Lisa's Musings

there's little i control

phew! the emerge show is up (and hopefully nothing falls off the wall - very thick plaster walls - not easy to deal with)

this was one of the bags full of lovely felt tanks that I used to make my installation! there are now 874 tanks on a 11 x 12 foot wall... I'm sort of shocked that it actually worked out the way I had imagined it.... thanks of course to the dilligent assistance of my own personal installing genius - and studio mate - chris! he not only made me this lovely template so that all the little tanks would line up in a row he patiently pre-drilled all the holes for me.... I was then just left to put each tank with it's little pin in place.... I even got to use scaffolding (never done that before) to get all the top rows done.... OK so I was a little crosseyed after it all, but no worse for wear in the long run.... yay for felt!

I was able to just squeak in to see the Yoshimoto Nara show at the San Jose Museum.... nice treat. I particularly love the installtion of the the drawings - both when they are simply pinned to the wall and when they are framed as well. I also have a soft spot for the large paintings - giant evil cartoon girls.... I found it funny that the text on the wall used these words to describe Nara's practice: punk & cute (kawaii - japanese for cute - picture hip junior high girls in their school uniforms with lots of the latest gadgets and knee-high socks screaming the word). his "playlist" and CD player were there and they kept referencing Green Day - since when does Green Day represent Punk?? so strange. but somehow oddly forgivable b/c of the culture gap. yes the imagery is cute - but subversively so, which is why it works... I also love how he uses old envelopes and letters to sketch on - it's rather charming - and it's recycling!

uh-uh - so as if I needed a little more on my plate.... my car has broken down. it was inevitable - it's 10 years old - has 85K on it... it's a Ford.... but I have loved my trusty truck for all the stuff it has managed to haul for me (and others) over the years.... we took it to Aptos to help out with some house packing - went to leave this morning and got a bunch of clicks. not a dead battery, but something ain't happy. sigh.... in a strange way I am so so tired and so stretched already that what the hell is another thing anyway? stupid car. stupid people for being dependant on cars... nice big expense to worry about. have I sighed already? let me do it again. SIGH.... at least it's sunny today. and it's Halloween. trick or treat!

this morning was critique #2 for the drawing class.... of course Sandee and I brought donuts - I should really know better but I ate 2. I needed the sugar to get through all the talking. It's a funny thing - making art is such a quiet introspective process, but then in a classroom situation you are supposed to talk about EVERYTHING. And I, as the teacher, am expected to encourage dialogue and point out as many things as I possibly can in 15 minutes or less. It's a profound instance of thinking on your toes - sometimes I don't even know how my sentence is going to end and I'm so glad that I manage to get something out with-out a bushonian word flub or a round of intense moronic blinking! I am so proud of my students for all the risks they are taking, and all the effort and heart they are putting into their projects.... I came home and completely crashed - overloaded on talking and sugar I lay comatose for a good hour or so!

it is starting to get rather chilly.... there is something nice about crisp cold air and freshly fallen leaves.... if only our house was REALLY built like an eastern cottage shingle - all insulated and ready for the snow. Northern Calif. is fooling itself - because we are in CA we don't think we need well insulated windows/doors or central heating (OK, modern houses have this, but....). However every fall/winter I have to pull out the hats, socks, bathrobes and watch garb shiver (poor poochie). I swear (for reals) that we are going to get that woodburning stove next summer!!!

let the EMERGE mania begin! there was already a kick-off party on Friday night at the swank "W" hotel in SF - free drinks, fancy mini foods (scallops, crab cakes, chicken skewers). I am finding this whole process a bit surreal - and this is even though I have been privvy to the whole art-world thing. Here we are - 20 lowly, struggling, "emerging" artists sucked into this GenArt machine. The big gala event for them: Lux is their giant fundraiser and "opening" night for the show. This means that the ticket price is steep - so none of our friends (except for the 3 comps we get) will really get to show. There is an artist reception for "us" - but it's not advertised anywhere because they want everyone to buy tickets to Lux.... On Friday I was really wondering if people were there just for the atmosphere? free drinks? are they there because they like art or because they want to be associated with it? And what exactly does this mean? There is such a long history of artst/patron associations- what is the status of this relationship now? There is this very strange dynamic - poor (financially) artists are the reason for getting together in this decadant atmosphere... someplace they probably wouldn't normally gather on their own (maybe for 1 drink just to see what it's like - or if you are a rich, hip artist you could go all the time!).... hmmm.... what is the cache about "the arts"? and if it's such a "good", "cool", "meaningful" thing (the arts that is) why is our culture virtually devoid of arts discussion/education in the mainstream? do the participants in this art game WANT to keep it like a secret society so that it is something that they (exclusively - or with a few in the know) can coyly participate in - in an elitist manner? I don't think I should spend too much time thinking about this lest my head explode or I get too depressed.... I should learn to just go with the flow, right? as long as I can hang (tooth and nail) onto my own personality and ideals and philosophies everything will be OK (repeat while maintaining normal breathing patterns) perhaps some philosophical reading is overdue.

On Wed. in class we discussed the work of Agnes Martin (above). After all this time I still sort of see her as some kind of mentor. I am having my students read a few selections from her "writings". Re-reading them for the umpteenth time I am still struck at how she so deftly and calmly surmises the artist experience. She talks about perfection and inspriation and the solitary life in ways that just seem to hum in my brain - they just feel right. I think that it is virtually impossible to explain why or how we (artists) make and do what we do to non-artmaking folk - but somehow I think Ms. Martin does this. I am grateful.

I am also tired. I think I am beginning to understand what bone tired means (because I feel as though a few of my vertebrae are creeking from extended bouts of hunching over). On one hand the fury and fever of production in my studio is exciting (almost every inch of my big wall is covered!)... on the other... the fear and doubt (also aptly explained by A.M.) are rearing their twin ugly heads - to be expected, but nervewracking none the less. Of course my brain knows that it is unhealthy to place such high expectations/desires on a single show (EMERGE) - but my heart has its own game to play. what if what I am making really does just plainly and simply suck? and who's to judge this fact? me? my peers? the jurors? will anyone even care - or notice - or be inspired? yes self-doubt and pity have settled in for a tour of duty. I am only hoping that Ms. Martin is right and I am making the work that I should be - need to be - because I am a bit too sleep deprived to be able to judge for myself (although I did stitch a couple of geese and a deer that I am quite fond of).

Tomorrow I pick up an army of tanks. Literally - over 1000. My felt friends in pink, hot pink and brown have been manufactured and are ready!! I am so excited and nervous. My genius studio mate Chris assited me in determining the best possible way to install them and has promised a template and perhaps even his first hand assistance (I can dream, hope and bribe) to aide in the configuration. If I can pull this off - and if it looks like how I've imagined it - I will be very very pleased!

note to self: come November - rest - make time for friends and PEDICURE!

I went with my studio mate connie to the shiney sparkly sparse apple store today.... she got a brand spankin new ibook - with a superdrive... sigh.... yes I am jealous - it's lovely - it has a metal keyboard (somehow more sophisticated than my plastic one) and it's bigger (in more ways than one - screen, hard drive, mega hurtz). I, of course have been waiting for the G5 laptop, but alas I don't know when it will come out - my fear is that I will get the G4 powerbook and then the G5 will surface - only to laugh at my lack of persistance. All that I have been reading seems to indicate that the G5 powerbook is still a ways a way - and I'm not sure how much more abuse my ancient ibook can take.... it's becoming a race of wills...

aurora robson & I have made a pact - we are not going to stop making art no matter how bleek the situation looks/feels... of course from my side of the fence her art life doesn't seem bleek at all - show in NY - curators stopping by, work flourishing and growing.... she sees california as the sunny less testosteroned art-friendly west.... alas, I think we are both disillusioned and suffering from the grass is always greener effect. however, somehow it is comforting that artists I admire are working and struggling and figuring out means and ways to make ART; that this tug and ache is almost universal in the artist's psyche (at least in many of those I've met) we shoudn't give up - somehow as corny as that sounds I feel it's true in some dark quiet corner of myself.

I was told to go read an article called "murder downsized" in the new york times... AMAZING - a woman who made dollhouse sized crime scenes.... they have now been photographed by an artist and will be in a gallery show and book - tiny tiny tiny details & dead dolls... they are scenes of wonder.... you MUST go see the slide show I would have posted one of the images, but somehow the fear of the NYT copyright prevented me from doing so (today I am a wuss)

and finally: my heart swelled with pride. today my class drew outside - basically life drawing + perspective. we had spent some time last week figuring out how to sight things (measure space with your pencil) by drawing a pile of chairs.... as I stood amongst the random scattering of women in chairs with drawing boards they were winking far off into the distance using their pencils to sight and then draw! look at that - I DID teach them something! phew!

I had forgotten how lovely they are... especially the two toned kind. I received some from my fab friend Rori - the one that runs paper monkey press - for my birthday - YES I'm another year older - but I don't feel any wiser - what does that say??

I am weary this week! We went to 2 weddings this weekend - one was at the Falkirk Cultural Center - a really great Victorian; the other was at the IDHS hall in Pescadero (I had never been there. It's very cute and charming - if you want to know where to go to get a pumkin and a pony ride - head that way - Half Moon Bay is the jackpot!). Both had sweet ceremonies and delicious food and company - but I spent a lot of time driving (and stuck in traffic). my left leg is cramped from the mass amounts of shifting....

I'm Smitten
with Ashley Alexander's work.... odd and charming - my favorite combo. I think I will have to buy a t-shirt and perhaps a few buttons.... next paycheck!

I'm on the run... off to assist my studio mate with some form of art installation - and then to the art store to purchase supplies for my students 20 hour drawings (yes you read right - they must work on them for 20 hours! After every homework I am hearing how hard my assignments are - who knew I was going to be such a hardass?)

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Name: lisa s
Location: oakland, CA, United States

hello and welcome to my blog. i'm a mixed media artist living in oakland, CA with my husband, 2 dogs, 1 cat and my baby daughter. i try to post once a week about things that inspire me, what's going on in my studio, and little tidbits of my life. thanks for visiting, reading and commenting!

please please please :: i am happy to have you use an image of mine on your blog or somewhere else, but PLEASE just ask permission before you do. and please don't hot link. it really is important that we respect one another and the work we do. and if you are too shy or busy to ask, could you at least link back to me? thank you in advance!


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