Friday, December 31, 2010
I took a little escape break last night with dear Craig. A really nice dinner at Vito's and then we walked downtown to check out the gingerbread house exhibit. I hope to get a few photos up this weekend. We wandered past the carousel and decided it was too cold to take a spin. It's been unusually frigid for Seattle and reminded me of winters in New England.
I'm pretty much overloaded with work and honestly have no idea how it will be completed by next week's deadline. Seriously overwhelmed and tired.
Tonight I'm headed to two small gatherings. The first is primarily bears and then I'll ring in the New Year with a bunch of leatherfolk. This weekend I'll crash and hopefully can gather some energy for a little painting.
Happy New Year everyone!
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Yesterday was an 11 hour workday. Solid. Productive. Calm.
When I left work I felt too tired to go paint but at the same time, sensed I needed to go into the studio. On my way down, I grabbed a quick dinner to eat in the space and then had a short painting session, a little more than a half hour. But that too was substantial and I left quite pleased with the new marks and color on the canvas.
It was one of those rare sessions where I could feel something new burgeoning.
And again, here is another photograph from my trip to Yachats in October.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Two new paintings I've been working.
I was in the studio this morning until I needed to run to the bakery to pick up a balsamic pear tart for christmas eve dinner with a friend, stop at work to clean up a few things, drop off tart at home, grabbed lunch and now back to the studio.
28"x22", oil on canvas
24"x18", oil on canvas
And now...back to the studio.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
My drawing table from Sunday.
Pioneer Square has a rich tradition in the arts. Our 619 Western building has been a haven for artists since 1979. The first Art Walk in the U.S. began in Pioneer Square in the mid-seventies.
When I began looking for a studio space in June 2007, I had two hard limits. Or so I thought. I wanted a private space and I did not want to be in a studio that opened to the art walk. While looking for work spaces I saw the ad in craigslist for my current studio: share with 3 other artists and part of Seattle's largest monthly art walk. I read it and tossed it.
But that ad haunted me for the next few days and I couldn't ignore it. I made an appointment with the artist to view the studio. Arriving early, I waited outdoors and walked around the building. Without stepping inside I powerfully knew I had to be there. It was my space.
When I walked in with the artist, the energy in the studio cemented that fact. It was a refuge. The sign above our studio door says "The Sophia Room".
The studio has been a holding tank for creativity, for sex, for intimacy. It's been my dungeon. Powerful moments and conversations have taken place not only at art walk but in private studio visits. It's been a safe space that offered healing. And orgasms. I've experienced and shared in not only my own but also others' internal openings.
Potent personal conversations.
I've witnessed joy. I've witnessed tears. I've watched bodies melt as aspects of shame fell away while viewing work.
During private visits, I've seen many someones sit on the little couch and given time, sink into the calm and allow themselves to relax in a manner they admitted was not often accessed.
In some of my most grief-stricken moments, the space would call to me. I'd lay out large white pages on the floor, get on my hands and knees and as tears fell, filled the sheets with big black charcoal marks.
I remember the afternoon that held a rediscovery of my love of boots and the healing that followed. I remember the connections shared at Art Walk with people where their intimidation that came from being surrounded by art began to be dismantled.
I'll never forget the unsettling and yet sexy crack that runs down the wall above each door on the north side of the building.
And, it's been a place for my painting to flourish and grow as I slowly continue to work toward a level of maturity. Learning to submit to my deeper self. I used to be very private with my work and this studio and special community has provided a safety net where I began to peel away the veil and reveal not only completed works, but the process. It was a letting go of a pride that required I only show my best which I knew was an impossible task and a set up for failure. This studio played a large part in revelation. Revelation of myself to others. Revelations of others to me. And most importantly, revelation of myself to myself.
An era is ending.
With the viaduct coming down in the next year or two, I knew that at some point all the artists in the 619 Western building would be required to leave. In mid-December the SDOT met with the artists and gave their time frame. The 619 artists will be evacuated in March 2012.
We have 15 months notice, which is a blessing. I'm not going anywhere for a while. But the idea of 100 displaced artists attempting to find inexpensive work space is heartbreaking.
The loss is pronounced because the official news is fresh and it's one more sad art news thing.
In addition to all that's happening in the world, there has been much distressing news in the art segment. The inexcusable censorship at the National Portrait Gallery, the economy that is challenging for artists to live their passion, the culture wars filled with a cacophony attempting to silence the critical importance of art in our lives, individually and as a community, and so much more. I haven't been able to write about it because the feelings run too deep and honestly, touch upon personal wounds.
Everywhere I look I see a society more entrenched in fear than in discovery. A culture ensconced in suspicion instead of invention. What happened to our imagination? Where is our striving for individual voice and personal excellence instead of settling for mediocrity?
So what do I do?
I work to try to keep my heart open.
I attempt to seek out the beauty while not hide from the ugly and the painful.
And I continue to create.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Yeah...life has been crazy, chaotic and busy. Consumed right now by my day job and other things, my studio time is suffering. I come home from work and can't do much more than crash, let alone take pictures or write.
Here's a little update because I finally pulled out my camera. All still in progress. You can click on each to make them bigger.
Viaduct painting from 3 weeks ago...
(this one is incredibly tough to photograph)
A painting begun a few weeks ago...
Two smaller paintings I reworked last weekend...
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
(A photo of the stairwell in our studio building that I shot two years ago.)
I didn't announce December's First Thursday art walk because I wasn't planning on attending. I was pretty tired and needed a break. The studio would be open, my paintings would be shown and it would be tended to by my studio mates but this would have been the very first art walk since I obtained the studio in August 2007 that I would miss.
At the last minute I changed my mind...and ended up staying later than normal and not locking our space until 10:30 pm. It was a full four hours of wonderful conversations and good energy. What I totally forgot about was the film maker who came in and asked for permission to film the work. That is, until I received an email this evening with his completed little film.
Omar Taboada video is a beautiful piece that not only highlights some of the energy in the 619 Western Arts building on First Thursday, but he made it magical.
Check out the lovely 10 minute video. It gives a good sense of our building during the Pioneer Square art walk, which was the first art walk in the country.
If interested, my viaduct paintings are featured at the 5 minute mark.
Omar's website is at www.omartaboada.com.
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Another shot taken while on the bus...
Lots going on between work and a few projects in the studio. My internal world is also pretty full.
Here's an article from the NYTimes that features a Seattle photographer's series called "Queer America". In the article, Molly says:
"There’s a lot of strength showing marginalized communities being really strong and tender with each other,” she said. “Instead of hypersexualized images, I like the images to be about strength and honesty — and taking out the bashfulness and shame."
Check out the photos and article In A Common Scene, A 'Queer Subject'
Saturday, December 04, 2010
Lovely day today. Bright, sunny and nippy. I spent the afternoon in the studio and planned to hit the Gage Academy drawing jam for a bit and then a play party tonight. But...tiredness took over and staying in, curled up in a blanket while watching episodes of West Wing won out.
I did go for a walk in the neighborhood a bit ago because looking at the holiday lights always brings a smile. Deliberating whether to get a little tree this year, I was also thinking about the candles in the windows back in New England. It's not something that's done in Seattle.
The late afternoon light was beautiful.
Friday, December 03, 2010
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
World Aids Day comes amid progress, concern
from The Body:
Native Communities Overlooked and Underrepresented: Responding to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy
and in its entirety, from D. Gregory Smith:
I'm Not Writing a World AIDS Day Column This Year
I wrote a column last year, and I think it's still completely relevant- with only a few updates of statistics, geographic and demographic trends.
I'm not going to talk about the rash of new HIV infections among young men, nor am I going to write about my suspicion that 8 years of Bush era abstinence-only education is probably fueling this epidemic among our youth and twenty-somethings.
I'm not going to discuss the massive saturation of HIV in gay/bi men in this country. How we are not working to support each other in getting tested and getting into care and reducing the amount of the virus that can possibly be spread.
I'm not going to harp about the same old shit that gets ignored every year. About how HIV is crippling our communities, draining our resources, affecting our self-esteem and still causing death.
Instead I'm going to concentrate on a few good things that I think may have been overlooked.
I am grateful for the way the women saved us back in the eighties and nineties by stepping up as activists, caregivers and friends. I'm grateful for my lesbian and transgendered sisters/brothers who bravely stood in the face of obstinate refusal by the government to take meaningful action. They still inspire me.
I'm grateful for the medications that have stemmed the flood of funerals that carried away so many lovely human beings. I'm grateful for the drug side-effects that are still better for me than an early death. I'm grateful for the way that my illness has allowed me to prioritize my life, helping me put aside pride, fear and shame to live as honestly and with as much integrity as I can muster. HIV, ironically, has made me look at my life and create it more closely in the image of my true values.
I'm not writing the normal column this year. Instead, I'm going to put on a red ribbon and go to an AIDS Day service. I'm going to gather with other people and remember that we still have work to do. I'm going to remember some very painful moments-and some very beautiful ones. I'm going to bring to mind some people that I haven't thought about all year and breathe a prayer of thanks for their place in my life. I'm going to hold the hand of a stranger, I'm going to light a candle and sing my gratitude and resolve to whoever it is that is listening.
And as I leave, I'm going to resolve to work harder this year to make life easier for people with HIV and to work harder so people won't get HIV.
And I know I won't be alone. That beats any column I could write.