What made things even trickier was that a nine day family vacation to Colorado fell smack dab in the middle of the month. This meant a week not making work, but it also meant time to think and talk about being an artist at a distance from my studio. I had some great conversations with my family members, especially my "cousin" (I still don't really know what her exact relation is) Catherine who had previously bought a painting from me but had never had a chance to ask me about it.
It amazes me how I never tire from talking about making art. The older I become, the more immersed I am in it. I have to catch myself when I realize I've been going on and on, but I'm always happy for a chance to talk with anyone who has honest questions about the things I make.
On this subject, I had an interesting thing happen to me on the way back from Denver. My sisters, brother-in-law, and I missed our flight to Nashville. We didn't actually miss the flight as much as we missed the doors being open to the flight. The plane was still there, but we could not get on it.
While my blood was still boiling from this incident, I noticed a familiar face in the line behind us at Customer Service. I had actually forgotten his name but knew he was an Art & Architecture professor at UT. I went up to him after I cooled down and found out he had missed his flight to Knoxville.
This otherwise long story short is that we all ended up getting on a later flight to Nashville and the professor, otherwise known as Ryann, ended up getting a ride with me back to Knoxville.
This unplanned trip home ended up being a bit profound. It was like a prolonged college advising session, or what I'd imagine a psycho-analysis would be like. (All this happening after midnight is funny, too, considering I usually shut down around 10 most nights)
The point is, our conversation made a lot of circling thoughts I've been having straighten out. It usually takes bouncing them off someone else to do that. It also takes the right person kicking me in the ass every once in a while.
So I returned from my trip, scratched most of the plans I had had for each show, and made all new work with the time I had left. The giving up part was hard- not being able to follow through on the things I had planned, but it was an easy decision to make at the same time because I was going in a direction I wanted.
The result of this shift was also good for me mentally and helped me want to be more adamant about some things. I'd like to quit putting the work that is most important to me on the back burner. I'd like to quit focusing so much on what the viewer's response will be about what I make. I want to embrace not knowing exactly why I am making what I am making. I also realize that having my hand in art and fifty other things is killing all of them, slowly, but surely. And I need to be in conversation with others that can remind me to keep on track. What is nice is that all of this seems to have started a domino effect of good conversation in the past couple of weeks.
So during this time of "introspection," these are the drawings I made for my show at Magpies. I don't have a photo yet of the building I drew, but below is the photograph of it that I also used in the show. In the meantime, here is the artist statement:
It has been six years since I last made portraits like this. Back then, they served as a necessary stepping stone toward realizing the art I wanted to create.
I see these self-portraits and drawings of friends in much the same way, reminding me to be more connected to what I am making.
For me, there is a similarity between looking at a beautiful old building and thinking about certain friendships. Each involves an appreciation, love, fondness for someone or something despite imperfections.