Back in Italy

It’s my first time back to Italy since moving from Cortona to Arkansas last year.

It’s reall fantastic to be here and not be worried about finding work or transporting art. Right now I’m just here to help my students and enjoy the sea.

I’m here with three ladies from the States. We’re focusing on the contemporary art exhibited at the Venice Biennale of Art. 
First impressions of being back? My Italian is better than I remember and it’s easier to try new words when I’m not overwhelmed. I think Italian grocery stores are my favorite in the whole world. Truffle, artichoke, and yoghurt are some flavors that are way more present here than in Arkansas. No one walks with their phones out, actually not much phone use in public at all. Tiny cappuccinos are still silky amazing. I’ve missed being surrounded by layers of history and strata of materials.

Venice is spectacular as always and more dear than ever before. 

So very grateful to return.

Excellent and Weird Studio Videos

I like having something on while I work in the studio. Usually it’s a TV show that I’ve already seen… like all of The Office or Parks n Rec so that I can work without really noticing it. These two You Tube videos are also good studio fodder. Soothingly nerdy and mostly plotless.

Star Wars Nothing But Star Wars – Mixtape is a 1.5 hour series of clips and b-sides from the hight of Star Wars cultural infiltration.  It’s rich with weird bits and call-backs.

 

Jurassic Park Walk-through by Research Indicates is 3.5 hours of watching someone play one of the worst video games of all time and soothingly narrated. This clip is only the teaser / history chapter, it goes on in further chapters of restrained humor.

 

Industrially Printed Fabric

Just another day in the printing factory. A great video that explains large scale printing onto fabric. This process is amazing.

It’s essentially the same process I use to make my towels… except I don’t have a chemicals cloud…and I use antique fabrics…and all my colors come from plants… oh and it’s just me making them…from design to sewing.

So yeah, this is different. But wow is this amazing, so much respect for what they’re trying to do.

Process Process – Organization Tip

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Here’s my master list of amazing awesome opportunities.

I think you have to love process to love printmaking. But you also have to love process to be a contemporary producing artist / entrepreneur.

Here’s a quick peek into one of my business tools. I use a spreadsheet to keep track of my deadlines, progress, and application information.

Every-ish day I check various reliable websites (CAA, Artist Trust, NYFA, etc.) for opportunities that fit my interests and skills. Anything that sounds like it’s a good fit gets a line in the spreadsheet. The main entry consists of a description or title, a due date and a link to the application information. Usually, create a due date that allows time for things like recommendation letters or mailing of application etc. The due date is essentially the next time I need to look at that listing. This list also includes all the things I decided to not apply to or deadlines that I missed. This one note, missed things, keeps my work in perspective: everything is low stakes, the important thing is to keep moving and keep putting proposals out there.

Having one place to put all of this info also helps keep me organized. When I get an email announcement about something that sounds good for me but isn’t due till July I can just stash the info here and not worry about it for a while.

The whole list gets sorted by due date and then each week at the beginning of the week I highlight the things I need to submit or work on that week (Teal!). The pale pink is opportunities that resulted in some kind of positive contact like an interview or acknowledgement as a finalist. HOT PINK is a YES! I started using these colors to help me maintain perspective on my successes. That even a bite should be considered a success in this crazy, subjective, world of art making and educating.

I’m thinking of adding a column to the sheet to note opportunities that are annual and have reoccurring due dates.

How do you track your work? And how do you reward yourself for successes?