Spent a ton of time making an oil painting version of last section’s Snowcones illustration. Like, most of this month— 2 weeks. Spent most of that time wondering what the hell i was doing; not because oil painting, while a long-time ambition, is new to me- which it is, but moreso because what the hell does this have to do with anything? Then I read Bell Hooks. More on that later.
Made it back to Oslo and immediately met with CRISIS. Seriously though, being here— especially in summer— gives me all sorts of thoughts and clairvoyance, most of which I haven’t had a chance to write down yet. But the main gist is that when I am here, i feel complete. Not a sense of elation of warm fuzzies, but rather like I have access to myself and my full spectrum of emotions and thoughts. It is, in a life that has constantly changed around me, the only constant over the last 20 years. In fact, it’s the only place in which allows me to feel the passage of time, simply because i’ve returned to it so many times over so long a span. I watch it change. I see new buildings go up, shade from trees that were once saplings, hear complaints about the construction’s slow progress. I feel like having constantly moved, running either away from conflict, death, and heartbreak, combined with only deperately gasping for air and trying to tread water without ever progressing, has made the natural and normal human sensation of the passage of time and aging elusive to me. It has contributed to the sense that I arrived at my twenties too early and stayed too late, that I am both older and younger than i am, and reduced a sense of urgency to accomplish things in my life, despite being what I think to be highly ambitious. Still have trouble sitting down to write about it, however. In a sort of follow-up to the obituary of last packet, I found myself on a tiny island surrounded by tiny 250-450sq/ft houses and realizing I’ve never been able to set goals for myself— long term, tangible ones, at least. I never thought of things i would want to accomplish for myself, beyond the general biological organism to basically have a kid or two, a loving and supporting relationship, and safety. I’ve been so obsessed by neccesity with the general blurry focus of that last one that I have never set aside something for myself to work for. But swalking that tiny island, I thought— maybe I really, legitamately, could set a simple personal goal for myself: I want to own one of the houses on this island.
I could clearly picture not only the life I would have whilst living there, but also realized that in order to accomplish such a thing would require all of the other things I want for myself to happen. I then set about thinking what a daily routine would look like, which could prove to be an interesting bit of writing, though I haven’t gotten there yet. Interestingly, The idea of having a space set up to be a designer was not in my first blush of an idea for this later life, and the art setup was minimal, but the writing time was substantial. And the thought of me in my small house as a writer, taking the ferry 10 minutes into downtown in the mornings to teach at the university, gave me a moment of satisfaction when realizing that one of our favorite people, Natalia Ilyin, has lived just that life for a time.
Bell Hooks— finally a justification on doing work for myself. Life changing reading, definitely.
I decided to turn down the teaching opportunity at the University of Tulsa, but also to not jump at the possibility of moving to Charlotte. A lot of thought went into it, and the main pressuring, time sensitive thing was teaching that class in a city i don’t spend so much time in anymore, so I removed that pressure. If it comes to pass that they need me in the future and it lines up, great. if not, I am not sad. I would rather focus on finding work (I am in full-panic mode about money, especially upon my return to tulsa in late august) and of course, upcoming thesis.
Sketchbooking, journalling, etc.
Decided I may try to use some of my student loans this fall to enroll in Mark English’s The Art Department— He is a well regarded illustrator whom is an acquaintence of mine and he is approaching education in one of the way i wish to refer to in my thesis. I’ve been wanting to go to an-atelier-but-not-an-atelier for 20 years, and not only would i probably benefit from it, but is legit research for my thesis.
By that same token, I am seeking out scandinavian resources for educational investigation.
Readings, Semester 3 Packet 2:
The Body Keeps the Score, Bessel Van Der Kolk.
Teaching to Transgress, Bell Hooks. SO MUCH HERE. The practice of reading for research is a discipline in disappointment, namely that every book you want to write has already been written. BUT, there is SO MUCH HERE that will help with the underlying ideas behind my thesis. One surprise nugget: She refers to Thich Nhat Hanh, one of my primary reads on zen Buddhism, a central philosophical influence both personally and to what I wish to do with Artifex Praxis. Additionally, she provided answers to my longstanding rift these last two semesters at VCFA: as in, why the hell am I concentrating on personal work when there’s a greater pedagogical task at hand? I was also literally stunned when I saw her/Frierie’s use of the term “praxis”, which I had been using since 2007 to describe my working philosophy and thinking i was so clever because I couldn’t find instances of anyone else using it. Picture below:
03. Thesis Abstract, But This Time I Mean It
I wish to explore and try to answer from a research standpoint the feasibility of a contemporary teaching studio, or how a modern arts education can learn from both the present academic post-modern system combined with traditional guild and atelier based systems. In a gig economy, would this not work better?
Definitions of different types of arts teaching, a generalization: Post-modern era teaching and guild era mentorship/learning. Benefits of mentor-based education. Research and reference VCFA’s structure as well. Interview: Meredith, President Tony, and Lacy Lewis to start, reach out to other ateliers and educators such as mark English, Sterling Hundley, etc. (Facts/figures/testimonials.)
Proposal for business and academic structure: a federation network of artists and pupils creating living work and directly engaging communities. How it can be made to grow organically in number of students and mentors; I.e. scalability
Proposal for structure’s implementation, from ground-up to utilizing existing structures; E.G. make your design studio more teach-y and your design department more studio-y.