Tuesday, December 12, 2006

fuzzy non-verbalness

A brilliant quote from my good friend and former high school art teacher Ann Diedrichsen gives insight to the root of knowledge & how it is different from language. It is so important to recognize why language and art are not parallels & why it is hard for people to "understand" or give credit to art. We have a hard time with things we can't define with words. But deep down we know other ways of understanding the world.

"And you know that your intuition takes every thought and insight and observation you ever had a glimmer of and puts it all together. And it speaks in your chosen objects and your pencils and your markers and colors. My intuition is so much wiser than the part of me that wants to control it all and make logical and profound order. My intuition is even happy, and silly sometimes, something my logical brain is too overwrought to experience often. So it finds truths that I even resist.... I know we need our logical brains---but fuzzy non verbalness is the origin of what we make verbal. Non-verbalness just doesn't speak up for itself very well in this culture. (yes, I think this is funny) Or, ironically, in the art world. Got to have the marketing you know."

Monday, December 11, 2006

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Write an autobiography. Make a list of things that work and things that hold me back. Create a log/index of key "letters" in my visual alphabet. Write down three questions I'm sick of hearing & three questions I wish people would ask.

Monday, November 13, 2006

content vs art

I have been wrestling with "content" and "meaning" in my work in particular for the past few weeks but really for the past 7 years or so. My badass advisor Linda Geary told me last week to let go of meaning... advice that feels like a gift. Then today in the Elliot Hundley lecture, he was talking about his work and different ideas that go on in his work and it hit me that "content" is not art. Content/meaning is the framework/structure on which art happens. Art can not be so easily summed up as "oh this is a painting about such and such..." if that were the case it would be an illustration not a piece of art (not that illustration isn't art, it's just different).
Art has freedom from other more linear forms of communication... so it's not that I have to let go of meaning altogether... I just have to stop trying to equate every mark in my work with a particular idea. (This baggage is part of the problem with art education... sometimes ignorance isn't bliss but it is freedom.) The ideas exist and come to life in an entire work and following that inspiration and intuition is where the art occurs.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Click the link below (or on the sidebar) to check out my new flickr site & see photos of my work thus far!

work as of 11-6

Chrissy Preston

I just found out that a friend and former student of mine, Chrissy Preston, has died. She was a fascinating person & a gifted photograher. http://www.christinapreston.com/

Friday, November 03, 2006


often intuition gets a bad rap. I like the idea of informed intuition. on one hand, all intuition is be informed but I feel like it doesn't get the respect it deserves.

the dilemma

I am starting to get envious of my peers who seem to have a clear plan or path. I feel as though the deeper I dig into my work, the less I know what it is about, what I want it to be about or how I want it to look.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


to quote Barbara Rose from "American Painting: The Eighties "...the drive toward novelty, which began to seem impossible to attain within the strictly delimitative conventions of easel painting, was further encouraged by the two dominant critical concepts of the sixties and seventies: the first was the idea that qualtiy was in some way inextricably linked to or even a by-product of innovation; the second was that since quality was not definable, art only needed to be interesting instead of good."

so funny it's awesome. What is interesting and what is good? She had quite specific ideas & mine don't match at all but I think the simplification of the idea is interesting/funny. I do think that for some, the urge/need to be innovative becomes paralyzing.

A former professor of mine, Pat Schuchard (who, if you ever are lucky enough to get to hang out with will leave you feeling so zen and encouraged about art and life) once asked "what if you could make a painting that was as good as a car?" I struggle to figure out what that means but I love the question. We make things. If we are taking responsibility to release these things into the world, we should be confident or attempt to at least make them as good as other things in the world. What if you could make a painting that was "as good as" your fully stocked ipod?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

insight into the process

In one of my readings for this week there is a passage that really sums up the creative process for me and for many other artists I know. The book is "Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge" by Paul Feyerabend. Though he is talking about philosophy/anarchy the idea completely works for art as well:

It is often taken for granted that a clear and distinct understanding of new ideas precedes, and should precede, their formulation and their institutional expression. (An investigation starts with a problem, says Popper.) First, we have an idea, or a problem, then we act, i.e. either speak, or build, or destroy. Yet this is certainly not the way in which small children develop. They use words, they combine them, they play with them, until they grasp a meaning that has so far been beyond their reach. And the initial playful activity is an essental prerequisite of the final act of understanding. (26)

For me when I am "playing around" in my studio I think of it exactly this way. I am trying to figure things out—many things—and find "a solution." However, a big problem that I think most artists struggle with is, what solution am I looking for? What even is the problem/question? Often in the search we find solutions to questions we didn't even realize we were asking. This is not really a problem though, it's what drives the production of art. Art is invention and if we stick with it, we may have a breakthrough... an apple falling from the tree kinda moment. One thing I feel I am learning here is that dedication and drive are what create successful artists...perseverance (sp?) is key...embracing the inherent constant changes that happen in the search.

Art is the product of this search. Hopefully it can inspire others in their searches.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Advice for Young Artists (snippets)

Elizabeth Murray:
Stay in touch with your original motivation to become an artist—and be aware that it is always a process of becoming. You have to stay light on your feet. It is about change and transformation. You are the boss of that buy you don't have total control. Good to give into that. Making art requires a lot of isolation, but I realized over time that I also wanted a whole life, that I could still do my work and have a partner and a family.

John McCracken:
The only art worth doing is the art that makees things better. More actually advanced. More enjoyable. A key: genuine happiness. All around. So, make art that comes out of your own sense of what's actually best, and advanced, and supercool. Do you live on a planet, or on a mulit-blither of unknown galaxies?

Jessica Stockholder:
In art and in life all of our actions are at once inextricably bound to circumstance and filled with choices we make from a vast and unlimited array of what's possible. The dance between the two poles of circumstance and unlimited possibility is what generates meaning and passion.... You are a person, armed with free will and the tools to discover that will. You can make things that embody your sense of what matters. You can have conviction, passion, and belief.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

political agency

During our MFA field trip last weekend, Mark Allen at the Machine Project in LA said something that really struck me. To paraphrase:
The less agency one feels and the more dependent on only a role as a consumer, the less able to react, think for oneself, feel empowered and able to enact change.

So, as a maker of things... how can something create both a tactile experience and at the same time exist outside of the cloud of consumerism we live under?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

tactile is important

I am very devoted to creating direct tactile experience for viewers. I think too much of our culture is mediated by reproductions and representations of life on glossy pages or via various types of screens. Our society often gives the illusion of familiarity and connection while pure tactile experience is becoming increasingly rare. The feeling achieved through actual direct contact with situations or objects outside the sphere of one’s everyday life threatens to be forgotten.

I think more and more, we don't know how to relate to things unless it is in terms of buying/selling. A fantastic example of this was provided by my friend Leah in a class discussion the other day... She was on her way home rather late one night & a man who lives on her street (literally on the street) & with whom she has become friendly had a whole bunch of frozen fish. He offered her some saying that it would thaw and go bad before he could use it all. She thanked him but declined and said goodnight. The next morning when she saw him he told her that he ended up selling it for $2 a pound and getting rid of it all.

Do we really not trust things unless we can know their worth even if it's completely arbitrary? We know how to look through books, we know how to interact with TV screens, computer screens and movie screens. But, what do we do when confronted with an object or thing in the world that does not so easily fit into a catagory?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

sitting questions

ongoing questions meant to be pondered but hopefully never solved...

How (visually) can the concept of location be about information, physical location, cultural location, etc.?
Is it possible to use found/"real" materials from the world and yet divorce them of meaning? Why would I want to?
Is concrete meaning scarier than abstract meaning? does it necessarily have more baggage?
Is abstraction just a place to hide?
What happens in a piece when the information within it transcends its status as an art object?
Will non-abstract information always be nostalgic? Is it possible to avoid nostalgia at all? Why would I want to?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

here I am

"new place" of course is a literal reality for me now, but also an idea and a hope. I like the sound of it... "new place" could be a goal as a general state of mind.
This blog is one of the first steps in "opening up my practice" (an ever so common grad school phrase that I am whole-heartedly embracing). My plan is that over the course of the next few months/years/whatever my brain will vomit all sorts of ramblings out on these pages as both a journal for purely selfish reasons and as a way of sharing with anyone who chooses to read.
I am overwhelmed and slightly uncomfortable about starting this so I will leave this first post a short one. "Overwhelmed and slightly uncomfortable" also seem to be themes for grad school and I love it.

new place concrete facts:
I have named the hummingbird who hangs out on the deck Ted.
Luna's version of getting along with the other cats is to growl and hiss at them from a distance.
Water pressure seems to be low in San Francisco generally.
I can walk to the ocean but I usually I feel like I should walk the other direction—toward school.
I already feel like things are going too fast and yet my work has changed a lot in this short time.
I can't seem to have enough pens.