And like that, another year is in the books. While there are some cracks in the self imposed pandemic isolation of the last few years, I’ve grown to accept that this is probably how things are just going to be now. In the past I’d run down my end of the year studio update with lists of cool accomplishments, travel spots and fun, dumb stories that don’t fit into other places. This year I’m just trying to make it to the finish line, so bear with me.
A Year’s Worth of Artwork
In the studio, I had a largely productive year! While things are never as productive as you ever want them, I accomplished a lot! My painting rack has some nice, new finished paintings. I took some weird chances here or there, and approached my work with the luxury of working without time constraints, which seemed to help immensely. I still have a bunch of loose ends to tie up in the early months of next year, but can finally put a lot of the weighty work of the past few years behind me and start fresh.
For the most part, I haven’t really had the urge to put together a big, extravagant painting show. During the pandemic, there really wasn’t much choice. Now it feels like it’s a decision. I have very mixed feelings about this. Artwork should be seen, and an audience is vital to completing its mission. On the other hand, due to whatever circumstances and character flaws, I’m entirely lacking the infrastructure and support to put my work out in front of the proper eyes. My tolerance for bullshit is over. I could give a fuck about ever standing around my paintings at a First Friday in front of a bunch of drunk frat boys trying to finger their sorority girlfriends while sipping on a plastic glass of cheap wine.
This stubbornness/faux self worth/snobbishness is entirely on me, and I accept that. For fuck’s sake, it took me four sleepless nights to set up automated feeds from my website to automatically post on facebook and twitter. While there’s always a performative/outgoing part of my nature, my reasonable, introverted self is winning the battle.
Artwork and Recent Failures
I did put together my holiday art market, and it’s been a doozy. I worked tirelessly on a bunch of weird/tangential projects. I’m always comfortable treading down new pathways as it always sharpens and strengthens my artwork and thoughts. The projects I put together for this – Shroud of Turin Beach Towels and Uncast Stones, prints, and shirts, fake ads and a carnival like atmosphere all arrived in places that I enjoyed and felt proud of.
Again, it just comes down to my own failings as far as promotion and infrastructure. Sure, I’ve somehow been able to break even on this whole debacle, but its hard to feel satisfied with all of my efforts. To some extent, my entire art career has relied ‘on the kindness of others’. I’ve never taken for granted the people and places that have helped me out in the past – there are way too many people in Austin and Kansas City that have gone out of the way to help me out in so many innumerable ways – but I’ve been set adrift for the past few years and it’s time to try to find my bearings once again.
I’ve resolved, to whatever degree I can these days, to reach further out this year and make some new connections and reconnect with the outside world again. Whether this is through galleries, alternative spaces, grants, foundations, etc., it’s just another layer of work that I’ll add to my already filled dance card. I’ve always felt those things sorta take care of themselves on their own. Its becoming clear now is the time to push that edge, for better or worse.
A Modest Outlook?
I’d like to report that I have great optimistic feelings for 2023, but I’d be lying. The stress and ultimately minuscule payoff of the Holiday Market is another reminder of just how much work I have to put in while creating new artwork and balancing classes and all the other little things that keep me going.
I really have enjoyed writing reviews on my website lately. I’m hoping to add some fun east coast reviews from my year end trip out east. After an absolutely devastating crash that nearly wiped out my entire site, I somehow recovered everything. In this disaster’s wake, I streamlined the back-end that actually makes it the fittest and most robust its ever been. My website ranks ridiculously high in a lot of searches and feels like an underutilized bullhorn.
Every year as a full time artist has brought different accolades, problems, and anxieties. You learn to better spot problems and issues, can budget and plot better, but yet the unexpected exists because this is life! It does get exhausting sometimes trying to continuously roll with the punches over and over again. There is no choice otherwise. My brain, my life and my heart offer me no other choices. All I can do year in, year out is to continue to fight, take my small victories, and keep pushing forward.
Music of the Month:
Well, it’s a double! Whether one is for the month and one the year, or one this year and one next, or however you’d like to parse this up, go for it! You’re the reader, your opinions are valid, as long as you’re not a Nazi, then just go fuck yourself.
So here they are – both from the Flaming Lips – Fight Test and The Gash, full volume would add to the appreciation: