Category Archives: Art School

HOW TO FAIL AS AN ARTIST.

Hello friends!! I’m back at last. Life has had its ups and downs recently, as it always does. Since my last post, I finished my graduate thesis show, graduated from grad school with an MFA in Studio Art, and started working full-time at the university. It’s been a whirlwind, to say the least.

I know that I said I’d post a whole big thing about my graduate thesis show, but I’m lazy now. I’m sorry. I did, however, post it all on the film’s website: www.redblobmassacre.com. Check out the Premiere Photos to see images from the event. It was AMAZING!!! It was worth the hard work. I’ll be doing it again in October, 2012 at River Gallery Fine Art in Chelsea, MI: http://www.chelsearivergallery.com/ . A completely different venue than the premiere, but an equally awesome challenge and opportunity!!

Now. The real reason for this post. Duh duh duhhhh…..

HOW TO FAIL AS AN ARTIST.

Now that I’ve graduated from grad school with the masterfully revered MASTERS OF FINE ARTS, the big question is… will I ever make a LIVING as an ARTIST????!!!

Most MFA graduates go on to sustain themselves as Professors, or in other jobs that may or may not be creative in some way. Few of them go on to be the art millionaires whose successes equal those of Damien Hurst and Marina Abromovic. Many who do, are blessed with family funds that sustain their practice and free them from the constraints of having to have another job to survive until they make it big.

As I face the hump of 40 hours a week in my current future, there are obstacles that will keep me from being the free artist that most people envision successful artists to be. But then again, without a job, I wouldn’t have an income to purchase the supplies I need, to sustain my mental wellbeing of health and relative security that may in the long run contribute to my practice as an artist.

My fear, of course, is that from this point on, my career as an artist will FAIL. I will NEVER be an artist again. Goodbye art school, goodbye art practice. Goodbye time. Goodbye inspiration…

In ode to my own fears, I have created a list of ways that I probably could FAIL as an ARTIST. Here they are:

1) Give up before you start again.

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2) Never have the time:

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3) Doubt your ability to make art:

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4) Have too many bills to pay:

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5) Allow your JOB to take over your LIFE:

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6) Run out of IDEAS:

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7) Run out of opportunities:

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8) Have 10 kids:

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9) Decide/realize that art is pointless:

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Phew! I feel better now. When I look back at the list, I admit that there are probably many more ways to FAIL as an artist. But I also see the list and think… well, that’s pretty stupid. I mean, it’s stupid to even fear those things. Because yes, all of them are threats to continuing a life as an artist. But they are also all things that are universal, not shared just by artists, but by everyone who exists each day as a whole. I think it’s okay to experience all of those things at some point in time (although I’m not sure about having 10 kids), but as long as it’s not an ALL THE TIME kind of thing, it should be okay. If the artist suffers just as the rest of the world does, it’s probably better than living in the privileged artist bubble that is completely removed and oblivious to the real world.

I will work my job, and I will enjoy it. I will continue to make art, and enjoy that too. I will have my ups and downs, but I will keep on making. I don’t know what I will make, but that’s okay. It’s good not to know. Perhaps it will be something incredible.

And lastly, I’d just like to say that sometimes FAILURE is not so bad. Failing at something, as long as you try again, is sometimes better than being successful right from the beginning.

Image Sources:

http://charleneburke.com/2011/10/ready-to-give-up-50-things-you-should-give-up-starting-today/ (Ready to Give Up- 50 Things you should give up starting today)

http://thewordthoughtsblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/time.html (Time)

http://katerawlings.com/2012/01/11/self-doubt-youre-not-alone/ (Self Doubt? You’re not alone)

http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/File:Bills.gif (Bills)

http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/t/time_slave.asp (Time Slave Cartoon)

http://laurencehunt.blogspot.com/2011/04/its-duh-kind-of-day-in-gold-stocks.html (It’s a duh kind of day in gold stocks)

http://www.extracriticum.com/extra_criticum/2012/01/accentuate-the-positive.html (Cartoon: Accentuate the Positive)

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3749964/Mum-on-30k-a-year-in-benefits-seeks-charity-aid.html (10 kids with 4 different men)

http://www.destructoid.com/about-the-art-debate-please-shut-the-f-k-up-226826.phtml (About the ‘art’ debate: Please shut the f**k up)

http://www.destructoid.com/about-the-art-debate-please-shut-the-f-k-up-226826.phtml (Smile Saturday)

The Art of Sitting in an Art Gallery (and watching lo-fi horror films)

So I’m doing a workstudy job of sitting for four hours every Tuesday in an art gallery. This is the first time I’ve ever worked in an art gallery, and lemme tell ya- for the most part, it’s pretty damn quiet. In fact, as I’m writing this blog post now, I’m sitting in the gallery. I can see straight outside all the passerby with their paper coffee cups, earphones and college t-shirts. Some of them glance at the gallery, a few stop, and most walk right by. In the two hours that I’ve been here today, ONE person has stopped in for a VERY QUICK glance at a few paintings while trying to avoid eye contact with me before rushing out again. So, for the most part, I have lots of time to do my own work, like writing spontaneous blog posts and watching lo-fi horror films on youtube.

Here’s a preview of some of the films I’ve been devouring:

“The Stuff” (1985), directed by Larry Cohen

“Plan 9 From Outer Space” (1959), directed by Ed Wood

“Robot Monster” (1953), directed by Phil Tucker

“The Horror of Party Beach: (1960s), directed by Del Tenney

Seriously, I could go on and on, but I think I’ll stop there for now. Four hours is a decent amount of time to watch this stuff.

I’ve been on a crazy old-school horror film kick for the past few months. It’s funny, because for the most part I’ve never been much of a horror fan- I was the kid who had nightmares for months in 4th grade because of the birthday slumber party that screened Ghost. I’m also the type who squiggles uncomfortably at the slightest drop of blood, and who in general is fearful of imminent death that looms pretty much everywhere. Which is perhaps why my recent interest in lo-fi, DIY horror films is more appropriate; i.e. films that are obviously fake. Fake = not real = it probably won’t ever happen. Which is more comforting than, say, current-day films about real-life serial killers and how they managed to actually slaughter real people like you and me. Thanks, but not thanks. I’ll go for the fake puppet monsters and ice cream containers that explode…

Anyway, that’s what I’m doing today in the art gallery. And just in case you were worried about the future of art in the gallery, there have been a few more people who have wandered in since I started writing this blog post. Luckily, most of them have been more interested in the art than talking to me, leaving me to bathe in my own lo-fi horror watching glory.

The Art of Self Doubt

Every person has their ups and downs. Every artist has her ups and downs too. Yesterday I was up, today I am down. Perhaps tomorrow I will be up again. Nothing is perfect. Every project is always growing and changing. For the past several weeks since I’ve been back in grad school, with this being my last year and my big thesis project looming up in the near future, it’s as if I’ve been on a rollercoaster of new artistic ideas that both excite me and at the same time couldn’t be more terrifying. One day I think I know exactly what I’m going to do, and the next day it’s all up in the air again. I do already have certain elements that I know I want to explore, and am already exploring, but how I want to execute it and the medium(s) that I choose to work with are still in questioning. Yesterday over an amazing pancake breakfast, I wrote nonstop for over two hours what I thought would be the first draft of the film I am (or was) going to make for my thesis. It was invigorating. The words just flowed out of me. They needed to sit on that page. And I felt great about it.. until I went back and read the script in the evening. The second time around, it didn’t seem as exciting as the first. In fact, it seemed so short and simple, not at all what I was really going for….. Today.. well, today I’m torn in between. In a lot of ways there are many elements within what I wrote that excite me. Certainly some new ideas came up from my inspired pancake writings. However, perhaps it is also okay to decide that even though it was inspiring in the moment, and I needed to get those ideas out, I don’t have to stick with the script that I created at all. I can let it go. And go back to the drawing board. And think again. And reassemble. And think again. And doubt again. And then feel inspired and confident again. And perhaps, eventually, string all the ideas that really hit home together and make something out of them. It’s an ongoing process. And it’s not always easy. But that’s a part of art making. Art making is not one continuous inspiration. It can also be hell sometimes. But maybe it’s the struggle that in the end creates the most meaningful work. Because you have to really think about it. You have to doubt in order to believe again.

Photo credit:

http://www.utopia-britannica.org.uk/pages/New%20Harmony.htm

A humorous introduction

I thought I’d start this blog out with something light and cheerful. I can’t deny that in the long run, I’m a complete sucker for humor. Being in grad school for the past two years in ‘Studio Art’, I’ve faced constant reluctance to my role as a humorous artist. My question is: does art have to be so damn serious all the time? Yes, perhaps there are plenty of artists working with things that are “funny”, but it seems that they’re often not taken as seriously as the “serious” artists are. Conceptual and theoretical art put aside, I appreciate humor in its essence because it MAKES ME LAUGH. That, in itself, is worth a thousand words. Laughter = not suffering. Those who are suffering should laugh more. Those who aren’t suffering should laugh more. Those who are too serious about everything.. should laugh more. When I’m feeling shitty about myself and my work, I should laugh more. If you’re judging this blog post already, then you should laugh more too, dammit.

I Love Lucy is one of my favorites. Classic spoofs of ridiculousness, and yet amazingly well done by talented performers, writers and directors. Lucille Ball was a gem of female strength and awesomeness, and her “multicultural” relationship with Cuban bandleader and fellow performer Dezi Arnaz was certainly unique on the big screen for its time. While I Love Lucy was aimed at making its audience laugh, it also had plenty of references to the life realities of the time. I wish there were more shows like I Love Lucy today. It made me laugh so hard that I forgot for a second that there aren’t, at least none that I know of.