Tuesday, November 6, 2012

There's Still Hope

Here is a repost from likeafieldmouse:

Late Bloomers of the Arts

For all of you who’ve felt even for a second that it’s ever too late:

1. Charles Bukowski had his first book published when he was 49

2. Leonard Cohen was 33 when his first album was released

3. Marina Abramovic’s career as an independent artist wasn’t solidified until she was 42

4. Julia Child’s career started when she was 36

5. Van Gogh started drawing when he was 27

6. Monet painted Sunrise when he was 33, but wasn’t producing his best work until his early 40s

7. Kazuo Ohno started dancing when he was 27

8. William S. Burroughs had his first novel published when he was 39

Monday, November 5, 2012


I've been thinkging that maybe I need to try a new approach for either my art practice or for writing or anything that I want to be good at. This Maya Angelou quote is pretty inspiring. “What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’” — Maya Angelou

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Continued Work, but New: "Save Yourself: Relay"

The beginning of this month in October I headed to NCY to present a new project, which was actually a continuation of a body of artwork I developed during my graduate studies called "Save Yourself." I was invited to participate in a performance and installation festival called "Art in Odd Places," which is an annual event. This year it took place along 14th street in Manhattan, NY.
Over the course of the 3 days that I performed I learned a few things that were important. 1. If performing for consecutive days, have more than one set of cloths for costume 2. Each performers location requires a slightly different set of movements 3. Each performance gives you different gifts 4. Starbucks are great dressing rooms 5. Remember to eat before a performance and drink lots of water 6. Improvisation is a life saver 7. Performing with other artists around is fun 8. Meeting other like-minded performers / artists is great! 9. Make a rain-day plan 10.When in doubt, just put on the costume and wait for the performer within to kick in

Creating Accountability

Around this time of year I start to think, where did this year go. It has know been almost a year and a half since I graduated with my MFA in Public Practice, and I am certainly still figuring out my practice. I have been busy since then, but still need to create a tempo and brand to my practice. I began thinking today about how much time I spend planning as an arts administrator. I was staring at my white board ( the type divided up into 3 months) in my office thinking, if only I could do this for myself, for my art practice. I have yet to implement any of this, but I think I'm on to something with the goal planning. While I know that I will not be able to plan my creative moments I can give them opportunities to emerge, as well as a timeframe. My hope is to create a set of goals for my practice and a timeframe to create more respect and accountability for my practice. I sometimes talk myself out of opportunities thinking that its not important enough, but if I could treat it as important as a job I think I would have some more productive results. I think this will also allow my to accept my practice for what it is: small and quiet. To this, I need to decide if this is indeed what I want. In conclusion, I realized that I am spending too much energy on things that are not that important to me, while I have other areas (all be it, not income streams) that are being neglected. My hope is that this will in the long run encourage me to create more work (or even just create more consistently), and allow me to enjoy other areas of my life without feeling guilt ridden or resentful. Now to work on implementation.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sharing a Public Practice

This last week I was invited to speak on an alumni panel at my school, Otis. After only being out of school for 4 months, I didn't have a new project to talk about, but was instead able to talk about my process of graduate education and of creating a public practice. As the date neared I became really nervous about telling people about the trials and tribulations of my process. Would this be relevant to anyone? Would anyone care?

After my 10 minute presentation was over I realized that this opportunity was a very cathartic experience for me. I was able to put many pieces of my 3 year long journey together. A process that started in Cambridge Massachusetts and finished in Los Angeles, California; through 2 separate existential crisis as I question first if I was a therapist and then if I was an artist. Ultimately I answered yes to the later question by finishing this degree, and am still in the process of exploring my relationship of being a therapist.

After the lecture there were a few questions that I hadn't decided how I would publicly answer, but I think I managed to offer a long version of the truth, as I talked out the possible responses. One of the other alum that is in the middle of archiving information about social practices asked if I would be interested in doing an interview. This of course will require that I firm up a few positions that I have on the field of public practice, such as: Why am I trying to make change through art?

Lastly, the part of the lecture that I found the most rewarding was at the end sharing tips for those that are in the middle, or just beginning, the process of their graduation education. By sharing my experience I hope that I may have been helpful as they journey on through the difficult process of creating a public practice.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thesis Defense

Last Thursday was one of the most nerve racking days of my graduate experience: thesis defense day. This is the point in which one must stand up in front of their artwork, explain it and defend your decisions with historical and theoretical references.

This was also the day that my written thesis was due. I was fortunate to have a dear friend of mine, Nicolette Jackson Pownal, to act as editor. What I thought would be a 2-3 hour correction of sentence structure corrections and grammar turned into an 8 hour review of the text, word by word and line by line. This intense scrutiny of the written text helped to clarify my ideas to a non-artist, which meant I really had to explain what I was talking about. I believe this process flowed over into the next day as I presented to my faculty.

I showed up to the gallery with notes typed up outlining what I would discuss, a professional outfit on and was prepared to be the first one to present. The faculty lined up in front of me like a firing squad and for 30 minutes I explained the conceptualization of the project and historical significance. Finally I opened it up to questions and comments, and there were a few points of clarification. All in all, it couldn't have went better! Over the rest of the day my faculty said the presentation was really good and my paper much improved.

Six hours later after my 5 peers had presented there was the last test--the private conversation where the faculty decide if we should graduate. Some 10 minutes went by and then we were called back in and all given the thumbs up! I now had the green light to graduate, and what a relief that was. I had proven myself to my faculty and thus will become a colleague.

Feild Internship Presentation Today!

There is 4 more days to go until graduation! One of the last requirements I need to fulfill is a short 10 minute presentation about my experience during my internship. Using a short 4 slide Power Point I will talk about the the role I played in the project BEING PEDESTRIAN, a collaborative project with artists Sara Daleiden, Sara Wookey and Linda Pollack (http://habeaslounge.org/)--3 amazing artists and women.

Here is a link to the description of the project:

About the project:
BEING PEDESTRIAN is a cultural tourism agency focused on walking.
With its playful prompts, BEING PEDESTRIAN invites experience of the public space of sidewalks and crosswalks in consideration of the invisible decisions that form the streetscape. Produced in collaboration with CRA/LA

My position as an intern included a variety of tasks that included: community outreach, public relations, production of stencils, attending planning meetings, participating in walks, proof reading, organizing, and communicating with participants. Throughout the internship the tasks were varied, and I was very receptive to the range of experiences that this opportunity offered me.

In final reflection, working with BEING PEDESTRIAN was most important for me in understanding my own practice. The project functioned in different ways and was defined differently depending on the parties involved. When it needed to be part of public art it was; when it needed to be community building it was; when it needed to be a social service it was. The sort of shape shifting that I witnessed the project go through is something that I have not finished reflecting on. In one case this offers maximum accessibility, but in another seems to conceal the art. Moreover, the project seemed to function on the level of critical consciousness raising. The form that some of the strategies took were similar to those I work with, which was perhaps originally why I felt that this would be such a good partnership for my internship. It turned out that it was, and offered me a lot to reflect on, along with good times with these artists that I hope to stay in touch with throughout my career.