Detailed further in below sections
Painted a mural as part of a mural festival, encouraging more large-scale studio work. (Perhaps.)
Did my first work about my mom basically since her death. Not Easy. Luckily it was experimental and successfully so, because I forgot to make sure my screen recorder was on while I made it. Basically, the illustration time-lapse of leaving the lens-cap on for multiple rolls at a time. Jesus. However, maybe this is one piece where the final image and it’s subject are as important as the animation I would have made? Also, combined with #1, inspired to make this a large scale painting. Why? Shit I don’t know. But I haven’t made personal art pretty much ever. I feel like putting squares on walls as the be-all end-all reference point is problematic, but hey— I can cross the “fuck up this medium” bridge later, I guess.
Most important, perhaps, is that I had a brainwave of how to approach my thesis, wrote what I thought to be a fairly concise outline, and sent it to you in excitement. The main problem now is that I want to plot a trajectory between where I am now— making personal design and art work— to there: researching, exploring, and defining a structure for implementing varying types of instruction. I.e., how do I transition from content creation to content delivery structural architecture. I feel like this will be the overarching goal to reach by the end of this semester.
—In a discussion with classmate Lex Poolos, she made the point that there needn’t be a separation of these two things; my content can prove to be a case study as content to plug into the system I wish to design.
Traveled a lot, to Charlotte and Asheville— Where the I visited the largest private residence in the nation: The Biltmore Estate, which allowed me to bask in architectural splendor and have an inequity rage-stroke. This visit did nothing to quell my continued reflexive pull towards structural design.
Making a label for a local brewer, stuff for the Stemcell science shop, and new enamel pins (Pushing illustration and clawing my way to recovering business from the events of earlier this year.
Did a few portraits because that’s the only thing I ever really want to draw. It felt good. Real good.
In an attempt to assuage existential ennui, which is something I sprinkle through my life like salt on bland food, I attempted an age-old exercise in life focusing recommended by a friend: write my own obituary.
This fall, I will be teaching as an adjunct at the University of Tulsa; the chair there has indicated that she will be retiring the year after I graduate and hopes that, assuming everything goes well, she would like me to replace her upon leaving. I’m not so sure I want that, being pulled in a few different directions as I am both personally and professionally, but I do see an opportunity to perhaps implement some parts of my thesis idea into this class, using it as a test bed or the students as Guinea Pigs.
First batch of grapes have been growing in the mini vineyard!
Making a T-Shirt parody of my grumpy friend
Living through the Oklahoma Quakenado Swarm 2k19
Other super, super random writings
Readings, Semester 3 Packet 2:
Writing & Graphic Design, Ian Lynam
Cannibals, Ian Lynam
Wabi Sabi, I forget the author but will add later
The Body Keeps the Score, Bessel Van Der Kolk. Just arrived!
Teaching Design, Meredith Davis— Still making my way through this one from last semester, I’m moving slowly as I feel like this book will be an important reference for the thesis i’m formulating
From Vines to Wines, Jeff Cox— Important guide to the growing of grapes that I have undertaken in planting a tiny vinyard next to my tiny house. I drive a Mini Cooper too, so laugh it up, microphobes.
02. Snowcones From Icebergs
I have been encouraged from several angles lately to deal more with personal subject matter, topics I tend to loathe and hold close to my chest. Usually this comes off with dismissive or dark humor— which is my preferred way to deal with, well, pretty much everything. Basically, I just make snowcones from the tip of an iceberg made of stuff beyond my capability to process. This time, prodded by Nikki, I have gone for my own jugular: addressing my mom’s death and the repercussions that having to make literal life and death choices at 24 can have.
Weirdly, perhaps, one reason I don’t share stuff like this is that I am almost embarrassed by how depressing the stuff trapped in that iceberg could be for people— and i chose to not bring that type of negativity back into the world. Once is enough, my rationale goes.
Another rationale is probably pure obstinance, not just to avoid changing hard-set ways, but the idea that reviewing past negative experiences is reliving them, re-feeling them, and in some way allowing them to “win” or “get the best of me.”
I suppose ice can collect around traumatic episodes, the crystals of everyday life solidifying and encasing objects which become blurred with the thickness of accumulated memories. With enough of these floating next to each other, they can chain together, forming whole continents on which to spend your entire life’s internal monologue wandering frozen wastes. Hey, though, I’m an optimist, believe it or not! I definitely like frozen treats, and so long as I don’t lose this little scoop down a crevasse, I’m set to dig down and really get to deal with all the stuff 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.
04. Charlotte, Asheville, and Biltmore Estate
05. Nothing’s Left Brewery
06. I like drawing heads
07. Here Lies Jeremy Luther (An Obituary)
A friend of mine in a discussion recently advised an activity to clear out some mental cobwebs when looking to focus on choosing what to do with our time on this planet: write an obituary for yourself. What would you want to have been the major accomplishments of your life? Who would you leave behind, and what would you leave them? And so on.
I found this to be a more well-developed way of the same sort of response I had to my neighbor calling out to me to use a power tool instead of a shovel to dig a trench in my field, which was to think about what I would do with the time saved from using a faster, easier tool. Would I go watch TV? Buy something? No, I thought, if I look back on my life from it’s ever-nearing end, there are some memories I want to have. One of them is spending hours in a hot field tilling soil, digging a trench, and planting some grape vines.
An obit is more morbid, for sure, but it certainly grabs the attention and stokes the emotions. Maybe I should give this a shot:
Jeremy Luther, noted writer, artist, and educator passed away in his home this past Thursday, either some Fall or Spring month in 2086 (I’d love to make it to 104 or better, but yeah we’ll see— and I can’t decide if autumn or spring would be best— a pending restful time or a promising sign or life expanding are both comforting thoughts. Maybe I will have people in my life by this time that will affect this. Also, for some reason, Tuesday or Thursday always seemed like a day I would go out on. Who knows. I don’t want to.)
Known for infusing humor and personal narrative into works of philosophical and societal import, he was ultimately successful in helping to stoke and participate in multiple progressive movements surrounding the design of adaptive personal education in the United States, helping governments and municipalities reform their education, as well as social causes regarding egalitarianism and class inequity. His messaging was focused through a lens of promoting practical compassion, understanding that a healthy democratic society requires disagreement but that disparate points of view need to work together— This philosophy focused additive rather than reductive activism, often leading to reaching across the aisle— sometimes even to the chagrin of members of his own movements during the widespread and often violent social unrest and conflict of the mid 21st century, gave rise to his most well-attributed quote: “Compassion is the mortar between the bricks of an egalitarian society.”
In addition to subjects regarding compassion and societal equality, his life as an artist was spent creating works attempting to explore understanding of the concept and usefulness of beauty and subtlety and their diminishing value in a rapidly changing global society, spawning large scale painting and sculpture that blended traditional western techniques with the information and ideology available in a fully globalized world.
As an educator, he took on hundreds of students for one-on-one training, using a mentorship-based teaching model whose flexible implementation and student-centered curriculum was later adapted by numerous studios, schools, and organizations, affecting a shift in the center of academic thinking in the 21st century and forcing a re-focus on systemic change as opposed to curriculum change, which he felt better left to skilled, individual educators.
His life led him to be forever split between two continents, with one foot in the United States and the other in Norway, where he attained a permanent residence in 2022. He continued to split time between teaching and lecturing at universities and his own teaching studios in both countries, often for years at a time before settling into later life in a secluded mountainous region, tending to the animals and land, the design and building of architectural restoration projects, and serving family. His well known reticence for public life, cultivation of curiosity in disparate subjects, and focus on devotion to serving his small circle of familial and personal relationships— often the subjects of his work— was his defining characteristic. After completing masters and doctoral studies, he spent much of his middle years traveling extensively in an attempt to research and speak on inter-cultural commonalities and arts education across civilizations with his spouse and eventually 2 children, whom with 5 grandchildren, survive him.
OK Grapes are growing in OK!
Living through the Oklahoma Quakenado Swarm 2k19
Other super, super random writings:
May 19, 2019
Going for walks is hard, at least where I am in Osage County, Oklahoma. There aren’t really any sidewalks, and because of that no one expects anyone to be walking there. And people tend to sway off the roads, because they’re not paying as much attention, being that no one expects anyone to be walking there.
But really I’m too hard on the place sometimes. I keep thinking each car or school bus that drives by me as I walk on the shoulder will launch either an empty beer can or an insult about my weight, much as it has been since I was little. But honestly, that probably won’t happen.
Anyhow, I went for a walk today, a little over 2 miles in a direction down my road I had never gone before. It was peaceful, cool, and there were cows. It’s stuff like this that maybe points out how much of a fearful person I’ve become, and maybe points out how I got to be that way; upbringing, etc.
Each time I think of the first two chapters of my life, I realize how late that fear went into my adulthood, and have an inkling of what I’ve missed as far as what would be considered a “normal” or at least desirable upbringing or childhood. I feel the space where something should go, but am unsure of what fits in that outline. Like a black hole, it’s not directly observable; I can only sense it based on how it bends the light around it and exerts its gravity on nearby objects.
Of Something Happier
In trying to think of happier stories of mom, as suggested by Lex, I am struck by both how such an obvious fact hadn’t even occurred to me yet and by the fact that I have trouble thinking of any. I mean, I know there certainly are happy memories, I have remnants of the sensation itself. But largely, episodes of specific, positive events elude me.
Is it the endpoint I have arrived at that clouds earlier view? Unknown. In honesty, with age has probably come a more nostalgic and positive sheen to my first 18 years— at the time I vacillated between a neutral demeanor brought about by an unawareness of how messed up my surroundings were, and absolutely loathing that existence. Being blamed either directly or being held ultimately responsible for the actions of a violent sibling 5 years younger with who you are tasked to care for is not the makings of a healthy upbringing. 11 year olds should not be raising 6 year olds.
“From People vs Here People vs There People”
Would be nice to think of something with levity, though, right?
What’s this whole deal with grad school anyhow? What are you trying to do and prove? Do you even have a reason to get an MFA anymore, or are you just following a path set out years ago when it made more sense? Or what about the possibility that in some earlier form, I was a more decisive person with stronger identity and desires? HAve I become numb to my own wants in life, content to just pass from one day to the next, simply waiting to hurry up and get through life already while also frozen solid by a fear of passing time? What would be the word for that?
How is it that a person who is ambitious by nature not know what they want from anything? Not from contentment, but from lack of desires?
Still, it is very interesting to me that when I sit down to write, either nothing comes through or it is all heavy, heady stuff. Like I have so much to say on backlog that it either clogs the pipes or when there is a flow that I have to try and get all the important stuff out in the small window I have. Looking for a way to return to the levity of summer 2018, last summer, finally free of my own self torture via relationship, on a victory run, the feeling of progress and unencumberment defining a short period of time. Lost weight. Worked out. Ate right. Went hiking. Went to grad school. Now?
Now, I dunno. I guess a lot of that is still true; though patinad.
Wondering if the fact that I am constantly finding grand and revelatory inspiration from everyday mundane things either a sign of a well developed skill of observation or a proof that I am just so far beyond everyone else on this planet in learning what life is about.