Get behind the scenes, arrive late to splash paint on the walls, arrive late in brainy bravado.
I managed to stumble upon one of the most wonderful subdivisions of the art world, and it has informed my perspective on art and humanity in a way that inspires me to make my work more impactful, more significant, and more worthy of my time. Paradoxically, I have to leave to gain the perspective and skills that will allow me to do this but I won't forget the encouragement I found in these communities.
Was my birthday. I woke up here.
I went to work at MECA, cooked dinner for family and friends, made homemade West-End Mules, and drank them.
I did not write a blog post about my feelings on museum funding strategies, admission prices, and gratitude towards people that keep me intellectually honest.
It's on the way; I recommend hiking as a good time-filler.
Here I am in BEAUTIFUL Savannah. The weather has been absolutely unbelievable, and I was able to meet up with a New Hampshire friend who helped me explore the city more than the last time I was here. It's been such a whirlwind I'm going to run another round of headlines: Girl suspected of stealing snacks during St. Patricks Day Parade - Revelers in Madison Square closed ranks after a small woman with a short haircut was looking a little too interested in their food.
Insane cat falls down stairs, cuddles sitter.
Free tour guide quits, closes business - Chris, Savannah native and self-started "pay-what-you-will" historical tour guide has decided to take a yearlong break after one tour left him too exhausted to continue. "If I had to answer one more goddamn mundane detail about Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil I was going to throw that girl from Tomo-chi-chi's grave to Forsyth," the guide explained. "Who the hell cares that much about Joe Odom?"
Mortified women at Club One forget cash - The Grand Empress of Savannah mercifully overlooks two young women attempting to remain inconspicuous after frantically searching wallets for one dollar bills during her show.
Editorial: Can weathermen stop telling us it will rain when it clearly won't?
Woman discovers passion for Girl Scout History - The attendants at the Girl Scouts of America First Headquarters were surprised to find a 25-year-old former Daisy loudly proclaiming her undying love for the organization while trying to stuff a 10th box of Samoas into a canvas bag.
About a week later, on the farm. Addition of two goats and two pigs to the animal roster. I'll just run the headlines:
Spawn: a term used in mushroom circles
Each infant basil plant to get its own pot - To prepare for a plant sale in April, basil plants are decreed to an individual potting situation.
White girl gets sunburn - Woman explains she left sun bonnet in Lee, New Hampshire.
Overgrown Muscadine attracts snow - South Carolina saw snow near Caesars Head, where an overgrown muscadine vineyard received a thorough pruning.
Police Log: Yankee disturbs peace at local grocery outlet - Police called after multiple complains of an unresponsive woman standing by Bargains' granola bar selection, swearing under her breath.
Editorial - Everything I own smells like campfire.
Day 4: Wake up in Charlottesville, staying with family friend matriarch. Enjoying coffee first thing lifestyle. Arthur the corgi is having digestive issues, food experimentation ensues. Walk by the Rivana River with the dog, Virginia has beautiful kind of viney trees.
Cold pizza (if I were to have a staple food…) for lunch, prepare for interview. Chat with Sam Bush from The Garage, a vaguely experimental artspace sponsored with little fanfare by the Christ Episcopal Church.
Wander around the area, used bookstore, explore library, back to the river. Running more appealing not wedged into daily routine.
Day 5: In terms of foamy beverage, coffee > beer.
Walk to UVA, grand tour.
Lincoln Perry murals in music building, refurbished warehouse lunch and snobby coffee. Art surprise out back. Monticello for the afternoon: going to historical sites with history buffs > anything. Strangely reminiscent of visiting Rome with same family (note: returning to first blog is fascinating).
Afghan dinner involves a butternut squash/garlic yoghurt situation.
Cry a bit about Super Tuesday.
Day 6: Somehow body wakes up 5 minutes before alarm. Congratulate it.
On the road early, make my way to Hillsborough, NC to meet with friend and dog. Snacks at the Co-op and river walk. Complain about the world and snuggle Teddy, who goes swimming.
Back on road into South Carolina. Highlights: Happy Trails: Cowboy Church and Godivas, the strip club next to a church.
Listening to The Sellout, by Paul Beatty on my way down. Strange but recommended.
To farm where I’ll be WWOOFing for the next two weeks. Highlights: Wilbur, Evie, Toby and Rosemary. The humans are also lovely.
After a few whirlwind days, and one off-the-grid, I've finally grabbed a few minutes to sit down and write for a bit. It's been a while since I travel-blogged, so bear with me, but I'm going to do a quick re-cap. Day <1: Leave New Hampshire, stop for coffee in Worcester. Talk about moving to California. Typical day.
Get to Villanova around 9:30, try to stay awake long enough to catch up with brother.
Day 1: First full day out of New England.
Meet with Cathleen Cohen, member of InLiquid, an artist community directory and . Cohen works with an organization called Artwell, using the arts to enhance the mediocre education provided by the city of Philadelphia to disadvantaged youth.
Drive into North Philly to meet Courtney Bowles and Mark Strandquist, founders of the People's Paper Co-Op.
Finish day with a cookie ice cream sandwich in Tolentine hall, watching The Hobbit with brother. Security guard doesn't want to join us.
Want to move to Philadelphia.
Day 2: Spend morning researching campsites near Shenandoah, then meet with brother to go into "Thrilladelphia" (his words).
Wander around the Rodin Museum Gardens, both of us too unassertive to take advantage of the "pay what you wish" policy when faced with sturdy-looking security guard making it very clear that you have to work to pay less than $12.
Andy subjected to rant about "commodifying our cultural heritage," "reserving art for the upper classes."
Stop for food and beer at Tired Hands Brewery, duly impressed. Amtrak usurps train tracks, leading to another rant about priorities of the establishment and a late start from Villanova.
Evening drive through Delaware, Maryland, Virginias, pulling into Wolf Gap Recreation Area around 11. Fall asleep looking at Orion through the back window of the car.
Day 3: Unlocking car from the inside sets off the car alarm.
Manage to make tea, toast. Leave to hike Tippet Knob. Couple and their Dauschund keep up with me. Make some snowmen near the top.
Look at atlas, see a few paths to Charlottesville. Confuse all of them. See signs for Art Gallery from the road.
Signs change from Art Gallery to Distillery, Apothecary, Antiques, Free-Range Meats, and Brewery.
Stop in to Pen Druid Brewery to try their oatmeal stout. Duly impressed.
Finally on route to Charlottesville.
Want to move to Sperrysville, Virginia.
Driving through, reminders of the Civil War everywhere. Pro acknowledgement of historical events and our history, but do constant reminders of a war that decimated half the country possibly perpetuate division/bitterness?
One of my favorite art-related activities over the holiday season is visiting the art fairs. Frenzied gift-buying is a great opportunity for artists to make some extra money during open studios, pop-up shops and craft fairs such as Picnic. Some of these are also great opportunities to see what area artists are up to (craft fairs can be really crowded and the live DJs are a little much...). I saw a lot of excellent art this December, and want to give one shoutout to Base Camp Studios in Portland, who hosted Sam Gilbert and Bethany Glatz, two artists using reclaimed materials in very different ways.
One other highlight of my art fair wanderings was the MECA Holiday Sale, which fills the school with students and alumni selling their work and droves of people who want to see what the art school is producing. I ended up stopping at the table of someone I had met at Peterborough's Thing in the Spring last year, illustrator Sam Guay. I bought one of her postcards and signed her email list mostly out of guilt for the time I'd spent chatting with her. It turned out to be a great decision.
I've always loved fantasy in writing, but rarely responded to the surrealist spin in visual art. I think illustration's rise as a predominant art form is changing that, and Guay is a great example. She seems to take the conceptual edge of surrealism with a clear influence from Mucha that lends a delicate yet dynamic aesthetic I love. I've also started reading her blog, and Guay's writing is passionate and compelling. In-depth reviews of watercolor dot charts have absolutely no relevance to someone with a strong aversion to both paint and color (watercolor being the worst offender). However, I read the entire post, and the next was a review of different kinds of pens. She posts about her artmaking with sincere self-reflection, probably in a similar way I myself write about modeling. It's a really excellent blog, and if anyone wants to see how a young artist goes about learning and making a living by her craft, I highly recommend it.
Second thing, I know it has been a while since I wrote about modeling, but it's on its way!
Lately I've been working with a lovely artist and UNH Art Department veteran Lou Kohl Morgan, to prepare for her show at the Barn Gallery in Ogunquit. I met her through a drawing group, so an opportunity to see finished work was too good to miss. I headed down to the home of the Ogunquit Art Association last weekend. One quick side note: Ogunquit in the summer is beautiful, if crowded. The Ogunquit Museum of American Art is just around the corner from the Barn, and boasts great shows and a solid collection, especially if you're looking for Maine artists. If you can get through the main drag without hitting pedestrians (or if you're okay with hitting pedestrians) the drive is absolutely beautiful.
Morgan's show is mostly figurative; a charming set of calm and illusory pastels loosely grounded by a couple oil seascapes. She included a few drawings and I ended up seeing more of myself on the walls than expected. She shares the gallery space with Dustan Knight, who's oddly opaque watercolors occupy a similar realm between reality and the ephemeral. Gessoing landscapes onto wood panels, Knight develops compelling depth while maintaining the paint's atmospheric quality
On the other side of the building the gallery displays works from the Ogunquit Art Association. Apparently most of the artists I work for are members, for I saw a host of familiar names and a few more pieces of me. An artist I've worked with for years, Charles Cramer, showed a few of his delicate yet assertive drawings, but I had to check twice before being sure that a few bold illustrative prints were his. Once again I was amazed by the versatility of an artist I thought I knew.
The prints in question are a series of people and bikes, showing only wheels, handlebars, legs and arms. Simple forms meet bold outlines, and the content is a suiting tribute to the commonplace. Select details hint at an artist in a constant state of close observation, finding these charming moments in routine. My personal favorite showed a bike wheel and a woman's legs, skirt knotted between the knees. There is something superfluous yet sensible about the small print, echoed in the practicality of altering such an impractical garment choice.
Today, when I tied my floor-length dress up to my knees, I mused on the ways artists I work with influence my daily life. I've stopped letting my bike commutes stop me from wearing skirts, and think of that print every time I hop on. Trying to emulate a specific artist is nothing new, but usually reserved for the model stand. I haven't thought much about how I internalize contemporary figure work. This skirt is an example bordering on trivial, but I'm sure I could find other manifestations of my own relationship to figure work, perhaps with more significance. If the reciprocity in the artist/model relationship isn't entirely limited to the session, I'm curious what the limits are.