Sunday, October 09, 2016

Studio Sunday-Journey

As I got ready or the Open Studio, I went through boxes and drawers and unearthed a lot of old work although not as much as one might expect from 38 years. Over the years I got rid of a lot. Because I never sold much, there was often an accumulation. I found it discouraging. And so I would sort. If I didn't find feel that a piece had anything left to teach me, I would discard it. It did keep me moving forward. I never felt any obligation to the old work and so I was always free to explore new ideas.

Now, however, I wish I hadn't been quite so decisive. I would like to be able to look back at my years of work and see in greater detail how I developed as an artist. If I could give that old self some advice, I would say don't be so hasty. Draw back from whatever emotions are attached to the work—feelings of discouragement that no one wanted it, feelings of dissatisfaction with the work itself. Even though it seems hard to believe now, you may wish someday that there was an archive of your work.

This is a book I found in a drawer. It brings up another thing I would tell my old self: Date your work. This was done when I was doing a lot of experimenting with the photocopier which would make it late '80s/early '90s. The imagery is from grape vines placed on the copier. The text is mine.

The word stays with me. 
I find myself naming the events of my life journeys & I see that my life itself is a journey.
In Blue Highways, William Least Heat Moon talked about his father, 
and his belief that any traveler who misses the journey misses about all he is going to get. 
I have to keep reminding myself, it's the journey, the living, that's important, not the destination.
I should live the making of this work, and enjoy the journey. 
Mostly I do. 
But I worry about what comes next, where does this lead, what direction is my work taking. 
I have to keep reminding myself.

And my take on the journey at 62 from Art Lessons: Reflections From An Artist's Life:

Here’s a frequent metaphor: life is a road, a journey, a path. I’ve used it often and taken comfort in the idea that the journey is more important than the destination. Now I want a new word, a new metaphor, or better yet, no metaphor at all. Journey implies destination and I see now there is no destination, no place to get to, in the artist’s life. Saying or doing anything that implies that there is only gets in the way. We need to stop seeking the “there.” We need to live and work in the “here,” to be present and alive in every moment, and to allow ourselves to “Take joy!”


Unknown said...

Love your thought about the journey is more important than a destination! Hope to take a class with you soon!
Patti Gelinas

Nina Fenner said...

Love that book. Yes, I've got rid of a lot of stuff, but so far I haven't regretted it. I do often photograph stuff before I get rid of it. Sometimes I look at images of old work and think 'oh my goodness that was dreadful, I've come a long way'! But I rarely date work, and I definitely should so thanks for the reminder. Even just the year would be good..

Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord said...

Thanks Patti and Mo!

Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord said...

Nina Yes it was a nice reminder of the book Blue Highways as well. I try to photograph everything now that it is so much easier and less expensive. I still have some samples from the dreadful category but when I was putting together the Open Studio I was surprised how good some of the old pieces were. I don't have major regrets, just some twinges and I think the forward movement possible by not being weighed down by past work more than makes up for it.

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