This is the speech I gave as part of my public presentation of my work for the EDGE Program. I had never spoken in front of so many people and was pretty anxious, but it went well.
I am right now editing the descriptions of my work on my website and came across this file and decided to post it. When I write about my work it is usually a process of sorting through my previous writings and cutting, pasting and morphing them into my new writings. Some things continue, but are expanded upon while others are removed and replaced with more currently descriptive ideas.
I don’t know where I am right now with my art. I worked so hard this summer for EDGE that I had no time to make anything. But now it’s over and I feel a million times more prepared to present my work in a professional manner.
AND I am totally re-energized in my creative process. I think the break helped and I think that this new-found level of organization has really cleared my mind of a lot of stress and worry that would slow me down or make me second guess my plans. So- a couple more days of editing the website then I can just work and work and work!!!!
I am an interdisciplinary artist working primarily on installation and drawing. My artwork is mainly concerned with concepts related to isolation and connection. Tonight I am going to focus on my artistic process and main themes. The images you will see of my work illustrate my concepts, but I am not going to address them individually right now. But I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about them at length after our presentations.
The artwork I do is driven by idea. It comes first, and then I work out how I want to express that concept. I usually begin with a diagram, and then start rooting around for the materials.
Often in my gathering of material I come across the unexpected that strikes me as being most expressive of the concept. Then I reevaluate, adjust my plans, and finally start the process of making.
A main characteristic of my art is the premium I have placed upon collaboration. Both with other artists and also with the audience through their interaction with the work. My interest in collaboration comes from a need to feel that I am not just putting these ideas of mine out in the world and leaving it at that. I find that one-way process unsatisfying and sometimes need to reach out for a response.
My collaborations have worked for me sometimes as a mirror, sometimes as a wall to be climbed, sometimes as a process of mutual elevation, and sometimes as a debate.
I often turn to literature and creative exchanges with writers as a means to find a different viewpoint in which to observe and evaluate my personal surroundings.
Most of all I love working with writers. I draw so much inspiration from lyrics and poetry. Since I started working with writers I have found the interplay between my ideas and the writer’s ideas exceptionally satisfying. These collaborations feel mysterious and exciting and bring new vigor to my work
My work is for the most part auto-biographical – sometimes deeply personal. Yet I try to address the issues that affect me in a universal manner. To give the viewer a sensation rather than a story.
I use my art as a means to explore how my perception changes based upon the context in which I am considering it. It is the extremes of meaning that are generated about the place in which I exist as experienced from contrasting emotional situations that most interests me as an artist.
The wood, wire, paper, and ink I use for my art carry associative meanings for me that are tied-up with memory and emotion. I choose my materials because of the sympathy they have with my ideas. I have a respect for the materials that allows me to bring out their innate elegance. With them I construct objects which help me to come to an understanding and resolution of past experience and thoughts about the future.
Nets, cages, and habitats are the symbolic language I use to express conflicting reactions to the experiences of my life. My hero is LouiseBourgeois. I am so awed by how she was able to create objects and cells which address very personal themes while simultaneously inspiring universal connection with the viewer. I am inspired by her to try to build images and structures which allow others to find something in them that resonates with their own thoughts and feelings.
My studio is finally cleaned. I cannot start a new project with a dirty studio. It’s a strange sort of ritual I need to perform every time I am ready to get going again. I have to remove all the bits and pieces left over from the making of my last work before I can begin the new work. It’s not that I am the least bit neat and tidy, it’s more that I find those leftovers distracting. I need to feel unencumbered by these things I know want to get into the art.
I have occasionally tried to recycle this stuff into new work, but so far that hasn’t worked well. But I am starting to accumulate a mountainous pile of things waiting to be used. Perhaps I just need to work harder and figure out what to do with these poor strays.
But not now. I want to work on my new ideas. I’m locking myself in for most of the weekend and hope to disappear into these new projects. I’m sort of disconnected from my art right now so I am not sure of how this will go. Usually it just takes a good lock-in for me to get back on track. I certainly am as much a left-outsider and anxiety-prone weirdo as ever, so that part of the work should be no problem.