I had one of those “ah-ha!” moments last year, only it happened kind of slowly. First I had my first ever portfolio review at a festival in Chicago. It was amazing and horrible all in one little day. There were extreme highs and extreme lows. Some people didn’t care one ounce about my portfolio, clearly just wanting to move on to something that was more their taste. Others had tear-down, biased negative opinions and others had just the opposite. And in between the doubt and confusion of those opinions, I found my truth. That is what we must do when we are confronted with opinions.
Next I, well…attended my own convention. I heard artists speak about their work and how they work, each so different, and I felt that I needed a change. I wanted to put into action what I had learned from my portfolio reviews and challenge myself to create in a different way. One thing that you must understand about me is that I am not great at sticking to a new way of creating. I often give up after two or even one attempts at it. But I was committed to changing my way of working as well as my business.
What did I do? I rented a studio. I built a giant box (as the other artists have come to know it) which is actually a 7ft x 7ft room inside my studio. I mounted my camera to the ceiling on a video slider. And I began filling the room.
I wanted to do something more hands-on and labor intensive. I wanted to build. I wanted to fail. I wanted to learn. I did all of those things over and over again. I built whole sets that never worked out. I spent money for the sake of experimentation, something I would never have invested in before but is, in fact, priceless. I awakened a part of my creativity I didn’t know that I had. And for all of those reasons this new series is a success.
I retained my creepy vibe throughout most of the images. I put more layered concept into the pictures. And I walked away feeling like I had accomplished what I set out to do one year ago when I thought of the idea for this series. What a feeling. To look back a year ago and see this girl who was confused by all of the opinions out there, trying to re-structure her work and business, unsure of where to go or what would work. And now I have a new body of work to share that I am so proud of.
The opening of the show is not until January so I won’t be sharing until closer to that time, but here are the behind-the-scenes photos, each taken with my assistant and friend Kelly! From yarn to molasses, wax to sand, and who can forget the flour…we had the most fun working in that studio, and this month I say goodbye to it. It was a lovely space, but nature is my canvas. I know that locking that door for the last time will be a wonderful feeling of closure and I’ll fondly say goodbye to a year that has taught me to commit, to be thoughtful, to take my time, and to believe in my vision.
Oh, and did I mention that I spent my day yesterday tearing down the little room we build, then re-building it inside a portable 15-foot pool, filling it with water to make it look flooded, and then tearing it down again for the final time? It was wild. And completely inspiring. And my whole body hurts from the effort. Worth it!