Pages

November 16, 2015

ART IN AMERICA: THE SATELLITE SHOW MIAMI December 1-6, 2015



ART IN AMERICA
Curated by Julie Torres 
Tiger Strikes Asteroid’s ARTIST-RUN
THE SATELLITE SHOW MIAMI
December 1-6, 2015
http://satellite-show.com/hotel

October 19, 2015

Work in Progress



Stills from Keeper of the Furniture. [video]


When worlds collide. Tomorrow is a big day. 58 boxes of fine goods and several sticks of furniture will leave my presence. I won't bore you with the minutiae. It's been a 5-year struggle. It's not over, but I can see an opening. I have a love/hate relationship with antiques and china, and have pitted my art career against the niceties of life, constantly hedging my bets on which will pay off in the end. I have made mistakes on both accounts, and I am tired. 

Chantal Akerman's life work and recent suicide has stuck with me. Gnawing at me is more like it. I've been reading and re-reading texts about her, her own writings, and I can't get through a paragraph without being inspired. Pages are dog-eared from years of reference as though I was hoping my thumbprint would pick up some of her brilliance. Her films and writings have re-ignited an insistence to make a difference. Damn the status quo and popular consensus. It's a great loss when people you hold the creative torch for take their own lives. I'm grateful for her work and the people who have written about her.


I packed and repacked boxes. When I ran out of boxes, I figured that was a good stopping point. I had hesitated for so long thinking there was more art to be made, ALWAYS more art to be made. Useful props, stories to tell. Stuff and more stuff. But truthfully, it wasn't the stuff, you know. Or at least I hope someone figured that out. You can never tell here.

In a send-off to the furniture, I worked on a video. Pulling together disparate elements I may have figured out  how to unite my writing and art together visually. It feels right.  If so, it's a beautiful thing and I'll be in fertile ground. If not, I'll be happy to keep digging.




October 10, 2015

On Film Editorial and Writing.

Steve Hullfish interviews Pietro Scalia about editing The Martian and how film editorial is very much like writing. Yes. Exactly.

A post about people who think you are don't know what you're doing.

Someone, please, a ticket to pass go. Stat.

I desperately miss being around people who have some sort of cognitive reasoning when presented with something different. It's painful.

#Dearth.

October 06, 2015

RIP Chantal Akerman. Thank you for your contributions. You will be missed.

I am saddened by the death of Chantal Akerman. She was an early influence and someone whose films I've refer back to repeatedly throughout my own work as an artist.

Update. It’s been reported that Ackerman committed suicide.
** In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14. Hotlines in other countries can be found here.**

Over on Twitter, I'll be dedicating tweets to links and tributes about her work.

From the NYT

PARIS — Chantal Akerman, the Belgian filmmaker whose ruminative, meticulous observation of women’s everyday and inner lives, often using long, protracted takes, made her a pioneer in feminist and experimental filmmaking and influenced generations of directors, has died in Paris. She was 65.

Filmography

Chantal Akerman, From Here (2010)
Role: Herself

The State of the World (2007)
Role: Director

Demain on Demenage (2004)
Role: Screenplay, Director

From the Other Side (2002)
Role: Director, Cinematographer, Screenplay

The Captive (2000)
Role: Screenplay, Director

South (1999)
Role: Director

Chantal Akerman by Chantal Akerman (1996)
Role: Director, Screenplay, Producer, Actor

A Couch in New York (1996)
Role: Director, Screenplay

Portrait of a Young Girl at the End of the 1960s in Brussels (1994)
Role: Director, Screenplay

D'est (1993)
Role: Screenplay, Director

Moving in (1992)
Role: Director

Nuit et jour (1991)
Role: Director, Screenplay

Contre l'oubli (1991)
Role: Director

Histoires d'Amerique (1989)
Role: Director, Screenplay

Seven Women - Seven Sins (1987)
Role: Screenplay, Director

Letters Home (1986)
Role: Director

Golden Eighties (1986)
Role: Screenplay, Director, Theme Lyrics

Paris Seen By... 20 Years Later (1984)
Role: Director, Screenplay

Elle a passe tant d'heures sous les Sunlights (1984)
Role: Actor

L' Homme a la valise (1983)
Role: Director, Screenplay, Actor

Les Annees 80 (1983)
Role: Screenplay, Theme Lyrics, Director

Toute une nuit (1982)
Role: Director, Screenplay

Dis-Moi (1980)
Role: Director

5% de Risque (1980)
Role: Actor

Les Rendez-Vous d'Anna (1978)
Role: Director, Writer (dialogue), Screenplay

News From Home (1976)
Role: Narrator, Screenplay, Other, Director

Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)
Role: Voice, Screenplay, Director

Je tu il Elle (1974)
Role: Screenplay, Actor, Producer, Director

Le 15/8 (1973)
Role: Director

La Chambre (1972)
Role: Screenplay, Actor, Director

Hotel Monterey (1972)
Role: Screenplay, Director

Almayer's Folly
Role: Director, Producer, Screenplay

October 04, 2015

L cuts and dado cuts all in the same day, d'oh

...and I removed wallpaper and painted a room last month, officially saying goodbye to the last vestige of the room formerly known as Dining. There's still a chandelier in the center. There are two chairs and it makes a nice place to sit and look at art. That's the main purpose of the room and it's perfect. I painted the walls white. Alabaster, based on a recommendation. I wasn't sure about it at first, but golly, it works. I'm still partial to Dover in the office. Softer.

I don't think "finding balance" means divvying up work tasks evenly throughout the day, though I am beginning to find a rhythm between wood shop, paint studio, office, edit suite, and home maintenance— and in a way this makes everything feel less urgent. Like right now I'm at the espresso bar after cutting corners—seriously, I cut triangles this morning for the stretchers. I'm in the middle of re-stretching a canvas, building another stretcher and sorting through old handkerchiefs while conceiving the technical side of a new body of work in my head. This evening, I commence editing a video for a public arts proposal, and the proposal writing itself.

And so it goes. Hello October.

September 29, 2015

Installment #3 of the Studio Visit series: Meg Madison and her recent cyanotypes.

Thanks again to the Nashville Scene for giving some love to my micro-docs.
Great conversation with artist Meg Madison in Los Angeles. Click the link to view.




Behind the scenes in the editing process.
This one took much longer. I tend to think I can do it all on the fly and nail everything on the first pass. I'm learning not to rush myself as I shoot these, and I'm totally cool with asking for more elements when I need them. Meg generously provided me with additional stills so I could make the doc a little longer than the usual 3 minutes. She was prepping for two shows, so my timing was fortuitous, but I still needed some cutaways to make it less claustrophobic. After the fine cut was done, I opened it up for feedback. There were a few subtle changes after the rough cut— swapping out some conversation for clarity, tightening or loosening a scene for pace, and I lost a self-refererential bit in the middle, but I lived. And finally, the music thing. If I could have one person on my wishlist right now, it would be a sound person to record audio and a sound designer/mixer in post. Okay, two people, but a mixer would def streamline the process.

Gearing up for the 4th one, but had to divert some attention to office and studio work. It's my not so subtle cry for an assistant.



September 14, 2015

One timeline to rule them all.

+
+
=

And it's still under 6 min. 
I was excited, but I'll have to wait a day or two. 

September 03, 2015

Shorthand: Insight Outta Site talk with Austin Thomas at Nashville Public Library

From My iPhone Notes, With Autocorrect Turned Off Which Means I Stopped And Corrected Everything As I Typed.

  The gist of the talk was premised as "whether an art practice necessitates a studio, and whether a work or concept may have an audience outside the gallery context."

  • Post studio practice. Liberating. Relational aesthetics. Perches. Indoor perches. Perspective led to open up art spaces. Sketchbook daily practice. Happy accidents.  
  • **When you're an artist the same hand builds everything.****
  • Placemaking new word. Code for gentrification. Plug for Sharon's [Louden's] book. 
  • New space in Newark. Being a steward is important. Bushwick. Showing artists who live there. 
  • Dispelling myth of lone genius. Saying yes. Plug for Art and Fear book * (I still own my copy that was recommended on the down low in grad school, so I second this.)
  • Artist taking risks. World as Material. 
  • Artsy. Pinterest. for keeping up to date [editor note: no. no no. ok, maybe Artsy, whatever.]
  • Failing upwards. Questioning success. Casting a silhouette. 
  • Concentrating on the shadow will have an impact. Rather than building a statue. 
  • Jerry Saltz how to be successful. 
  • Running a gallery. Family money, loans, owning real estate. Essentially listening to money. Personal Loan in exchange for having a show. [editor's note: lost me around here.] 
  • As a gallerist you really wrap yourself around the artist. You create their shadow.

✍           ✍          ✍

I briefly met Austin when I was in NY a few years ago visiting with Sharon Butler. I thought of her perches this summer when I was in LA cleaning out my storage unit because she had orchestrated a project of gifting a few perches on  a cross-country drive. The story stuck with me and I, for a brief moment had been inspired to do the same. Drastically different though- she gifted 4 perches. I had about a 100 works and a plane ticket. But still, I was inspired by that act and we chatted for a few minutes after the talk. And if you're just tuning in, I destroyed my work instead of cheerfully donating it, so we also talked a little about destruction and lightness and how that related to a post studio practice.

Hearing another artist talk about not having a studio was great. I've had my studio at home for 5 years now. As much as I'd like the luxury of a going somewhere totally separate to tune out and make art, I'm siding with the the "World as Material" view currently. I also keep going back to the phrase, "casting a silhouette."

Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.  
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Came home, hit send on my thesis-length residency app and fucked off by looking for MORE things to apply for since I'm on a roll. Still need to finish Meg's cut. Premiere is open, willing, and ready. 

Coming up for air

When the kind people at Trader Joe's ask me if I have big plans for the weekend, it's a gentle reminder that I have no sense of time. In other words, I always feel like I just started my work week. Possibly something about the blurring of Monday night into Thursday morning and my internal clock telling me I must brave the sunlight and forage for food.

I applied for 2 residencies this week, or was it last? The first one was a wash. The deadline slipped up on me while I was out of town and I had all of 3 hours to apply. I was serious about applying for it, but after being on the road 2 days in a row, crafting a cohesive proposal was not to be. I turned something in because I had been thinking about it, but writing and thinking are not the same when it come down to it. About 6 hours after I turned in 4 or 5 hard-earned sentences, falling a few thousand words shy of the allotted maximum, did my idea start to gel. Several hours later in the middle of a second proposal I started hitting my stride, or so I thought.

I had the foresight to ask a trusted friend/artist/writer to proof my proposal. It was an eye-opener.  Some great general advice, a few spins on current wording and boom. I revised the first draft and onward. I think most people would have sounded fine because it did sound fine for a boilerplate proposal, but I'm better than that. I know it and my friend knew it. Most helpful piece of editing I've ever had.

Of course that wasn't all. No, there were 2 mores essays, and a trick question that involved seeing how well you could turn a 10-page resume into a 1-page summary. They already had me list that stuff in a bio, and again in accomplishments, so for the 3rd request I'm certain it was a test to see how creative you could be with formatting. Should I keep all the solo shows and list 2 honors? List all the honors followed by 4 solo shows? One item from each category? Can I just draw a bunny and call it a day? What happened to the good ole days when I had to double-space my ressie and I could play with EMPTY SPACE?

Oh, yeah, and that's not counting front row seats for the Parade of Angst While Selecting and Resizing Images.

The good news is I hit the send button earlier today.

August 22, 2015

Cause and Effect.


Have I mentioned this summer marked five years since I moved here? I just pulled the wetsuits out of  a storage box to celebrate. 

August 12, 2015

Maintenance. Post #1. Roof and Gutters.

I hired someone from Craigslist to patch the roof of my shed that was damaged from the tree falling on it. 

The area needing work was about 18 inches square and the fascia needed to be replaced. The guy from Craigslist came by at 11:30 am to look it over. I gave him some scrap plywood and he gave me a flat bid for the repair. He took a break at noon and came back to work at 1:30 pm. At 4:30 pm I walked out to see how it was going. He was in his van checking his cell phone. At that time only two planks of wood had been painted- on one side.

Around 6 pm I saw another car in the driveway. It was a Buick. It belonged to his girlfriend. She was smoking cigarettes in my backyard watching him work. She brought her dog. 

It's 8:04 pm and dark. His  girlfriend left sometime in the last hour. The flat bid included cleaning my gutters. The gutters have plants growing in them. It's been a year since I had them cleaned, maybe more. I've been remiss. Inertia. There's a sample bottle of fancy under eye cream on my kitchen table. My cousin gave it to me four years ago. It doesn't seem that long ago, until I remember that it's been a long time. It's less than an ounce. I forget to use it. 

He hasn't started on the gutters. It's dark. I closed all my blinds and turned on the eave lights.

At 8:25 pm I went outside to tell him maybe he could come back and finish up in the morning. He still had not started work on the gutters. He had a large halogen light illuminating my shed. The shed needs repainting. It's obvious in the daylight but with a halogen light shining on it, it's more obvious. My neighbor was pulling his car in his driveway. Actually it was stopped, almost pulled in, but not quite. I know this, because the taillights were on. He apologized for not getting the work done on time and said he took him longer than he thought. He mentioned something about the cell phone and forgetting a drill. I said no problem, he could come back first thing in the morning.

It's 8:35pm. I looked out the window and saw him back on the ladder touching up some paint.

8:51pm. His halogen work lights are still on.
9pm. His halogen work lights are still on.
9:15pm. He finally drives away


A week later I found a jar of suppositories he had left behind in the shed. Freak. 

magic.

It was hellish and wonderful to be back in LA. The hellish part is unspeakable, but the wonderful part was seeing a few friends and basking in the warmth of the SoCal sun and concrete.  I feel fortunate to know both visual artists and film editor friends out there so I could talk shop about about current projects.

I swore I wasn't going to speak about the storage situation. And I can't. It's beyond words. The end result was that out of approximately 60 works, 9 large paintings came back, along with four heavy portfolios of idiosyncratic works on paper that were an installation I did over in Rotterdam while on a two-month residency; another book/portfolio of about 250  cut paper watercolors I did when I first started painting again in LA; some miscellaneous very large format digital prints a gallerist printed for a show he curated; and a few small paintings from each series I had to destroy. Some fascinating things to report. Two paintings from 2008 were still wet to the touch. Gotta love linseed oil. I have made some of my best work on cheapo store bought canvases, but they are not suitable for de-stretching and rolling. Paper is amazing for its durability and longevity. It's also heavy. All in all, I shipped 171 pounds of art. I destroyed about 900 pounds. Again, unspeakable. The good news is that I did it within 15 minutes of my maximum allotted timeline. Monday 12-6:30, Tuesday 9am-6:30, Wednesday 10-5:30. Thursday, I was done by noon.

I could wipe anyone off the island if I were on Survivor. Anyone. I was totally in the Do Not F*ck with Me zone. It took an intense amount of concentration and physical stamina. I met my friend Cole in Playa for dinner Tuesday night. Chris Rusak, a friend from the blogosphere and Twitter universe stopped by with some coffee on Wednesday. Dinner with friends R & J Wednesday night talking shop about editing and post in Venice. Thursday, I hung out with Meg, and went to MoCA. I stayed in a super nice sunny breezy modernist pad out of the likes of Dwell magazine on the west side. My host was an expat from Italy, and served up wonderful espresso.

I love LA with all my heart. If you've never lived there, you won't have a clue what I'm talking about. It's more than just art. It's the chick with the just rolled out of bed, bed sheet wrinkles on her back ordering coffee at Peet's while giving legal counsel to a client at 8:30am,  the $6.99 strip mall fish taco that puts wannabe hipster taco joints to shame, and all the crazy over development. It's inexplicable if you're a tourist. It's warm concrete and chic bungalows, and yes, there's a price to pay for all that. It was excruciating to leave, but I am stronger for having done this trip. Much of the work that came back is not for sale and is part of my private collection.

Upon return, I made a decision to stay in Nashville, do some home improvement, and keep moving along with the work. Having a place for the art is important to me. There's a burden that's been lifted and that's good.

I shot a footage for another short artist doc while I was out there, but I'll save that convo for another post.

July 10, 2015

Fall down seven times, get up eight.

I finally had to let go of something I worked my ass off to improve, but I simply could not work miracles. I'm beaten. Three effing weeks. On the bright side: ***Learning Experience***
yay...rah. But seriously, I'm having second thoughts about being a one-woman band, which is excruciating because I'm also insanely determined.


June 25, 2015

It's a wrap.

Take a break and head over to Vimeo to catch the inaugural installment of my micro-doc artist series, featuring a candid studio visit with artist, Mery Lynn McCorkle.


June 19, 2015

I figured out a bug with my Wacom tablet: Rejoice and Despair.

Technically speaking, and I do mean technically, I am one of those people who cling to Jurassic technology until it is absolutely, positively official that it's ready to be canonized into sainthood as a goldfish bowl or a paperweight.  More or less. Therefore, it was with great sadness I reported the retirement/demise of my old laptop along with it's trusty companion, a prehistoric Wacom® tablet that was working perfectly fine until it had to be paired with the new laptop. Unfortunately, the new tablet was not compatible with Yosemite and the union was never consummated. Sadness. On the bright side the new Wacom® is wireless. Whoa. Like I could edit from the couch if I were so inclined— and lazy and brilliant enough to program the entire control panel into useful commands— but I'm not.

Now for the bad news: the wireless does not work with an external hard drive plugged in via thunderbolt. This is relatively tragic since I'm working off an external HD connected via thunderbolt, and don't see that condition changing in the near or distant future, ever. And finally the dim light at the end of the tunnel— if you jack the dongle into the side of the laptop OPPOSITE the firewire port, voilá, let there be wireless.

That's really all I have for today. First world problems for sure, but nonetheless figuring out a known bug and the workaround was a small, frustrating victory of sorts. Now go hug someone, pat your animals and spread some love. It's been a lousy week for humanity.
Behold, the low-budget filmmakers's desktop circus. For just a nickel more, you can peep into the void to the right and visualize the semi-flatscreen TV which serves as a makeshift dual monitor for playback.




June 09, 2015

Anniversary

This June will be five years since I moved to Nashville. Five was my cut off point. I've made progress. Working in the studio 24/7 slowed me down considerably, but it's June and I'm doubling down. Technically, end of summer is the deadline. There are three to four major things to accomplish. I'm working on them simultaneously and feeling rather smart and good.
SOURCEWWW.REDDIT.COM

June 08, 2015

Link fest:



Now playing....Loop Barcelona
Ongoing....Julia Stoschek Collection
I had the good fortune to visit the Stoschek collection a couple of years ago.

May 31, 2015

Paul McCarthy and Me.


Paul McCarthy
Bossy Burger

After attending a screening of Bossy Burger, I was inspired to make Bedmaking Video.


Mary Addison Hackett
Bedmaking Video.

May 29, 2015

Fischli and Weiss



This never gets old, even after 28 years.

Fischli and Weiss
The Way Things Go 

May 24, 2015

Dara Birnbaum


Dara Birnbaum
Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman
1978-1979
RT 5:22

May 22, 2015

Let's give a warm welcome to Video Coffee Break.


This summer Process will betaking a critical look at video art and film. I'll begin by giving a shout out to the usual suspects that were influential to me, while also opening up the discussion to include the role of women in contemporary film and television. Perfect timing: Mad Max Fury Road is on fire right now for busting through all sorts of barriers— in post (a woman editor) and on the screen.

I'm also starting a sister site on Tumblr, called appropriately, Video Coffee Break, where I'll be posting clips, links and essays daily. My intent is to have VCB function as a resource and a starting point for  those who want to discover more about the medium. A primer, of sorts. I'll also be taking submissions. More on that later.

As I get the site up and running, there might be an overlap between Process and VCB, but please check it out and follow us. And share. Sharing is always nice.

******
There's been a bit of a gap since video was my main practice, so part of my process will be using this blog as a forum for thinking out loud. Have no fear, posts about painting, drawing and the mundane will still make appearances here—all in good time.

Process will be ten years old this coming fall. Ten. That's like an eternity in the blogosphere. And the fact that we're still ad-free and haven't migrated to a hipper platform after all these years is just plain lazy crazy. I've almost deleted the blog twice. Instead, I deleted the first two years of posts. It was somewhat of a compromise and there was no rhyme or reason why I left the remaining years in tact.

Nonetheless, if you've only been following along since 2005* or you're simply confused, you might be thinking, Video? WTF? I thought you were a painter. If you are checking in for the first time since 2001, you might be thinking Painter? What? So here's the deal—

In my ongoing quest for my art and life to work like a well-oiled machine,  I'm once again questioning the act of making physical art objects. I am in no way suggesting that painting is dead to me. (The middle way, remember?) I'm just reminding myself of the facts:

I publish a blog called Process. I have written statements whereas I stress the importance of the process of painting, and refer to objects as being the by-product of this act. Much of my video work is either about the process of not painting, the process of work, or the process of domestic life and relationships. I hope this is not a deal-breaker, but it's never actually been about the object, as nice as these objects can sometimes be. It's about being in the moment and finding meaning.

Of course, this insistence that process is all that matters is in direct conflict with the statement you'll read in the next paragraph where I suggest that destroying artwork is a rather ornery act negating years of thoughtful labor and the quest for meaning, and so it is.

# 1.
Back in LA, there is a storage unit packed like the proverbial sardine can with nothing but physical art objects of various sizes and their fate is weighing heavily on me. It's not like I took an oath, but I do recall one of my mantras as being, "Take care of the art and the art will take care of you." I still believe this to be true and therefore I am obligated to tend to this herculean task. For everyone who suggests destroying art is a liberating and egoless act at mid-life, I suggest you burn your house down, cash out your savings and go on a weekend bender. Hit me up afterward if you feel the same way. Meanwhile, I'm currently talking to interested parties who are helping me place some of the large pieces in collections on the west coast. Plan B is for the remainder of the works and I'm equally excited about that project.

# 2.
For those of you keeping score, I worked extensively making video art. (editor's note: back in The Day). Simultaneously, I renounced my vow of poverty by having a couple of respectable jobs in post-production during those years. When I retuned to painting, I felt guilty for ditching painting and tried to kiss and make up by sweeping my history with video art and post production under the rug. Don't judge. In hindsight, it affected a couple areas of my life somewhat negatively, and I might have chosen the middle road if I had a do-over. On the other hand, everything is just as it should be.


Meanwhile, tune in while I make amends to Video.


Don't ask why, but Ed Wood was a minor influence for this video. I believe this might have been edited on 2 VCR decks located a couple of feet apart from each other. Envision a mad scientist working in a lab. Yes, that's it. 

* Before there was Process, there was Plastic Ass, a dead tree 'zine I produced in the mid 90's.

May 21, 2015

The Art of the —

—Like crazy.

I'm always amazed at how much I can do when the wheels start turning. 

May 20, 2015

Self-Help Still Life



Years ago, my mom was going through some vacation ephemera and unearthed the above postcard. While children growing up in Manhattan had museums, I was refining my tastes on the roadside travel souvenirs found at nearly every Stuckey's located on our family vacation route. 

After re-discovering said postcard, my mother thought it appropriate to place it on the dresser in my childhood bedroom—the room where I stayed on my trips back to visit. It was an inside joke, but not about anything in particular. We laughed. The truth is always funny.

It remained there forever until recently finding it's way to a new location atop a small box where I had carefully placed unfired bullets from a gun I found in the house.

It co-existed with the bullets for no apparent reason until recently, when I decided the postcard should be in front of my monitor.

Still a sucker for souvenirs, the coffee cup was from a visit to MoMA's gift shop.

The book to the left is somehow related to all this.





May 16, 2015

Aaaaand, it's official.


Grades are in, student work has been posted, and the semester's bag of email has been archived. For the next few months I drop there term "adjunct" from my identity.

Chris Burden - The TV Commercials




May 11, 2015

Ahead of the game.



Now that I'm in a creative free-for-all with aces wild, I'm blissfully at leisure to muck around with what I was doing before I hit stride in the studio with painting. And because once upon a time, rumor had it that even a William Wegman video could be had for a modest $3000- $5000, artists like myself tended to glom onto jobs in "The Industry" as a mean of support. This was back in the dark ages before desktop editing liberated the industry from professional standards and before having an MFA meant you could recoup your tuition with your first solo show- the summer after graduating. But I digress.

So, yes, while I was making video art, I supported myself as a commercial film editor cutting commercials. Aka, advertising. Wha!!! Yep. Of course being a newly minted MFA graduate in the 90's, I also subscribed to Adbusters and deconstructed ever clip of film that crossed my Avid, because that's what I do.

This ad from 2007 is an excellent example of a short-form narrative film doing double-duty as a commercial about sustainable energy.  Eight years later, it's still fresh.

For more about this spot, go here.

May 03, 2015

Life goes on.

The last few weeks were particularly difficult for us. Trips to the vet, home care, and moment-by-moment analysis trying to figure out the right thing to do. The vet couldn't diagnose the new issue, we still had the old issues that weren't improving, plus there was mention of a 3rd complication. I had even looked into doggie wheelchairs but those images you see of handicap dogs romping around full-speed on a farm didn't seem to apply to us. I never want to have to make that decision again. Ever.

April 17, 2015

Guess who got fired up for shooting a guerrilla-style documentary last weekend? [Rim shot] Or Who's Your Tailor?

About a month or two ago, I had an epiphany. It coincided with a computer failure and it wasn't so much an epiphany as it was a throw-down-the-gauntlet-Howard Beale-inspired move. Long story short, I invested in an NLE system suitable for doing grass-roots documentary work and remembered I was a film editor that could cut a story. It was like coming to after a bout of amnesia and remembering I was fluent in a foreign language. So in addition to painting, I'm officially back in business as a film editor.

More on that later on, but for now, just know that I had a vision and that I stopped short of making an advent calendar leading up to last weekend's NRA convention in Nashville, Tennessee, aka Music City, USA, aka Nashvegas, aka Athens of the South, and so on.

Nashville, you may recall was dubbed the "It" city by the New York Times not too long ago. It was also listed as the second-most vibrant arts community in the United States. I'm not making this up—it ranked ahead of New York. Those losers in my former home town of Los Angeles, didn't even place in the top ten.

In fact, we are so vibrant that we welcomed the 2015 National Rifle Association with all guns blazing. We are an ethical city if nothing else. And speaking of ethical,  knowing where one's bread is buttered, I was fascinated that nearly every Republican candidate to date would be sequestered in one room at a "Leadership Panel." Realistically I knew it would be a bigger issue than I could cover solo in one down-and-dirty day of shooting, but I packed my camera and mic and did my best to grab some on-the-fly interviews and stills.

NRA program highlights included the "2nd Women's New Energy Breakfast," a "Prayer Breakfast," and an artillery of other events suitable for the entire family. And yes, I even talked to a priest packing heat. (Don't they all?)








Who needs a gun** when you can slap this calendar on your front door?  
Or better yet, put it in your daughter's bedroom so she can count the days
 until she turns into a torso. 

Adorable, no? Target practice at the "Freedom Festival."

Maybe it's just me, but, this reads a little awkward given 
what's been going down lately.

Finally...a display targeted to the cultured elite. 
For moment I thought I was at Art Basel again.


Just when I thought everyone and their mother was making an easy buck off the NRA, I saw one woman with a hand-made sign. Thank you, lady, you made a difference. 

At times it was heart-breaking and emotionally tough to witness an industry thriving on violence, paranoia, sexism, ignorance and indifference. At street level, what I gathered was that everyone feels need to protect themselves from the proverbial, "Other" or that they like to kills things as sport. As a practicing buddhist, the whole thing goes against my idea of right livelihood. I understand the economics. And that's part of the problem. 

Meanwhile, judging by the suits manning the booths inside, the real question should be, "Who's your tailor?" and "Cash or Credit?"

* * * * *

Note:
In full disclosure, the author inherited a pearl-handled .38 special with her grandfather's name engraved on the handle and has been known to hit a bulls-eye. 




February 18, 2015

The Shortest Month. The Coldest Night.

Your editor's nightly dog walk. 

Classes were cancelled all week. 
My framer was snowed in on the outskirts of the city. 
I worked in the office catching up on all my deadline stuff, moved the paint studio to it's new undisclosed location, and vowed to make homemade not-so-smoothies in my workhorse of a Cuisinart instead of upgrading to the Ferrari of the blender world. 
March 2 seems to be everybody's last call. 

All in all, really great stuff happening this year including some shows and some grant money. Change is good. 

January 29, 2015

Uncertainty & Lostness

Note: I can be a slow writer/blogger, so there's a chance I will post some half-thoughts, or perhaps in the spirit of the following essay, beginnings, as opposed to conclusive shut-case narratives this year.

UNCERTAINTY AND LOSTNESS: PROLEGOMENA TO A THEORY OF THE MIDCAREER*
Barry Schwabsky talks Mid-career


I'll be reading and re-reading the above essay a few times. Mainly because I am a skimmer. I kid you not, in middle school I took the Evelyn Wood Speed-Reading class, as either a suggestion or a requirement from a guidance counselor. Great skill for research, but for contemplative reading, not so much.

Mid-career is a weird thing. One, it seems like something you'd be talking about in your penthouse after reading an unflattering review of your 25-year retrospective somewhere with an attached bookstore, and two, I write this from the precipice of my not-so-cozy position of accepting this is where I am, sans the museum bookstore scenario and the fictional review panning said show. But good people, do not confuse mid-career with middle age. Sometimes they line up, often they don't.

I emerged in Los Angeles—maybe, or maybe it was in Chicago in the 90's with my thesis show. I think there are unspoken standards for emerging. One might be that you have to live in NYC, but that would eliminate the rest of my essay and I'm on a roll.

I tend to use Los Angeles because there was a published review by a respected critic using the term debut. It wasn't my first show by a long shot and I wasn't fresh out of school, but it somehow merited a debut. Never mind it was 23 years after my first group show after receiving my BFA in a small college landlocked town or 13 years after my thesis exhibition in Chicago, but finally, right? Except that within 2 years I had moved across country to take care of stuff in Nashville and like many galleries pushing the corners of their white walls,  my LA gallery closed.  And thus, debut to what, you might ask? Was that it? Was my beginning ten, fifteen, or twenty years? Or was it  a mere two years after my debut and at which point my personal life began running amok. I'll never know. I have archives, duplicates and triplicates of 35mm slides* proving I am a prolific artist. I have video masters on Betacam SP* and Hi-8*. I have hard drives (plural) dedicated to digital media and a folder called Historical, where I stash my CV recording every single career-related thing since the beginning of time, dutifully noted.

But what now?

I make art and I show art. Sometimes I write about it. For 30 years, this is what I've been doing. I didn't have an alternative career as a doctor or lawyer or marketing specialist. I didn't start out as a rock star and cash in on my reputation, all the while claiming I've been racking up long hours in the studio honing my craft  in my spare time. Nope, it was my priority. Yes, I had numerous day-jobs which I took seriously enough to show up and do my best—jobs that allowed me a flexible work schedule, access to expensive equipment, or street cred, because  for some reason teaching is considered a noble profession. Most of the time I made sure I wore decent clothes, had clean fingernails and was semi-cogent.

Being an artist is a delusional activity from both ends of the spectrum. You're either deluded into thinking you're making monumentally important works with 200+ likes confirming your delusion or you can be deluded into thinking having a show at the local university is all you need to succeed and  that being an artist is strictly an intrinsic and altruistic activity. It's neither, but somewhere there's a happy medium. If you actually invested in your career, which requires some amount of risk-taking, you're bound to have a clear view of your portfolio, so to speak. And to keep the investment metaphor going, it's like the 401k that tanked during the mid-oughts. You have ride it out, maybe play a shell game if it makes you feel better, but at a certain point you're in too deep to withdraw. At this point you might be thinking, I just got started. What's going on here? If this is you, welcome, we are simpatico. We've logged thirty consecutive years in public and we feel a little uneasy. If this is not you, you probably stopped reading a few paras ago and you can take solace in whatever deluded state of career metamorphosis you are in. I no longer am writing this with you in mind.

When I think about mid-career, I think about my peer groups—the ones I started out with, or the groups I fell into, and it makes me happy to see their achievements. Instead of being jealous or chalking it up to a lucky break, I know they worked at it because I was there for part of the journey: attending shows, reading reviews, working in the studio across town or across the country, exchanging tips and introductions. I also think about the two cities where my art relationships were forged, and where ideas were circulated in public through various exhibition venues. I think about those of us who grapple with what shows and collections are important enough to include on a resume or whether having too many shows appear that we weren't exclusive enough. Realistically, I settled for something in the middle. I'm aware where I fit in. Sometimes my resume feels rock solid, other times I feel insecure. One of my reasons for including more, not less, is to acknowledge curators who extended invites to show. That's my way of saying thank-you, by listing a credit line on my public resume. Same with reviews. Editing is a necessary evil, but I try to balance it out. Even so, after a certain point the whole process of review breeds uncertainty. Exactly where is the line between progression and stability and who cares?  I do, because it's my purpose.

My uncertainty now is amplified. It's not that I don't have a peer group here, it's just after landing somewhere in the middle, my middle— my middle without my beginning tagging along, there are no shared rites of passage to remember, and no collective experience keeping me grounded during moments of uncertainty. And for all I know, no one other than me is uncertain. But enough about my mid-career insecurities. Let's move to the quotes:
"And yet most artists do, for better or worse, live through what’s come to be known as their midcareer. It’s just that they don’t often do so with ease."
“One is no longer a promising young person and not yet a venerable old one,” Said continues. “Middle age is uncertainty and some lostness, physical failings and hypochondria, anxiety and nostalgia; or most people it is also the time that afford the first substantial look at death.”10 
"Because the middle is not necessarily the conclusion, and you can never predict when or where or how or why an artist might undergo a startling renewal—just as we should admit that we can never predict in advance when he or she might hit a dead end. The name of this uncertainty is “mid career.”

And so forth and so on. So this is where I'm at and I'm going to ride it out. And here's the thing, I don't care about failure, What I care about is moving forward, even if it means being lost.

Here's to the middle. 



* archaic formats native to both film and video

January 21, 2015

Attachment


I barely noticed the first time the words came out of my mouth, but I refer to her as "my baby." I'm talking about the Rolleiflex, of course, and the special mother-camera bond that exists between us.

January 01, 2015

12.31.14. Roll It Over and Rev It Up.


Year end mileage recorded dutifully, if not enthusiastically.
Hello to the New Year. May you be kinder, more generous, and less pretentious than that little bitch, 2014.
Cheers to all.