through the illusion of color or mark then it was time to physically make it happen. Like the water or window, why couldn't I have both?
Were the big wood cut -outs just a natural progression for this body of work or were you asked specifically to do them?
It was both a natural progression, something I had been planning for a while and I was also luckily invited to build such a structure. Sculpture that size is expensive and time consuming so I didn't want to just do it because I wanted to, I needed a reason and in much thanks to Tony at Albany Center Gallery I was given my chance. I also still function on a level that is just like my track days, working towards a goal to better myself and challenge myself to improve. Knowing a show was in my future I was motivated to succeed.
I have never really worked with power tools before but grew up around them, my grandfathers both had shops one wood, other cars, and my dad is a woodworker too. So when I had this idea I went to my dad's shop, he set me up, and said okay don't place your finger here. Then away I went. I was nervous with the first cut but then it really just felt like drawing, it didn't matter that a different tool was attached to my hand.
Will you go back and do more paper cut- outs but a different subject?
Yes, I have had many other pieces in the works, just all currently sitting in various states or pieces in a flat file. I also have more studies and wood pieces planned. I definitely have more ideas then time so I'll just be patient and enjoy the ride.
And, lastly, have you thought of doing a permanent wooden piece outside (maybe on a building like a mural).?
Yeah, totally a pie in the sky dream- but something that I think to would come naturally, the biggest obstacle would be to figure out how to make something so that it would withstand weather. I would probably need to switch to metal for that and I think I like wood and paper a bit too much right now to make a switch, so we'll see what happens.
In closing to this blog post, I'd like to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to Tony Iadicicco and Albany Center Gallery, you make dreams come true and to the two visitors to the exhibit "If This, Then That" who not only loved my work but invested in me, it's a wonderful feeling to know my works have found a new home. Also to my friends and family that have supported me through all of this, I am truly blessed.
Now, its time to get to work!