I don’t normally discuss my drawing process — mostly because it’s actually one of the least interesting aspects about my art-making, or at least so mysterious that I don’t have much to say about it — but here’s a small tidbit for you. The drawing on the right was started in September, forgotten about, revisted in earnest this winter, and subsequently overworked within an inch of its life. The drawing on the left is the do-over, currently unfinished, but one I am feeling much better about.
In other website news, I updated my about page, for those of you who might care about such things. Includes a handy guide of my default imagery.
Last week I discovered that I was awarded an Artist Fellowship Grant from DCAH, which (now semi-ironically) I will be using to produce a book of drawings and writing titled, “The Unsuccessful Artists’ Handbook.” This is partially inspired by the ceaseless supply of horrible instruction guides regarding how to be an artist, which I always pick up hopefully and then put down again in disgust–mostly with myself, for continuing to fall for it–when I see they all say the exact same thing. Please note that this will not be an actual handbook. But for that, consider yourselves lucky.
Next on the pipeline is a show at the College Park Aviation Museum, which opens November 9. Even if you can’t make it to the opening, I’d highly recommend checking out the museum at some point if you’re in the DC area. It’s a quirky little museum with beautiful lighting and all sorts of fascinating flying relics.
I am constantly impressed by artists whose sketchbooks don’t look at though their brain barfed all over their Moleskine pages. I just got a new one–keeping track of coasters and bits of Stonehedge paper was becoming too much of a hassle–and so far it’s been addicting, but also very…messy. I know that’s the point and all, but still I’m surprised at how often these drawings will to lead to more visual problems than they solve.
Anyway, a few samples below. For inspiration I’ve been looking at the utterly fantastic sketchbooks of Juana Medina and Wendy MacNaughton and the folks at the Sketchnote Army to see if I can learn a thing or two.
Here’s a lesson learned this holiday season–tedious travel delays are quite handy for producing drawings in bulk. A cancelled flight to England, long lines, a bus ride, airport waiting lounges, more long lines all resulted in about fifty new coaster images. Clearly there’s a lot to be said for art that’s portable, especially when it comes to international travel.
Once I arrived in England (I was having a British-style Christmas, which I’m happy to report, wound up being every bit as magical as it sounds) I didn’t have long uninterrupted blocks of time to work, though I managed to get a few drawings in of the Saint Paul’s Cathedral and crowds in pubs, and some castle-esque structures in Cambridge. Plus I got a chance to bop around some galleries in Mayfair, the highlight being Chris Beetles Art which specializes in illustration (including Arthur Rackham(!), and a whole room of Quentin Blake watercolors). It was salon-style, four rooms and two floors, with books and loose artworks scattered around–messy, but in a charming way, and an excellent contrast to the sterile White Cube.
And now, it’s DC and real life again, which means that art-making is no longer filling up dead time, but being done at the expense of other activities. No bad thing there, I guess.
New images from The Thinking Series.*
*Places where I worked on these 5×7” drawings include: the dining tables at the Hirshorn courtyard next to the fountain (perfect weather, last week of the Yves Klein exhibit); Rehoboth Beach, the weekend before Labor Day; a mildly depressing artists talk that further convinced me that the art world is, at heart, a numbers and marketing game; and a wine bar at the W. Hotel, for some reason.
I have stumbled upon a wonderful gimmick with this series, and I’m going to push it as far as possible.
I should mention that I worked on these in various new spots around DC, many of which were lovely. I went to the French joint Bistro Bistro in Dupont Circle to drink a $2.50 glass of wine during the tail end of their happy hour. After half an hour, the bartender poured me a second glass for free. You seem to be enjoying our characters, she told me, since I’d been in close proximity to one of their odder old regulars who seemed to be a bit on the colorful side. Anyway, I hope I can go back there soon and get a proper meal.
I heard it’s considered bad form to write about all the things you’re applying to because then you’re stuck blogging with your tail between your legs when you don’t get accepted; but God-dammit, I spent the last two weeks working on a grant and a show application, and I want to kvetch about how exhausting it was. And there’s another deadline July 23! Good God. On the plus side, I’ve always been the sort of person who likes carry all of the groceries to the door at once, rather than break it up into shorter, lighter trips. Might as well cram all of the Artist Statements / Proposals / JPEG burning into a reduced timeframe, and then get on with the real art-making.
On the plus side, I found time to start the Conversation Series (pictured), which I’ve been mulling over for awhile. And it looks better than how I imagined it would. I worked on the first batch on a pleasant Sunday afternoon in the Portrait Gallery atrium, listening to Harry Potter and two tourists discussing the atrocious cost of their cafe brownie. I’d say, “good times” but honestly, that doesn’t even begin to describe how glorious an afternoon it was.
This weekend, while the city was buzzing with World Cup fever and Gay Pride, I was installing the second-largest piece of art I’ve ever created* at the Convention Center. A few snapshots below–higher-quality pictures coming soon.
*The largest piece of art was created in grad school in 2005, and involved a projector and a motion detector. In case you were curious.