Posts Tagged ‘residency


Making Art

How strange.  Here I am, the self-professed art geek, and it’s been a long time since I actually talked about making art.

See, I view this as a very individualized activity.  My brain functions a certain way, hence I tend to make art in a way that makes sense to my brain.  This line of thinking has been brought on by two events – one, I’m currently reading (and loving) Douglas Hofstadter’s book “I Am a Strange Loop” and two, I went to an artist talk here in Prague a few days ago.  I know it may not look it, but these two things are in fact, related.

Let’s start with the book.  Hofstatdter is an old favorite of mine, since I had to read “Godel Escher Bach” in college and thought his seamless weaving of science, music, technology and the human  mind was ingenious, and I’m a true sucker for anyone who talks about mapping and patterns and repetition.  So I was particularly keen to get my hands on “Strange Loop” where he really digs into our own understanding of self, and how the brain is able to make sense of the world and ourselves.  Heady stuff.  Amazing really.  And I’m not even finished yet.  But here’s the point, he talks a lot about what makes a person an individual, and he’s successfully upended a rather central belief for humans – that one body = one soul.  Let me bring this back to art, before I digress too far.  I’ve always asserted that each of us is truly unique, and that we see the world from our own, singular point of view.  And now I’m wondering about that.

Continuing, we’ve got this artist talk I went to on Monday at Svit Gallery down the street from my flat.  The artist is Jordan Wolfson and it was a kind of interview style artist talk.  And a lot of this talk centered around how and why the artist created different works, and listening to him speak made me realize that how he makes art is nothing like how I make art.  Obvious, yes.  But still interesting to actually butt up against the reality of this truth.

So back to the beginning.  Me, making art, here in Prague.  It’s been simply luxurious, to have to make sure to schedule time to just make things.  Now, granted, what I thought I would make is nothing like what I actually made (and am still making).  But to have the time to just respond, to let what is surrounding you influence how the work progresses is an unimaginably wonderful thing.  Certainly isn’t like when I’m home, and working a few jobs and tired and squeezing art making in on the side, where I keep doing what I’ve been doing, because it already makes sense, and that is actually for me, easier to do right now.

I tried to continue my skiagrams while here, though in modified form – cyanotypes instead of silver.  I’ll be honest.  They sucked.  To prove it, here is a shot of some of my tests:

No contrast, no form, no visual interest.  I knew I needed to adapt, but man, was it heck figuring out how to change.

Now here’s the interesting thing.  I don’t ever have just one project.  I’m a bit too scattered in the brain to stay focused on a single idea for very long.  So I tend to have one big, main project that I really dig into, and then I have little side projects “for fun” that I do when I need a change of pace.  That’s what this blog has really been.  My Natural Disaster images, or my series of images that are just blurry white on white.  Plus, I’ve been goofing around with my camera phone quite a bit too (separate post on those coming soon).

Here’s where things got cool the other week.  One of these “fun” projects started to resonate with what I was experiencing here.  My flat is this big, tall, white place, with little sound and almost no stimuli (no tv, no internet, nothing hanging on the walls and everything is painted white except the few pieces of furniture).

I would come back to this space, not knowing anyone in the city, not speaking the language and not a ton to do in this space but read.  Or take pictures.  So I started taking pictures of the light coming in through the windows, almost to prove that the sun did come out in this city!  And lo-and-behold, I’m making work very simliar to the Edge of Vision pics!  But with new intent, new direction and a very different resonance, at least for me.  I’ll let you be the judge.  Here are a few:

All in all, I’m excited about the new ideas and the new shifts that have happened here.  And the really exciting part for me is that this new visual direction is actually making a ton of sense with the sound that is paired with it (coming soon!) and so I feel like I’ve made a ton of progress with that end of my making stuff.  Residencies = highly recommended.


Back Again

This blog is not progressing very well, I must say.  Whole months and not a peep out of my mouth.  I have no excuses.  Time has not been my friend.

However, what you may not know is that currently, time is my greatest friend – you could almost say that we are now BFF’s.  That is because, miraculously, I am currently ensconced  in an armchair, in MY STUDIO, IN PRAGUE!  That’s correct.  Prague, as in the Czech Republic.  Cool, huh?  I was accepted to an artist residency program here at this very cool contemporary art organization, the MeetFactory (named because it’s first home was in just that, a meat factory, though now it is housed in an enormous old glass factory).

The MeetFactory in Praha

This has been the very definition of a luxury.  Time.  Space.  Room to move, to think, to experiment.  I had forgotten how amazing this was.  I feel like I’m back in grad school, but without all the stress, and with way better scenery!

Now, I’m not saying that this has been one big vacation.  The first week or so was a bit rough.  I had a hard time switching to this time zone, and then, there is this whole thing of not knowing a soul here, not speaking the language beyond “Ano” and “Ne” (Yes & No), and it being January and all and there not being a lot of folks just wandering around.  I was all of a sudden cut off.  Alone.  Actually, lonely.  No husband, no cute little furball of a cat, no job and co-workers, no students.  There were a few days where I saw tons of people and yet I didn’t say a word the whole day (I do a lot of nodding to try and avoid my horrible Czech prononciation).

This is a weird thing for me, at this point in my life.  Not talking.

In some ways, I think this threw me a bit, and affected my art.  I was existing totally within my own head.  This can be a weird place, one I wouldn’t recommend visiting, unless it’s a bright, happy day!  Kidding.  Kind of.

Anyway, I got stuck.

Now, I am un-stuck.  I’ll write again soon, where all I’ll talk about and show is my cool art and the neat stuff I’ve been doing, but this post, this is pure gratuity.  My “Dear Diary” kinda moment.  It’s been so long since I was forced to confront myself without any filters. No Tv, lots of books, but there is only so much that even I can read, limited internet (none at my flat).  Lots of time to think.  Reflect.  Remember.  I don’t know if I’m ready to admit this yet, but maybe I needed space to just think and be.  No distractions.  No obligations.

For now, I’m going to run with the idea that is has been positive, if slightly frustrating to start off.  I’ve still got two weeks left of  the residency, and the art stuff is kicking into high gear, which is getting me excited.  It’s easy to see now in retrospect that by unplugging, and removing myself that I would shift and see myself in a new light.  The tired old cliche about what going to an artist residency is all about.  But who knew that it could be so hard to do, to experience.  That unplugging can be down right difficult.  And I didn’t even go cold turkey!  Having to confront yourself without anyone or anything acting as a filter is not something many of us do on a daily basis in our wired world.  I’ll let you know how it goes from now forward….


Real Life Update

So it has been quite a while since I last posted here.  The whole summer, to be honest.  Life kinda got in the way.  All very good things (for the most part) but tough on productivity!

Here’s the long and short of it.  We bought a house (yeah!) then started renovating it – which took a lot longer than expected (months).  Then we had to pack, move, paint and unpack.  All while I got an additional position at school, working in the admin office.  It was a hectic summer, to say the least.

But now I’m kinda back.  At least on a semi-regular basis.  And I’m back with all kinds of updates.

One, I’ve got work in a group show down in Jersey (woo hoo!).  I wasn’t able to get down there to see it, but my mom went, and she said the whole show looked amazing, and I got a few shots from her and her friends 🙂  It’s titled “langour | temperance / repose.”  The show info is HERE and HERE.  And here is a sample of one of the images that I have in the show.  You may recognize it from previous posts…..


Also, cool news, I’ve started work on the new batch of big, mamba-jamba murals for my solo show here in Boston at the Garner Center at NESOP.  Can’t wait!  Did test strips on Monday, and things are looking good!  Maybe I’ll post a teaser once I get the first couple developed 🙂

And the third bit of cool news is that I was accepted to an artist residency!!!!  This is kinda amazing for me, as I’ve never done one of these things.  It just sounds awesome.  Sure, I’d love to go some place foreign (ie, Prague!?!?) for a month and just make art!  Twist my arm, seriously!  So, to help me along with all this, as airfare is insane and it is a month of room and board, I decided to launch a Kickstarter project.  I’d been hearing a ton about these, and I’ve had a few other artist friends launch projects in the past, but this is another first for me.  So if you know anyone with a couple of extra bucks eating a hole in their pocket, send them my way, and they can help support arts and crazy ladies who want to go to Prague!  Oh, and here’s the link to the project site in case you want to check it out:

Amy’s Kickstarter Project

If nothing else, you should go check the page out, as I made a video, and it must be goofy and foolish, as I can’t seem to imagine me being able to film myself any other way.  You’ll get a laugh.

Anywho, that’s all for now.  I’ve still been working on the natural disaster series, expanding it a bit, so there may be new images on that front soon.  Hopefully, I’ll be better about updates from now on…..

Signing off for now.

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I am a self-professed geek. I happen to be an artist. I like to geek out about art, specifically photography.

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