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Entries in art (10)


Fear, Invitations, and a Little Film

This is what summer on Jen's block looks like.

The truth is, I am terrified to create.  Also I'm terrified not to. 

In the tension between these two things lives a little voice that says it would be so much easier if someone would just ask me to make something.  I know that art springs from a place of granting yourself permission, or maybe of a compulsion too strong to resist.  But there's still a part of me too timid to claim this for myself.

A year ago, Jen Lemen said, come here for a weekend and let's make some art.

And as I was boarding the plane I thought well, I couldn't ask for a more direct invitation than that.

I landed in the midst of a whirlwind of emotion and I watched through my camera, wondering if it was rude, or voyeuristic, or crazy, to record this stuff.  I decided to sit in the discomfort, and also in the love, just witnessing it.  I thought maybe the camera could hold space for all of us to process our own moment.  Mostly I wanted to be part of creating something that was both beautiful and true.  I hope we did that.

Today over at Hopeful World, Jen is releasing our little project to the light.  I am so grateful for the invitation to create with Jen and for the nights that I sat side-by-side with my friend Dustin editing. Let's make more things that are beautiful and true.


Visual Jazz

There was an invitation to the studio, permission to choose whatever colors drew him and to slap them on acrylic with the beautiful unselfconsciousness of an almost-four-year old.

I could learn something from you, Chris said to Ezra.


I witness it every day, unselfconsciousness being one of the primary gifts of early childhood, but damn if I can imagine how to embody it.

For Ezra there was the thrill of spray paint and color and tools.  He was reserved but alert, as he tends to be.

For me there was the pleasure of pulling back the curtain on something unusual and special,

of receiving kindness from a new friend,

of watching a kind of visual jazz unfold in front of me.


In The Studio

I got to interview Chris in February for a short film our mutual friend Dustin was making, and it really got me thinking about what it means to be gutsy in your own work, and about how much I need and want to harness the power of that in my own creative journey.  (I'm working on it.)

In the months since then Chris and Dustin continued to work on the piece and it's ready to view!  Looking at it now I have to say that I just love hearing Chris talk about the interplay of his passions and how they feed and inform each other, making each element stronger.  I was on the edge of my seat during the original interview hearing him talk about his process and it's fascinating to watch again.  

And finally, this piece is just stunningly beautiful - both Chris' paintings and Dustin's shooting.  Blow it up to full screen, and enjoy.


Signs and Surrender

Ezra has adopted a charming little 3-year-old-ism lately, when he doesn't get what he wants.  It goes something like, I never EVER get (fill in the blank) even if that is patently and demonstrably false.  Even if he just got exactly what he wanted five minutes ago or if exactly what he wants is promised to him five minutes from now.  But it's not RIGHT NOW, and therefore feels like Never Ever. 

I have been in quite a huff this week, feeling petulant and impatient for the life I want to finally start.  My internal iPod has been running the I never EVER get script on repeat and I have been moping around in a fashion totally unbecoming of an adult who already has more blessings that she deserves.

Then my friend Kelly called and said an intuitive told her to "Trust The Process," which made me sit up a little straighter because it is the precise mantra that arose at last fall's photography camp.  Kelly said she is excited to introduce me to a director she is working with and full of ideas and hope about artful collaborations.

Then I got an out-of-the-blue e-mail from an editor I love saying "when are you going to move to LA so you can work with me?  I have so many ideas I can't sleep at night."

Another friend pinged me to say that we have to catch up and she has ideas to share about work to do together.

Then a colleague cornered me and told me that it's time for me to be the change I want to see and make my work.

All this came in a handful of days this week when I was hell-bent on wallowing in stuckness, but even I was starting to brattily concede that the Universe might be trying to tell me something.


I opened Facebook and there was a message from my old friend Jackie, who is moving to San Francisco in a few weeks, asking me if I have a cruiser bike.

Let me preface this by saying that only a few days before, as a girl on a cruiser passed in front of my car, I said out loud to my mom I really want to get a cruiser bike like that, and I want it to have a basket and I want to be able to ride it to the studio that will house my new work life.

So I responded to Jackie that I don't have a cruiser but I'm dying to get one and if she has one she needs to offload before she moves I'm very interested. 

She wrote back that this is a bike her former husband (and my friend) Dylan gave her before he died and she's been wondering for a year what to do with it.  Yesterday morning she woke up with the answer that she needs to give it to me because I loved Dylan and he loved me and it might give me some joy to have something of his.

All of this is to say that I was resisting all that positive feedback that I have been getting from people all week, but then the cruiser bike landed in my lap.  So now I have to concede that, yes, Universe, I know you are listening.  Thanks for the sign.  I surrender.  I will trust your process.

a literal sign, from Camp Shutter Sisters last Fall


Lottery Dreams

Some of my favorite moments from the last few weeks of my iPhone 365 (+1) projectI like to think that I'm in touch with the zeitgeist, if not the actual current events of the day (since, you may recall, I turned off the news last year in an effort to retain my tenuous grip on sanity).  One byproduct of this willful ignorance is that I have become the human version of the "water cooler," which is to say that if it's big enough news that people talk about it around me it's probably Very Big News Indeed.  Big like, say, a $540 million jackpot.

I'm not much of a lottery player since I never have cash and also am not lucky in that random-drawing kind of way.  But a co-worker put together a lottery pool in the office yesterday and I figured whatthehell?  It's not like I want to be the lone employee left at the office if all my colleagues are suddenly raptured by the Mega Millions.

Like untold thousands of Americans yesterday, I then embarked on daydreaming about what I would do with my share of the office loot.  The first thing I noticed was that I don't want to change much.  My life is already filled with so much beauty that I wonder how I could possibly deserve it all.  Sure, I would probably trade in my 8-year-old car on something with fewer random rattles.  I would be happy to know that Ezra's college savings fund would be more, er, robust than it currently is.  I would definitely pursue my long-time dream of designing and building a custom home, but still in the neighborhood where I now live.  While I would likely quit my job, I certainly can't imagine a life that doesn't include work.  I love to work, I get satisfaction and meaning from my labor.  I guess I would just be more selective about the projects I undertake.

I would buy that new Nikon D800 I've been salivating over. 

And the 24-70mm 2.8 lens. 

I would push this dream of becoming an artist. 

I would act like someone who could not fail.

These thoughts crossed my mind and then I realized, I don't have to win half-a-billion dollars to do those things.  I am already cultivating my artist life.  I am already saving for the D800.  I could choose, today, to act like someone who can not fail.  If I could manage that, imagine the authentic meaning it would bring to my life.

I know I'm probably underestimating the psychic impact that being suddenly catapulted into the 1% would bring.  I might suddenly be turned into Gollum, corrupted and covetous of things that now barely ping my radar.  And on the infinitesimal chance that our numbers come up tonight, I'll be happy to take the opportunity to prove myself under those circumstances.

But noticing that my dreams don't require that kind of luck is its own kind of win.  Talent, work, and chutzpah?  Yeah, I'm going to need a whole lot of those.  But at least those are the things I don't have to leave to random chance.