Tag Archives: artistic process

Theatre Manifesto from 2002

Back at home for the holidays, I took some time to go through a few things I have stored in my mother’s garage. Within my pile of stuff, I discovered an old binder from many years ago when I was an undergraduate theater student at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. Within that binder was my Theatre Manifesto, written for a course on generative theater work around 2002. Surprisingly, it’s not far from where I am today with my art practice. It’s nice to be reminded from times past that I continue to follow the path I carved out for myself.

For your reading pleasure, here is my Theatre Manifesto from 2002:

gremlins-popcorn

THEATRE THAT ASTONISHES

THEATRE THAT CHALLENGES

THEATRE THAT BREAKS THE RULES

THEATRE THAT ENLIGHTENS

THEATRE THAT DELIGHTS

As a theatre artist and performer, I strive to:
-BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD
-EXPLORE DIFFERENT FORMS OF PERFORMANCE
-BE ABSURD
-BE GROTESQUE
-EMBODY BIG, EXAGGERATED, DISTINCT CHARACTERS
-MAKE PEOPLE LAUGH
-MAKE PEOPLE CRY
-MAKE PEOPLE THINK
-BREAK THE FOURTH WALL- CREATE OPEN COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE PERFORMERS AND THE AUDIENCE
-CREATE THEATRE FOR CHANGE AND REFLECTION
-REACH ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE, NOT JUST AN ELITE FEW
-CATCH PEOPLE BY SURPRISE
-COLLABORATE USING ALL DIFFERENT FORMS OF ART
-CREATE IMAGINATIVE, UNREALISTIC, ILLUSIONAL THEATRE
-CREATE WORK THAT IS PHYSICAL-BASED, USING THE BODY AS AN INSTRUMENT
-MAKE THEATRE BECAUSE I WANT TO, NOT BECAUSE I HAVE TO

The don’ts of my theatre:
-NO SHOWS THAT MAKE PEOPLE SIT FOR MORE THAN TWO HOURS
-NO UNORIGINAL THEATRE
-NO CHARGING MORE THAN $15 A SHOW
-NO BEING PREACHY
-NO ARTSY-FARTSY
-NO PRETENSION
-NO STIFF BODIES ONSTAGE
-NO NEGATIVITY
-NO DOING THEATRE JUST FOR THE SAKE OF SHOWING OFF

Image source:
http://blog.moviefone.com/2011/08/15/please-consider-signing-the-movie-theater-etiquette-manifesto/

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Home Art VS. “Art” Art

Moving can be a pain. From the packing to the cleaning to the moving to the hauling to the cleaning to the unpacking again, it is a HUGE task that should be done as un-often as possible. That said, my husband and I just moved. It was our first move in three years, which was a nice buffer time from the previous moves we had done while living in Indonesia from 2005-2009 (a total of 4 times in four years, including repainting the walls in every house!). Unfortunately this time around, buffer time = more stuff. In the three years of my grad school artist career, we managed to go from the 4 suitcases we brought with us from Indonesia to I don’t even know how many boxes, furniture items and random trinkets we managed to accumulate. Furniture/belongings + large art projects which include Red Blobs, suitcases of costumes, mansuits, masks, oodles of clamp lights, big hunks of clay and random goodness that perhaps someday will feed inspiration, end up being a major pain in the ass.

Luckily, we managed to survive!!! And now here we are, five blocks away from where we used to be, in a cute little house with a giant backyard and garage (which I referenced as the new art-studio-to-be in my last blog post.) Things are still half-packed, and there’s plenty of cleaning left to do, but finally we feel glad we have moved. Yay!!!

And that’s when the creative ideas start to flow.. The fun thing about moving to a new house is that with it comes lots of new artistic possibility. The artistic possibility is partly for projects that are non-home related, however in the beginning the bulk of them have to do with interior decoration, DIY yard projects, garage studio designs, and an overall ‘plumping up’ of the home environment. As I face this new creative excitement, there’s unfortunately still that grad school critique voice lingering in my head..

“Emilia…” it gurgles, “don’t spend too much time on your house! Don’t forget that you still have to be an Artist (with a capital “A”). Don’t forget about the artist residencies you still need to apply for, the exhibitions you need to submit to, the film project you need to finish, the CV you need to update, the website you need to complete, the new project ideas you need to think of and propose…. the grants you need to apply for, the artist statements you need to write, the creative work documentation you need to gather, the collaborations you need to nurture, the creative brainstorming you need to do!!!!” The list could go on and on. Choosing the path as an artist unfortunately comes with its own set of baggage, and no matter where you move to or how great your house looks, it’s still going to hover behind your back as the constant task that you “should” be doing. Being an artist is a full-time job. So.. how the hell am I supposed to decorate my house??!

HOME ART VS. “ART” ART:

An argument for Home Art: Home art is art that makes you feel good. It’s creativity that you get to enjoy every day, without feeling like you have to sell it or give it away to someone else. Home art is inspired, designed and created for you and you only. It can be argued that an inspiring home environment fuels the artist in you to be creative.

An argument against Home Art: Unfortunately, home art projects are endless. With the amount of space that our new backyard offers, and the other creative possibilities that exist within the house and garage, I could foresee myself spending the next year or longer just working on home projects and never, *sniff*, being a Real Artist (with a capital “R” and “A”) again.

Oh, the terror!!! Of never being an artist again. Every artist’s worst nightmare. The haunting question that comes back and back again, especially after graduating from art school and suddenly being out on your own in the world… “Will I EVER be an artist again???????!!”

Well, hopefully yes. And honestly, there’s nothing wrong with letting your creativity follow its own instinct. If I’m not feeling like making that stop motion film quite yet, or designing the next Buoj iz Jeb mansuit, then maybe artistically upgrading my home environment is the next best thing I can do. Certainly working on the art studio in the garage, even if it’s not considered making “real” art, will influence the art made later on. Likewise, the hangout area for the backyard, the filing cabinet for the bedroom, the space-saving design of the kitchen, the art on the walls of the bathroom… Who knows, really, where artistic inspiration comes from? Quoting Anais Nin: “”My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.”

And so, without further ado, here are some of the Home Art projects I have in mind!!!! :

DIY Large Work Table:

DIY Jewelry Organizer:

Salvaged Door Coffee Table:

DIY Cork Pencil Holder and Organizer:

DIY Backyard Theater Screen:

And maybe someday.. a Backyard DIY Rollercoaster!!!!:

Image Sources:
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Monster Mouth
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DIY Large Work Table
Roundup: 12 Swoon-Worthy DIY Jewelry Organizers
Make It: Salvaged Door Coffee Table
Make It: Easy DIY Cork Pencil Holder and Organizer
DIY backyard theater screen
Make a Backyard DIY Roller Coaster

Why anything where I have to try and explain myself gives me a headache.

There’s something about having to explain myself in a concise set of words that gives me a headache. I can never quite manage to choose the right words that succeed at wrapping my whole life up into a pretty little bow. I suck at it. Fitting into the bow, I mean. Oh sure, I can explain myself. In millions of different ways. But choosing one set of cohesive words, all spelled correctly, that encompass my whole self? I don’t think so. That’s nearly impossible. The statement of my life is like a mood ring- it’s always changing. One day it’s purple, the next it’s black. Somedays I can’t even tell what color it is, let alone be able to explain it.

Ho-hum. If only I could explain myself in a song. Right now? What song would I pick, you ask?

No, I’m just kidding. This is the right one:

MIA is awesome. Love her funkiness.

And thus you see how my mind wanders.

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