I’ve been crazy with work, crazy for work, crazy because of work. (All by my own choosing, reminds my partner). And he’s right. Who knows why we work ourselves and work ourselves- are we truly getting pleasure from it, do we feel its absolutely necessary for our careers, is it a type of avoidance or even slightly addicting? Or a bit of all of the above? I know that my teaching schedule keeps me feeling very productive- being “scheduled” in general does that for me. The down time can be harsh.
Enter a whole month of working in a new studio with no real schedule except for the dinner hour I shared with fellow residents. Jentel Artist Residency in Wyoming was a wonder, maybe the first time I’ve had in the studio in a long time that I was just working for me- to research some new techniques, try some things out, get my studio groove on. I spent the first week freaking out over a show that was opening while I was away as well as having a mini early-mid-life crisis of sorts. But then that was over and I explored and experimented and taught myself some new things and made a bunch of small models.
I also bought some cool red cowboy boots and saw more stuffed heads than I thought was possible. I shared a gorgeous living/ working space on a ranch with five other amazing artists and writers. I miss them terribly, but its one of those things about residencies- they’re so immediate, surreal, and then they’re over and you’re forced back into your little world again.
There is this sense of longing- yes, I know that is an overly dramatic/loaded word, but I’ve thought about this a lot- from other artists who use that as a theme in their work, to the book “On Longing” that I am currently thumbing through- that permeates spaces, experiences. I keep trying to quantify this, to express it. Is it sadness, is it the dread word- nostalgia- (a word which I hate, but can’t seem to shake) is it wishing for something that is in our past that we can never have, or perhaps in our future that we know will never be? Is it inevitableness? Is it a lack of free will? Is ‘longing’ something that we all feel, or just some of us rather intensely? Landscape does that for me. Always has. I am emotionally shredded by landscape and seeing one more place where I was sublimely happy drinking in the views….. Of course I (sort of) know I would need a sun lamp, and a much stiffer spine than I have to live in a place like Wyoming year round (Or Oregon, Washington, Montana), but man, I have visited a few places in the past few years and this overwhelming sense of place-memory infects me. Maybe I was a pioneer in a past life. Or an Elk.