Dec 5, 2015
Wow. What an interesting month plus.
I've ended my residency program at the Mayflower Arts Center, tried to re-acclimate to my home studio integrating work and materials from 4 months of productivity into an already overloaded workspace, teaching photography classes three days a week at the University of Michigan, and all the details of re-entry into a more traditional lifestyle and mode.
Plus trying to not fall into as many old habits, patterns, and rituals related to the norm before the residency.
It's a lot to adjust to. Plus trying to keep moving forward in the many areas I was making progress in...
But changes and strides are being made. Just the creative productivity has been suffering.
Oct 31, 2015
I was spending time in bed this morning debating getting up versus rolling over for a quick nap. Ok, so not sure you're allowed to call it a nap if you haven't technically actually gotten up yet, but you get the idea.
I'm wrapping up my four month artist in residency and it's been weighing heavily on my mind about the whole experience. Honestly, I'm not ready for it to be over. And I've been spending time contemplating those thoughts and feelings and I came up with ISE - Immersive Studio Experience.
My time at the Mayflower Arts Center weren't your typical or classic artist-in-residency experiences. It could have been for anyone looking at applying for an AIR there. However, I didn't have a current project that just needed some concentrated time to focus on and finish. Nor was I looking for a chance to sit down and begin a new series. Those are typically how people use AIRs.
What I was looking for was a chance to really immerse myself in a studio practice. Over the last few years, I let everyday life and other distractions fill my day, time, calendar, to do list, and mind. I really wasn't doing the "artist" thing full-time like I wanted to. And this residency opportunity came along at the just right time with the right setting.
As mentioned in earlier posts, I took the opportunity to have no TV and very minimal access to the Internet (the only Internet I had was via my cell phone and had a 10-gig data limit per month. I'm contemplating adding another sub-title for my residency to "Living on 10-gig a month".) And it's only been this month that I'm actually coming close to hitting that limit (mainly because I'm spending a lot of time online preparing for things after the residency.) I've learned I don't miss or need TV. I can limit my Internet needs and access to concentrated bursts on my phone and more leisurely stints sitting at Panera doing things like redesigns and updates to the website and more carefully crafted emails.
And I've made a lot of work. I was doing the first go round of edits last night of the photographs I've taken this summer. Over 10,000. (digital only, haven't processed film yet and didn't include the Polaroids). I have over two dozen new paintings leaned up against the wall ready to head back to my home studio. Some assemblages and mixed media pieces. A few minor installations and experiences. Workshop curriculum for photography courses. And oodles of new ideas and materials from local thrift stores.
Not a bad tally from four months. Way more than I've been able to accomplish in 3 years of working at my studio at home.
Which brings me to a point. I've always thought, "I need a studio away from home." I said it a lot and it started to sound like an excuse as to why I wasn't producing. And then after this four months, I'm pretty sure it wasn't just me making excuses. It was me voicing a real need but one I didn't act on. And one I need to act on.
I've created, explored, and examined things like I wish I had done in grad school. I tell my friends who are looking at going to grad school that I'd love to do it all over again. Having been through it once, I look back on it and go, "Man, I would do it so differently next time."
And that's how I feel about my practice in general after the four months I spent in ISE.
I highly recommend it for anyone who is stuck.