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.