Showing posts with label environment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label environment. Show all posts

April 10, 2014

How do artists adjust to instability and changing environments?


Sometimes life takes over and the studio gets a little dusty for a while-
well, here is some 'life' for my blog about art and life:

All signs are pointing towards us finally selling our house. It certainly isn't a done deal yet as we've been at this point before, but we're hoping for the best, me and the family...

With that said, I just came across a blog about how to stay creative on the go. Interestingly it had really nothing to do with creativity at all and more to do with what to pack in your backpack, but it got me thinking: how will I manage to keep my work going through the next few months?

How do artists adjust to instability 

and changing environments?


aforementioned backpack
I've always wanted to be one of those artists who walked around with a bag full of art supplies ready to go. You know, like a photographer with their camera, only with pencils and paper and paint and brushes that I could whip out on the fly. Inspiration could hit at any moment and I'd be like wow, look at that amazing tree or crack in the sidewalk etc. At one point I did assemble a little plastic backpack full of drawing materials just to take around with me. Truth be told, that backpack has taken quite a few trips-
shoved under my painting table, buried in the closet, and flung on the studio floor, still unused.

I just don't think I'm much of an on-the-fly kind of artist. 


It's hard to stay focused on so many things at once. I've been so caught up in this house selling thing I feel like I'm getting the evil eye from my works in progress. The other night I went in the studio just to swish some paint around so I wouldn't feel so guilty, but I don't think it made much of an impression. Although this past year I managed to undertake quite a few diverse projects at once, they were mostly very low key and tidy, and I've only recently been able to get back to my oil paint in all of its glorious untidiness. 

What can I say- this is life. On the one hand I have no deadlines looming, and with that the obvious implications; on the other hand, it is a great luxury to be able to come and go as I please.

At some point I know I will have to wash my oily brushes out. For the moment I will pretend to keep working, at least until I am forced to start packing up the room.

Hopefully I won't bore you with a bunch of moving house photos, before and afters, etc. 
But I am excited to find and make a new studio space, and that I'll keep you posted on!

work in progress, mixed media, approx. 22X26"


work in progress, mixed media, approx. 20X28"
detail of work in progress, foam, acrylic & oil paint







March 14, 2014

the comfort zone: spaces we create in


I had a wonderful conversation last night with my amazing friend and writer Beth Mann about the spaces we create in. It is so nice to talk to artists of other disciplines because again and again it reiterates how those of us who spend our lives creating often face the same issues, the same challenges and play the same mind games with ourselves no matter what we're working on.

For example, where does an artist feel most comfortable working? 


You would imagine their own studio, at their own desk, their own space, their own computer - but

Louise Bourgeois
perhaps the most satisfying work isn't always done in the most comfortable setting. 

Sometimes faced with the challenge of working outside one's comfort zone, interesting things start to happen. Once you get used to a situation too much there tends to follow a period of predictable and often stale proceedings. You may be going with the flow, producing the same paintings you always have, writing the same stories you always have, but art needs to shake things up. 

Isn't that the criteria of art? 


In order to shake things up sometimes we as artists also need to be shaken up. This aint fun or easy. Comfortable and complacent is much cozier, however, look what happens when we leave that comfort zone.....we surprise ourselves. We discover something we hadn't discovered before, and it's EXCITing! This is what the viewer sees and the reader reads, they feel that excitement. 

In my case, if my life hadn't been shaken up with my last adventure in owning The Art House Gallery, I would've been in a serious creative rut by now. Because I was displaced temporarily using the gallery as my studio in between customers and classes, I started working on different and unexpected projects. I was able to make paintings that would've been way too large for my home studio, as well as work with materials that I wouldn't have ordinarily chosen. Now that I'm back in my home studio I'm continuing to work with some of these materials and loving it! 

Also shaking my world up is the fact that my house has been on the market for the past ten months. This has severely altered my work habits and process of making. Because we have people constantly coming to look at the house, I've wasted a lot of my time trying to keep a neat and tidy work space, which is an oxymoron at best. Psychologically feeling stifled in my own space has been extremely frustrating, but it surprisingly has also resulted in an exciting new direction for my work, including some risk taking I wasn't prepared for.

In the end, I'm so glad I was forced out of my comfort zone because it has led to some true creativity.




November 10, 2013

How does environment influence artistic choices?

It took a trip to San Francisco where I saw my good friend George to remind me of something about myself that I haven't thought about in a while.

Something I often wonder is how much your environment, esp. the one you grew up in, influences your artistic choices.

I remember when George came to my house in Staten Island and promptly exclaimed "Samantha you live in the suburbs!" Of course Staten Island is one of the 5 boroughs of New York City, but the long commute to Manhattan along with a good amount of greenery and blue collar workers is hard to ignore.  When I opened my first art gallery there my intention seemed careless and incidental to me because I had only been looking for studio space and ended up with a public space, but George reminded me how eager I was at the time to prove myself. My earnest mission was to free the uneducated suburbanites of the concept that art is merely a badly framed poster of a Monet flower garden. To spare them of the boredom of thinking every artist likes to eat paint and cut their ears off. It wasn't their fault that they didn't know any better.... Hey, look, I was 25 years old. You're supposed to think your noble ideas can change the world. That's fine, youth is a good excuse, but when George heard that I had opened up another art gallery 12 years later, in an even more isolated area, he said he knew it wasn't an accident. Why on earth would I do it again?

What bothers me is that in my thoughts all I want to do is make art for myself but I keep involuntarily following this inner voice that leads me elsewhere. Maybe this urge to educate the public has something to do with the public after all. A little thing called validation. Maybe the lack of acceptance is just more noticeable in suburbia land.

There's something very wrong with a system that doesn't even consider what I do a profession. We all acknowledge accountants, doctors and lawyers as professionals, but artists are not on that list. In fact the antonym for the word profession is entertainment or hobby which turns out to be the only available category my accountant could find for me on the IRS tax form. Currently there doesn't seem to be a slot that exactly describes me as a Fine Artist. Really?!

The noun profession is a 'declaration of acknowledgement, which is an act of recognizing authority or truth of something'. Let's all acknowledge that for a second...