Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Climbing Uphill.

I'm getting rid of all my work to start on some new projects, and also work to help with my dad's bills (if you'd like to know more about that, please direct yourself to the previous post, "Them's the Breaks, Kid.") All work is on a name-your-own prices basis. Seriously. $5? $500? It's yours. If you have any questions about any of the work (dimensions, for example), @ me on twitter at @saynomorgan or shoot me an e-mail at: saynomorgan[at]gmail[dot]com.

As previously mentioned, a portion of the proceeds from all of my art sales in 2010 will be donated to Doctors Without Borders, Heifer International, and Boys Town National. If you have a specific charity you'd like your portion to go instead, let me know. Thanks, everyone.





















Them's the Breaks, Kid.

My dad is...sick. He's always suffered from multiple mental and physical ailments, and he doesn't have a lot.

He's my world and he drives me nuts and challenges me to be a better artist and person, and I can't imagine my life without him. On Thursday, he had a lacuner stroke (which basically means that there are seven or eight small holes in his brain that are leaking fluid into his brain), and then another on Friday morning. He had and emergency quadruple bypass in May of 2009, and as I write this, they are putting a balloon in his heart in order to try and salvage his organs. Unfortunately, I'm not a doctor and I don't know exactly what all of this means, but I've been told by the doctor that at this point, he'll have some time left, but not much.

I love my dad. I have memories (not as many as I'd like, but I've got them). My little brother's ten. His life's just starting out. He's not going to get to look out into the stadium and see my dad's face when he plays his first football game. That fucking sucks more than anything, but it's true and it breaks my heart.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Dark I Know Well

I don't have much to say lately. Rather, I don't have much that I care to say.

I haven't really left the house much because I've been sick. Looking forward to tomorrow's doctor's appointment; hoping some sort of functional resolution will be achieved.

Regardless, life is good and unexpected and I'm trying not to base my expectations and happiness on the actions (or potential inactions) of others. All I will say about it is that I'm enjoying what's happening and I hope that it continues.

As much as it scares me to say this, I've been reconsidering the idea of finishing my degree in state. I've spent so long wanting to get out, that the very notion that I would be better off in Arizona is...disconcerting, to say the least. Now that I'm no longer tied to Phoenix, I'm seeing all of the amazing things Phoenix has to offer. Especially in terms of a career, I think it might actually be feasible to market my art and continue to grow as an artist (a concept so foreign to me in my anti-Phoenix daze). I will, however, still continue with the application process, but I suppose it's comforting to know that I have options (that I would be happy with, no less).

Working on some work for next month. There's something just plain delightful to me about utilizing kid's art supplies to make fine art. The bits and pieces I've finished thus far are turning out quite nicely.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Don't Do Sadness

I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. My entire life, I'd always felt this strange, unplaceable restlessness. I remember being about seven or eight and telling my mother "I feel like I'm waiting for something, but I don't know what it is. Sometimes life's just...too much." She nodded and went about her business, so I assumed that EVERYONE must feel this way all the time. It wasn't until mid-high school when I found out that wasn't the case.

Generally, I'm able to manage it and suffer through things that cause me anxiety. Recently, though, it's gotten to be too much and it's unfortunate that people are unable to really understand when I try to explain exactly what's going on. My hands get clammy, my face gets hot and I have insane nausea; my chest tightens and breathing becomes a struggle and in the midst of a panic attack, I honestly feel like I might die if I don't escape. For me, it's a feeling rooted in the unfamiliar. If I don't know exactly what's going to happen or if I feel trapped, an attack is much more likely. Sometimes, though, even comfortable and mundane situations are panic-inducing. The problem with anxiety is that there is no finite trigger. It's simply a matter of "is the stress of living going to get to me today?"

Imagine you have to carry a ten pound weight, only you can only use your shoulders. Easy enough, right? That ten pound weight is your job, let's say. Okay, now add another for every person in your family. And another for each one of your goals, and another for every regret. Getting heavy yet? Okay, add one for every bill you have and every social engagement you have for the next three months. And three more, just for the sake of it. Wait, I forgot something. Every time you try to take off a weight, some asshole's going to come by and add two more. Just because he's a dick.

At some point, you're going to be so heavy that you have to do something, anything to get out. Cue panic attack.

Being an outgoing person with agoraphobia is strange. My extroversion comes from an overwhelming desire to compensate for the fact that I'm so anxious all the time. Some days, weeks, even months are fine, but when I'm going through a bout of anxiety, it's crippling and I literally have to mentally prepare myself for hours just to leave the house. It's having negative emotional, mental, and physical effects on me, to the point where I miss important events in my loved ones (and my own) lives, I always have this uneasiness and nausea in the back of my throat, I make myself physically ill at least twice a month (as I am right now), and my shoulders and back are in a constant ache from carrying this invisible weight on my shoulders all day.

Friday, I finally bought health insurance after six years of being uninsured. As an adult, I've recused any adolescent notions I had about medication as a means of escape. I just want to be able to do the things that are important to me. I don't want to continue missing out on opportunities.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Is a Conjunction

A few days ago, I had this strange, heavy feeling on my shoulders. I couldn't shake it, this weight. Having experienced more than my fair share of anxiety in my twenty-four years, I couldn't understand this particular breed of restless loneliness.

And then it hit me. Fun.

I was no longer affording myself the opportunity to have fun. Fun. It was that simple. I made a promise to myself that there would be nothing but good times from here on out, and I'm holding myself to it. Just because I'm buckling down and focusing on school and my career doesn't mean I have to sacrifice my emotional well being. Spending time with Xchel, Shane, and Clif has been wonderful and refreshing and I hope it continues. I'm enjoying the company that I keep and working hard not to worry too much and overanalyze things. It's been nice, the past few days, to be able to reflect on the day and declare it a good one.

I've confirmed participation in another show for October, bringing the total to 4. In terms of the goal I set back in July (12 shows before the end of 2010), this brings the total to 9. Whether I meet my goal or not, I'm really proud of the work I've done recently. I can wholeheartedly say that I truly put myself into this work. I'm so happy about that.

Life's not so hard. It's time to cheer up.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Yellow Flowers Never Took My Breath Away

It's hard to let go of someone you love. Damn near impossible.

I think about this daily. The moments with him that were amazing and life affirming, the moments that made me feel like I was repeatedly running head first into a wall and I wonder where things went so wrong. Two people who loved each other, but were so damaged they couldn't have faith in one another? There's almost no way anything healthy could come from that. We spent years running to and away from each other, and now after he's run away from Phoenix, I'm leaving knowing that no matter where I go and what I do, he'll always be in my heart. The notion (no matter how silly it might be) that someday things might work out will always be in the back of my mind. He was my first love, and I thank him for that. He taught me to love fearlessly, which is something I never had the courage to do with him. While the mistakes I made are painful and wear heavy on my soul, he taught me how not to make those same mistakes again. And I never will.

Maybe it's the unwittingly hopeful part of me, but I firmly believe that we'll get another chance someday. And when that day comes, I promise to grab the life I desire with both hands. You gave me that courage.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

This is No Great Illusion

School started about two weeks ago. Honestly? I was fucking terrified. I haven't been in school for almost four years, so a thousand questions and concerns were running through my mind. Would my instructors like me? Would there be too much homework? Can I even still write a paper? How embarrassing, I thought, would it be to fail a class I've already gotten an A in?

Alas, I seem to be doing well. Because my courses are self-paced, I'm at least a good week ahead on all of my assignments (three weeks in three of my courses, rather.)

This semester, I'm taking Art History: Prehistoric Through Gothic, Art History: Renaissance Through Contemporary, History of Western Civ 1865 to Present, and Universal Themes of Humanity. I'm really enjoying what I'm learning so far. The difference this time around is that I'm really seeing the value in the education I'm getting and I'm grateful to have this opportunity to go back to school. Around the time that I dropped out, I seemed to be getting caught in the common trap of "Oh, I'm on my own now...let's eat ice cream for breakfast and build forts!"

Don't get me wrong, I love a good couch-cushion fort, but having a second chance to get my degree is amazing and I'm taking care to ensure that no amount of frivolity distracts me from that. I don't want to fuck it up this time.

Sidenote: maybe it's the teacher's pet in me, but when I received feedback on my first HUM201 paper, I got such an obnoxious twinge of excitement when the instructor told me I did a fantastic job and she was super impressed with my ideas and execution. Nerd moment over, let's move on.

This semester is very important. When I left school, my record was in shambles. My GPA dropped to a pathetic 2.6. 2.6? FUCKING SRSLY? That's just depressing. That being said, however, if I am able to secure a 4.0 this semester, and a 3.0 next semester, my GPA will be prepared to a much more reasonable standard. If this happens, I'll feel much more comfortable in my collegiate pursuits because I won't feel like I'm walking around with a giant "I'm a Stupid Loser!" sandwich board anymore.

In other school news: I've started compiling all of the individual documents requied for my applications. It's...scary. But SO amazing.

In non school news: one of my shows is listed on the front page of Holy. cow. I've never gotten this kind of exposure before. It's such a jarring experience to go from being a marginally known character who paints in the district to being regarded as a legitimate and respected artist in Phoenix as a whole. It's really a humbling experience to receive acclaim from people I admire and respect just doing what I love to do. It's so...surreal. I feel very lucky.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lots of Bodies

In my journey to achieve my personal, creative, and professional aspirations, I've gained a lot along the way. I've learned so much about myself and it's been really rewarding. That being said, I've managed to lose a lot as well. Fears and flaws that I've found crippling and scary have started to fall away. While I'm proud of myself for what I have accomplished thus far and I hope to accomplish in the future, it's bittersweet to think about the people in my life who have become shallow memories in my life. Silly nostalgias are all I have left of these people.

One person in particular became one of my best friends in a very short time. When I was going through a difficult time personally, he was there, waiting to catch me. I guess I should have done a deeper analysis of him, noticing the inconsistencies in his demeanor. He explicitly stated disengaging from relationships with people when he knows he or they are going away. It should have been so much more apparent to me. He wants to be a superhero. He wants to be the knight in shining armor. Our friendship hit the rocks when I wouldn't let him play that role in my life.

Now that I've learned to stand on my own two feet, we no longer exist together as companions. I haven't seen him in months, and multiple texts go unanswered. Honestly, I can't help but be angry at the idea that I'll be cut out of people's lives because I'm forging my own path. This journey is the one I need to take, and I feel as though the notion of the convenience of companionship is insulting and demeaning. Regardless, though, I really miss him and hope that some sort of friendship can be regained before I leave. He was a good friend. Maybe I should write it off as just another asshole, but I just can't. Nor would I want to believe that people can really be that cold.

I just wish people would stop being so scared.

Just a Taste

Oh! Just got some nerdy exciting news. Go here to see some quick shots of my work in the background of Sonoran Living's interview with the very awesome Joseph Aguayo for Verde.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Am a Bird Now

SO MUCH has transpired over the past couple weeks, this will probably be broken down into a couple different entries. In retrospect, I should have just updated as information made itself available. Live and learn. And probably do it again regardless of what was learned, to be honest.

As of right now, the shows are 95% done. SuTRA was finished hanging this afternoon, and Practical Art goes up tomorrow. I just have one more form to fill out for insurance purposes and send to Practical Art, which will be faxed over first thing in the morning (care of my favorite FedEx/Kinkos pal with the long, shaggy hair) and then the work will be hung tomorrow evening.

I faced a few issues with both venues over the past couple days (not on their respective parts, by any means.) Just the nature of the beast. There was some scheduling confusion with SuTRA that worked itself out, so there are no worries in that regard. I've had a cold for the past few days and have felt really out of it, so bringing the work to Practical Art felt really...odd. I don't quite know how to describe it. Almost like I didn't deserve to be showing there. Not to say that Kara and the other girl whose name I never learned made me feel unwelcome (quite the opposite, actually), but I was already feeling very anxious. Coupling that with the anxiety that comes with opening a show, I felt very uncomfortable.

I received a text from K regarding a couple issues with the show:

a. Typographical error on one of the title cards.
SERIOUSLY? Typo? Me? Color me veryfuckingangry at myself. When asked how I'd like her to proceed, I was and am tempted just to have her write in the 'n' (which was left off the end of the word "known"), which I think is the simplest solution.

b. Unstable frame.
The single biggest issue that seems to arise with using reclaimed wood as panels is their framing instability. Because the panels typically used to be parts of mass-produced furniture that I salvaged from alley dumpsters, they're often comprised of pressboard or other materials that tend to bend nails and cause me to shout "FUCK!" in the studio. The issue with this piece, however, is a little different. It was a piece of wood I found that already had two piece of wood attached to the top and bottom. I was really drawn to the sort-of shoddy assembly of the panel itself. K's concern was that she doesn't think it will hold up on the wall once it's hung. I told her, if needed, they can nail it directly to the wall. I also told her that, short of setting the work on fire, they can do anything they deem necessary to hang the show. I question whether that was unprofessional on my part (moreover, I'm worried that it came off rather terse), but I really do have a lot of faith in the venues.

These shows both mean a lot to me. Both represent a lot of who I am and where I come from. I'm very proud of the focus that I had in making these shows happen. ALL of the work at Practical Art (and more than 50% of the work at SuTRA) has never been shown and shows a lot of the things I've been experimenting with. The notion of going back to school has been a major factor in my desire to push myself as an artist. There are two sculptural pieces in the show, and I'm so proud of myself for being willing to venture from an avenue of strictly two-dimensional work. Outside of sculpture, there are a few pieces that exhibit strong conceptual themes, as well as work that I hope will blur the dividing line between two-dimensional and three-dimensional.

As far as I'm concerned, the shows are done. I have the opening receptions to contend with, which I'm just trying not to think about. This work is so important to me that I've just started to detach myself from it. I had my ideas and my concepts, I put my heart and soul (and quite a lot of blood, sweat, and tears) in to the work, and now I'm done. I'll do the performing monkey bit and play the character of an artist, but honestly and truly? I fucking hate opening receptions. Not all, of course. Just mine. They drain me and, at the end of the night, I always feel a lot of remorse over what I could have/would have/should have done.

Regardless of anything, I'm just really glad that my dad will get to see the show. While Nonn's been my super creative cheerleader, my dad's been sort of my partner-in-crime. He hooked me up with supplies and really gotten on my ass about getting the work done.

All in all, I'm excited for the receptions, I guess. I'll feel better once I get the insurance form faxed over, I think.

In other art news, I have two more confirmed shows and one tentative show for October. Information will come on those in the coming days, but I'll be at Coe House and The Tire Pit at Longhouse Studios, which is exciting because they're two venues I've never shown at before (and headed up by people that I think are pretty damn fantastic). Feeling very lucky right now. More on non-art aspects of life later. (*scoff* as if THOSE even matter!)

Friday, August 27, 2010

I WILL come back and update this after the shows are hung. Promise.

AND I'll bring pictures! Won't that be fun?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Are We There Yet?

I'm at the halfway point for both of the September shows. I was a little concerned over the past couple days that I wouldn't be done in time for hanging, but I did some figuring and I should be fine if I manage my time wisely. I have a three day weekend coming up, which will allow me the opportunity to make a lot of headway and hopefully finish at least one of the show's works. At the point, I'll just need to worry about framing and hanging apparatus.

There was a slight tension in my back and neck that seems to be getting worse, and I'm hoping that it's not due to the long painting sessions I've been having lately. I'm not too worried, but still taking care not to aggravate the situation (at least until my health insurance kicks in in September). It was MUCH worse when I was stressing about everything I need to take care of before I leave, though. School starts in two weeks, and I'm SO excited. I'm taking a full course load, but I'll be cutting my hours at work, so I'm not worried about getting too bogged down. Once these shows are hung with pictures shot, my portfolio will be about 90% complete (save a couple non-show pieces I'm working on in new media.) From that point, it's all paperwork, school, work, and writing this piece for Seven Minutes. Dawn and Nina will be performing with me, which makes me MORE scared, oddly enough. Initially, it was just me, doing a simple solo performance. With my concern that it wouldn't come close to filling the time allotted, I'm adding two more chapters for the ladies, which means more writing (which isn't too big a deal), keeping the original feel of the first piece in mind (which is the part I'm worried about).

I have no doubt I'll be able to do it and do myself justice.

Also: my show at PA is listed on and that totally freaks me out.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

My Story

Sometimes We Cock Our Heads to The Side So They Think We Have Secrets to Tell
September 1-September 30

SuTRA Midtown
2317 N. 7th St.
Opening Reception: Friday, September 3rd 6p-10p

"Sometimes We Cock Our Heads to The Side So They Think We Have Secrets to Tell" is a series inspired by words never said. It focuses on the dreams, desires, and feelings that we let go of in order to maintain a well-crafted persona and the transparency of secrets for those who take the time to look. Utilizing reclaimed materials and local personalities as inspiration, "Sometimes..." doesn't analyze the words so much as the spaces between the words in a way that highlights nonverbal communication. As the age old adage goes: "It's not what you say, it's what you don't say."

Coming Home Again
September 1-September 30

Practical Art
5070 North Central Avenue
Opening Reception: Friday, September 3rd 6p-10p

"Coming Home Again" features abstract interpretations of home and the emotions surrounding home. It is a question of what "home" is in the literal sense of the word, as well as a study on the emotional impact of one's search for that place to call their own. "Coming Home Again" is about the journey of finding your place in the world.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

You Were Just a Lightning Bug

I'm waiting for lightning.

Financial aid is in order. Classes start in just a couple of weeks now, and I'm excited and nervous all at the same time. Regarding my...feelings yesterday, they haven't changed. I, however, have. I look back fondly on the things and people that have happened to my life, and while I regret things I never had the courage to do, the opportunities of which have since passed me by for better things, I can't look back. The decisions I've made in my life thus far are mine, for better or for worse. This is the start of a new adventure. While I lost the chance for an adventure with him, I owe it to myself not to lose this chance now. Maybe I'll win, maybe I'll lose. Maybe I'll explode into a thousand bits of confetti, maybe I'll burst into flames.

If I never try, then I've already lost. If bittersweet memories are all I have of Phoenix, then I guess I owe myself the pursuit of something brighter. Something fresh. Something green and new, just like me.

I'll miss you, but I'll never forget you.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Search and Rescue

I've been avoiding writing a new entry until I felt like I had something substantial accomplished. I don't know that I have, just yet. Regardless, I feel an update is in order.

Things are going well at work, outside of it being a little slow because of the weather. I'm getting a lot of positive reinforcement on my artwork from employees at the museum, which is so sweet and wonderful. It's such an amazing feeling to have someone tell me they saw my work online and they were awe struck. I didn't know what to do or say, I was so flattered and surprised I just sort of meekly replied "Oh! ...thank you, that's so nice." and moved on. One of the museum directors was telling me that they're going to miss me when I leave, which baffled me because I always thought she hated me. It's a great feeling seeing people's true feelings, but it's so bittersweet to know I'm leaving it all behind for something unknown.

As I wrote this, I found out some news that is...really hard to grasp. The thing I wanted for so long from someone that I love so much is now someone else. It's not that I wish that person ill will, it's just hard, I guess. It goes back to what I've said multiple times in the past few years: I accidentally help people find their way. I've loved in that painful way you never *try* to love someone, but you inevitably do because you see so much good in them that your love for them can scare you off because you're afraid of ruining someone so beautiful. They've found happiness, and I was a part of that because I helped them learn what they want, need, and deserve.

I guess it hit me so hard because I knew it never could have been me.

I started writing this ten hours ago. I lost my place (in more ways than one), hoping tomorrow I'll regain a minute sense of things again and force myself to focus on the tasks at hand. January's creeping closer by the second.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's Okay to Be Different, Little Blueberry.

Every single day has just sort of...melted into one long day. Training a new employee tomorrow, with the hopes that she won't suck and not show up on Thursday and steal my day off like she did today.

One of the directors at the museum offered to critique my applications, which is incredible. She worked at Otis before she came to the museum, so I'm excited to get some honest and constructive feedback. I've been putting off writing my essays for a week or so now. I know how to help people understand my ideas through my paintings, but I'm nervous about getting tripped up in the writing aspect. I just need to suck it up and fucking do it.

Experimenting a lot more with cut-out silhouettes. I guess my initial worry about doing silhouette work was the need for intricate detail to keep the subject from just looking like a blob. I've always tried to make a point of avoiding the specific details in a piece (in sketches, I can shade properly, but I don't like it. In portraits, I'll avoid painting eyes or lips, for example. I like to focus on the bigger picture), and while I have an appreciation for detail, it almost feels like going against my natural intuition to leave out the little things, instead replacing them with the details I find to be more necessary to conveying my intended message. Regardless, I think it will be a good practice for me to pay more attention to the intricate details again.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Moving Pictures, Silent Films

Working from 9:30-7 today, which is...less than desirable. I'm stuck in the middle of this creative frenzy, so losing a day right now feels like losing a month. I just hope this motivation sticks around for a while.

UPDATE: I knew I shouldn't have talked about it. That seems to be when things end up going wrong.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

If You Want To Lay at The Bottom of The Atlantic Ocean.

Oil paint update: outlook improving. I'm actually starting to enjoy working with oils, though it's still a pain to wait for work to dry. I hate this feeling of "I have a good idea, but I have to work in stages". With acrylics, I can bring an idea to fruition in just under a day. I currently have five pieces in oil drying around my apartment (including my commission from Amy), and I'm just itching to work on them.

I haven't really left the house much lately, save for work and a few errands after work. It's forced me to really analyze my work and the direction I want it to go in. For some reason, I always get this way around my birthday. I find a mild amount of solace in this hermit-type nature I've developed, but I'm thirsting for real human interaction again.

One of the managers at work told me to start packing. He made the notion of leaving tangible, telling me "You know, January's not too far away. It'll be here before you know it." I can't help but feel like I'm wasting precious time, even while I'm working. I'm about halfway on my portfolio, and at this point, I just want it to be done. Once I have the final 20 images, then I can relax because it's just the essays (which are, for the most part, in their first draft edits) and paperwork. I can deal with paperwork. I just hate staring at 100 images and thinking "wait, this one instead of that one. Is this too blue? Is this not purple enough? Does this show what I can do? Does this painting make me look fat?"

Once this is done, then I can really focus on the website, the Practical Art show, and my piece for 7 Minutes.

I'm tired.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Don't Be Afraid.

"You can't let fear keep you from being who you are."

Yesterday was strange in an oddly comforting way. I goaded the Torch into doing a secret show after the night's shows as an early birthday present, giving "Morgan's birthday" as the suggestion. I sat in an almost-empty theatre for approximately 30 minutes, watching people I love and respect make wildly astute observations about my life. Some scenes were hard to watch, some funny, some bizarre, but I felt such an amazing connection to all of those people performing at that moment. After the show, one of the performers (who I've recently gotten to talk to and get to know much better over the past couple of weeks, who also gave one of the most uncomfortable and heartfelt and touching and scary monologues I've ever seen) came to me, clasped his hands around mine and said "Don't be afraid."

At that moment, it seemed so simple. Don't be afraid. What a marvelously simple concept. When I got home, I cried. No, I didn't cry, I SOBBED. For hours. So touched by this community's love and unwavering support for their metaphorical little sister.

This morning, I felt like I was in a daze, torn between incredible confidence in what my future holds, and intense sadness over losing this amazing family. Whether they know it or not, these people will forever have a place in my heart, and I will carry the lessons they taught (in class and out) me for the rest of my life. I'd almost forgotten what this kind of love felt like.

Years and years and years from now, this will all be gone. Buildings demolished and replaced with highrises. Licenses expired and never renewed. People departed and searching for something new. But this love for a craft and love for people? That will never die, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I know you all will never see this. But if, for some reason, you do, I love you all. You'll never know everything you've taught me. Thank you endlessly.

Friday, July 09, 2010

One Day Like Rain

I've felt so...drained the past few days. Apparently, I have to submit more information for my health insurance, which is frustrating because it's been 52 days since I applied. I got over my cold from last week on Tuesday, had two really good days, and woke up sick again today. I don't want to slack or fall behind on applications, but I feel like I should probably rest, so I've resigned myself to sitting in bed, watching movies on Hulu, and working on my application essays.

One of the managers at work gave me indispensable advice regarding school. I'm still nervous about submitting my applications, striving to make portfolio as strong as possible. In the meantime, though, I feel more clarity in terms of what happens after the applications are sent out and there's nothing left to do but wait.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Living Well is Some Sort Of Revenge Or Something.

Received the money for the painting sold at Verde this afternoon, which was a little surprising. I didn't expect it until the end of the month, and had just gone in to put up a new piece.

Of course I need the money, but it might have been the first time I wasn't stressing it at all. First time in a long time, at least.

Dealing with some undue stress today, as my ONE employee just quit. I covered for her today so she could be at the cafe, thinking she'd be working tomorrow. I've since come to learn she got a new job and she starts tomorrow. I don't blame her, by any means (she lives in Scottsdale, so the travel alone just seemed a little bit silly), but it's still frustrating. Even still, I'm torn. On one hand, it'd be nice to get some extra hours in and get a little ahead on bills before school starts up. On the other, I have so much work to do in the way of my portfolio and shows and school applications and moving and I NEED A BREAK. My time away from work is spent painting, writing, thinking, analyzing, researching, and planning, and I wish that I could afford (monetarily and time-wise) to take a little vacation. When I get bogged down like this, I just have to keep reminding myself that it will be worth it. It WILL pay off someday.

In regards to art, I'm trying to experiment more. One of my big critiques from SMFA and MICA was that I tend to waver between abstract and reality, and that I need to work outside of acrylic. I've always been drawn to mixed media, but tended to avoid certain media (oil, watercolor, ink, and pastel, for example). My goal for July is to experiment with different media. I started on an oil today, and just like I remember, I fucking hate it. I feel as though there's nothing I can do with oil or watercolor that I can't achieve with acrylic. I've made the choice, though, and I will begrudgingly commit to it. Regardless of my initial frustrations, I think the work I'll be putting out for the next few months (and potentially thereafter) will be unlike any of my existing work, for the most part. My show at Practical Art is already starting to show elements of sculpture and textiles, so I'm confident that the work will be to my liking in the end.

There's quite a few styles and techniques that I haven't taken to for whatever reason, and I fear that I just got comfortable in acrylic. I don't want that complacency in my art, so it's my responsibility to do new things, be it foreign conceptual territory or a medium that isn't my forte. I guess we'll see what happens.

It Was Like Being Seventeen Again.

The initial hope for this blog was to write every day. While I haven't posted every day, I do, oddly enough, open the publish screen every day and stare at it. I worry about self-repeating, writing about the same concerns, rather than focusing on the progress (no matter how minute) made on these issues and the goals I'm setting for myself.

I saw Gretchen on Monday, and it was exactly what I needed. I'm still unsure about the course of action from here, but seeing someone I love and getting the needed affirmation of the good in life was necessary. I'm grateful to have so many creative cheerleaders, and that reminder was enlightening; it gave me the hope and confidence I needed to forge ahead.

Being a list person, I decided my only way out of this educational mire I've put myself in was to list. Thinking long and hard about the potential impact my decision would make for each respective school, I listed. And listed and listed and listed and listed. Until my list muscle ached. I edited out schools due to weather, cost of living, school's emphasis, and so on until my list of 400,000 schools was a slim, but respectable six.

2. Corcoran
4. VCU
5. SMFA-Boston
6. Temple

MICA is my number one school, hands down. It's got the emphasis I want in the area I want. Every aspect of going to Baltimore for school is appealing to me. I feel good about the other five schools on my list, and I would be honored to attend any of them. In terms of the bigger picture (weather, neighborhood, transportation, cost of living), though, Baltimore is the city I want to be in.

Now that that's settled, I can address my next concerns. MICA has one of the lower acceptance rates of all the schools I'm applying to. At an average 37%, it's not as low as Temple (7-20%), but not as high as SMFA (92%). I've come this far just learning through observation. Watching and listening to my dad for 20 years, living and working in the arts district, and challenging myself has really afforded me the kind of knowledge I don't think I would have/could have gotten otherwise. I'm confident enough in my ability to challenge myself creatively, and to take on a 37% acceptance rate.

The other, more disheartening problem? For the Spring semester, MICA sends admissions notifications on December 18. For those of you keeping score, that's 3 months after other schools' admissions notifications, and 2 weeks before my departure. I don't know what to do in this regard. At all. Help. Seriously. Could really use some guidance here, in case I'm being too subtle.

While I would be pleased and honored to go to MICA, I don't know how to cope with the risk of not getting in, but already have declined ostensible acceptance offers from other schools.

Of course, knowing that money hasn't even come into play yet, I don't think I'm too worried about the financial aspect, which is odd for me. I want/need this so much, that regardless of the cost of attendance, I will do WHATEVER I can in order to make it happen.

As I write this, I feel as if I've written it before. If any of this information is repeated, I apologize to the two people I know who actually read it.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Everything Is Never As It Seems

I thought (hoped) that having these two shows hung and off my plate for the time being would alleviate a little bit of stress. Not the case. At all.

For some reason, this dark dread has planted itself on my shoulders, leaving me grumpy, anxious, and tense. Even though my deadlines for school are not technically until late October, early November, I set a personal deadline of September. By September 1st, I want to have everything packed up and sent out to their respective schools. Even though that deadline is two and-a-half months away, I'm still terribly stressed. The gravity of this decision of where I'm going to spend (at least) the next three years has finally hit me. I know what I want, but I can't help but be haunted by the fear of "What if I don't get in?"

I sell art fairly regularly. I've been afforded a lot of opportunities that artists my age (and hell, twice my age) have never gotten. I work hard and try to challenge myself in my approach to creating art. It actually occurred to me FOR THE FIRST TIME last week that, outside of my constructions courses, I have no formal studio training. Everything that I know about art, everything that I've learned about the technical aspect of art is all self-taught or learned through the observation of my peers in the arts district. While I strongly believe that this life experience has been invaluable in teaching me the functional approach to creating art, I'm still deeply concerned that the admissions boards of the schools that I'm applying to may not necessarily see it the same way. I have multiple years of schooling behind me, and I've garnered marginal success as a working artist, but will my lack of formal art training work for or against me?

Over the past few days, I've felt very...lost. My list of schools has fluctuated drastically, and I've felt like I desperately need an objective point of view to help me finalize this list. I got very excited about the notion of applying to MinneapolisCAD, but was immediately hit with the drastic impact of weather. Minneapolis looks like a great school and great city, but I don't know if that type of jarring weather experience is something I'd be able to handle as a lifelong Phoenician.

If I had to put everything into perspective and make a decision based on the bigger picture than JUST the school, it would be MICA or Corcoran, hands down. Not only are those two schools my top choices, I already know that I love the area, the weather seems to be fairly mild compared to Minneapolis' FORTY DEGREES BELOW ZERO. I'm experiencing minor hypothermia just writing that.

I'm meeting with Gretchen tomorrow, partially because I feel like she'd be able to give real, unbiased advice. Mostly, I just really miss her because she's not able to be out as much with Blueberry. I'm holding my breath until I see her, because I just know that seeing her will The advice I seem to be getting from everyone else is either "You're not leaving" or "Don't worry, you'll figure it out."

It's just...hard. It's hard to plan for something I can only control to a point. I know how badly I want this, and I know, if given the opportunity, I'll succeed because I refuse to accept failure. I've worked too hard for too long to accept failure. I just hope I'm given the opportunity.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's All For You.

The shows at Verde and Sweets & Beats are finally hung. FINALLY. In total, I rode 108 blocks and transported 17 paintings to do it, but it's finally done. Well, ALMOST done. I forgot tape, so I have to go to Verde and put up titles, and re-hang one of the pieces (Si Robins took a picture and sent it to me and I realized one of my pieces is hung about 8 inches off skew. No bueno.) One of my pieces was damaged during transport, but I was able to fix it, which is great. My promotional piece for the September show is almost done. I've never actually had real promotion of a show, so I'm nervous about making it just right because the image is going to be all over. Along the same lines, it's a mixed-media sculpture, which is something I haven't done much of, but something I've been getting more into, so I'm doubly nervous, but also excited.

Hoping tomorrow I can some cleaning done around the studio, as pre-show frenzy always lead to the studio to looking like a tornado damaged town. I also need to get some more work done before I go down to my dad's studio to get more building materials and also take him out for lunch. His birthday was on Monday, and I wish I could really do it up for him, but my finances won't really allow that right now. It's hard being in a situation where I feel confident in my abilities as an artist, but still have a strong desire to make him proud. I mean, he's the reason I paint. He's the one who let me know at a very young age that art is not a luxury, but a necessity. He drives me nuts sometimes, but I love him and I want to do right for him as much as I want to do right for me.

I haven't been focusing as much on school paperwork and the drawing portions of my applications, mostly because I'm nervous. I need to just suck it up and do it. As Mick Napier says: "Fuck your fear."

Monday, June 28, 2010

What's Funny is This Was an Accident

No time to really write anything legitimate today, just wanted to mention I'm hanging both shows on Wednesday. Which, of course, means I won't be able to go to the art museum until NEXT weekend, which makes me very sad.

I was very careful to only do small works for these two shows because I knew I would be transporting them in the basket of my bike (which I've done for shows in the past, and it usually works out fairly well if properly secured via bungee cords.) I just need to make sure to really fix my back wheel or go over to Hoodride tomorrow, because I went off a curb and bent the back right wheel, so there's a lot of resistance when I ride. I know I'm going to have to acquire transportation for the install of my show in September, so I'll be sure to take advantage of that and do some really large works.

I get daily lectures now from one of the managers at my work telling me (essentially) "GO TO DC." It just makes me anxious because there's so many loose ends that need to be tied up, and January feels so far away. I want to go, and I know he's right. I just wish it were happening now.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Years for String

Working very hard to avoid stress right now. The show at Space 55 has yet to be confirmed, but I'm hanging Verde and Sweets and Beats this week. As much as I love the stress of a deadline, it's so rewarding to be know the show is titled and hung. I have enough work for both venues, but the notion of picking pieces that are appropriate for the space is frustrating, for some reason.

The paperwork for my solo show at Practical Art has been turned in, and now I just need to get an image e-mailed for their promotional material. The nest and egg for my centerpiece is done, just need to finish the base that holds it, attach the nest, and get a print quality image.

The Torch Theatre is going dark until their grand opening, which makes me very sad. In talking about this with the owner of Space 55, he proposed an interesting opportunity to me. I was mentioning how I'd like to help 55 with the tech aspect of their operations, and Bob proposed having me design and build a set, then he would write a story based on whatever set I design. I'm really intrigued by this idea, but I don't know if it would actually be feasible to accomplish in my time left in Phoenix. Regardless, I've started writing a piece for the 7 Minutes series in October. I guess we'll see what happens.

Outside of that, there's an ongoing list of characters that Gretchen, Dawn, and I came up with during the random Craftprov rehearsals we used to have. I'd been stewing on these characters for months, wondering what I could/should do with them, and then it hit me: children's books. I'm hoping to have the first one done by August, which should give me plenty of time to get the story and art together.

Work has been mildly stressful. I really love my job, but my anxiety is just painful at this point. I'm hoping to be approved for health insurance in the next week or so so that I can finally get to the doctor, which will hopefully remove my stress and anxiety, or diminish it to a manageable level at least. All of this planning I'm doing for school is basically hanging on the notion that I'll be approved for health insurance.

Friday, June 25, 2010

We Didn't Come Here to Rock

Did a little research, and now MassART is off the table. While I don't fret about the potential score I might receive on a standardized test, I just don't think I'll be able to make the time to actually take the SAT. It's unfortunate, I suppose, but the coming months are so packed that to do one thing, it almost always means that I'm putting something on the backburner.

Appropriately enough, tonight is the Torch Theatre farewell show at 55, and I'm postponing painting feverishly to attend. The Torch is sort of the place where I really found out who I am and what's important to me. While I'm happy that they're moving on to bigger and better things (acquiring their own venue), the distance is just out of my scope of reasonable traveling distance. I've come to know, love, and deeply respect this group of people. They, for better or worse, are the ones I admire. They've become my family over the past year, and I'm deeply saddened that my Friday and Saturday nights will no longer include their unwittingly philosophical views on improvisation and life. That being said, I have a notion that this will be a good primer on saying my goodbyes. The moment leaving Phoenix became tangible, my perspective on the people in this city changed. I always knew that I was surrounded by good people, but my disdain for my situation clouded that view. Once the clouds dispersed and my departure was impending, it became that much harder to say goodbye.

I've never been good at saying goodbye. I guess there's no time like the present to learn a new skill.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Great Job

With my student loans finally rehabilitated, there is a massive weight that's been lifted off my shoulders, replaced by a new and scary, almost terrifyingly exciting weight of unknown. I'm waiting for my paperwork to be mailed out so that I can get my next semester all worked out. My FAFSA is done and my schedule finalized:

Universal Themes in Humanity
Chemistry (Lecture and Lab)
Art History 102- Rennaisance through Contemporary Art

I'm getting flack for registering for a class I've already taken before (ARH102), especially since I got an A in the course, but I took the class when I was still in high school (almost 7 years ago), it'd be nice to have a refresher, and I really enjoyed that particular class more than any I've taken in college (Astronomy and History of Modern Architecture and Design being close second and third, respectively.)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Broke My Promise on a Very Sharp Rock.

Had my files printed, including my recommendation forms, applications, business cards and a couple test images for my portfolio. It's finally starting to feel real. It's really happening and that knowledge terrifies and excites me to my very core. I've got a lot of work to do, but the potential outcome is exciting. I'm working on my portfolio while getting ready for shows at Verde, Sweets and Beats, Space 55, and (potentially) Sutra in July. Also have to get some preliminary pieces done and photographed for my solo show at Practical Art in September (ironically, it's titled "Coming Home Again", a study of the definition of home). I've (finally) finalized my list of schools:

1. Temple University-Tyler School of Art (Philadelphia)
2. Maryland Institute College of Art (Baltimore)
3. Corcoran College of Art and Design (DC)
4. MassArt (Boston)
5. School of the Museum of Fine Arts-Boston (Boston. Duh.)
6. Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond)
7. Rhode Island School of Design (Providence)
8. Moore College of Art and Design (Philadelphia)
9. School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago)

My only potential qualm is that I took the PSATs in high school, but never the SATs. MassArt and Corcoran both state their admissions requirements include SAT or ACT scores, and I'm unsure about the necessity of this for transfer students. I have (if I remember correctly) 65 transferable credits, give or take depending on the school and the program. I'm applying to the BFA programs in Museum Studies (where offered) with an emphasis in Painting, or the BFA program in Painting with an emphasis in Art Education. Although I love painting, Museum Studies is where I want to be and what I want to be doing, so if that isn't an offered program at the schools I apply to, I'm already planning on applying to a school that offers it as one of their Master's programs.

I initially planned to apply to SFAI and The Art Center as well as the schools listed above, but that was mostly out of fear of going East. I've been told by my brutally honest (sometimes to the point of unnecessarily mean) friend that the East Coast will eat me alive, so I put that West Coast buffer in my initial planning. Recently, after rehabilitating my student loans and conquering other personal issues I've dealt with for a very long time, I couldn't rest easy knowing I was giving myself a net. Were I to go safe, I'd be allowing myself the opportunity to fall. I've fought too hard to let that happen now.

Time to Get Serious.

Lots of errands today. I have to go to the bank, get some photos, contracts, and school applications printed at FedEx, open a new top-secret bank account at BoA to start saving money (and because I got hit with $170 in fees at Chase, and I can't afford to pay them right now. It's unfortunate, because I'm trying to be responsible and keep my life on track creatively, mentally, professionally, and financially, but I just can't afford to pay those fees, and I need to have access to a bank account for my student loans, work, and art sales.)

My dad's got some fun paints he made a while back, so I have to go pick those up, along with some more of his jerryrigged woodglue, which he keeps in old Coke bottles. It's things like that that completely remind me that we are SO related.

I've only had the fortune to get to the Art Museum since it was renovated twice. It's really a beautiful museum, so I'm hoping I can get these errands done and applications filled out, then make some progress on these paintings so that I can take advantage of their voluntary donation hours.

No rest for the wicked, I s'pose.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Just got the word that is mine. Well...Nina's. Very excited.

I have the best friends ever.

How I Learned How to Survive

The days are going quicker. Deadlines are nearing, tensions rising. I made a couple goals for myself before I run away:

1. 40 paintings in June. The month is almost over, and I'm only 1/4 of the way there. Fortunately, I work very quickly and should near my goal, if not surpass it. I started doing Artblitzes (anarchic event of artistic proliferation) about two years ago, because to me, they're the creative equivalent of a marathon. It's painful and challenging, but SO incredibly rewarding. A wonderful test of strength and will. I've never, however, put such a disproportionate challenge on my own shoulders, never exceeding 20 paintings in a month. This should be interesting.

2. 12 shows before departure. I've been fortunate enough to participate in three dozen or so shows over the past three years, but that's never really been due to my willingness to market and promote my work, and more due to the fact that friends and friends of friends were interested in showing my work and/or filling their galleries. The notion of self-marketing has always felt very self-congratulatory, so I've always avoided it, though I am fully aware that that is the responsibility of an artist or any creative person who wants to do what they love for a living.

Thus far, I've secured and confirmed five shows (waiting to hear on a sixth), four of which are galleries/venues I've never shown at before. I'm excited to step out of my comfort zone and finally start to market my work, instead of just waiting for things to come to me.

My very dear friend Nina gifted me some of her fancy design skills and a smidge of her hosting space to put up a professional site, which will be up in the next month or two, I finally broke down and agreed to make a facebook fan page, despite feeling very silly about writing my own bio and singing my own praises.

Doing it Up Right.

It came to my attention that things are changing every day in my pursuit of life outside of Phoenix. We all spend so much time waiting for life to happen that, when we get to the end, we reflect less on what we did in the meantime, and more on the opportunities we were too busy to acknowledge and appreciate. It's that whole John Lennon quote kind-of thing, which I'm not going to put here because everyone's heard it a thousand times and this isn't an inspirational blog, and I am certainly not a motivational speaker.

I'm leaving at the end of the year. I'm leaving my family, my friends, the neighborhood I found myself in, the places that no longer strike me and have simply become a colorful backdrop in my day-to-day routine. I've spent a long time waiting to live, and now it's finally happening.

I don't want to forget this chapter of my life, nor do I want to let go of the characters who let me be a part of their stories. They shaped me into the person that I am today, for better and for worse. This blog exists to remind me of the thousands of steps that it's taken to get here, and the thousands of steps I have ahead of me.