For three years and for many reasons I haven’t been able to go into the studio. Lately the main rationale though was I thought rats had gotten everything. I started crying when my brother-in-law braved the horror stories and we realized everything was intact. Everything will be all right.
Pulling the old work out of cold storage tonight. Entire bodies of work have remained undocumented. I had forgotten how attached I am to some of these pieces.
I kind of like the Facebook device of throwback thursday. It can be a silly exercise but it gives you an excuse to pull things out of the archives of your life and look at them. Laugh at them. I’m in the process once again of setting up the painting studio and coming across photos of my old paintings (the ones I don’t completely cringe at) fills me with nostalgia.
This is a really old painting, from when I was living in Ellensburg WA in my early 20s, so probably 1986. I can still remember the title was Tiny Tortures. Long destroyed of course.
In my brain this was a homage to Matisse’s Red Room. Max Beckmann. German Expressionism.
What I should be really nostalgic about is my use of materials: high gloss enamel oil house paint as a ground, oil paints with lots of turpentine as a thinner. I would get incredible headaches doing these things, high as a kite. No mask, no gloves. I kind of miss that irreverent disdain as far as my own health goes. Add a cigarette into the mix and you’ve front loaded yourself for asthma later on, so delightful.
I think art pieces should stand on their own without a need for back story. However since my work from that period was usually about something in my own life, it’s amusing to note that the subject matter is my boyfriend at the time Andy on his hands and knees capturing a multitude of mice that had infested my tiny home. I’m standing in the back of the room watching as far away as I could get.
I really got away from storytelling in my last few bodies of work and I think that is what I ended up missing the most.
For the record high gloss enamel house paint from the hardware store is not archival at all.
We’re pulling ourselves back up here in 2015.
New Studio. New Year.
Zinnia Series: (1st one: charcoal, 2nd one: pen and ink)
Ben – Watercolor and Ink
Found via one of those archiving projects of Ben’s. I have no idea what the date on this might be.
It will never look this clean again.
Assessing the damage of falling off production. And doing a little house cleaning and tidying up around here to get the New Year off to a good start. I thought it might be fun to try out flickr as loading photos is a chore I would love to find an easier solution for this month. Well see how it goes.
We’re doing the inevitable house cleaning and spiffing up, around here with a little down time on our side.
I have been sifting through the stacks that have piled of old work. What to do with it?
I have some really large drawings that I did in after living in NYC for 3 or 4 years. I had become obsessed with nature, feeling particularly deprived. I did these large charcoal drawings of bird houses- at human scale. I only showed them once, at the Soap Factory in Minneapolis. So I think I still like them-they’ve been rolled up in a tube since- moved from one storage place to another.
After that wall space or floor space to produce work at that scale was non-existent as I closed that studio making tiny panel paintings in a small corner of the apartment.
Should the drawings languish?
Sometimes I hold on to old work just as a reminder of what the hell was I thinking or on the flip side the piles of life drawings from this era remind me I wasn’t totally stagnant. Other times I just get rid of stuff I really hate-or in practical moments I’ve turned large panels (actually hollow doors) over and used them as worktables.
Cleaning up the studio-these are the times I envy writers or those that follow less “thing oriented”, conceptual work. To those that can place their entire life’s work on a CD or just cart around a laptop, I am envious. Us painters and drummers hauling around all that stuff- then just add a little turpentine to the responsibility. For gods sake, I won’t even go into the needs of sculptors. I live with one who hung up his sculpture hat and always threatens to take a load to the dump. No! I say.
Still one wonders the burden of these things we make.
Things to not think of in the studio:
Artists are often concerned with the archival quality of their work, yet museum storerooms continue fill up with unseen works and landfills pile high with discarded work. As a young retail clerk in an art supply store I remember being pointedly amused by people buying shopping carts of acrylic paint and stacks of foam core only to tell me at check out to “save the bag— to save a tree”.
studio time, or so they say..