Saturday, February 12, 2011

Integrate Life

Chotchka's at Shannondell

The 'Memory Rose' at Shannondell

A wall of ancestors

There is so much to talk about from the last three days....
I went to a college art conference in NYC Thursday, hosted by Artspace; "Making it with or without a gallery"-then boogied down to to PA to visit my 85yr old grandmother and zipped back to make it to my oil painting class today in Germantown. (which I will blog about later...)
The conference was wonderful, it highlighted ideas that NYFA had already installed in me during the NYFA MARK fellowship of 2008. Particular standouts where; Be proactive, DIY, Community and "Integrate your life in to your art." The concept that all that you are and do can become your art. There is a misconception as an artist that until you are being supported 100% by your fine art, you are not an artist. The panel strongly urged artists to accept their whole selves, including their "other work" into their identity as artists. I particularly loved this because I feel that I myself have gotten fuzzy about what category to put what idea and experience into. Even my blog has become a personal window in to my ordinary life and my artistic process vs. how it originally was just a sketch a day. When my life shattered with the birth of Sunny and death of Summer, a new identity as an artist began, one that is more whole vs. fragmented. My work also started to come from the inside out, where as before it was externally inspired by my environment.
Being at my Grandmothers was tremendous! For many reasons, #1 being that I adore her and she has always been a fan of me. She is an amazing woman with a history I am hungry to learn in detail. That was one of the reasons I went to visit. I brought my voice recorder to look through old albums together-she is the living key to our family history and I am especially curious lately. She is living in a deluxe retirement community in PA called Shannandell, its like living on a cruise ship-Seriously! But one of the most interesting elements to me is the understanding that you go there to live until you die. Its like the last stair before heaven. I think there is an odd quality to living there because there is an expectancy of your death and your neighbors. Its not grim, but strange nonetheless. For example there is a custom of putting a white rose on display for whomever dies in the hallway. Every day the guests check this floral display, and every day there are new names. I cannot imagine what it must be like to live when you no longer are "working towards your dreams" but instead have boarded the ship to never never land and are waiting for take off.
Grandma & Me

My great uncle in "Mask & Wig" at Penn. University-a proper "Drag" club
He was quite the man

Grandma's Jersey Shore Crew
Only two women aside from my grandma in this photo are still alive-One of them made her the needlepoint to the left

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