As ArtPrize Nine comes to an end, I can't help but feel so happy, lucky, and just appreciative. When I first started this project it was really all about me and my own human experience. I had no idea it would grow, expand, spiral and become OUR human experience.
The project felt like diary entries. Some revolved around deep intimate feelings, while others incorporated the simple joys - like exercising for the first time in months. And isn't that what being a human is all about? The intimate, philosophical moments, and the seemingly simple joys.
When I finally arrived in Grand Rapids, MI last week to see the work all together at Light Gallery + Studio it really hit me. These images, these diary entries, these experiences....were a culmination of me and you.
Me - a 27 year old woman in Chicago.
You - a mother, a father, an activist, a 90 year old woman, a dreamer, young, old, tall, short, etc.
Different ethnicities. Different origins. So many differences, and yet when I look at the work, it just belongs together. We belong together. Because we are all humans navigating this world and when I looked at all 100 pieces on that wall it hit me more than ever that you are me, and I am you.
As these pieces are sold and make their way out into the world, I hope you remember that they (you) are not alone and that they are part of a much bigger story. Our story.
Those that submitted stories and let me share a glimpse of their life. This is your project as much as it is mine.
Light Gallery + Studio for the opportunity
Helen Flores for being the best marketing rep
My amazing friends and family who keep supporting my crazy projects.
I left my art studio for good - a really easy decision that was hard to make.
Easy in the sense that I felt like I was completely ready. Hard in the sense that I questioned by identity as an artist.
For a while now the studio felt forced, like I was trying to get into a pair of pants that don't fit me anymore (I need to buy more yoga pants after this SF trip). I started to go less and less and that left me feeling more and more angry. After almost 6 months of yelling at myself every month for not going enough to justify the rent, I finally just decided to listen. Why was I fighting what I wanted and didn't want to do?
I didn't want to go to the studio anymore. It's not that I didn't want to do creative things, it's just that I didn't want to do those things, in this space. So I put up the studio on craigslist and two weeks later was out.
Two main reasons for leaving
1. She taught me everything I needed to learn - I simply had overstayed my welcome because my studio is safe. My studio made me feel like a "real" artist. I struggled the last 6 months to leave because what's an artist without a separate studio space in a cool area of the city? - Oh yea, still an artist.
2. I'm in a state of dismemberment - My needs, wants, and goals are changing and I feel like I'm really shifting things right now. My studio fulfilled a need of providing me with a safe place to begin. Now I'm looking into other goals, like a live in studio, that fits better financially and gives me instant access. In the meantime, I'm tearing everything apart that doesn't align with those goals.
One day, a new separate studio space might be just what I need again. In the meantime though, I wanted to close with a letter.
a love letter to my studio
You were my very first art studio. We spent countless hours, nights, and weekends together. I wrote my TEDx Talk with you by my side. You were a safe place for me when I needed to run and play and experiment. You've seen a lot of things unfold. You've witnessed the birth of my best work and my worst. You've seen me paint and re-paint a canvas and ship my very first commission. My first mural graced your tall white walls.
The freedom and confidence you gave me is something I will never forget. Thank you for being patient with me when I was frustrated and waiting for me when I didn't come for weeks at a time.
Thank you for your space and making space for me.
Do you have a studio in your home? Is your studio your home? Comment below, and let me know what it's like.