Continuously surrounded by art, I write about my experiences and their influences on my artistic practices. I am a starving artist that spends every minute I can being exposed to as many types of art as possible.

Posts tagged “self employed

Figuring Out 2013 – Whatever That Means

Last year was crazy, unpredictable, and exciting!  All that without a full plan.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I work pretty hard at what I do, whatever that is, put myself out there , and accept most opportunities that I’m lucky enough to have come my way.  A new year to me means new opportunities and adventures.  I do not return to the same boring desk job after Christmas.  I get to plan my year out however I would like.  I am very lucky.

With that in mind, how do I begin to plan for the new year?  Some things are already on my calendar, such as Seven Minutes in Heaven (SMIH) 2013, which will be March 2, 2013, my first CAM studio tour on March 24, 2013, and the show I am curating at Alex Rubio’s gallery, R Gallery, of my five artists July 13, 2013.  That’s a lot to be excited about already, but doesn’t take up nearly enough of my calendar.  That means work to do and new opportunities to find.

Beginning January 1, Megabus put up travel through April, so travel is my next stage of planning.  My husband and I are heading to New Orleans in a week with friend, although we will be driving there.  Then I head to Dallas before the month is over for a music show with a friend.  Both trips include meetings with artists in SMIH and visits to the Museums of Art. Technically “pleasure” trips, work and art are, as usual, always included.  I know I will be in Austin for a music show in March, a few days after SMIH.  I know the West Austin Studio Tours are in April this year, and last year was so much fun, I won’t be missing that!  In May I will be heading back to Dallas for the Cindy Sherman exhibit.  That will be such an exciting trip!  I spent several hours in the exhibit at MOMA last March and look forward to doing that again.

I will also be in Detroit visiting someone very dear to me, I think in the beginning of June,  but I will be flying there.  However, it would be really easy to hop on the Megabus to Chicago.  I have visited both cities before, although not in quite a while. I was lucky enough to see Throbbing Gristle perform in Chicago a few years ago.  That was a pretty legendary show I was lucky enough to attend.  Detroit has some great art to visit such as the DIA, Detroit Museum of Contemporary Art, and cool galleries like CPOP.  In Chicago, there is the Art Institute, Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, and I wouldn’t miss an opportunity to visit my friend, artist, Grayson Bagwell, currently attending Grad School at Columbia.  He is in SMIH this year.  I keep dragging him back to San Antonio to exhibit.  And I keep visiting him.  He used to live in Brooklyn, so of course I would pop up there.  When he attended Pratt he was fantastic enough to take me on a tour and to the Grad office.  It is the school with my dream program, a dual masters program in Art History and Information Sciences (Library Sciences).  They offer a summer program to study in Venice and do internships with the Met.  Their main campus is in Brooklyn, but their Art History campus is on Manhattan. It would be perfect since my husband is also interested in attending Grad School in New York, at the New School.  He is an experimental writer looking for an untraditional program.  Although with his high GPA and great references, I’m pretty sure he could get in anywhere.  It’s me I’m a little worried about.  My GPA is slightly lower due to not dropping a one class in time.  Really.  That killed my GPA for a few semesters.  I am now just thrown in the average pool.  Which is why I am hustling everyday, trying to build my resume and get my name out there so I stand out when I do apply.  I need scholarship money to live in New York.  Oh yes, please let me learn all about curating in New York!

And what about “work?”  I mean, I am always working, always glued to my phone or laptop, always attending art exhibits and meeting people.  What I really mean is paying work.  Regularly.  Money is a funny thing.  I swear I don’t live by it, but it sure does make my plans come together much more smoothly.  As of now, I don’t have anything scheduled until February.  January is always the slowest month for me work wise.  Everyone has already taken their vacations during December and won’t take time again until the summer.  It’s a little tough financially, but I always have a lot to do.  Last year I learned I better focus on SMIH or it definitely catches up with me all at once.  Not to mention I need to organize my life again.  Spring cleaning is serious business to me, after the whirlwind of my first open studio, the holidays, art events, and parties, I am completely disorganized.  My house and studio are normally a wreck.  So is my brain.  I will set up my calendar and travel, begin to work on my house so it no longer looks like a war zone, clean my studio, go back to yoga to relax my mind, oh, and breathe.  I have to be able to clear through some of these things before I can focus on my art again.

Being self employed is not for everyone.  You have to be a go-with-the-flow kind of person, which I am only sometimes, and have lots of confidence, which I do most of the time.  Inviting people you’ve never met before to work with you at a place/event they have never heard of (mainly out of town artists), you have to sound like you know what you’re doing, or they’re not interested.  Sometimes they’re not interested even when they do know you and what your doing.  Marketing to strangers.  Yes, I have definitely built up this skill in the last year.  Also fundraising.  I could not possibly afford everything I want to do, so I do need help.  I’m very fortunate to have people believe in me.  I have produced a few events now, worked with quite a few artists, and have had a good track record by showing up and supporting many artists and art events.  Believing I will make enough money by the end of the month to pay for my studio rent, my art supplies, and any art events/parties I am throwing.  That is the most go-with-the-flow-part.  Sometimes that gives me a huge headache, but again, I am learning to breathe and take it one day at a time.

I am excited to work on my art again.  I have several big projects that I am working on and now have the space to begin to put them together.  I have to be ready with my work for the studio tour in March.  Both displaying my older work and really putting in some time on my newer projects.  The studio tour is in about eleven weeks and I want to have something to show.  I have been fortunate to receive so many opportunities when I have shown I am serious about curating.  Who knows what will come up when I show I am interested in showing my art again.  The last few shows I have been in were invitational group shows, but I will be ready this year to exhibit some of the major projects I have been working on.

So I begin to prepare for the new year.  Whatever that means.

2012: Unpredictable and Exciting

This year has been exceptionally crazy and ambitious for me! I began 2012 by starting to write this blog. Not too sure what I was doing, my purpose was to document my self employment endeavors, encouraged by a friend. Looking back, the things I did this year amaze me. Five years ago, two years ago, or even just this past year, I could not have predicted the directions in which my career has been expanding. It’s an incredible feeling and I love the unexpected opportunities that constantly come up and having the ability to accept them.


Places I traveled to see art in 2012:

  • Fort Worth: Caravaggio and his followers in Rome at The Kimbell, Jan; Lucian Freud at The Modern, September
  • Houston: Moody Gallery, CAMH, Jan; Ai Weiwei Zodiac Heads at Hermann Park, MFAH, CAMH, May; Houston Fine Art Fair, Silence at The Menil, September; Houston Artcrawl, November
  • Berlin: Gerhard Richter Panorama at Neue Nationalgalerie, Hamburger Bahnhof (Museum of Contemporary Art), Berlinische Galerie, Judische Museum, March
  • Budapest: Marina Abramovich Eight Lessons On Emptiness, March
  • New York: Cindy Sherman Retrospective at MOMA; Georg Baselitz, David Lynch, David LaChapelle, & Frank Yamrus in Chelsea; March
  • Austin: West Austin Studio Tours, May; Hybrid Forms, Austin Museum of Art (AMOA), East Austin Studio Tours, November;
  • Marfa: Chinati Open House, October

2012 Art

I had a hard time listing them without going through my blog! That is the most travel I think I have ever completed in one year, ever in my entire life. But I hope it’s just the beginning. All of these trips have introduced me to new artists, new spaces, what is going on in the regional, national, and international art world, and best of all, amazing art. Ranging from major shows that have been written about to discovering many new wonderful artists that are local, I have spent the majority of this year seeing and absorbing as much art as possible. It has brought me much insight and inspiration.

My Travels 2012

However, I didn’t always have to travel out of town to see amazing art.

  • Andy Warhol, Fame and Misfortune at The McNay in April
  • Agosto Cuellar at Artpace in May
  • San Antonio Collects at SAMA in June
  • Governing Bodies at Gallery Nord in October
  • Franc-tober Fest at Bismark Gallery in October

Those are just a few of the highlights and a tiny portion of art that I viewed this year. I attended, as well, the majority of First Thursdays/Fridays, Second Fridays, and Second Saturdays. I would say 8-10 out of 12 monthly events of each. Then there are the additional shows at the numerous artist run spaces in San Antonio, I seem to meet new people/artists on a weekly basis. At least my pile of business cards, that I swear I will organize soon, keeps growing. The exhibitions I am hired to work at have not even been included. This year, that primarily consisted of the Southwest School of Art.

The end of the year brought a lot of mixed feelings for me. With my only regular part time job disappearing, I started to feel depression sinking in. Rejection is always difficult, and I am facing the fact that I don’t have another job lined up. The way I know I felt depressed was because when I would start to discuss all my ongoing projects (as I learned in my online class – never answer with just ‘I’ve been so busy’, be specific), it always ended with “and I don’t get paid for any of that.” I can’t say why I decided to be so revealing, I think some of the stress was starting to unnerve me. Apparently, I needed to vent and I’m glad that I did. The responses were amazing, such as being told that I’m doing a fantastic job, I’m doing things that nobody else is doing, and if I can financially afford to keep going, then do it. Overall, I received a positive response and people telling me they admire what I’m doing. I will always be the first to admit that I fall apart sometimes. The stress can be overwhelming, always believing in what you are doing and feeling confident you are heading in the right direction is not always easy. The trick is to learn how to deal with it, because it will not be ignored.

But I would not trade any of this for anything in the world. While those moods set in occasionally, I know I am the girl in the car dancing and singing as I drive to work most mornings. I have also had a few personal career triumphs this year as well. Seven Minutes in Heaven was quite an accomplishment for my first huge public event, I couldn’t have been happier. Getting my own studio space outside of my house for the first time is something I have been dreaming about for quite awhile now. Biding my time and being patient really paid off – a 1000 sf studio space is pretty fantastic! Shortly after getting my space, I went to the East Austin Studio Tours and the Houston Artcrawl. I couldn’t help notice that I had a larger space to work in than 80% of the studios I visited. Of course, you don’t need to have a huge space to create great art, but it sure is nice to have it! So, do I have anything to complain about? Absolutely not!! The more I think about getting depressed about not making money, I laugh. Who am I kidding? I have been working on installation art pieces that are NFS (not for sale). I really haven’t spent too much time or effort job searching or applying, I have too many projects that I have created on my own to work on. I work on my own terms, and for 70% of the work year, I answer only to myself. I get told regularly that I could do portraits when people see the graphite drawing I did of myself as a student. Yes, I could make some money doing that, but it doesn’t interest me. I am a very lucky girl to have the support of my husband for all of my crazy dreams.

I have also realized I have an interesting audience for my blog. Every single day I have readers from around the world. Of course, the US has the most views, but the list of other countries that have viewed my blog is pretty large, 73 different countries, in fact, since I have begun publishing. I started writing my blog in January, but officially publishing it just 6 months ago in June. My most viewed blog entry this year was about Cindy Sherman in New York, followed by Kreuzberg, Berlin, Chelsea, New York, and Agosto Cuellar, San Antonio.


Concluding my first year of trying to document, well, at least, something about what I do, has been quite interesting. Many things get easily forgotten when trying to write a self employed resume. Am I any closer to creating a good, representational resume? Probably not. But do I have a better grasp on what I am doing and getting better at setting my future goals? Absolutely! I still have no idea where I will end up, and that is half of the excitement. If life where all planned out for you, what would be the point of living it? I will enjoy where the ride leads me, trying to take in all I can. This year has lead me on some great adventures. I just try to take advantage of the opportunities presented to me that fit and so far, that has led me to a pretty happy life. The main lessons I have learned this year are planning ahead and just going for it. My instincts have led me to an interesting place that I know I have just begun to explore. I am so excited for the upcoming year!

Conversations With Our Environment: Anita Valencia & Justin Boyd

Time for another opening at the Southwest School of Art (SSA), which means time for another double duty day at the school.  Working at two different positions in the school is a little odd but quintessential of my self employment, working about 9 hours divided up through out the day.  I begin my day by opening the Gallery Shop on the Ursuline Campus from 10-2.  The Gallery Shop will be closing very soon, by then end of the year.  This will be my last time working half day due to an Exhibition Opening, and only about four more weeks till the closing date of December 29th.  Having a couple of hours off in the day, I run errands, eat, and get ready to return.  As Bartender for the openings, I am responsible for setting up the reception area and making sure I have everything I need, and then, of course, the break down of everything after the reception closes.  The best part is getting to talk to everyone as they make their way around the exhibit.  I discuss a possible curatorial opportunity with Meredith Dean that she recommended me for, as well as talk to several other people I haven’t seen in a while.  As I answer the standard questions about what I am currently doing/working on, I realize I really do have a lot going on.  My studio being the biggest and most immediate project, Seven Minutes in Heaven 2013 a close second.

Sun She Rise, Sun She Set, and You Ain’t Seen Texas Yet, work by Anita Valencia, is an incredible installation taking up the first, larger gallery space.  Using common, IMG_7359discarded materials, she produced an entire environment re-purposing everyday items such as tin cans, bottle caps and wire hangers.  Valencia brings these items to life as she turns them into objects in motion – including butterflies, tumbleweed, and a twister – and displays them in a way to welcome the viewer to meander through the new environment.  Such an engaging exhibit is taking a serious issue and calling attention in a whimsical and playful manner.  Upon further inspection, I notice butterflies bearing logos such as Pepsi or Tecate, discussing consumerism and consumption.  The sheer number of butterflies alone represent a frightening number of discarded cans.  As an artist myself reusing materials, I am interested in how an artist presents existing objects and whether it references it’s original use.  I remember seeing Valencia’s exhibit at Cactus Bra a few years ago, which was much different.  Still re-using common objects, those pieces were comprised of bottle caps on canvases.  I much prefer this new environment as the language of her materials. Valencia just keeps getting better and better, I think understanding her materials more as she continues to create.

Anita Valencia

In the adjoining, much darker room is the work of Justin Boyd.  Days and Days relates to Valencia by also discussing his surrounding environment, but in a much different way.   Exhibiting his work in small, wall mounted boxes, each one contains a collage of found objects, expanding this definition to including sound recorded Boydabove and below the water, as well as video.  The combined elements were all collected from the San Antonio River, making this piece about a specific environment.  These polished boxes present an individual view of a more personal experience, records of his time spent on the riverby where Boyd lives.  Having also previously exhibited a sound installation at Cactus Bra, Boyd’s sound piece there was of another environment.  Presented much differently, as a large, rough, plywood painting of a broken tree, having to do with mining, I believe, it was quite a while ago.  But he did create another sound piece dealing with the San Antonio River for the San Antonio Museum of Art, when they had an exhibit about water a few years ago.  That was a large piece to partially walk around.  Not presented as intimate collections, as in this current series.  Since I work at SSA, I know the pieces are more complicated than the display allows the viewer to see.  I will sometimes have the responsibility of turning them on in the morning when I occasionally open up the Gallery.  I really enjoy that each box has to be turned on individually, slowing turning the room alive with sound as I make my way to each box.

Justin Boyd

While this work is very different from mine, I find it inspiring and thoughtful.  Both artists are documenting what exists around them, with all the works constructed from objects, sounds, and imagery collected locally in San Antonio.  These bodies of work interest me as individual points of views from within the same city.  I suppose my work is yet one of many other perspectives, born and raised in San Antonio.  My current work begins with the environment I am surrounded and influenced by, my installations discuss memories and experiences that I feel were a part of forming my identity, expanding into what we ultimately choose to let create our identities and influence our everyday lives.  Using everyday objects such as bird cages, laptops, and pill bottles, I want to create discussions about the life we live and the life we are creating, directly referencing what takes place daily.  I will continue to draw inspiration from what I surround myself with everyday.

The Southwest School of Art Gala

One of my favorite jobs is working for the Southwest School of Art Gala.  For the last three years, I have handled the drop off and pick up of the artwork for the annual benefit Gala.  This is one of my favorite jobs because I get to talk with so many artists, gallerists, or assistants.  In general, 55-65 artists generously participate.  While I always know a few of the artists already, I still get to meet so many new people.  This is what I do best, work with the art and artists.  Yes, anybody could probably figure out how to do this, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.  Do you know how much paperwork there is for 65 artists? And more if they have multiple works.  It is mostly bureaucratic work, just making sure the t’s are crossed and the i’s are dotted, it’s part of the job.  That is the easy part.  The more difficult part can come with actually dealing with artists (and sometimes their egos).  Yes, I have also been treated badly on occasion, although, never for the Gala.  Luckily, I have a wonderful boss that listens and takes care of problems like that.  Being able to deal with artists and issues that may arise diplomatically may possibly be the most important part of this job.  When they are dropping off their work, I am representing the Southwest School of Art.  A bad experience could affect future relationships with the school.  It’s amazing how loving your job keeps you in a great mind set and dealing with people becomes much less difficult than if I were already stressed by my job. The other major benefit of working to set up this event is attending the Preview Cocktail Party and the Gala itself.  The cocktail party is a fabulous event I always enjoy.  It’s great to see the work displayed in the Chapel of the school, it’s a  really beautiful location.  At the Cocktail Party I am a guest and enjoy mingling with the artists in a social setting.  I get to view the art unwrapped and installed.  Occasionally I help with installations, but not for this event.  It’s nice not to have to do physical labor.  Although, I do always accept those jobs as well!  The Gala is a black tie formal event the following night.  Here, I did volunteer, working at the sales desk, again with a different set of paperwork.  Is this a common theme?  I don’t think artists really consider everything that goes on behind the art shows – before, during, and after.  Keeps me working! There were many fabulous pieces of art.  I love the work by Jennifer Ling Datchuk.  Her ceramics always look so delicate and feminine.  When I saw her, I discussed a piece of her work I had seen years ago in another show.  Choke was a beautiful set of hands protruding from the wall grasping a cloth.  These pieces are porcelain plates mixed with embroidery, something I haven’t seen in her work before that I enjoy very much. Another favorite of mine is Sarah Roberts.  I recently wrote about her work when I had visited her shared studio space for a show at Clamp Light Gallery.  I specifically enjoy the way she manipulates something as cold as aluminum into something so feminine and soft looking.  The way the shadows cast from the light is also a lovely detail of this art.  In fact, I believe the title of this piece, Her Body is My Body, makes the shadows an integral part of her concept. At the Gala, I got to try on Roberts’ second piece, a beautiful necklace.  It matched my dress and fit me perfectly.  It was for a really great price at $250 and half would go to the school.  Unfortunately, I still cannot afford it today, although I fingered my credit card several times.  Maybe in the future I can have one custom made for me, in red? William Carrington’s bronze rabbit has a very haunting face that I am in love with.  Even the piece of wood it is set on is beautiful. Another piece I admire is by Ruth Buentello.  I was just at an opening at Artpace recently where the artists collective that Buentello is a part of, Mas Rudas, did the Window Works.  That installation as well as this piece both show a strong connection to family (or the absence of it). Working for the Gala is always a great experience.  As usual, combining work and art is exactly what I want to be doing.  I really could care less if my desk was a folding table for  today.  I am in a gorgeous historic building with a beautiful view – no cubicle for me!  The last part of the job is being there the morning after the Gala for the pick up of the artwork by the artists and buyers.  It’s so simple, but thanking each artist for participating is extremely important.  It’s a benefit event and they donated their art.  We have to express our gratitude for helping the school at our largest benefit event each year.

Back To The Wood Shop

Another show for Linda Arredondo means back to the woodshop for me. Since I represent her work, I was approached to invite her to a show at Gallery Nord by the curator, Kathy Armstrong, this October.  Of course, she accepted and now needs new panels to make new work.  I am making test panels to experiment on.  Then she will determine how large she wants to make the actual pieces.  Of course it all begins with a trip to Home Depot to pick up wood.  It is very important spending time choosing the wood. It has to be straight, otherwise it will warp causing the frame to bow.  I have seen this ruin more than one piece of artwork.  It is always disappointing to me when I see art that is not being displayed at it’s best potential.  Problems like that can be corrected, but of course, involves carefully removing the canvas and replacing the warped piece of wood.  It is time consuming, but I feel highly worth it, otherwise your art piece is essentially worthless.  Sometimes you can’t predict when a piece of wood will bow and have to do this, no matter how hard you scrutinized the wood. The wood shop at the Southwest School of Art is my studio today.  I love having access to such a beautiful table saw and miter saw.  The compressor and nail gun are my favorite tools to work with.  Cutting my time and energy by more than 90%, I can get a lot more work done in an hour or two than if I had to manually hammer in all the nails.  In the time it takes with the nail gun, I would have hit the nail one time with my hammer!  Cutting wood is very quick and easy with great equipment.  Taking a 4′ x 8′ sheet of birch wood, I am turning it into three 12″ x 12″ panels and four 16″ x 20″ panels.  Beginning at the table saw I cut it into four pieces, then cut those into seven pieces. There are several pieces left over that I will set aside.  At some point later, I will turn those into various sizes of panels, but don’t have enough 2″ x 4″s to make supports for them now. Then onto to the 2″ x 4″s.  I run them through the table saw, turning them into 2″ x 2″s.  These could be bought that size, but are more expensive and I know it is something I can easily do myself.  This is a smaller project that wouldn’t be too much more in cost, but it makes quite a difference when I am working on a larger number of panels.  The drawback though, is that this can make it easier for a piece of wood to warp.  I have never been able to use 100% of the wood for larger pieces, but they tend to straighten out when cut smaller.  For some reason, that seems to release the tension that makes it warp.  Either way, it is still lower in cost and I normally have a small stockpile of random wood for any number of uses. Next is assembly.  Before I nail them together, I reinforce all of my supports with liquid nails . Taking this extra precaution is a step that I have gotten used to doing for large supports, that I just automatically do for all sizes now.  Using the corner braces is required to make sure the frames are being assembled at a 45% angle.  I have seen people try to assemble frames without the braces, but no matter how straight it looks, it never works out.  Making frames isn’t necessarily difficult, just more time consuming.  You can’t skip a step and if it is rushed, it shows in your craftsmanship.  I honestly have found I enjoy the hands on construction of making supports.  Never being handy or ever working in the wood shop my dad created growing up, I surprised myself with this skill, as an art student.  Now, at art shows, I notice the supports the pieces are on. Sometimes they are very badly warped or wrapped, other times I have seen incredibly unique supports that become a display in itself.  Of course, in between, are the majority of supports, quietly doing their job, unnoticed because they are done correctly and are showcasing the art.

Found Realities: Trash Into Treasure

Someone else’s trash can definitely be my treasure. When I started out creating art, I had a difficult time figuring out what I was going to do, therefore could not really know what I would need too far in advance.  The biggest problem this caused me was the cost.  Figuring out what I needed last minute and running to Lowe’s or Home Depot or the art store was not economical at all.  Fortunately, I now contemplate most of my projects for quite a while.  There are so many projects I want to work on, there is no way I could complete them all at once, and many of them evolve over time.  What this means for me is that I am much more patient.  And if I put in the effort, I can find more unique materials, often for free. I am excited because it is trash pick up in my neighborhood again.  It is now only once a year, but throughout the year in different neighborhoods around town.  I have never been organized enough to fully take advantage of this, I know I have seen a map outlining the different zones.  This year, I found many great surfaces that I am extremely excited about.  I have been incredibly busy this year, curating and representing other artists, that I haven’t had time to focus on my own art.  Not making a huge effort, everything was found as I did my regular driving, just keeping vigilant of my surroundings. As I had mentioned in my previous post about SAMA, Chakaia Booker inspired me to add rubber to my art supply stock pile.  People throw tires on their curbs all year long, but particularly when there is a huge trash pick up.  I simply stop and throw it in my trunk.  Used tire stores are also good resources.  They are dying to get rid of them, they have to pay to have them all hauled away.  I found I can take as many as I want if I stop there and ask.  Since I found they will be at my disposal at any time, I did agree to stop picking them up until I am ready to use them, to preserve the sanity in my house, and stop taking up so much space.  Apparently, I lied.  I could not resist when they were just sitting there, thrown to the curb.  Yes, I picked up a total of ten tires this round.

Jessica Garcia
Perseverance, 2008

In another post, I also referenced a found art show I had been invited in.  The piece was a broken window I found in front of someone’s house.  The window was broken, as if something was thrown through it.  When I saw it, I immediately had to pick it up.  I saw the broken dreams in this window.  I imagined the window being broken as a fight ensued, something being thrown at someone, missing and going through the window.  Or someone possibly trying to break into the house, again, shattering a sense of safety within the home, a man’s castle.  All the pieces clicked for me as I saw this piece laying in the pile of rubbish.  I simply titled it Broken Dreams, and it was accepted into the student show, only adding holes to suspend it from the ceiling.  From that show, I was invited into The DuChampions of Art at Lonestar Studios.  I was requested to alter the piece, so I changed it from its original negative found state by cleaning it and boarding it up, rendering it useful again, now titling it Perseverance. Since then, I have been drawn to windows.  They represent so much to me, dividing the private world from the public.  It is a part of a home, letting in light, keeping out adverse weather.  I find them to be both functional and revealing at the same time.  A window is a good framing device, painting surface, or as I mentioned earlier, can be an art piece all on their own.  My first window find is exciting, however, soon ends in disappointment.  I am unable to fit them in my car and I wasn’t prepared to strap anything to the roof.  That does happen when there is no preparation.  I have to let them go.  I did go back the next day, but they were gone.  That is how this goes –  a limited time opportunity. All is not lost.  Fortunately, while different, there are still plenty of windows thrown out.  I come across two different, smaller windows, deteriorating but with the frames and glass in tact.  That is a characteristic I love about finding old items.  The worn, weathered appearance often ties in conceptually with the ideas I am working with.  Separately, I find three framed window panes and yet at another stop, I find two window frames with no glass.  At this time I don’t have any specific project in mind, but I will contemplate them for a while.  I have noticed a few reoccurring themes that have found their way into my work, including windows and other parts that comprise a house. While I have been collecting doors for a while, I have recently begun to consider using drawers.  When I came across a pile of them, I had to grab a few.  They can be used as a possible display case, or hung as a shelf, but after some thought, I decided I want to use these shallow drawers as painting surfaces.  They just need to be cleaned up, then I can apply a few coats of gesso and sand.  I need to spend some time thinking about the imagery I want to use for these paintings.  That is the nature of how I work, contemplating over a period of time.  So far this has worked out well, I know when I am ready. But by far, my favorite find was this night stand.  I have been wanting to take my painting to a three-dimensional surface for while now.  Again, the excitement was instant when I saw it, like with the window.  The top is missing, but that can be easily replaced.  In fact, my head is already swimming with how I can take advantage of this.  In my drip paintings, I not only layer the drips, I layer the imagery.  Masking off as I paint, this creates a diminishing image, getting smaller within itself.  I think I would like to do this with wood, my image getting smaller, going deeper inside.  This has a topographical atmosphere, becoming a map of whatever image I want to explore.  This is something I might not have thought about if I had bought this new. I have never been interested in a brand new, polished look for my art.  This method of obtaining art supplies motivates my creativity and is extremely economical.  For not exuding too much effort, I actually found quite a few items I am excited to work with.  My ideas started brewing as soon as I had some inspiration.  All of this was free.  I just had to look around in what I did every day.  My total is three window panes, two complete windows, two empty window frames, one shutter door, three drawers, one night stand, and ten tires.

Picking Up Artwork From Houston

I got offered a job from the Southwest School of Art to pick up some artwork from Houston for an upcoming show, Texas Draws II, in San Antonio.  The school invited an artist from Houston represented by Moody Gallery in Houston.  I always love going to Houston and try to go regularly.  I have some good friends living there and the art is always great.  It’s just a three hour trip away.

Moody Gallery, Houston, TX

The Moody Gallery was a large, modern building in a nice neighborhood close to the Menil.  It’s always nice to find new gallery spaces that you have never been in before.  The loan agreement was signed and copied, and the work was wrapped and ready to go.  It was a very simple transaction and the staff was friendly, always a plus.

This piece needs more layers!

This graphic piece really started to come together for me with the additional layer from the reflection.  I do prefer a very layered and abstracted aesthetic, just take a look at my own work!  For me,  this is the beginning of the piece.  I want to see art pushed to the limits, something different for the next artist.

The next stop was the Menil, but since it was a Monday, unfortunately, it was closed.  That also included their other spaces,  Cy Twombly and Dan Flavin, each housed in their own buildings.  I try to always make time to visit these two permanent collections.  They still always amaze me, no mater how many times I have visited.  However, the Rothko Chapel was open, so of course I would never miss an opportunity to go in.  It’s always quiet and relaxing. And houses some of the largest Rothko’s I have ever seen.

So this was just a quick overnight trip, but it is always nice to get a change of scenery and clear my head.  My days are quickly being taken over by text messages and emails for the upcoming show.  I needed to recharge and get ready to stay focused and motivated for all the work coming up in the next few weeks!