Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lester Merriweather

Lester Merriweather might have been my favorite speaker so far (except maybe Hamlett Dobbins.) He didn’t have a power point, which made it more casual, but it wasn’t like he was floundering for things to say. He was well spoken and gave good advice and anecdotes, though it would have been nice to see examples of his work. Having him sit and not have a presentation made it easier to ask questions, which I think we (hopefully) asked more of this time.

Lester was also a good speaker to have because his history is closely related with ours being that he went to school at MCA, and we can relate to the experiences he had and how he used them to his benefit. I think it was really helpful to hear how hard he had to try, and re-try to get opportunities. Knowing that not all successful people are successful right off the bat restores my confidence. I also really appreciated how honest Lester was about using his contacts to his benefit, and how he keep up with all the people in the art world he meets, and because of that he gives other people opportunities while furthering his career at U of M and as an artist. I did find it rather amusing that he found us on facebook, but I certainly don’t mind. Generally Lester seemed really approachable and honest, which I find really helpful in terms of contacting him again if I decide to do so.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mira Schor

I found these essays by Mira Schor interesting to read. I find them very relevant to me, being that I am in art school, especially “On Failure and Anonymity.” It did not however crush my dreams, I have realized the truths of being an artist for a while now, though she explains it so well. I think this essay should be passed out in foundations classes. There is definitely a false pretense of romanticism surrounding the artist. Success is not likely, at least not in the sense of notoriety or wealth. I also found it interesting that she said there will always be failure, no matter if you make money or not, because “the relationship between artist and artwork is one of intimacy with the self, and intimacy is truly terrifying and can never be fully achieved.” I think Schor is very intuitive in this statement, art reflects the person who made it and the artist is constantly fighting himself/herself to make something that they are personally satisfied with, but that will also be received by the public. She also talks of the “anonymous life of the studio” of which I can relate to, it is thrilling to work in one’s studio and forget all else but the art you are creating.

As for the other article, “Authority and Learning” I also found it a good read that got me thinking about the role of the teacher and the possible gender disparities that happen everywhere in society, including in the art world. I do not know that the issues of male dominance and females giving in to stereotype happens quite as much at MCA as it apparently did at CalArts, especially between teachers and students. I do know that individuals still prescribe to culturally constructed gender roles and that it can hurt their artwork, and their person. We as artists need to consider ourselves wholly, and not reflect a falsely created personality. Sexuality, especially, should not be a tool used to garner more success. I believe that if you work reflects so called feminine qualities that it should be because you want it to, not just because you are a woman.

I find Mira Schor to be very thoughtful writer; I would love to experience such an empowered female teacher. She brings up issues that are often times skirted around at art school and she is upfront about the truths while still giving her argument thought and purpose.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

This weather is making me feel droopy. So here are some cute things to combat the grayness.

Tracy Lauritzen Wright

I found Tracy Lauritzen Wright’s lecture very helpful as I have been thinking about Museums as a possible place to find a career. I wasn’t sure how you get into museum jobs, and she shared that there is a museum studies program but that curators often have a doctorate in something like art history. I wish I had thought about these kinds of jobs earlier, maybe I could go to grad school or find an internship that can get me into the field. Tracy got into museum work through an internship she obtained because of her German language skills. It sees that internships are the way to get jobs, so I should get on that.

Tracy was a good talker, nice and speedy. I was glad she shared detail about how her life developed, in terms of the random job at the German museum, to her time in Hungary, to the failed attempt at living in New Mexico. Her experiences seemed more realistic to what most of us will experience. She also shared how hard she tried to get the job at the Civil Rights museum, sending out applications everywhere she could, and constantly checking up on the possible employers. Tracy even admitted that though she was a double major, she didn’t do any career planning. Generally it was a good talk, very to the point and helpful.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Art Shows

I preferred the opening at the University of Memphis to the Davis Lusk show. The artists at David Lusk were not connected at all visually or otherwise, while the artists at U of M, Richard Knowles and Steve Langdon shared history and their work meshed well together. I especially enjoyed Richard Knowles’ work, particularly the earlier paintings from the 1970’s. There is an amazing variety of brushwork and the color schemes and compositions were well thought out. It was interesting to see a certain visual language carry throughout his work; even though more than 40 years were spanned. Mark making in the abstract pieces carried over to the water pieces as well as the landscapes. I didn’t enjoy Steve Langdon’s work quite as much, but the graphite drawing were intriguing as I fell so few people work in that way with it, there was not a smudge or grease spot anywhere. They did get a bit repetitive for me, though. Except for the dead cat drawings, those were really clever.

At David Lusk, Wayne Edge has the front room. He is a sculptor working with wood, found ceramics, string and rocks. I found the work to be too concerned with aesthetic. I found the repetition of the house form and landscape redundant, too obvious a choice. I did enjoy Ann Siems’ paintings, though the pieces on paper seemed like they needed more effort. I love the strange ghost girls and the wreaths in each painting. The one aspect that was bothering me was technique, the figures seemed like they were between being rendered very well and being rendered awkwardly, I wish they were pushed one way or another.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Whitney Ranson

The talk Whitney Ranson gave us was pretty good. I liked hearing about the inner workings of the Urban Art Commission because I’ve been thinking about participating in programs like it. I’ve done some similar projects through the Give Back program, but nothing I had to apply for. Now that I know how the selection process works, I’m less nervous about it. I also really appreciate how invested they seem in the whole process, making sure every step is clear, and the artist always has help if needed. I also really like the variety of projects they do, in terms of style and medium, it is so great that this program exists.

I do think she went in to maybe a bit too much detail. I was happy to hear about the Urban Art Commission since I didn’t know much about it, but I would have been more interested in hearing how it started up. I don’t think She was necessarily the person to ask, but I want to know how Memphis got the 1% funding for the arts, and did the Urban Arts Commission get created specifically to handle that? I didn’t need to hear every single step of the process, though maybe it would have interesting if she had shown us more projects as examples. Seeing the original sketch compared to the finished mural was surprising, so I wanted to see how often that kind of shift happens. Overall though, I’m glad we got a bit of diversity in there for our talks so we can see an example of a successful young person in our general field.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Apparently I'm sexist. Enjoy.

Super-duper awesome amazingness:

Jillian Tamaki- easy to maneuver because of sidebar, beautiful quality images
Kris Atomic- good separation of categories, previews
Abigail Brown- high quality images, easy

Not so super:

Kehinde Wiley- I love his work , but I'm not a fan of scrolling over the paintings, it moves too fast, also my window isn't big enough to view some of the works in their entirety.
Michael Rytz- again, I like his work but figuring out the top menu thingy is weird
Takashi Iwasaki- my gosh his embroidery is amazing, but when you click on a work to see it large it takes you to a new page so you have to hit "back" to go back to the whole list of works, you can't hit next or anything

Don Estes

The first thing I must bring up about Don Estes and his studio is how incredibly amazing his studio and living space and how I think every single person in our class was drooling over the building. I think it is important, however to keep in mind that just because you have the most amazing studio ever, doesn’t mean you are going to create good work on a regular basis. Estes seems to keep up a regular gallery practice, and utilizes the capabilities of his space well.

I really enjoyed Estes’ paintings, I looked at his website before we visited his studio and I really prefer the new work he has been developing. I responded to the color palettes and the handling of paint, and I like his thought process behind the subject matter. The idea of land and nature being forcefully divided by man is an interesting one. I also think I like his work because I can compare my own to it in some ways. I also appreciate what great craftsmanship he practices, he thinks about the small details of presentation like angling the support and keeping panel behind the canvas so it won’t sag.

This was a helpful visit in terms of realizing that life might take you away from practicing art for a time, but that it isn’t always a horrible thing, other jobs are sometimes necessary. Estes shared how he started a metalworking company, which supported him financially. It is good to consider what other skills we as artists have besides just making works of art. I think many young artists harbor dreams of being wildly successful artists living like bohemians, but Estes showed us one version of a more practical way of living, while still living “the dream” in that studio of his.

Budget (yuck)

I'm not so good with keeping track of my spending, and I get a lot of help from my parents with school related stuff, so some of this was hard to calculate.
Rent- $370
Studio Rent- none (school studio)
Bills- $40-100
Car expenses- nada
Loans- approximately $6,800 (cumulative)
Food- $150
Entertainment- $50
Clothes- $50
Art supplies- irregular from $50-150
Cable/internet- zippo
Phone- not sure
Insurance- on my mama's
Credit Card- none
Pets- none
I also spent about $130 this past month on applying to only 2 residencies, cost of printing out photos, shipping, application fee

So not counting paying back my loans and the amount spent on applications, and using the highest amounts where it fluctuates, that is $870 a month.
The only income I have during the school year is work study and any commissions/art sales I might happen across. During the summer I have a full time job and earn around $2,600 in total. Meaning it is pretty obvious that without my parents help I would be screwed!
So if I kept this lifestyle up, a 40 hour job paying $9/hour would definitely suffice at $1,440 a month. But of course that isn't taking into consideration the possibility of me getting a car, or loan payments.