Friday, March 21, 2014

Thought and action

Bowl sketching yesterday.
     The first day of Spring arrived and a burst of energy appeared. It's been a long, cold winter. Not just in temperature but in my mind. Things have been stuck. Or ruminating. And now that the sun's most direct rays have passed the equator, their energy is coming my way to help me get unstuck. At least that's the way I wish to see it. Not that I haven't had real stressors lately to contribute to my back-and-forth depressive state for the last 6-9 months but warm makes molecules move faster so I feel like a pebble got kicked out from under the boulders and things are becoming unstuck.
A jar, trimmed and some pinch pot forms that I am revisiting. In process.
     There was a post on my Facebook feed today from a fellow artist, a challenge of sorts to get off the digital train for a while and create something, a painting, a sketch a thought, and come back at noon today, to forget the Art Business and get on with making some art. Much of the discussion among the artist FB friends I interact with, at some point, comes around to dissecting, analyzing and being disgusted with the current state of Art Money and super-high auction prices, how it distorts the gallery business, how that affects those of us artists that aren't in that sector of the Art Business. So the challenge... take a break and come back tomorrow.
     Most of the art Facebook people I interact with are painters. I function mostly in clay both functional pottery and sculptural art which travels in different space-time that drawing and painting so greenware is the new sketch. Enjoy the subtle tones of grays, from pinks to greens to yellows to blues to neutral nothingness. Enjoy the duality of function and practicality, simple form, non-function and convoluted textures. I swing like a pendulum and do both to massage the halves of my brain. One supports the other, and back again. One provides the nest egg for the thoughts of the other to emerge.
More larges pod forms.
The Things My Mother Made Me Think Were Dirty.
     I put down two sculptures last year and wrapped them in a semi-started state for later carving. They sat, and sat. The longer they sat, the more discouraged I became. I opened and touched them again for the first time last week. I buried myself in the scratching and the smoothing, the cutting and carving, the manipulating and waviness of motion, frozen. This winter, I have just begun to intensely confront internal femininity and identity. I revisit the foundations of my being. The core. The seed. How I have become who I am. How I decide what to keep, what to discard, what I wish to form out of my internal ingredients and what I wish to cut loose from my baggage. This is only the beginning.
Group of pottery for production. Bud vases, condiment baskets. All with the ever present spiral, circles and touch points. And the equine imagery because I do live in Kentucky and horse are kewl.
     The pottery takes on a different route. It examines stillness and practicality. It pays the bills but it also has room to experiment and explore if I give it respect. I'm looking for a balance of personal aesthetic, meaning upon making and connection with the user.
Some mold shapes. Trying out some techniques for closed and open forms.
    To be clear, I didn't whip up all of these since yesterday but this has happened within the last week or so. The zen-like beneficial thing about working in clay, particularly the pottery aspect, is the demand on time. Even if you have a rush of ideas and inspiration, the physical properties of clay, drying time, firing time, firing process, glazing if needed and so on, stretch out that enthusiasm. You have a choice. You can either succumb to your frenetic energy, become frustrated at the time it takes to create and execute those thoughts and give up or you can breathe, pause, contemplate and use the stretched process to teach yourself to be in the moment, give up a certain amount of control, trust your intuition, learn from your mistakes, contemplate other solutions. Staying with pottery means picking the second choice. I think it's why I find the duality of art/sculpture which even though I work mostly in clay, I do venture into small water color sketches, paintings, drawings and so on (I'll publish those at some point), and then the energy shift to pottery to be helpful. For me, the mind-space I give to either is mutually beneficial.
Slab construction bottle with engobe pattern stamping in raw clay at the moment.
    So, there is a rampant discussion and examination of the money frenzy of the Art Business, the auction houses, the ridiculous prices paid for some work from those who are essentially emerging artists. Here's a thought. Fuck them. This has nothing to do with artists. This is all about a small percentage of people who have become so corrupt with their greed that they need another way to measure their dick size so they throw around piles of cash but need something to justify their public ability to purchase things. So they pick art. Or what they think is art. Because someone else said so and told them they must have it, the mega-gallery, Christie's or Sotheby's, their insecure ego. The art is really irrelevant. It's also houses and antique cars, private planes, etc. And what does that do to the regular artist that is not already dead and worth millions, that is not already an old, white guy in the beginning part of the 20th century, that is not the current darling of the money-pile measuring crowd?
It frees us. 

     Ignore them completely. Go for the jugular. Go for your gut. As a wise person once said, "Release your inner vision." While that small group of people is running around with tax-shelter measuring cups and metric rulers, we are free to make work. What governs their tastes is a whim and unknowable so let go and let loose. We are already creating the next movement but maybe, just maybe, we're right in the middle of it and we can't see the forest for the trees. The change, the shift is happening now. We are it. On Facebook, on blogs, on Tumblr, Pinterest and a shitload of any other social media you can come up with. Find the new audience. Fuck the tippy-top, they'll topple with the weight of their own money and ego. Excite the forgotten appreciators of art. Unlock the gravitational pull of Things That Move You on to the masses that think it's not meant for them. Quit trying to win approval from a tiny group. There are hungry minds out there. Touch them. The Art Biz people, the money, investors, they've already missed the boat. Embrace the energy of being the ultimate outsider. Get back to work.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sunday, March 16, 2014


I'm afraid to write. Paralyzed. It's been a long time since I've posted anything. My winter has been, well, awful. Depressing. Troublesome, rage-filled, confusing, scattered. Cold. Problematic. As a result, my work, my pottery and my fine art has been spotty and progressed in fits and starts. So no snappy updates. I was talking to a wonderful friend today and she mentioned that her winter has also been depressing. I felt not so alone.

The season of cold drags on. My mood drags on with it. There have been so many factors influencing my energy this season, from about Thanksgiving onward, too numerous to count. From the little everyday aggravations to the bigger things like the plumbing problems from frozen pipes and the Medicaid bullshit that is still ongoing. 

But lately, like fine warm days that pop up in between the snow storms, I've been getting the urge to "do" something. Make something. Write something. And then I don't. But then I do. I can't wait for Spring.

My seasonal depression has paralyzed me. So here it is - messy post that means little, says little, does little. I'll add an image that is disconnected. And begin again.

I've fallen but I can get up.