It was the last meeting of Salon 28 for the summer, and we met at K's Parisian style apartment in Park Slope. We feasted on food and wine and conversation, on goals and expectations as artists. C. talked about the many projects in her life, and how the stress and crazy parts of her life are transformed into her work in the studio. Somehow, it all ends up in the work, through some alchemical process.
M. talked about her experience with the implosion of the Artist Pension Trust, and finding alternatives to the art market, and the art world. Trying to find a new or different way was a theme that came up a few times; the need to find another path, and what that might be. Artists do talk about the soul-hollowing experience of having an art show in a gallery. I've had this experience too. It seems like there must be a better way to share art and have dialogue. What are the non-traditional options?
K. and S. talked about their moods since both of their recent shows closed. A. reminded everyone how in the 1970's in NYC galleries would be begging artists to show in their galleries-- but many artists didn't want to participate in the capitalist economy. They all really thought that things were changing, and becoming more egalitarian, but turns out change is slow.
I think a discussion topic going forward could be ideas about alternative paths for artists outside of the art world, alchemy in the studio, and other ways life turns into art.
More snow is due tomorrow, public school is closed. Reading Anton Chekhov on David’s recommendation--some of these I’ve read before, but the majority of the short stories are new to me. Something about reading Chekhov puts one in a mood. The stories pry into all manner of human flaws and vanities, and it is impossible not to see and suspect your own among them. Special punishments await the characters who use philosophy to justify their own indifference, apathy or cruelty; sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between these three.
Last few shoots have yielded slightly underwhelming results, Oliver modeled for me on this shot a few weeks ago, but only in a desultory way. Next time I hope to find him more amenable. This weekend I plan to work on a shot of a box folding and unfolding. It is something I have tried before, but still haven’t got it right..hopefully this next shoot will yield satisfactory results.
I wrestled with a few different versions of the book yesterday, until I finally came to a point that feels resolved, if not totally final. Having an mockup with actual, turning pages is essential, I can't fake or imagine the way the images will read together within that format and rhythm otherwise.
I think this book might be better than the last one--which is a good sign, I hope. I really can't wait to have these books printed. It will be amazing to hold them in my hand. I am looking forward to having something people can buy from my website, and these books will be the first. I will be selling them cheaply.
This weekend David and I were among the first 100 people into the Met Saturday morning to see the Michelangelo exhibit in its last weekend. As we were leaving we were astonished to see a massive line of people snaking all the way through the museum and out onto the street. As it was, you really had to elbow your way in to get close to any of the works. This is the biggest grouping of his works I've seen in one place before, and it was overwhelming. It included sketches the artist probably had discarded, images he had crossed out, and pieces of paper worked on both sides, which gave a sense of his time and his personality as an artist.
The portraits shimmered, with a spooky aliveness. Red chalk limbs floated in space, filling in every spot on the paper. I noticed the absence of female figures. In the sistine chapel sketches and finals you could see how he used his male assistant to stand in as a woman, and just how manly the female figures looked as a result.
The David Hockney show, just a little ways down the corridor was a blast of light, color and contemporaneousness after the low light gloom and archeology of the Michelangelo. It is not possible to make a complete report here, but the famous portraits of his friends and of his parents stood out from the rest. The way he painted furniture was also amazing--the attention to detail; the shapes and colors and angles that suggest independent personalities and movement. I love the still life in the foreground here; playful, and funny, but so beautifully executed that the little joke seems barely possible.
Pinterest has turned out to be a surprisingly useful tool for me as an art director. I've been using it to corral and share my visual ideas in advance of making a more formal art proposal. Currently I am working on feature about so-called "camouflaging" by women with autism.
The illustrator picked for this story is Alessandra Genualdo, someone I have not worked with before, but her images came up again and again in my ideas stage, and in the end my Pinterest folder was full of them. The germinating image for this collection is the image in the lower left below.
This is a fascinating problem from a visual standpoint--women with autism often feel they are 'faking it', or that they are trying hard to blend in socially, or even that they are disappearing, or losing themselves. There's a lot of mental strain, and distorted self-image. Its a scary feeling to imagine, and a terrible thing to live with, but it is a rich concept to tackle in art.
The collection is around different iterations of the idea of 'camouflaging', including an actual kind of camouflage, wallpaper, or pattern that would surround a female figure and hide her somehow in her surroundings, or emphasize potentially awkward gestures, or stimming. The logic of the collection is not based around a particular style, but rather variations in ways the concept could be expressed. See it here: https://www.pinterest.com/skyone1/camouflaging/
The official topic for discussion at our creative women's Sunday night meeting was 'methods', but the topics ranged wider than studio techniques. I took a few notes to keep track of a few of the ideas that came up:
M said how she always feels a conflict between the freehand line and the straight, ruler-drawn line in her work, but then she realized that the conflict between the two opened a third space where something else could happen.
I talked about my drawings, and how they may or may not come to life in a photograph, and how I sometimes come back to the same objects again and again over the years until I am satisfied, and have gleaned every resonance from it.
C admitted that sometimes when she is unhappy, doing her work is easier, because she is more careless, maybe freer. She also brought up the concept of slowing time down, or literally changing the shape of time by working in the studio...
It is as if somehow time stretches in different directions, larger than the space of your lifetime. Sometimes it feels as though life could be so big, in such a short moment. This led to a more metaphysical conversation about a sense of a larger awareness, a kind of bigger picture of things glimpsed from the moments of creative work.