Why this blog? More questions than answers.
It is time for me to start a blog.
I have all of these creative projects rolling around in my mind. I feel compelled to do them. I think, okay, but how?
I need a plan of action. I need resources. I need to ask for help. I need to have an audience. I need to share my process. I need accountability.
Well, I thought, why not start with a blog?
So that's what I'm doing. Like many blogs, it's started with a load of good intentions and daydreams. It may fizzle. But the blog isn't the end goal: the end goal is doing my projects. Making my art. Writing my words. Researching and organizing and gathering stories and scanning photographs and turning it into a book...or something.
So here I am. I am 33 years old. I have always made art, I have always written. I have always wanted to do both things in a deep and meaningful capacity. In my adult life, art has edged out writing as my passion, but writing (for other people) has become my day job. And in the past couple of years, I've had another project, related to both, bubble up and take root and not let me go. It started with the desire to document my Grandfather's prolific body of artwork. It has become a realization that there is more to it than that. I want to tell my Grandfather's story. And I want to explore how it relates to my *own* story. This examination of family and self, creativity and life has become an obsession for me. It centers on my Grandpa but it is not strictly about him. At the core, it is about me. I have a lot of questions and a lot of unknowns, but what I am sure of is the fact that if I investigate and tell Grandpa's story, it will reveal something of my own. Figuring out a way to show Grandpa's art to the world will give me clarity and inspiration for work of my own. I don't know what form this will take, but I feel that I must do this.
Photographing a large painting my grandfather did on leather.
I also make art on my own, making time for it when I can alongside a fairly demanding day job, a project-filled fixer-upper of a house, spending time with my husband and stepdaughter, not to mention maybe having a bit of a social life, going to the gym, and eating sushi every now and then.
Posing with two pieces I had in a show at Bos Meadery in October 2016.
I graduated from college more than ten years ago. I went into college knowing I would end up doing something creative, but unsure whether I would ultimately pursue art, English, music, or a little of all three. I ended up dabbling in music and minoring in English, but it was art that I fell in love with. After college, I was determined to make art a central part of my life and days as it was in college. But I didn't have a plan. My art program didn't teach me the business side of being an artist (though they instituted this the year after I graduated). I had an easel set up in the bedroom of my apartment, but while working my first full-time job and navigating "real life" in the city, I rarely used it. I looked at it longingly. But somehow, although I desperately wanted to paint, to draw, to make something, it felt so impossible.
Here I am, more than ten years later. I own a home in a different city, work a job I more or less enjoy that pays well, have a happy marriage and a great step-daughter and two cats. I am at that state of affairs typically referred to as "having one's shit together."
Enjoying dinner at Ella's Deli with my husband and step-daughter.
I am also making art fairly regularly. There's a local studio I go to regularly to draw. I've been involved in several shows thanks to this group. New possibilities keep bubbling up. And it's great. And it makes me want more. I'm not satisfied to have art as "a hobby." By contrast, I've been taking mandolin lessons for a couple of years, getting back into music. This is an enjoyable pastime for me, but as I found in college, I don't have the passion for it to really drive me to excel in that area. I love it, but I am content to have music as a hobby.
Playing my mandolin is a fun hobby--and Amelia is happy to curl up in my case whenever I practice.
So I realize that this drive and passion for art is not going to change. I am always going to have this desire to make art. It's not going away. Having a good job and a busy life and a happy marriage do not make it go away. Having an outlet for it does not make it go away. If I've been dealing with this for ten plus years, and it is not going away, I have to do something about it. It is time to get serious. It is time to read books and put together a website and make a business plan and figure this shit out. Maybe an artist's residency? Some extra classes? Nothing's off the table at this point.
So while I have this "goddammit, I'm gonna make this art thing work" thing going on, I also have this feeling like I'm being called to tell my Grandfather's story. And I think, wait, that's WRITING, that's not what I want to focus on. And yet it tugs at my mind. It points to a path and says, here. Go this way. I am inclined to want to categorize these two impulses as separate things, the impulse to communicate visually and the impulse to communicate with words, but I realize that at the core, they are manifestations of the same thing: COMMUNICATION. The desire to tell stories and express things about myself and the world around me and connect with other people. And that is one thing that has always been central to who I am. So pursuing one form of communication does not necessarily detract from the other. They are intertwined.
I'm starting this blog as a way to explore and untangle all of this. To give me a place to work out the questions I have. To explore and communicate about my own artistic process and the ideas and imagery that I am developing. To share what I've learned about my Grandpa and his artwork through various avenues of research. To tell stories about my own life, my memories, the things that have shaped me. In the end, I think that the process of doing this will help me create the things I want to create and to have an audience to share it with.
Grandpa Kenny and I enjoying a book together about 30 years ago.