Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Can Project goes ahead with Open Studio

My last post was a week and a half ago. I did email my market contact on May 26th. I told her that I would be moving and asked if there was a possibility of doing the event at the end of June. She said that she would " to some people this week and get back to you". That was one week ago today - I haven't heard from her. So, I'm going to let go of the market as a possible setting for my installation and interactive art event. I'll email her and let her know, it's polite to follow through, even when other people don't, it's just nice to have closure. 
As far as my "plan B"... I've decided not to organize a show/going-away-party at the gallery. It's just too much. First of all, I'd be committed to getting all the work done, which I plan on doing, but if I get insane with stress and moving/school details it would be nice to have the option of letting go of some goals. Second, organizing it all... posters, handouts, framing, transporting work, setting up, breaking down... that's a whole other project. So, I'm letting it go. It was a nice idea but, considering the big transition I have ahead of me, I think it's wise to take on less.
Instead of the market, or the gallery, I've decided to set up my installation at my open studio/studio sale. I usually do one of these when I move out of town. I put up old work and sell it, for sometimes ridiculously low prices. The point is to clean out the studio, pass on my work to people who will appreciate it and care for it, and make a wee bit of money for the move. Well, this time it is going to be the biggest studio event yet. I'm going to sell/get rid of a lot of supplies, I'm going to offer old work up for sale (or trade), and I'm going to show my new work. I think there will also be a bit of a party atmosphere, after-all, it's my send off. It may be the last studio I rent in Burlington. The projected date is Wednesday, June 25. That's 3 weeks from today. I've got a bunch of work to do before then. I think I will put a listing in the local paper, and make handouts. I've also been thinking about making V.I.P. invitations which would get you in the door an hour or two earlier for special mingling and deals on supplies. I've already given my notice to the studio manager. June is going to be my last month. After the open studio I'll start the moving out process. It's going to be hard to get rid of a lot of my materials, but realistically, I can't take all of these partial, unfinished projects with me. I need to let go. 
I have so many unfinished projects. So many explorations that I began, excited to reach into a new pool of meaning. But I didn't follow through with them. They sit in paper bags, rolled up in tubes, folded in the pages of books. It's sad. Each one of those projects had the potential to develop and blossom and reveal a message. Why didn't I finish them, what was missing? -- Something that I am learning about my process is that I have a tendency to get really excited about starting a project. I have a lot of ideas. I feel inspired all the time. That first impulse to create feels so good. It is a gift. It is easy. This burst of energy and confidence that points in a clear direction and says "GO!". There is a part of me that wants to follow each one of those trails that stretches out before me, each one of those leads. To do so, however, is a distraction from real productivity and creativity. 
What I have been learning lately is how to avoid over-committing myself to that first impulse. I have been learning that not every idea necessitates a big project, and I have started developing methods for screening my ideas. This is where my sketchbook comes in. The sketchbook is a fabulous tool for exploring ideas, and making plans without diving into materials and processes that require major maintenance and follow-through. The materials that I use in my sketchbook are mostly pen and ink, watercolor, collage, and pencil. These materials are immediate. They can transform the idea into visual form as fast as one can draw. Once the idea is out one has distance from it and can begin to evaluate it's importance. One might decide that it's cute and clever but that it doesn't need deeper exploration. Or, the translation into visual form may reveal a deeper significance and relevance. Either way, one can decide to pursue, or not pursue relatively quickly. This perspective has saved me a lot of time and helped me to stay focused on one theme. 
As for all those unfinished projects? We'll see... maybe I'll recycle them. Maybe I'll give them away, or throw them out. I'll probably document them all so I don't loose the threads of their stories (digital cameras are so great for keeping visual notes). It's hard to let them go. I feel a bit like a failure, and like a bad mother in a way, abandoning my children. But it's not really like that. All the pieces are connected. Each one is just a different way of trying to say the same thing. And like with any attempt to explain something it's hard to get it right the first time. One just has to keep on trying, and learning from the experiences one has, it's all about the process. -ation-

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