I Created this blog during this packet as I was producing a lot of animated digital and video material, and wanted a better way to share it. Unexpectedly, it has proven a very good way for me to organize my thoughts as well as my content, and I would like to use it as a platform not just to share packets but also to keep me on task. I intend to journal my practice here with 3 entries per week, so that when a packet is due all that I need to do Is create a summary and send off a link. Hopefully this is acceptable.
READING LIST THIS PERIOD:
Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, & Other Typographic Marks by Keith Houston
Cannibals by Ian Lynam
Teaching Design by Meredith Davis
SUMMARY OF MAIN PROJECTS
Perhaps the period of time for december, which makes up this Packet 3, should maybe be my most frustrating but in fact isn’t! Lo and Behold: I have gone from feeling rudderless to feeling like I have my own structure and direction again, and can my feet underneath me picking up pace.
This period I focused on two things: the creation of a list of ideals to look to for a healthy creative practice, with a special eye to ideals I would try to encourage my students to follow that I myself should also; and work done with one of these ideals as a guide. To accomplish this, I started with one directive to actively engage in and produce work from, and while doing so think on other ideals that can be made and added to the list, they also to be actively employed and explored. My starting point was from the ideal I have the most difficulty with: “Play.”
I’ve actually been told throughout my adult life for both professional and personal purposes that I could stand to play more. I myself see play as a fundamentally important facet of being a healthy creative individual, also encouraging my students to do so. I can intellectualize it’s value; de-stressing, mind-wandering, leads to a healthier self and by extension healthier and more cognizant work. But for whatever reason, I never felt that I had the space to do so. I felt like letting my work wander to the places that serve no greater purpose that to please my own whims seemed frivolous, giving into the same attitudes and behaviours that I dislike seeing in modern consumer-capitalist culture.
So, I played. I used the jumping off point of my previous frustration, “grids,” and just did what brings me most pleasure: I drew. I started with the idea to make multiple compositions upon the same design grid, to show how infinitely useful they can be across mediums. While I have had the idea to make multi-layered, analogue printed works of art, I was constrained by my being abroad in Norway away from facilities that would allow that project to continue. So I decided to work digitally, to create works that could stant on their own but then again be used later in a laser cutter or in an analog process— feeding two birds with one scone.
As I completed an illustration, I erased it, and used the grid to start a new one. As I worked, my mind wandered, the question of art vs. design and the reasons for those perceived barriers began floating again and again to the surface. These are questions I asked when first looking to go to grad school, and are questions that seem to lie at the heart of my potential working philosophy for Studio Holmlia. A meditative act, drawing on these shared grids helped me come up with some topics for “on-the-ground” study— as in, topics to pursue directly as opposed to meta-ideation; where I am thinking about how those topics interrelate both with each other and with my overall goals at VCFA.
ANIMATION OF DRAWING PROCESS
I have definitely put more hours into this period, it feels like what I came up with doesn’t seem to represent as such. I produced 4.5 illustrations, time-lapse recording their process (All but one, where I somehow forgot to switch on my recorder.) These illustrations each took 15-18 hours, except for one that took 26, entitled “Sorry.” (Thank goodness that Procreate automatically tracks time spent on each piece.) however, when showing up to a packet with only 4.5 illustrations, some nuts-and-bolts achievements (more on those later,) and a list to show for my play, i am struck with the feeling of, “wait, that’s all I made?” I did lots of hours, more than the “recommended 20”— Illustrations are time consuming, but I like to think their execution produced simultaneous other, less tangible works.
Through this act of play I came up with something much, much more valuable to me: Context. I was able to work out what I am doing this semester into the larger context of what I am doing at VCFA.
I came to grad school to find academic rigor and legitimization in general for my ability to teach, but specifically to explore viability for and possibly execute the creation of a teaching space: Studio Holmlia. The first semester with Natalia turned me towards writing; the idea being that the development of a book could not only prove useful as a professional in search of a potential teaching position, but the exploration to create it would yield fruits of structure for the ideology of the school I wished to create. So: in making a school, a book to guide its philosophy made sense. In the second semester, dealing with frustration of having the sand of those formative ideas kicked around, only to feel like I’d been re-focused more closely on one facet or two of the content for that book. It took three packets to get there, but finally I have hit upon how my current creation of a list and exploring it’s individual components through practicing them fits fits into my overall goal:
Organization of the school into three sections: Business/theory/curriculum.
The book is meant to represent the theory of the school and inspire curriculum.
The list is meant to inform the book, and provide content for either it’s structure or one chapter.
The act of following one or two prerogatives is meant to inform the list.
So this semester is a magnifying glass into one small detail of the structure of the overall goal of Studio Holmlia.
Does that make sense?
So anyhow, the List as it stands now, in it’s earliest form:
Letting go, a list of things to do and explore, or, stuff I’ve told my students that I should follow:
1. Go for a walk, moving blood means moving air into brain and clearer thinking. Distraction and boredom are actually beneficial to thinking about something. Thinking about the thinking to get to a thought is not
2. Be easier on yourself, find where ego, boundaries, and need intersect. Do you actually, really have to do that work? Yes? ONLY THEN
3. Kick your own ass. Don’t be limited by the definitions of expectations and limits the world has established— these are forever young. The very concept of having a job is only a couple hundred years old, to say nothing of a 40hr work week. How best can you structure your time, for you?
4. A human’s day, Year, and life is organic— it has seasons. Don’t expect that you can do everything the same way repeatedly every day forever. Allow a heated time of feverish energy, a summer, but also make time for stillness in turn. These are the breaths of the world, in, out, in. Find this in your life as well.
5. Know yourself. Know what things you should and can change, and what other facets of your personality need to be embraced or worked around. Wield flaws.
6. Limitations are freeing
7. Learn the past to open your aperture and inform your present, combine w/yourself to focus a lens on the future
8. Seriously, everyone says stop trying for others and just do it the way you would. They’re right.
9. Stop asking if it’s what you do better than everyone and start asking yourself if it brings you joy. THEN
10. Develop a voice. Being “good” is great for practicing skills— and you should actively and rigorously practice something— but this only informs what you do in your own voice, where “good” is less relevant beyond your own discipline. What is a way that you see the world?
11. Play. Create something with your work that surprises yourself, that you often want to do but never have the time, or that feels unrelated to your disciple. A designer? Try drawing for awhile. A draftsman? Try writing, or building a box of wood. How does it dovetail and inform the work you feel you’re “supposed” to be doing?
12. Understand how what you make, what you see as your work, in the context of a larger life context. How do you want to spend your time on this rock? What memories do you want contained in your head. Make a list. How does your creative practice inform, and get informed by that list?
To compliment the drawings, I began making instructional videos (combined into one here):
I am excited to report that this month I obtained my LLC for Studio Holmlia! It is now an officially registered and recognized business with the state of Oklahoma :)
STUDIO HOLMLIA BRANDING
I was able to work on some branding for the potential school to compliment the obtaining of my LLC. I started initial concepts for these last semester, and spent more time turning those sketches into something more polished.
PROFESSIONAL WORK INFLUENCED BY VCFA PROJECTS
This was perhaps my busiest working schedule I’ve experienced in the last 2-3 years! While I was in norway for over a month, I was sadly only able to leave the house a handful of times because of the workload I’d saddled myself with. 15 hour days were the norm, even through the christmas holidays. Clearly, I need to learn about balance from my list above: another ideal worth ingraining into my practice. That being said, I was able to notice how the grid illustrations and the time-lapse recording of them had started to influence my professional work:
PHILBROOK MUSEUM OF ART: MAKING MODERN AMERICA
City Of Fort Bragg, CA
FLOODGATE GAMES BRANDING
And of course, I was in Norway sharpening some photo skills and just trying to enjoy the time i had there, short and dark as it was.