January 16, 2010
So here’s the thing. Since I finished grad school I’ve had difficulty readjusting to my normal life in general, and profound difficulty in particular in finding the creative means to move forward in my life as a professional artist. It has been like pulling teeth trying to force myself into any sort of working routine, and I’ve mostly been failing at that. My months-long near silence on this weblog is evidence to the deep chasm of creative vacuum in which I’ve been floundering. Then I got this new job, a limited term (5 month contract) assistant professor position at Nipissing University, filling in for two courses for someone who’s on maternity leave and one course for someone who’s on sabbatical. And, just as I’d hoped would happen, being around art students again and talking to them about their work is pulling me, emotionally, out of that slough of non-production, firing up my desire to make art again.
So then I make a flippant remark (about buffet restaurants having something to do with Manifest Destiny) and y’all call me out on it. Which you should, and please continue to do so, because I say a lot of bullshit things without really thinking and need to be called out on that and forced to explain myself. But thinking and writing are some of the things I’ve let myself get out of the habit of doing during my long wallow in self pity and creative blockage, and right at the moment all of those reawakening muscles are being used up in my teaching.
Also, I really don’t have much more than flippant things to say on the subject. In thinking a bit about what I meant by my remark and how best to clarify it, I realized that the whole thing could easily come across as something else, something repugnant that is in no way what I mean by my flippant remark. So I actually need to write something that’s not really about buffet and Manifest Destiny at all, but about some other things only slightly related (and much more important to me). But, quite frankly, today is not a day on which I am willing to spend the effort on it. I’ve got lessons to plan and slideshows to assemble for this week’s classes. I’ve got drawings of my own to work on. And I’ve got a strong desire to stay in my underwear all day,
kick back on the surprisingly comfortable pleather couch in my new accommodations (note obligatory student housing Van Gogh poster), and finish this obnoxious yellow-green shawl:
It’s going to take me a bit of time to get back into the habit of writing, just as it will to get into the habit of making work. It’ll happen.
In other news: I’ve been thinking a lot about the physical spaces in which I’ve been working (or trying to work), about how I’d ultimately like to arrange my working life, and what exactly I’m hoping to achieve with my printmaking. I currently rent studio space at the local artist-run print studio and have a supplementary work space (mostly for the sewing part of my work) in the front room of our house. Working at the Printmakers Forum is good in terms of having access to printing equipment I can’t afford, but the truth is I don’t like working in a shared space, and I especially don’t like my studio work being in any way connected to my community service (I’m also on the Board of Directors for the studio). I need to set up my own print studio. I need to put pressure on my dad to finish the etching press he started building for me almost ten years ago (the hard part, the rollers, is already done), and I need to start piecing together a working letterpress setup. I need to find a space to house both the print studio and everything from my front room space, and get my studio work the hell out of what should be a common living space in our home. And I need to find a way to make it all pay for itself.
What I would most like to do is establish a small press-slash-bindery from which I could provide small run high end printing and bookbinding services and teach courses, and in which I could comfortably set myself up to spend the rest of my time (non-space-paying-for-itself time) pursuing my own studio work. All in a space that isn’t subject to the decisions of other people, and that isn’t in my house. But, despite my time spent in the purgatory of retail management, I feel completely unprepared to embark on something like this with my current lack of business acumen and planning skills.
And while I was wishing aloud for some sort of course in how to do market research and write a business plan and build myself a job and a business out of essentially nothing, Peter suggested that perhaps I should go back to school and pursue a Masters of Business Administration. It would be intensive (13 months of two classes a day, 5 days a week), likely a little more than what I really need, and a journey into a whole world of thinking that’s completely foreign to everything I’ve ever done before, but it would sure as hell kick me back into the habit of constantly working (even if the working wouldn’t be in the studio), and if I did it in Windsor then the tuition would be free. I’ll admit that I’ve always been the sort of person who makes major life decisions seemingly at the drop of a hat, but that has mostly worked out well for me thus far. I’m seriously considering it, and am planning to contact the school on Monday to see if I can meet with someone there to determine whether the programme would be a good fit for me.
Hm. Up until now I’d been toying with the idea of applying to teachers’ college, even though I really don’t have much desire to teach anything but art, or at any level other than university (which I’m already qualified to do, obviously). Is it possible I’m just addicted to school?
Posted by jodi on January 16, 2010 at 2.49pm