Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bad Religion, Poetry, Layers, & Demos

This week has been a long week of recovery.  I unfortunately botched that up last night as I went to a Bad Religion show rather than letting myself rest up for that final night of healing.  Now I have a raspy voice and my health has not improved, but my soul is full as I finally got to see one of my favorite childhood bands up close and personal.  I had seen them in 2000, but that was at a festival at Darien Lake in New York.  I was probably a quarter mile from the actual show.  This time I wasn't any more than ten feet from the stage.  It was an experience that took me back to my teenage years.  I'm glad for that.

Afterwords I sat with my friend, Ben.  We were talking about 2013 and how good it has been.  As I was talking and realizing how good it had been, I shocked myself a little.  I have been a ball of stress for two months now, but that's it.  I've been a ball of stress because of my own expectations.  I have been working a ton of hours by choice and really, it isn't that bad.  I needed a break this week, not from work, but from my own mental instability. 

I realized while watching Bad Religion how much that group of guys in their fifties is still rocking.  They were having fun, and it occurred to me that they must still have something they are looking for.  You don't enjoy your work when you have figured out everything about it or you have done everything with it that you can.  It becomes rote.  It is too plain at that point.  So this group of guys in their fifties must still be looking for something.  They haven't figured it out entirely yet.  I haven't figured out everything yet either, but I'm not even in my mid thirties.  I am still a young 'un.  As I watched the group play, I began to feel a bit more confident in how I am getting work done.  I have made a lot of work.  It is certainly of a better quality and more knowledgeable than it was when I was younger.   I sometimes get a little too rough on myself and discredit some of my work.  I need to stop doing this so that I can progress.

With this in mind, I decided to work on a piece for a demo which I had decided was basically trash, but not trash in a good way and not trash in a manner that I could fix, or so I had thought.  The corner on this panel had been busted when I dropped it.  The material is some kind compressed board, which is not very durable.  I really wanted the corner intact, because it was prefabricated and I felt like showing it next to the other pieces that will be in this eventual show it needed to fit snugly against the piece to its right.  While working in my class today, however, I realized that I could just bring the square over top.  Instant gratification.  Here is the result.

I have also been dragging my feet on a book project with a really amazing poet.  I hadn't felt like my work was standing up to his.  Yesterday I woke up after a night hanging out with my friend, Ed, who is like my big brother, I started to go through old sketchbooks, revisit drawings, twist the subject around in my head and really consider what options there were for me within the words.  I started to concentrate more on the feel and less on the iconography and everything started to fit.  Here are a couple of those drawings.

Things are starting to click again.  I'm going to start applying for shows and residencies again soon.  The work is finally feeling like it deserves those venues.  For a while I didn't think that I could justify putting the work up elsewhere, but now I realize that it is just different work than what I was doing a while back.  It carries just as much and maybe more weight as that old work did.


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