Don’t be so Sad, I Think you’re Pretty
I am finally being a good artist again: working hard almost every night and spending my weekends applying for shows and grants. Which is great, but it feels a little strange since the art I have been doing is photography and videos. Which shouldn’t be strange since they have both always been a part of my work, but is strange because they have always been a part the work, not the entire thing.
In the past my photos and videos have either been a portion of a greater work or done in support of work in a different medium. But for the past 6 months they are the only art I want to do. This has happened before. I went to Ireland for my MFA as a painter, but once there I didn’t do a single painting. Instead I discovered the joy of working on enormous installations and doing ink drawings. So I guess this is just another step in my art career. As with everything in my life, my path as an artist is zigzaggy and unpredictable.
In a number of ways my concentrating on photography and video right now makes total sense. I am unable to work in the large physical style I love – I don’t have the space and I haven’t have the energy. But the role that time plays in both photographs and videos allows them each to expand beyond the physical space in which they exist. Video is obvious- with it’s movement through time and space, but for me it’s better in photographs. The way they stop time amazes me. I look at the photos I have taken and can sink so far into them. I get sucked right through the picture’s surface into that time and space.
I think I have always taken my ability to take good photographs for granted. My dad is a photographer. I grew up in a darkroom. I learned how to process images standing on a kitchen chair. I think I got my first camera when I was about 4 and my dad did a really good job of explaining composition and light to us without ever making it a drag. I have always taken loads of photos, but I really fell in love when I got my first point-and-shoot. For the past 10-15 years have always had at least one in my purse at all times. I think that maybe the fact that I use such lowly equipment may have contributed to my not considering my photographs art. But I have become a sort of master of the point-and-shoot. I’m sneaky and quick and know the way this sort of camera likes to capture things.
I was feeling really bad because I haven’t been painting or drawing lately. I have been so tired and sick that I couldn’t drag myself to my studio after work. But I could take my pictures. Now that I am feeling better I am still not going to my studio. Instead I am taking more and more photos. And these photos have become my new project that I am so excited about. I am so loving working on it and it seems to be coming together really well. And it really lends itself toward being grant illegible and will be a great show (when I find a good place to show it).
And the best part is that I just found some huge pieces of slate that I am going to use for my next project. So I know that I haven’t lost my interest in my other mediums, I’m just giving photography the chance it’s due in my art.