Wednesday, October 7, 2009

More time in the Gerbil Spinny Wheel Thing

So this morning I had the opportunity to ponder myself as an artist and my upcoming decisions about what work to make next, and I began to wonder how I ended up deciding to be an artist in the first place. This is relevant for my work, because often when I am able to understand my identity or my voice I gain a sense of direction that leads to a great increase in momentum. Anyway, I was musing back on how I got here, and of course I was a kid who drew a lot, but not out of a desire to escape or doodle, more from a desire to please others, get attention, and tell stories. I was an okay drawer/painter then, and I am an okay drawer/painter now. But it is not drawing or painting or the process therein that excites me, rather it is making something happen. So, in my recollections that I thought about how is it that as a mediocre drawer/painter I decided to pursue (at least in the beginning) the goal of becoming an artist which I understood to be a drawer/painter. (my concept has since changed, but only recently) My undergraduate path took a number of different twists that began at the university of georgia. When I started there I did ask about art classes and my advisor said "you have to be an art major to take classes, or get on a two year waiting list, and you have to submit a portfolio to be an art major." At that time I was romantically in love with academia, thought I wanted to be and English professor, and although I had taken both the art classes at my highschool I certainly did not have a portfolio. Then a couple of years later I transfered to Birmingham-Southern College and was able to take art classes. However, I was 2 1/2 years into my English degree, I had transfered twice and if I changed my major I would go from the 5 year track I was on to the 6 year track. I asked my advisor about doing a double major and he said "why?" The answer I gave him is the reason (I realized in the shower this morning) I have ended up her at PSU for an MFA. I love the way art classes engage the problem solving aspects of my mind. I love the creative open ended approach to problems. Specifically this morning, I recalled the last assignment for 3-d design: turn a piece of furniture into an animal and write a story about said animal. I found this huge ridiculus 1980's lamp that was on wheels. It had 5 bent poles with massive light bulbs attached that came out of the base and reached out into the middle of a room. I spent hours painting the poles zebra striped and painting huge eyes on the lightbulbs, adding eyelashes and creating a miniture version that fit snuggly into the base or "pouch" of the lamp. This act of being presented with a creative problem and then allowed nearly any method for solving that problem was what I loved. It is still what I love. This thought process brought me back to creating systems for my things that aren't systematic. Namely life, humans, humanity. Judgement Matrix and the perfect timeline come from a personal awareness that I am constantly trying to create graphs, hierarchies, equations, and other systematic levels of understanding for events or realities that exist outside of this type of conceptualization. I have hoped that literally creating these objects would release me from my futile attempts to organize with inadequate tools.

Monday, October 5, 2009

10.05.09 Thoughts/Process

So, I am taking a casual process-oriented approach to this blog. The postings will not necessarily be finished products or finished thoughts. Rather, this will be my venue for engaging with my own artistic process on a more tangible level. Often times my creative process happens when I am walking to the post office, trying to fall asleep at night, while driving/riding my bike/walking somewhere, etc. Any of those moments where my head is allowed to use its energy creating a frenzy of thoughts often akin to a gerbil in its spinny wheel thing. Sometimes the result of this mental excess is an output of artwork. Sometimes it is lack of sleep, heightened anxiety, unnecessary hours of thought wasted on problems too large for my mind to solve. Either way it is my process. However, this blog will be an attempt to take that process from my mind to a different forum. The reader of this blog has now been forewarned.

FYI: I have posted a few videos that actually contradict the previous statement in that they are recently completed artworks. :) They are there because blogs are good forums for displaying video works. Other finished pieces are not posted because they are not conducive to consumption via blog, and therefore I will not waste my time.

Back to the mental ramblings I am calling a blog. Since completing my last body of work, which I felt embodied a great deal of growth for myself as an artist and presented a whole new level of personal expectations (not a good thing), I have worried about where I will go next. More installations or more video. More conceptual or more emotional themes. How will I get my energy and drive back after that explosion of work from Jan 09- May 09? I spent the summer doing nothing more than painting beach paintings for my family's beach houses. Very shiny beach paintings, with beach birds, beach grass, and beach bird nests. They were perfect for what they were. But now where do I go?

I have recently been enamored of researching death. Not in a morbid, goth sense. More through a poetic cycle of life lens. A few precursors have led to this interest. First, in the transition linguistics video I posted, I found the section that ultimately interested me the most was the section regarding my grandmothers aging process and her daughters reaction to this process. Furthermore, my other grandmother died the month after this video work. Finally, there is much recent media hype about "death panels" and end of life. It seems in my personal work, my personal life, and the larger social buzz I am hearing death. In addition to the recent messages from the universe :). I have always been one to be consumed with the "future." When I was in the second grade I decided I would go to Princeton for college. At 8 years old I was considering which college I would attend. Not at my parents urging, who really could have cared less and were usually somewhat perturbed with my type A anxiety and demanding nature. In this vein, one of my greatest fears has been getting to the end of my life looking back and being disappointed in myself. This summer I read a book by Harvard Psychologist Daniel Gilbert titled Stumbling on Happiness. I learned that it is only since the development of the frontal lobe that humans gained the capacity to imagine the future. I have since decided that I have a overdeveloped frontal lobe. Either way, investigating end of life perspectives would scratch that itch that is my curiosity about a life in reflection.

Morning Meditation

Morning Meditation from McCalla Hill on Vimeo.

Transition Linguistics

Transition Linguistics from McCalla Hill on Vimeo.