One week into the fourth semester of my grad experience and despite it being the repetitive process of coming to class on time, doing the assignments, and not binge eating at all hours of the day...its still all around a new experience.
So yes, lets take a moment and bask in the glory of the newness of things. Much will be changing in 2017- to include a new president of the free world for better or worse, a solar eclipse that hasn't happened since 1918, a march of women on the White House, new gym memberships that will get at least some use, technology will continue to evolve, conflicts shall arise, and we will all get a little older. But let's get real, all of these things have already been happening in the world for who knows how long, and yet with each new year they magically become new again, and the bit of hope in our own existence is renewed. It's a cycle, endless as it may seem, the only things really that come with a new year are realizations of what was not accomplished in the last.
Therefore I want to talk about some things that I did not accomplish and what I learned that I intend to apply to 2017 moving forward. They are less resolutions and more so just board concepts I hope to apply to myself as we circle around this bright star.
1. Understanding- What I mean by this is that I honestly just want to take the time to understand better. To listen to what someone has to say and before I give my option, take a moment and reflect on what was just given to me and then and only then respond if it is actually worth my two sense. Often I noticed last year I had a tendency of letting my strong personality dominate others. I am strong willed, a leader, and have a extreme confidence which is great for what I want to do in life, but not so great when it comes to actually taking the time to understand those around me who are less confident or who have opposing ideas/personalities. Understanding is not a resolution, it's just a better way of going about my day in general.
2. Knowledge- I will, at all opportunities, look into and read up on things suggested to me. In grad school its not uncommon to have ten new things you'd never heard about thrown at you in one conversation. This year I intend to look into all of them on some level. Knowledge is more than understanding, which is why it's number two on my list of things because it's being able to take what you know and apply it through understanding as an application, a tool. Reading essays on art theory will boost my own art process as well as my teaching in the classroom. Plus I'm sure we could all use a little less social media, television, and internet for a change and actually get into some literature thats been around for decades.
3. Health- Now this last one also builds on the previous two in a way. Over the last four semesters here I have taken it upon myself to be mindful of my heath while in school. It is easy to lose track of an eating schedule (especially when you teach a class from 11-1:30...the prime lunch hours) and then consume low quality, cheap food. Grad school does that to you. The lack of money, time, and energy is begging for health problems down the road. Therefore health is a combination of understanding and knowledge. Understanding that I need sleep, water, and exercise, and knowing that I can educate myself on bettering my daily life through research into a healthier lifestyle.
Understanding, Knowledge, and Health-what do these have to do with a grad students art blog you might be asking? Well they all already existed but now I am giving them priority over the smaller things in my life. I can already see small changes in the way I am going about my day now that I put a focus on these three broad concepts. For instance I did some significant digging on how to throw larger ceramic pots without hurting myself and came across an immense amount of information that I didn't even know was out there. This interest was spurred on by somewhat of a failure of mine from last semester in that I limited the scale in my work and gave in to gravity. This year I am changing that for the better I hope. I've got quite a few things going in my studio right now in terms of larger thrown pieces but I can already tell that just after this first week and the few discussions I've had with my professors that I need to sit down and draw out my plans. At this point in my program I can't go about my work so intuitively, and I need to develop my sketches of my ideas further before I begin actually making. Of course the work will evolve as I make it, but I need an end goal in mind before I begin.
As for artists that I came across this week while looking for inspiration and technique ideas, I found Bryan Yerian. In looking for a youtube video on composite, or coil throwing I found this artist and then realized that his artists statement is actually quite referential to my own. Here is a snippet of his artist statement:
His work looks interesting but I don't see the relationship with the words in the statement to the actual work, which is my exact same problem so I've been told. Connections with the concepts to the actual work is the struggle we all face as artists but it's really the struggle of a graduate student and the ten or so professors critiquing work. I've got to connect the ideas in my head to the work in my hands at some point, or at least get closer than I am now. The video on composite throwing surely helped me though. Already in the studio I have three new vessels working, and a forth made from building together thrown donuts and hollow bowls. Here's hoping that will pan out a bit more.
I know that the goal of these blog posts is for use to research artists and get involved in their work on some level, but I take them more as a stream of consciousness in terms of whats happening within my studio and then with myself in the larger art world. I was bad and didn't post a single blog post last semester. So much has happened to me since I last wrote back in April 2016, that I feel a brief but elaborate recap is in order.
First of all I went to Ireland for five weeks as the resident assistant for the European Council Water Ireland Program and had the time of my life. Learned how to direct 44 students in a foreign country and did my job well enough to be offered a return position for Summer 2017 as the single resident assistant.
I went to conferences. A lot of them. Specifically I attended SECAC in Roanoke, Virginia with my friend Cyndy Epps and presented on a panel titled Letters to a Young Artist. My paper focused on the "artist on their phone" and how media is interfering wth their working process in the studio. I also presented at SLSA in Atlanta, Georgia on a senior panel for theory in art regarding "object-ness". I was the youngest on the panel, and also the only graduate student in a group of four other well established professors across the country. At SLSA I also presented a poster on the Inherent Qualities of Clay and was one of four art students in the entire poster session of art historians and theorists, which was over two-hundred in number.
My show Trifecta, which I curated with my friend Jessamy McManus was a great success over the summer at Augusta University in Augusta, Georgia. It had eighteen artists from across the state participate, and highlighted the three public master of fine art schools in the state- Georgia Southern, Georgia State, and University of Georgia. Trifecta prompted a connection to within all three schools and has since developed a "show swap" within the universities as well as Trifecta 2.0 happening this summer at the GA State campus. So that was an enormous success in my book!
In December the graduate group went to Miami again for Art Basel 2016, and this time brought along a few deserving undergraduate seniors as well. The trip brought about discussions of art and the art market as well as the context of the fairs and their purposes. Places like Pulse and NADA, who have more so emerging artists verses the big names like Art Basel who focus on the well known and the classics.
I also taught that dreaded 2-2 load at Georgia Southern that I mentioned in my previous blog posts and it in fact was not that bad at all. I actually really loved it. I ended up teaching 2D Design and 3D Design Monday thru Thursday in addition to taking my own classes, and am currently doing the same thing again this semester. Teaching I feel is what really got me to the point of my three new years goals/concepts. It put myself into a bigger picture and allowed me to see myself in a new light. So I have immense gratitude for the opportunity given to me in that respect.
As for 2017 so far, I have kept up with myself but it's too early to tell what will happen this semester. Jessamy and I bought out tickets this week to attend the CAA Conference in New York in February and thats about as much excitement as I can muster at the moment. I intend to continue presenting at conference, want to get into more shows, and am in progress of trying to establish opportunities elsewhere for myself. Just have to keep pushing forward and things will happen.
Thanks for the read if you made it this far and welcome to 2017, the new year, new semester, and new opportunities!