November 20, 2020

Pandemic Portraits, Beacon, NY

It didn't make it into the recent article, "Beacon In Quarantine", in the Highlands Current, but here's Nancy LeVine's photo of me on my stoop. Her documentary project Quarantined Folks In Beacon During The Pandemic of 2020 is meant as a record of our time and includes 80 Beacon artists who were asked to be photographed in front of their spaces and write a paragraph about their experience during quarantine. 


Nancy LeVine Photography


Here's what I wrote:

I just moved to a new place at the very beginning of the quarantine, which added a great deal to my stress in this situation. I am now living alone for the first time in almost twenty years, and this has changed my view of isolation quite a bit. As an artist who has sought creative solitude my whole life, there’s something about this that feels very different. My art studio is now adjacent to my living room, and I am out of work due to the pandemic, so I have all the time and space I could want, yet I haven’t been able to focus on my artwork for more than short spurts. Usually when I’m overwhelmed and unable to concentrate on my large paintings, I work on smaller projects, and this is what I’ve been occupying my time with; drawing, collage, knitting. I’ve also been reading a lot more than usual. The pandemic is bringing some real truth to the surface. It’s an opportunity to prioritize what’s really important, as opposed to what merely takes up our time and energy. It is more than challenging to live in a moment where the future is so unknown, but it forces us to be present and accept the moment as it is. Everyone is suffering in one way or another, but there is an opportunity for change here, which is hopeful. I feel the power of all of us being in this together. I’m still here, and there must be a reason for that! We each have a purpose to fulfill that is greater than just us alone.


November 14, 2020

TRUE COLORS


Since the pandemic I’ve been seeing a therapist. I’m not completely sure how these things connect, but, something about the extra uncertainty of the future, mixed in with the extra delving into my past, has got me listening to a lot of music I grew up with, like The Go-Go’s, and Cyndi Lauper. I just submitted a grant application and titled the proposed exhibition True Colors. I’ve now decided to do a whole series of new works based around the titles of the songs:

Girls Just Want To Have Fun

She Bop

Time After Time

I Drove All Night

All Through The Night

True Colors


I thought Cyndi Lauper was like a prime example of eighties cheesy pop, but now that I listen again, I don’t think there’s anything cheesy about her music at all. Some of the lyrics are quite beautiful actually. 


I’ve been uncertain about my work lately, and am having a hard time figuring out what I want, and why I’m making the things I’m making. The pandemic is still a driving concern. I live alone in a live-work space, so essentially I’m living in my studio. I’m unemployed until further notice, and both the exhibition and residency I was supposed to have are also postponed until further notice. 


So, that is to say, ..… nobody’s watching, I can do whatever I like!


However, that is proving way more difficult than it might seem.


I already wrote about all the stripes I’ve been drawing to curb my anxiety, but I want to take it even further. I’ve been disgruntled about certain shows I didn’t get into, and have been spending way too much time on social media comparing myself to every single artist out there. I want to be able to focus on making work that pleases me, without so much concern for fitting into someone else’s theme or category. Who am I making the work for after all?


detail of 3 drawings:
My Neighbor's Blinds, art marker on paper, each 11x14"

I just got feedback from a 2018 grant proposal I submitted, and the comments were totally split in half. Four of the eight judges thought the work was evocative, and four of the eight judges thought it didn't have enough depth.


I feel stuck in the middle of, not deep enough and not superficial enough. I’m neither overtly controversial nor overtly commercial. Why does that feel like a problem? I used to think that not being easily defined was a good thing in art.



Anyway, back to Cyndi Lauper. True Colors seems the most appropriate title for an artist trying to be true to herself. And that’s all I can possibly do at the moment. 


Well, besides get off of freakin’ Instagram.