Reactions and Responses in the Age of Uncertainty
A couple months ago, I relocated to Los Angeles, California from West Lafayette, Indiana. The move was made after completing one out of three years of a MFA program at Purdue University. There were many reasons I left Indiana before completing my degree, however the umbrella reason was simply "it wasn't the program for me."
Even though I had lived in Los Angeles county before I left to go to school, exactly one year prior, upon my return I found everything to be drastically different. For example, I am now living in the heart of the city versus living in a suburb on the edge. As one can imagine, the intensity of living in the city is certainly amplified. I consider myself quite a sensitive person, so I constantly feel the burden of this intensity... for better or for worse.
My initial concerns upon my return were focused on starting work and supporting myself immediately. Thus, I took on two jobs and fell into working seven days a week. I must admit, this was not the best idea and I feel that I am sacrificing a lot to work in this manner. Therefore, I understand that this lifestyle is temporary and serves the purpose of allowing myself to tread the waters of uncertainty and stay afloat whilst figuring out the next step. Surprisingly, I have been able to start a variety of art projects in my spare time. There are three separate avenues I am currently strolling down, and I feel fairly positive about all three.
Firstly, I have started a series of "Nighttime Landscapes."
These paintings are very loose in regards to paint application and they have allowed me to let go of my tendency for strict planning and control. Most of the time I am painting with black oil paint straight from the tube and applying it on the surface with a palette knife. I have been enjoying both the process and the result of these paintings. I currently have a box of beautifully custom-made wood panels from Rex Art Supplies which are begging me to fix the Nighttime Landscapes to them.
Additionally, the second avenue I've been meandering down is a series of small 8X10 portraits of Rockstars who've past away. I am calling this series "Dearly Departed". As with the paintings shown above, these are all still works-in-progress.
Thematically, I feel that these portraits reflect my dedication to music as a source of influence. This is as literal about my source of influence as I've ever been. In practice, these portraits are forcing me to work exclusively from photographs and "fill in" missing information by imagining the correct structure of the face.
One of the reasons I am taking on these smaller formatted work, is because 1) They are easier to work on in the spare time I find for myself and 2) I want to create things that people can afford to purchase, as my desire is to send these works out into the world.
Lastly, the third avenue I am going down is experimenting with the world of stop-motion animation. This is one of the newest ventures which I am the most excited about, as it has created an entirely new dimension to my work: moving drawings. With animation, I am able to create a narrative which is more pronounced than ever before.
I feel that one of the responsibilities of artists today is to react and respond to their world. We are living in the age of fear and uncertainty, and this is starting to manifest in my work much more than it has previously to now. I feel more attuned to my work because of this, and that feeling is satisfying. I can't say that I am fully happy with my work, as it is the reaction to a lot of the unhappiness, anxiety, fear, and concern I have with the political and environmental spheres in the United States and globally, but it makes me feel more genuine to know that the separation between what I'm feeling internally and the work I'm creating externally is starting to close in poignant ways.