i dont know why i've been under some self imposed silence about my life on the blog lately. perhaps i want to spare us all the tedium and distress. blogs are interesting. when i first started this blog it was more a personal rant than anything. it lasted 2 months and i deleted it. i waited a few more months and started again. i decided to stick with the artists' journey. MY journey and my work. my experiences, struggles blah blah blah. it's easy to become what i deem a leper on a blog. it's surprisingly easy to say too much and scare people away. its easy to bore people. its too easy to just be one's self and forget you need to monitor and self correct lest you cause irreparable damage to it [the blog]. it takes a lot of hard work to make a blog successful. i wouldn't even say i've done that. i noticed awhile back i had over 100 subscribers to google reader, that felt like a milestone. i have plenty-o-followers but i'm thinking many of them are long gone and their little avatars are merely ghosts stuck in my follow box.
i have found that my blog has served me well and not quite how i had originally imagined it would. i'm not sure i even understood what a blog was when i started it. i thought it would open doors for me in the art world, i suppose it has in subtle ways but mostly it has been a stepping stone for building relationships with mostly other artists from all over the country, even the world. i value those relationships. it's been a struggle to find as much support and friendship in my 'real life' but i know that takes time and effort of a different sort.
so. i've lived here in huntsville texas for almost six months now. in that time if i am honest with myself i have made strides that perhaps i wouldn't had i stayed ensconced in vermont. i was sequestered and secluded up on that mountain in stowe. i hiked almost every day in beautiful forests. i was in a great gallery just down the road. i had access to wonderful food, felt relatively safe, lived for free by care taking in a beautiful home, had part time work whenever i wanted job driving the local taxi. i lived with a supportive friend and partner and yet by the time 5 years flew by it was time to leave. too easy. too safe. too isolated. there were of course other reasons, it wasn't all heavenly there obviously, but the crux of the matter was we, tod and i, needed to go get a life.
zoom into now. huntsville texas. i'm still in culture shock i guess. i've yet to find materials to work with other than wood scraps from the phoenix commotion job site. i walk or ride a bike nearly every day looking for stuff on the roadside. its a clean city (town really). i venture on the frontage roads and have been on what seems every road in the vicinity and there just isn't the stuff here like there was in vermont. so i've had to adjust. and as most of you know i don't live with the same space and options for working like i used to. i've not been as productive as i feel i should be. half the time i'm too afraid to make noise, make more of a mess in our living space than there already is, afraid to make MORE that will just pile up and cost me in the long run to store or move it. but being paralyzed hasn't done much for me either. so i spend my days trying to find little jobs on craigslist thinking if i can get some income i will relax a little and function better but alas huntsville is just not the sort of place people post gigs/jobs online. its prison or university faculty work and thats about it. the few other jobs i've checked into are just not something i feel i can do/not qualified to do etc. so art seems to be the dangling carrot i return to and chase time and time again.
i've started checking into galleries in houston again. emailing, querying... soon to send off the obligatory cd packets for the places that for whatever reason dont take online submissions. all my fears come up about not enough work even though i'm choking on the work i have here. and my interests are in my little wooden assemblages; almost impossible to imagine a gallery saying oh god paula we MUST HAVE THOSE! ...ya know?
this has been a tough time. i've wanted to move. tod was on the fence up until a week ago but has now decided that this is the place to stay for now. since i haven't any money left i'm pretty much stuck here unless i want to just become a vagabond. [yes i know i sound like a victim] truth be told i dont know where the hell i'd go even if i did have money. i wonder how i can feel just as lost as the day i quit massage in arizona and had no clue what i was going to do. it was almost easier in a way, because getting rid of most everything and just driving off into the sunset and camping was fast and easy. living on the road had its own challenges but less felt at stake. i am an 'artist now'. not so easy to just toss art, tools and supplies. and i dont want to stop being an artist, not sure i could. those things are the only investment i own. i've got five years + of nearly day in and day out art under my belt. i've been represented in the same gallery since jan 2006 as well as been in a handful of other galleries/shows. my work has been purchased by an impressive mix of art collectors but it isn't nearly enough. i've got to up the game somehow. honestly this feels like the biggest hardest hurdle i've come up against in quite awhile. no real clue what to do, as part of me feels even if i got into the best gallery in the world i'd still have problems, maybe MORE because then i would have to produce more and it's becoming a jungle in my little 8x13 studio.
i think the naivety is gone. i dont think i had any idea, how could i after all, what an artists life would be like. there is no road map, you just assume you make art, get in a gallery and sell it, right? there is much to learn, much to digest. figure out. lots of trusting and intuition and a blind belief in oneself that honestly i find exhausting. i love making art but still struggle with knowing where it belongs. how it fits into anything 'real' in the world. believing i have any worth or value. i struggle with the heart that wants and believes i can do this and the head that says you are a failure and a useless blob of flesh. i'm tired. i'm jaded. i am cynical. i am lost. i am angry and afraid. the joy is still there when i allow myself to get lost in my work. but the worry about money, the boredom, the utter boredom of living in this banal city casts howling screams inside my head. the challenge is to focus. to keep trying. keep searching. i'm in my own prison. i'm aware of the prison just a few blocks away, aware they live in cells. in hell. i'm in my own hell. my own cell. its my own existential struggle. i'm so tired of fighting and not sure i've got much more fight in me. reminds me of when i was a child how i could NEVER get a math story problem. i would labor over it until tears of frustration would shut me down. always needing my sister, my parents, a teacher or classmate to do it for me. show me. and i yet i never understood the basic formula, how to know how to figure it out. that is how my life feels right now. there is some formula i feel that exists to living this artists' life and i am NOT getting it. maybe you just make it up. who knows. no one can do it for me.
as with most problems, the more you obsess over it the more difficult it becomes. so you prance around it pretending it isn't there. thinking the answer will pop out at you if you ignore it. when that doesn't work you get mad again and stab at it with whatever mental tool you have. to no avail. then you stop trusting yourself and question everything. the 'what does it mean' shit comes up. does it mean i'm not supposed to be an artist? does it mean i'm not supposed to this or that? i'm my own cyclone. twirling around with all my thoughts and anger. hard to walk away from that mess and know what direction to go into. its dizzying. time zips by and nothing seems to have gotten accomplished. so thats where i'm at these days. starts and stops. determination mired by the defacto of no results. in a strange way i keep correcting myself and realizing there is no other. nothing else. just now. i have to widen and explore the now. over and over and over. prying it open like a clam and looking at now. now. now.
so NOW you know where i've been. what i've been. did you really read all of this?