Open Studio

Studio Visit Overload

When you have the opportunity to sign up for a studio visit from the visiting artist, lecturer, gallery director, or whatever important person happens to be on campus that day, you take it.  It's usually a problem to get a time slot in to speak to them so when I know there is a visit opportunity coming around I keep my phone on hand so that as soon as the email goes out I can sign up for a time slot.

This week was full of people, to include Jason Sweet from Atlanta, Nancy Bookhart who is a friend of my Professors, and Leonie Bradbury a gallery director in Boston.  I feel like this past month has been so packed with studio visits they are starting to run together in my head.  Luckily I keep track of them in my notebook which helps me to look back on the things we discussed.  I received some very enlightening feedback from Jason Sweet, who happens to be the instructor to one of my friends from undergrad.  He told me that my work represented landscapes of a home environment and that the new direction I was taking in my most recent work reflected those same thoughts, except it added the emotion of anger and rage.  I think he only said that because I gauged out the eyeballs of a stuffed teddybear, but I did it so I could put them back in at a later point in time.  I know that sounds awful, but I couldn't run his entire body through the kiln, eyes intact.

Leonie Bradbury shared a number of her secrets about running a gallery, and how to create call for entries and sending out prospectus opportunities to artists.  Later in June I will be curating a show at Augusta University with my friend Jessamy, completely by ourselves.  So we wanted to do a little research in the mind of someones who's been doing it for years...which is basically all we talked to Leonie about.  She is a curator of contemporary art and currently works as the Director and Curator of the Galleries at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA. She is also the co-founder of "Alter Projects" an independent curatorial collaborative that designs custom arts programming.  She came to visit us because she is in the same Ph.D. program as my Professor in Philosophy and Art Theory at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in Visual Art.

Also this week I will be completing my project from my third research symposium.  I made 240 test tiles with my undergraduate copartner and this week we will be glazing the tiles for our final project.  I have not seen any new art work outside of whats been happening in the Center for Art and Theater, the BFA Juried Art Show and the Form and Content show.  Which might I say were both amazing.  The awards ceremony which was held just this past Friday night was packed out with students, faculty, and family members.  I was awarded the Roxie Scholarship and acknowledged along with a number of other students!  The semester is winding down and things are getting tight on the calendar.  I have a lot to get done and only a little time to do it, so I'm headed back to the studio to work on pieces for the next critique, the ENOP Bird for Howard Lumber, two papers, and a revised artist statement.  Noting too crazy.....yet.

Deadlines and Self Reflection

This week at school was full of deadlines and a much needed period of reflection on my own work because of the stress I was under.  Nothing will kick you into high gear like realizing you have a test, a paper, a critique, and two meetings with professionals to make you step back for a minute and think what needs to be done to remedy the situation...best known as procrastination.

See my medium of choice does not allow for too many short cuts.  It's ceramic.  Which means I have to measure and make the actual clay mixture I use first.  This is about a 3 hour process of measuring, mixing, sifting, and then mixing again to insure an even consistency.  Then I have to make the work which is a few hours to a few days time.  Then its time to dry into greenware, again, another day or two.  Next is bisquing in the kiln, a minimum of 3 days, then glazing, another 3 days minimum, but could be longer if I decide to reglaze a piece over and over again at lower temperatures each time working on the color.

Basically it's a long process.  Therefore I always have work ready for critique because I make the work in advance, on a rolling basis.  I always have a project going, I always have things to do, things to test, things to get done.  This is where the stress comes in.  Couple that constant need with the other tasks I have to complete and it makes for a very stressful person.  To fight the stress I added another task to my day, but it's a necessary evil which is helping me work on myself as well as my art.  The solution- I go to the gym.  And oddly enough I get a lot of mental work done while I am there working out.  It's my time to question my next move in the studio, without being distracted by all the other tasks at hand.  This has by far been my best solution to all my problems as of lately.  I can think clearer when I am just running on the treadmill, because I've got nothing else to do.

I've spent this week so stressed out that I was losing steam in the studio and I hadn't made anything worth looking at, or at least I thought so.  But now that I go to the gym early in the morning, and then come to the studio a whole hour before anyone else arrives, I've had the time to focus and actually think about what needs to happen next.  Ive finally started my journey in Porcelain, and I have 3 different pieces which just need to be clear glazed and maybe colored for them to be finished.  My professors been gone all week long so I've held off on glazing them until we sit down and talk about their current form and how I made them.  They are very different from the past works in my mind.  Not just because of their material, but because of their visual qualities.  I'm excited to see where it goes.  I've attached all kinds of studio photos from over the past weeks in this blog entry as well, because I haven't photographed them professionally yet and I think studio clips help show myself and others the process I work through.

Over the weekend I managed to go to the grand opening day of the Statesboro Open Farmers Market, and I meandered through the Averitt Gallery to see an undergraduates students first solo installation as well as a ceramic innovational exhibition.  Zak Kelly has his paper making show, where he installed floor to ceiling paper that he made on all the surfaces of the gallery space.  Including a table top, chair, a toy gun, a box of cards, and some dice.  It's all covered in paper.  It was refreshing to see such a large scale work installed by a student who will soon be a fellow graduate student in my department.  As for the ceramic work, people like Nia Rementelas, Eric Jones Hall, and Jason Stanley Hall had works on display showcasing a variety of material choices and styles of execution.

I am looking forward to the next few weeks, with the prospects of new visiting artists, fellow student visits, and more hectic deadlines looming.  It's getting closer to the end of the school year and this last month will be a big push to the finish line.  So I know I have a busy life ahead of me.

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