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.
Mmmmmm…. Candy Press for drop candies.
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.
Have screen, will travel.
My other exposure unit is a baby blue Miata hardtop.
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?
Last semester a student came to me for some advice. “What do I do?”, she said, “What do I do when I am confronted with casual sexism from my professors and classmates? I don’t want to be the person who is constantly educating others on how to treat me as a human person, a human person who happens to be in a lady shaped container, but a human none-the-less.” I was honored that she felt comfortable enough to come to me for this advice, and yet dismayed that this was her experience, one that I strongly identified with.
I told her to make her actions and life an answer. I told her to accept that she has deep power and she has choices as to how she uses that power. That while our institutions retain bias, conscious and unconscious, she as an individual can live as a person of agency and power. “Create boundaries, calmly and clearly communicate what behaviors and comments you find unacceptable. And create opportunity” I said. “curate shows, instigate projects, find the people and organizations you want to work with and then create opportunities for each other.”
Today I have the opportunity to fall back on my own advice. I’m in Portland OR for an academic conference. Southern Graphics Council International Conference (SGCI) is a professional ‘conference of record’ for Printmaking academics. It is an institution. It confers legitimacy to presenters and exhibitors. SGCI is a way to obtain peer standing in the field of printmaking and in fine arts.
I didn’t register. The conference is far too expensive for my budget as an independent artist who is living an adjunct lifestyle. Since starting grad school in 2009 there has been but one year when I made more than $24,000 in a year. But I’m here to exhibit work, see print exhibitions and visit with colleagues and my dear friends. I’m here to luxuriate in the community that I have built and am so often so far from.
SGCI creates a framework for us to share research, build community and to learn from each other. And every year I am grateful that we have the opportunity to meet in one place to exchange with each other.
This year, part of the exchange has been a general sense of dismay over the glaring lack of diversity in the programming of key-note speakers for the conference. As artists and academics we have the opportunity to direct our viewers’ attention to topics we find important. It is unacceptable for an organization that serves to advance the professional standing of printmakers to consciously or unconsciously exclude a plurality of voices from that advancement through lazy programming choices.
And then that guy said that thing.
During the panel discussion for James Rosenquist’s Lifetime Achievement Award Maurice Sanchez made a glaringly (to most everyone but him) sexist comment. He related an anecdotal Robert Motherwell quote that printmaking is a dance. Sanchez then expanded upon that sentiment to state (in summary) that as a collaborative printer he knows what it’s like to be a woman, to not lead but follow.
And with that one comment, I know that I will not be working with or paying much attention to Maurice Sanchez.
It is my attention, my viewership, readership, engagement, my community, my time and resources that you lose if you reveal yourself to be ignorant. If you are ignorant of the intense, day after day, effort to retain footholds and break new ground in social and cultural institutions, let alone personal relationships, to allow for a plurality of experience and identities, then you are not welcome to work with me and my community.
I am a leader, I know what it is like to be a person who walks away from outdated modes of legitimacy and from institutions and people who no longer serve the collective good. I am a leader, one who sees power in collaboration and plurality. I am a leader, someone who earns trust and shares knowledge.
If organizations, institutions, and individuals wish to retain a position of relevancy and viability in the minds and lives of their members, colleagues, and community then they can not ignore that long-term exclusion from the collective narrative and hierarchal power has created unequal access to power, cultural value and opportunity for anyone whose experience is anything but white male.
So, SGCI, use your framework of legitimacy to advance a plurality of experiences and voices that have been left behind or traditionally excluded. Change the collective narrative to reflect the identity of your viewers and constituents. In other words, SGCI, be a better leader.
There are many slow days between finding the right fabrics, and making a finished piece.
Last week when I arrived in Rome to buy fabric I had a sense of what I was looking to purchase but I also like to stay open to the possibility of a surprise purchase. Bassettti had some of my old favorites, a 60 year old cotton for towels, some modern linen that was woven in Italy. But I also bought bolts of two new fabrics for which I’m designing some new products.
Thanks for reading.
So for the last few years I’ve been going down to Rome every six months or so to buy fabric. At first I stuck to buying off the shelf, visiting Bassetti to purchase my contemporary linen yardage. For a while I was too linguistically shy to ask for what I was really looking for…. old yardage…like, really old yardage.
For the most part I was buying my antique yardage, old fabrics, from 200 to 60 years old made of natural fibers, from the antique markets in my area.
On one my trips to Bassetti, I finally got up the courage to talk to the gentlemen at Bassetti about my interest in older fabrics. And, like that, out of the back rooms of the store came bolt after bolt of antique fabrics with interesting textures, natural fibers, woven in Europe.
So, now when I visit Rome to buy fabric for my towels, tablecloths (and soon bags!), Bassestti is the first place I visit. I always have to set a strict budget before I arrive, so that I don’t end up buying more than I can carry in my suitcase. It’s never an easy trip. Its always a mad dash from train to bus to store to home all the while carrying lbs of fabric on my back. But the fabrics are beautiful, I oddly enjoy the challenges, and well… from time to time I take a couple hours to do something fun in Rome. This trip I took time to eat a fried artichoke, and tried not to choke while riding a vespa around town.
Thanks for reading.