Part of having the summers off means being self-disciplined with my art practice and planning benchmarks for myself in time for Thesis. Besides teaching a children’s course at SAIC, I’m showing some work at the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival next weekend as well as preparing ideas to present at Core Project’s concrits coming up next month. It’s a lot harder to stay motivated without a class structure or project deadlines but considering I left my job to pursue my graduate work, I have no excuses not to excel in the goals I’ve set for myself. I’ve been feeling this underlying pressure the past two years in my personal life to meet specific expectations of where I should be by a certain age. Not having met all of them yet, I’m still more confident about who I am now than I was when I was younger. I imagine life gets richer with age, but richer is not to be mistaken with easier.
I never considered my work to be autobiographical, but reflecting on a span of reoccurring themes in my art has revealed parallels in my life. I approach my art making in 2 different ways. There is that of the pleasure principle: simply making work that I love or makes me happy. Once making art becomes a chore, the joy of creating in the first place is diminished. The inspiration for work that comes from this place of pleasure is woven into ordinary things and everyday life such as a lovely shape I see in the shadow of a tree, or when I notice how a window becomes a frame for the cityscape. The second approach is art as inquiry. This is where my conceptual work is born as I start with a question I want to investigate and pursue strategies to find an answer. I’ve been balancing both ends as I read as research and make screenprints to sell at ShopColumbia. Speaking of which, here’s a bit of pleasure I have to share: