Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Oh, Grad School!

MFA trouble.

Not to be a negative Nelly, but I want to get a few key complaints down so that I don’t forget…or block them out later.  I want to appreciate the good things and most likely will, but I don’t want to remember my grad school years with completely rose-colored glasses, either.

My ideas don’t flow like they used to.  I felt much more uninhibited at 21 than I do at 31.  Things are so much more complicated now.  It’s not enough to flash on an idea, grab the supplies and get to work.  Now, there’s so much hemming and hawing, I change ideas in mid-creation.  I think it might have to do with the fact that I feel like I have to make art that is good enough for my committee- not me- that I forget what it’s like to be inspired and not have any deadlines.  (I know my art-making process was like that once.) 

I got bitched-slapped by my committee the other day.  I think that I was making work about hiding one’s true nature from the public at large, about trying to hide in general and trying to set out to convince my audience that small, intimate spaces are wonderful things. I wanted to call it “Claustrophilia, The Love of Enclosed Space”.  How I was going to wrap that up-I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter now anyway, because I’ve basically been reassigned to making art about bacteria-type creatures that flourish in a dilapidated space.  It’s still interesting, but this is NOT MY IDEA.  I’ve basically been told what do, even how I can go about doing it.  I didn’t think that I would be directed like this.  However, I think that it is my own fault.  If A.  I had been more articulate about describing my work’s message to my committee, maybe I could’ve convinced them otherwise. B. If I was better at rendering my forms- just being better that making shit in general- then maybe I could’ve convinced them of my thesis’ merit.   C.  If I had spent less time experimenting with plastic and nylon and knew how to fucking sculpt, I might have made different forms that would have been appealing and not repelling.

Ce la vie.  This is how I learn- by falling flat on my superior face.

I have no idea how to claw my way out of the hole I’ve now dug for myself.  Apparently, my thesis show is going to be MASSIVE!  The best use of space EVER!  Constructed and manipulated!

I know how to make small things.  I do not know how to rearrange 2000 square feet by myself.  Just gonna dive in head first I guess, and hope that it all works out for the best and that the end product is so impressive that I’ll be hired to do commissioned work after this is all over!  Thank god I’m friends with the wood shop guy.

It’s too bad that I couldn’t have been a carpenter instead of a photo assistant.  Yarr.

My thesis.  I’d like to talk about it now, so that in 5 months when the thing is done, I can look back and say “I was so worried about it not being able to come together. But what do you know, it turned out fine!”

I have two bundles of 6 –foot-long nylon “bags” that hang from the celing and drip pink plastic.  I have two nine-foot-long “bulbs” that sprout petals and hang from the wall.I  have six golden-brown 36 in. diameter plastic “bowls” waiting for use.  I have many, many pink plastic "abalones-in-shells" forms waiting to be displayed. I have two abandoned farmhouse with bedrooms waiting to be photographed.  I have the Chapman Gallery all to myself this weekend.

What to do where to start how to begin?

This shouldn’t be a huge concern right now, or even ever, and I hardly want it to become a self-fufilling prophesy, but I am really afraid that I’m going to get too excited about my show and invite everyone I know, only to not have anyone show up, because Kansas is too boring, too far away and “Can’t you just send me pictures?”  Most little girls dream about their wedding day- what type of dress and flowers and church.  I freaking dreamt about my art openings!  I remember being in 6th grade and picturing myself as a 25-year-old with gallery representation!  Yeah, well, what did I know…it’s taking a little bit longer than that.  Whatev.

No panic yet.  Everything gonna be alright. 


  1. Can I see some work-in-progress photos?

  2. The Wright Brothers' mother would say, "if you get it right on paper if will fly." Whenever they'd crash, one would remind the other of that.

    Glad to hear your trials and tribulations. It seems that those grad students that have doubts do the best.

    Good luck,


  3. Rambling is good. Writing is good. Reading it afterwards is sometimes ruff. But keep up the blog it will help!

    You are seeing how the Game is is ALL a game. Jump thru their hoops, right now you have no real choice. BUT you will not sell yourself out. You will remain true to yourself and your style and your passion.
    (and your pink abolones in shells)

    The day of your Art Opening WE will all be there. All of us excited to love your work and support you. We'll even bring cake...ya like wedding cake?! (-;

    You are more than "just a Superior Face!" You are made of Steele.

    Everything gonna be alright.
    Yer Aunt Renee