- Professor Vexer
This is probably going to come out like mush.
I’ll most likely read it and go, “GAAAAAHHHH!!!! What was I thinking?”
I am forcing myself to write down thoughts and communicate to God Knows Whom in this blog that may never be read and that I may never even go back and read but I’m trying my damnedest to hold to some sort of process and an agenda.
So here goes.
Let me start by going backwards if I can. Let me start by explaining why I’m so tired and frazzled and angst ridden.
I’m sitting in my studio, it’s looking more and more like a broom closet. A comrade whom also uses the space here at 391 Dudley Street ( I can’t call it by the name that the organizer does) saw me bringing in shipping palettes and said, “ Wow! it’s getting packed in there.” She meant my studio but they were actually going to the semi garbage dump of the enclosed back yard. I had the idea of using these big wooden throw away structures as the base for a graffiti wall… So I loaded up the Xterra and brought a bunch of them that I had in my yard at home from when I had the other brilliant idea of making a wheeled cage for Effingee the Beast. I lugged them through the lot and through the building one by one and dumped them in the back with a pile of rain and weather tattered paneling. I screwed them together at 90 degree angles and BANG! Modular easels for big art.
Was it worth it? Probably not. I screwed my timeline and ignored all the other stuff I was supposed to do like put stuff in the mail, and write and finish those short comics. Everyday I come to the studio to work I am overwhelmed with where to start and what to prioritize. This has got to stop. But it won’t. I try to tell myself that yesterday was really productive and I got a lot done. Truth is none of it was art so… none of it was satisfying. There’s the issue. My brain rewards me for doing new, complex things and deprioritizes the mundane. It will not let me focus enough to start something unless it feels challenging. I see it in others like my students who procrastinate, they thrive on the endorphins released by stress even though they seem to freak out. I know that I can work well under pressure but I don’t know what this shiny thing over here is…
I have spent enough time with me to know how my mind and my body work optimally. I work best when I’ve done some small tasks, figured some stuff out by exploring and then worked furiously on something I have previously planned the shit out of and let rest. I work best on my feet after being either well rested or in a sustained work pace. I am horribly unproductive if well fed but worse if I actually stop to realize I’m hungry. Unfortunately the world and society does not give a flying fart about my optimal work conditions. So I persist and push to get stuff done. Since committing to my practice by working Fridays in the studio instead of at BAA work has found me and I have been busy. I have also kept myself busy with side ventures like the comic and the “Sub Shop”. I’ve consulted and presented for groups and been on panels. I’ve done concept work for a video game project. I’ve done public art projects and a mural project. It has been non stop.
Last week I finished a mural project for a church’s children’s center. I also created a live drawn dry erase mural for Arts Emerson’s new season presentation. I’ve been planning a collaboration with Nahdra Ra Kiros of The House of Nahdra and with Pelaiah Auset of EnterAttainMent in which we will weave our collective works in fashion music and comic art into an afrofuturist statement of arrival. This promises to be fun and vibrant but the possibilities are expanding over my head like a beautifully organic hurricane waiting to downpour.
I ashamedly got the hang of the payment aspect of Patreon just recently and realized there is not necessarily a feedback loop from patrons and I just have to be proactive and on top of things.
I put together a body of work that reflects my studio process and my farme of mind artistically to send to my patrons for their support. It contains deconstructed parts of graffiti, comics and other studio process stuff. It resembles vague non objective comic book pages. The work reminded me of how much I love Bill Sienkievitch’s and Dave McKean’s and Linda Barry’s work. I had fun making the pieces but as usual they made me want to do more and that is another distraction I can’t detour for.
I absolutely love being an artist but I also get buried in the stuff and the time and the cost of this lifestyle so it can wear me thin. I mentioned that one of the side projects that had been ongoing was concept art for an experimental video game project. I got way to into it and started researching game engines in order to be more efficient with my connecting for the actual builder of the game. I polished up some of my skills in the 3d modeling program Sculptris. I dove headfirst into Blender and got better at modeling, rigging, animating, and even building games in Blender. I troubleshot a bunch of sticking points and practiced it in any five minute interval that I could. I watched YouTube videos on the treadmill or in the car waiting for the parking cops to not ticket me. I built little games to show my students ( some of whom taught me how to use the program!). Finally the dream I had of putting together transmedia projects was coming together. Last week I dusted off an older project that I kept imagining as a video game or an ARG ( alternate reality game ). I was getting my GEEK ON!!!
…AAAAAAaaaaand AGAIN I’m distracted with more potential projects!
By now my to do list looks like a best seller.
I reconcile my distractibility by saying that it’s all connected. It’s all necessary stuff. It’s learning and growth. I have to be flexible and adaptable in this new economy!
The truth is that as I sit here in this glorified (not really) broom closet surrounds by insulating foil covered foam, Styrofoam tumbling out of recycled plastic bags being used for the tenth time, power tools, forty eight by thirty six inch battered and abused picture frames, puppets and painted closet doors, art supplies and furniture, I could not imagine life without stuff like this somewhere for me to fashion into some madness. So as I sit here feeling the fatigue chemicals course through me and my heart rate slow like a dying shark I’m happy that I at least wrote down somewhere all the crazy things I’ve been up to recently because even if it turns out I am completely mad and none of this means anything, at least I wasn’t lazy.