G-3 progress Report

During my time at Goddard I have discovered a great deal aboyt myself as an artist. Considering that is the main reason I chose to go to Goddard in the first place, I’m quite happy with the progress I have made. I was unable to define my own art practice to begin with, confused as to whether or not i even had one. I was unsure what Interdisciplinary art was, and if I would even consider myself an artist at all, much les an interdisciplinary one. But I have choser to try to trust the process and I am beginning to understand. It has taken three semesters, but I am finally able to articulate my art practice as well as understand the process.

My art practice is an intimate act in which I seduce my subject into becoming many different mediums in order to fill the potential of the medium as well as my own needs. I carry it across the threshold of disciplines, inviting the discreet and verbose in turn to add their own unique flavor to the private act of creation because I believe that art is not just one area but many, it is not just visual but cognitive and sensory and analytical as well. The sensual process is more important than the final climax, as I learn more during than after as I believe all people do. The journey is the experience, the destination is the end, and I am in no hurry to reach the end, I prefer the build up of foreplay.

My art practice is a ritual of integrating art at every possible moment, spontaneous, unorthodox, but still relevant to life, society, human consciousness, the subconscious. It is a visual philosophy that moves and grows, changing and developing every day because I move and grow and develop everyday. A new perspective a different view, a way to look at my work and my world differently through artists eyes. It is a work in progress, just as I am a work in progress. It will never be fully developed because I will never be fully developed because I choose to never be fully developed. To become complete is to end, I do not wish for it to end.

My rigorous exploration in context to my art practice has no boundaries. If I find one I push past it, breaking down my own walls to discover more about myself and my art practice because without this exploration, without breaking down these walls art and the artist become stagnant. I explore not only different media, but also methodologies, theories, other academic disciplines as well as outsider information and art. Art is so much more than just a painting. The ideas that go into the art, the research and the inspiration behind add so much more to the work than if you don’t know, or don’t care to find out. I find that many times the untrained artist, without the college degree is far more perceptive and original since they do not have the boundaries that traditional art schools have placed on so many artists. Boundaries that tell us we have to paint a certain way or use certain materials. I feel that every great breakthrough in art came from the outside. The new ideas came from the people who were not trained to believe the hype, the ideas came from the people who thought for themselves and did not follow blindly. I wish to be a person who is an amalgamation of both. I want to know the scholars way, but also want to be able to not follow what is said and make my own decisions about what is good, what materials I should use, which work is compelling, and how I should display, behave, project, or any thing else. Goddard has brought me to a point in which I realize the propaganda from the art schools is just rhetoric meant to confine their pupils to a certain style, be it abstract, traditional, or other. I believe school use this means of control in order to better define themselves. If all the students from a school have a similar style or all work in one ir two main areas of art, then the college becomes more specialized and therefore more sought after for certain artists.

I believe that anything can be art, it is the work that is put into it, the thought, the intention. To claim that an object is not art, simply because of the subject matter negates entire areas of art from art history. If the artist creates their art and becomes something greater than just the image itself, if it becoems the abtract idea or the epitome of a thought, it does not matter if it is a painting of puppies and kitties. It has becoems art because it has had the extra effort put into it, be it thought, work or discussion.

My work evolves from the exploration that I do because I believe exploration is the foundation of any great idea. Research is the method in which we learn about the past ideas and can build on them. When we explore we find information that is different, not the same as everyone else's and we find it for ourselves. Walking through an abandoned house I may see a crude drawing that gives me an idea for an animation, changing from a simple animation to a short video essay to an installation with collage and digital media, I search my own depths as well as that of other artists and theories. I try to find out what makes something tick, why it works, or doesn’t work, what could make it better or more interesting. These are the areas that inspire me. If I can figure out how something works I can make my own, I like to take knowledge from other places and intergrate it with what I am already doing, in this way I develop more and more ideas. In my explorations I have tried different art arena’s that I never would have tried before such as doll making, sewing, and puppeteering, they interested me, but because of imaginary constraints put on me from art school and art teachers, i believed that they were not “real” art. Through my explorations I have found my own definition for art and my own opinions of these objects. I understand that others definitions of art and their constraints are not mine. I do not have to agree with what they say about “what art is” unless I happen to agree with them. It doesn’t matter if they are my teacher or another student. Goddard has taught me that what I feel is art is as relevant as someones elses idea of art, I just have to be able to back it up with knowledge, reasearch and writing.

I have written and finished stories, which is something I was never able to do in the past because I never had the confidence or the motivation to finish something I felt I did not do very well. Past experiences taught me to not do something if it would be seen by others and it wasn’t as “good” as it should be. One of the reasons it has taken me three semesters to really become comfortable at Godard is because I had an experience my first semester which made me uestion the validity of the “aceptance” of the program. Two students scoffed at my work, unaware that I was behind them and could hear everything. It took the next two semesters for me to understand that it is not every student here at Goddard that would do that, only a rare few. Where as at a trsditional grad school there would be far more people who gave opinions and critics rather than critical discourse. Once I was more confortable, and realized that there were several other students around who were feeling the same things I was feeling I began to look closer at what my ieas were about art.

My time at Goddard has given me the strength to try things I never would have tried before. The support, the openness the confidence that the advisors and (most) other students instill in you gives you the power to do these things. I have taken media I already used and found new ways to use it expanding on the knowledge I already had and making my skills stronger so that I can be more confident. I have made devices that will help me in my goals, such as a car camera mount, so that I can fulfill my aspirations and see my ideas come to fruition. I have built areas designed especially for my artworks, such as a specially made work bench for animating, and I have given myself space in order to do my work so that I can concentrate on my art practice and give it the attention it deserves rather than being pulled in many different directions at the same time. This is important because as a single mom I tend to not have many things for me. Space, time, money, and energy all go to my kids and their needs. Goddard has given me not only the power but the need to have these things for myself.

I have begun putting myself in my art, as a subject and as a narrator. I am no longer a hidden person behind the brush or camera but a part of my own art. I have always felt absent from my art since I stopped dancing. As a choreographer I was typically one of my own dancers and therefor had even more control over the work. Since becoming strictly visual arts I have lost that extra control. In some cases, as in my photography it has been good. But in other areas, such as video, and painting I felt disconnected somehow. Now I have records of myself painting as well as my own voice telling me the stories. It gives me back an aspect of control that I felt was gone. My health issues which affect my memory are another contributing factor to putting myself in my art. I may forget that I painted something, but if there is a record of me painting the image, then it feels more real. I have begun a wiki page, which was not an area of web design I was familiar with before. The wiki page has become my portfolio in many ways, housing all my writing, video, and still artworks as well. I am a computer geek at heart and always have been. I made extra money fixing computer problems for friends and family as well as building web sites and routing network for people. It feels only natural to me to have everything online. I like the simultaneous anonymity and freedom that it offers.

I have brought much of my new knowledge into the classroom, sharing discoveries with students, getting ideas for things to teach in my classroom, finding ways to make things work that I would not have tried before. I believe that our public schools classrooms are lacking in new ideas and ways for children to express themselves. Imagination has been lost and more and more children at younger and younger ages are beginning to loose their drive to create. Years ago you could have depended on a first grade student to want to try something to new, to be proud of his creation no matter what, now I have students in first grade and even kindergarten who do not try and say they can not do it. I expect this from older kids, but not the young ones who should not have lost the need to create and try and explore yet. Giving students more freedom to learn on their own and explore on their own buy creating new experiences like allowing students to use a digital camera to create a collage centered around contrast, or learning about Jackson Pollock and then painting like him give students a sense of discovery and accomplishment that can not be gotten from the “traditional” means of teaching art. The implementation of new ideas into the classroom from my own explorations not only serves to strengthen my art practice but guide children toward a better understanding of art as well.

Before I didn’t have a practice, before Goddard, before Grad school I only created artwork in order to fulfill an assignment, or to complete a commission. I had been told so many times, art is for the viewer, art is for the viewer, that I had begun to think that there wasn't a point in creating something for myself if art is only for the viewer, because I don’t know what the viewer wants unless they tell me. My work was good, and It was complete, but if I didn’t have an assignment I didn’t create. I would loose my ability to do certain things, because of lack of practice and I would have to relearn. Now I feel I am more constant, I still have days, where I don’t “Do” anything creative, but I will still find myself looking at movies, tv, web sites, and analyzing, or interpreting them. A switched has been flipped and My brain is always on art now, even when I’m not creating. Goddard has taught me to look at everything and see art, or to see the art in every person and every situation. Typically I multitask by creating doodles while other things are going on, and I believe, thanks to Goddard that these are just as much art work as other examples of paintings and drawings. I can see the art in myself all the time and recognize it as what it is.

When I have ideas I write them down somewhere, I have memory issues due to health problems and writing them down helps me to remember what I’ve said and done. My wiki page is a great help in this regard, because I put every thought I have there and go back and look at it later. I try to explain my artworks to myself, so that I can better explain them to other people and so that I can better explain why I make what I make. I think it is important to know why we create what we create. Not just make our art and not think about or discuss it. I find that I am not a forethought but rather and after thought person. I create, I don’t think about, I do what I “want” to do, then look at it afterwards and find that I had purpose the whole time, I just don’t see it till it’s done. This is what art is, it is an after thought.

Art can be anything, anywhere, anyone, anyhow, but it is always the after thought. The person creating something may not see it as art, but if after it is created someone else sees it this way, it becomes art to that person. Someone may create a work, and intend for it to be a great art piece, but it is what happens after, that makes it the art. The paintings sitting my attic may have been art once, but they are just in storage now. If no one can see the work, it can not be art, and it is the person viewing who decides if it is art or not. If the artist views it and sees it as art, then it is. It is art because they think it is art, because they see it as art. If another comes along and says it is not art, then it is not art for that person. we will not be able to convince everyone what is and is not art, because our opinions differ so greatly from one person to the next. My own personal theory of art, is that art is everything and nothing is art. It is in your opinion, my opinion, his opinion. There is no definite, there is not a clear definition because it is based on opinion mainly. We have guidelines, we have aesthetics that make it more or less art,but those aesthetics change generation to generation and even day to day sometimes, because it is opinion. Art is whatever you want it to be. When discussing art, we are discussing opinions. Opinions can change, they can be influenced. So during critical discourse between the artist and a viewer, his artwork could go between being art, to not, and back again several times. The conversation and opinions of the art are like water, the flow can be directed, but not stopped, the art will be art as long as someone thinks it is. I prefer to direct the flow of the water, to find out why the artists thinks it is art, what their reasons are for creating it. I do not have opinions on whether it is art or not. Everything is art and nothing is art, but discussing it is critical to it’s existence. If it is forgotten in an attic, not viewed or discussed, it is not even there because there is no discussion about it.

Sadie Bennings and Bill Viola’s artwork makes me think of bringing things to life, bringing them back from the attic to discuss. Though done in completely different ways, both artists bring topics or images to light that many people either ignore or forget about. Su Friedrich brings everyday life to our attention, pointing out the art that is right in front of our faces. I identify with these video/film artists, because of their passive way of showing life, of opening topics that may not have been discussed before, or that may have been forgotten. I like to show the world in a passive way as well. people tend to see things when they are looking intently and in Viola’s work you look intently waiting to see what happens and concentrate more and think more therefore bringing a whole other aspect to the art from within yourself. Sadie Bennings work shows us quick clips of normal life paired with narration that doesn’t obviously fit. When you focus and concentrate however, you begin to see relations and connections you didn’t see before. Her work creates depth in thinking as well, that isn’t there for artist who give you the answers.

I also have a darker side, a side that likes more aggressive art where violence befalls the naive and monsters roam the streets. Maybe it comes from a dark childhood, or maybe it’s an innate thing, but I’ve always been drawn to darker art forms as well as stories and movies. Artists like Edward Gorey and Jhonen Vasquez or Gris Gimsley, who’s unique styles and dark themes make them really stand out from other illustrators. They create images that are of children but not meant for children. Or images meant for children but at the same time somewhat scary. Dark themes, gothic and vampirish. They go hand in hand with Edgar Allen Poe. Sometimes I identify with an artist because they are what I would like to work towards becoming. Someone who is strong and has carved their own nitch and didn’t listen when the people told them to give up. Georgia O’Keefe, Annie Leibovitz, Tim Burton are a few. Also artists who really standup for what they believe in, like Annie Sprinkle, Eve Ensler and poet Bukowski. I would like to think that I can be that kind of person, that I will stand up for what I believe in when the time comes. Many times I will relate to these artist because they have a certain grounding in the world that is very realistic, but also somewhat insane. I feel that I am much the same way. I have a grounding, I realize when things don’t seem right, but yet I still find myself in insane situations and feeling rather out of it. I day dream about things people don’t even want to hear about but yet I manage (mostly) to keep my world together and intact, raising three kids and paying the bills. Sometimes I feel too domestic, too, grounded, the crazy, the Tim Burton, the Edward Gorey, helps me realize I am still an artist.

Some of the most profound influences in my life comes from the pornography industry. In the porn industry, women are paid better than men doing the same job. Women typically are more comfortable with who they are and are able to openly discuss sexuality. The need to be “defined” in mens terms, like in other industries, is not there. Women from the porn indistry are more likely to state their opinions without holding back in fear of what will be thought of them. Many porn stars go on to create their own sex related art and many porn stars think of their sew work as their art, having sex to make a statement. I feel that the “ethics” of female porn stars are stronger than those of women who allow themselves to be forced into a working woman mold.

Whore carnival has probably been the most influential book I have read the entire time I have been at Goddard. It helped me in many ways as well as brought to light many things that I didn’t realize. It made me feel better about myself and my experiences, and I know now that there are other people out there like me and I am not the only one who feels strongly in favor of sex, prostitution, and other sex trade jobs. Ascending Peculiarity, an Edward Gorey book, also helped me in the same way. To know that there are other artists out there, who would prefer to not engage in the “art world” quite so much and prefer their solitude to the art gallery. These books were not only helpful but comforting as well.

Much of my influential reading has been online rather than in books. http://flag.blackened.net/daver/anarchism/ is the anarchists library. Emma Goldman has always been a big influence in my life, they think the way I think, look at the world the way I look at the world. The writings of Joseph Labadie, who I assume is an ancestor of my mentor John Labadie, but I never had the guts to ask him, and of course the poetic terrorism by Hakim Bey Is a primer for anarchists beliefs based on (possibly the book Fight Club (another all time favorite) by Chuck Palahniuk, and influenced my art work a great deal. Again this was an example of finding that there are other people who have the same thoughts and ideas, but in this case it was put in such a poetic verse as to inspire art, as well as my own writing.

I am heavily influenced by movies and music, possibly more than anything else. Tim Burton, Buster Keaton, M. Night Shymalan, Stanley Kubrick, Michel Gondry, David O. Russell, all have had a huge influence on what I want to make, how I want to make it and how I choose to make it look. Much of this, I think, is based on my societal views. Living on the outside looking in, and having grown up in a very negative household I tended to see what was wrong with the world. But in those problems and mistakes I found beauty. I found the fear and the terror, the pain and the harshness just as beautiful as everything else. I think that is what a lot of being an artist is about, finding beauty when no one else can see it. It is our job to discover whats right in front of us and show it to everyone else.

Sociology and psychology are just two of the different branches of knowledge that is routinely pulled into my art. Living on the fringes of society, (mental health issues, sex trade worker, suicide attempts) and being a part of an alternative culture and lifestyle for so long (bisexual, gothic, punk, striaghtedge, anarchist, pagan, atheist) has given me an appreciation for the odd and often dark, cynical, and sarcastic areas of life. I like to look at people and think why? Why are they the way they are. Did they have similar situations in their life? What makes it happen? The inner workings of man and society interest me as an anarchist, an artist and a person. The more we know the more we can add to our art and the more informed our art will be. I have an interest in genetics, I did a little on it in a piece about sex, art and Japanese pop culture. I believe that there are far more traits that are genetic, things that you wouldn’t think are genetic, than we realize. It is a topic I would like to look into more. I believe I could create several works based on the ideas behind genetics; video, paintings, and writings and the information would tie in so closely to my work with society, many interesting connections could be made.

Relationships and social dynamics are a big part of my art. Family, friends, lovers, enemies, these are all regular topics in my art. All the different aspects of our lives directly effect our work and none so strongly as our relationships. They are a part of our life that is always there and always working, like blinking or breathing there is always a relationship happening. Not just between people either, there is the relationship between yourself and the materials you are working with, the relationships that are not going on that are affecting you by not happening, the relationship between you and the air around you. it is just another aspect of life that I am very attuned to. Government and religion are not left out. I identify as a pagan anarchist, but I should probably be an agnostic anarchist, and on some days, atheists anarchist. I like to draw from the pagan beliefs as part of my beliefs, but any type of “person” watching over us is not quite what I would agree with. I mostly discuss these topics in my writing, but occasionally they will find their way into my visual art as well. I feel ill-equipped at times to delve deeply into government, and I have a respect for peoples personal religious beliefs so much that even if I disagree with what they are saying I do not voice my opinion. I feel that they are welcome to believe what they want, as long as they are not trying to force it on me. As a life long anarchist I am not very familiar with our specific government, the people, the aspects. I understand the policies and see the issues at hand, but in general I believe we are better off governing ourselves. It couldn't be any worse. At the same time I do feel somewhat guilty for not being more into politics, but much like religion, I believe that people are welcome to their own opinion.

I feel a connection with the street artists, I was a tagger and muralists, and see the works of Banksy and other “guerilla Street Artists” and I feel that is where the real art is. It is far more true than any art created in a studio. It is being made to make people think, it is the after thought. They don't care if you know their name or what you think of the art, as long as you see it and think something. If my art has a political or social context I would want it to be in context with the artists who leave their mark, but not their name. The context of making a statement to whoever wants to see it, read it, or whatever and may be changed. I want my art to affect people, to wake them up and make them consider things differently.

Crossing topics, bringing in areas of thought and mixing them with different mediums is what I believe interdisciplinary art is. Bringing it all together. Making everything that is a part of you, come together. This is my artwork, I don’t leave anything out, I include it all. My feelings, my ideas, my studies, everything. If I left something out, it wouldn't be me. I want all of me to be in my art, every nuance, every cell, every endearment and annoyance. I want my art to be my representation, my avatar. I am my art and my art is me.

Next semester I will complete my practicum.
1. getting to know you. Building social skills through photography. I will either approach people or set up in a public area where they can approach me and ask them if I may take their picture,I will explain that I am an artist working to try to reconnect with the world, I will explain to them that they will need to sign a consent form in order to have their picture published, that this is for grad school, and that they will be able to view and download their picture online after halloween. If they agree I will give them a business card, one side with the information and a thank you and the other side with a drawing done by me, then I will take a picture, with them holding the business card, showing the artwork and have them tell me something about themselves. The words will be recording along with the date, and place. I want to do this in more than one area, so I would travel to different areas. I would like to gather 500 people. When I have my images I will build a web site that will showcase the people and their interesting facts. In terms of a timeline, I would create my web site, consent forms and business cards in the first packet period and begin arranging for places to stay throughout the 2nd period. The third packet period will be set aside for the main part of the practicum. I will leave the 23rd or 24th of september and spend the next three weeks (or less) traveling to areas that I have never seen, trying to meet new people, photographing them and the landscapes. I will try to post a vlog as often as I can. After returning home I will begin the editing and uploading process. I will hopefully have the web site finished and running by halloween at which point the people who have had their pictures uploaded will be able to evaluate me. Photography is my first love, it has always been with me everywhere I’ve gone. I am more comfortable with a camera in my hands than anything else. Considering the HUGE amount of fear I feel about this project, I want something of a security blanket. I’m not sure how to put this … I want to do a snapshot of the people I meet, if I had a polaroid and enough instant film I would actually use that instead of my digital. Maybe it’s a nostalgia thing, but I envision this as the modern day version of the spring break trip in which you get Polaroid's of all the people you meet, where you put some random fact on each picture to help you better remember who they are.

2. I am the community in need and I am entering into the larger community of the world, I am working toward being able to interact with real people, I am trying to become a better artist and understand what it means to be an artist. I want to create relationships, no matter how brief, and step into the unknown. I am attacking, head on, my fear of other people. I am moving out of my online community and teaching community and into “the real world.” I am looking for the threads of similarities between all people, no matter where they are from, who their god is, or what they look like. This is very hard for me, I am scared to death to do this. I am a very disconnected person in a very disconnected world and I am going to try very hard to reconnect to the living breathing people out there in the community. I believe that this adventure will do that because I feel that I was once a much more outgoing person and I believe that person is just lost. Forcing myself to be outgoing and friendly will help me reconnect with the lost part of myself as well as the lost community that I hide away from. The world has become more fragmented and disconnected as well, there is a general feeling of alienation in many people. The necessity to converse face to face is no longer there, but the need is and it is not being met. So in a way I am fighting and trying to deconstruct the text based world we live in by giving this opportunity to people to reconnect and by so doing fighting my own alienation.

3. My collaborators will be the general public. People that I do not know, that I will have to approach in some way. People that I will engage in a brief relationship based in simply the circumstances that are surrounding us. Making connections in a disconnected world. My intentions are to offer to take everyone’s photograph. I am not judging on place, age, visual context or any other “reason.” My choices will be based on who I encounter. I am not good at approaching people, I‘m not good with people in general. I will create a site once the work is finished to showcase the images and to theorize the similarities between the people from different areas. People will be able to go and see themselves, comment on the photographs, evaluate me as an artist and as a person in which they engaged. THe patrons will walk away with a small piece of art by me and they will be able to have their picture from the internet if they so choose.

4. This is (Hopefully) going to help me become less afraid of socializing. Will give me more experience in meeting people. In order for this to work the way I want it to, I will have to approach strangers and ask them if I can take their pictures. Some people will feel honored and possibly excited, I would like to think they all would, but I am realistic. I imagine I will have to approach aloe of people to get my goal of 500. I imagine many people will not care, they may never even go to the web site. Some will go to the web site and be upset that their picture is up, even if they have signed the consent form. Depending on the area some people will think nothing of having their picture taken (NYC) and other areas I might find a lot of resistance, (rural pennsylvania?) I believe that this experiment has the ability to connect people together. My hope is that many people will go look at the finished web site and be moved by my experience. I plan on posting a vlog detailing the successes and failures of each day.

5. I will need to have permission forms and information cards made so that I can get people’s permission and so that they can see the images for themselves. I will need to stick to adults, no kids or below 18 people. I will need to approach people in a professional respectful manner (WHich is exactly what I am working on.) In some cases I may set up a sign, explaining what I'm doing and allow people to come to me. I will stay in public places when shooting and be sure there is no one else in the frame.

6. I want to video the traveling, take photo’s of the landscapes as well as the people and journal the event as it happens. I will have an area on the web site where people can leave feedback and hopefully some of the people would come on there and leave comment as well. I plan to preface this project with the explanation of my introverted-ness, my issues with people and how it has been a problem in my life, I will offer for people to evaluate me (possibly on video camera) after the shoot. I hope that someone would be inspired to possibly try to face their own fears or they would learn to reconnect. Maybe people would be inspired by the web site to get to know more people. I hope that my children will look on this later in their lives as a time that I really took a step forward to improve myself. I hope that some people will just appreciate the pictures themselves for their artistic value and my work for the emotional value.

7. I will personally feel successful as soon as I take the first picture, but the more I do it, the more experienced I become with people and the more successful I will be as a social person. I will ask the people what they personally got out of the experience after explaining that I am trying to reconnect with the world and give people a new connection. I hope that people will walk away with a new feeling of connectedness. They can answer it on camera, on paper or on the internet, or not at all. I will also leave an area on the web site where people can leave comments. I believe my success will be measured by how I feel about the situation more than anything else. If it becomes too difficult and I give up, I will be less successful, if I continue till I run out of money, time or gas, I will feel more successful.

Study plans

Evaluations

Bibliography

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