I figure posting it publicly has got to help somehow, maybe?
I don’t believe in manifesting. This is more putting this out there so my readers can call me on it later. “Hey, did you get any ideas?”
I’ve been following the progress of Wreck City from afar and really wishing I could have been a part of it, but I’m too far away. I still feel like I’m stuck between Calgary and Winnipeg, and it’s been feeling pretty hard to connect with the art community here. Sometimes I’m just too tired to go to stuff, or I just can’t stomach going to another opening and standing around awkwardly. I’m hoping that I will start getting more into the swing of things, though. Of course it’s also hard to get into things when working on papers, thesis proposals and work. Maybe the solution is for the mfa candidates to create our own events.
This reminds me a little bit of Katimavik. When we started in the program, we all had photos in our rooms of our friends from back home, and by the end, our rooms were covered in photos of each other.
So how do I plan a body of work? I think with my previous projects, it’s either been an accidental body of work, as it were, or a very specific one. Just because it was the first example I could think of, and to celebrate the end of the semester, I spent the other day rewatching the first season of Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, because the three finalists had to plan an exhibition. I know the show didn’t go too much into it, but it seemed that the best approach was to find a title that encompassed a theme, and then make the show based on the title. Maybe I will try that. I was disheartened to find that most of the contestants have disappeared off the face of the earth (although Peregrin Honig has a website, though it doesn’t include her exhibition from the show, Carnival), but obviously the winners would be winners because they made work that was good for t.v., not necessarily because it was successful artwise.
The t.v. show also doesn’t factor in just how subjective art is. Nobody is going to stand there announcing, “Your work of art didn’t work for us,” in real life. During the studio walkthroughs, I realized the best approach with my work was not to stand there in the main space and ask people if they wanted to come in and see my work, but to put on some music I liked and just wait in my studio for anyone who might venture in on their own. I think maybe they didn’t have the same expectations, or maybe having the sense of finding something was helpful. So in planning a body of work, I need to keep in mind that there is no pleasing everybody, but maybe it will touch “my people”, whomever they end up being. But creating with the intention that people will come to see it (or not) on their own seems to make it less scary. And I suppose when I go to see a show, I want to figure out what the connection is between the works, too. Work should be consistent in one way or another, but sometimes it’s hard to break through that fear of becoming boring, and boring myself, becoming “that triangle guy” or whatever else.
Lastly, I tend to worry too much about what “counts” as art and what doesn’t, and then leave out all this other stuff I’ve been doing. I either include too much or not enough, sometimes making it make less sense.
How do you figure out how to start a body of work?
You may have noticed my website replaced with crazy php error messages in the last hour or so. It should be fixed! I feel like a very fancy computer person. I’ve added a few things, and am just testing them out, including the snazzy new “Subscribe via email” option on the right, there. [Vanna White gesture]
I’m also switching from NetworkedBlogs to WordPress Publicize. And I managed to get my theme to display comment counts and tags under each post – seemingly not exciting, but that was the part that broke it, so humour me and be excited.
Let me know if you find anything to be borken.
I”ve been noticing a lot of articles about “girly” narratives, or the “woman-child”. I wonder what that means when we say that. Is a woman who doesn’t have her whole life together “childish”? What about the history of men in sitcoms, for example? They still get to be men, don’t they? I’ve started saving them in a folder. It seems to have to do with the kind of emotional vulnerability I feel I use in my work. Here are a few:
- Everything is Embarrassing: Finding an Audience for Teenage Angst Ten Years Later | Inconnu
- The Rise of the Girly Narrative | Buzzfeed
- Vulnerability: The New Girl Power | In These Times
- Rise and rise of the woman-child | Independent
- In Defense of the Happy Girl | New Yorker (She’s a girl, not a woman)
After Friday’s crit, I’m definitely sure that I need to start on a cohesive body of work for my thesis show, but I have issues with planning projects. If I have something resolved in my head, it stops being interesting to do because it’s almost like it already exists. I need to create a framework to follow that still has room for surprises.
I’ve been reading a lot and figuring out what the ongoing themes in my work are, so I think the best course of action would be to take those themes and figure out which ones are the most important and how I might go forward from there. This is the opposite to the way I have been working, making several streams of work in a fairly intuitive way and then analyzing it to figure out the themes and ideas I’m interested in, which I think was a necessary start in discovering what transcends everything I do and make. Eventually, though, it’s necessary to stop and decide, and make something that I would be proud to have in the final exhibition. Scary stuff.
Plan of action:
- Finish my aesthetics paper, which is about vulnerability in artwork and may veer towards the “teen girl aesthetic” I’ve been reading about
- Complete everything of the theoretical part of my thesis proposal, except the exhibition plan, which will be the next step
- Figure out some ways of working that really entice me, and use that to form a concept for a body of work, which I will then use to write the exhibition plan
Stuff I’ve been afraid of and need to reassure myself:
- This isn’t forever. This is a year. That’s it. I don’t have to become the guy who only paints triangles.
- I can make a cohesive body of work that is about more than one theme, using more than one medium, if I need to.
- I can still work on a smaller side project if I need to, to stay sane. I don’t need to present everything as if it’s the same in the hierarchy of importance.
- I can start on a body of work, and turf out stuff that doesn’t work. Not everything needs to be a masterpiece.
I’ve spent the afternoon figuring out the keywords in my work by making many, many spreadsheets, culminating in this fairly ridiculous pie chart. Maybe it’ll help me write my thesis proposal-proposal. Or maybe this is another form of procrastination
I don’t know if this will work, but here’s the blanket I’m smocking, in progress. It’s like an emergency hiding place, and will stretch with the honeycomb stitching. I’m mostly worried about the text keeping it from stretching, but maybe that’s okay.