Re-evaluating life/starting an MFA

SmashBaby2SmashBaby

So, you may have noticed that I haven’t posted in an extremely long time. A lot has happened. I started a series of organic figures, one of which semi-survived a car crash with me, and probably still has bits of my skin buried in its cracks somewhere.

This series of figures was supposed to continue the abstract storytelling I’ve been doing for years, graphing emotions with shapes and textures… It became a catalyst, because of crashing my car and nearly losing my favorite sculpture of all time (not to mention much more than that), to the idea that I need to get some things DONE. No more sticking to ideas I feel safe with and no more relying on a visual language I’ve learned inside out.  I am happy with, and at times, very proud of the work I’ve done to this point, but I know there is more.  At the risk of sounding pompous, I think my stories are pretty damn funny, also some heart-wrenching, but on the whole, would paint a pretty interesting portrait of a lot of what happens inside everyone as life occurs.  I want to make work that has ALL OF ME in it. That I am proud of and KNOW that I put everything I have in to.  In this, I hope the work I make will create a connection between all of us, a kind of psychological and emotional fist-bump between anyone who has ever been proud and chagrined and awkward and spectacular and shamed and perfect.

And then I balked. I couldn’t quite make the leap myself. I did drawings, revived research from a year before on graphic novels, woodcuts, carving, and had myself all staged to go… And choked. The stories I want to tell seem too vulnerable and too intrinsic to who I am to get them out by myself, and while I loved the series of figures that was developing, it wasn’t quite specific enough.  Which was so frustrating, SO FRUSTRATING, since I think of myself as unflinchingly willing to be vulnerable, and a good self-starter.  It turned out I needed a kick to hold me accountable to reaching for that best thing…

So, after a few weeks of crushing frustration during the summer, I thought, hm, maybe I should do grad school. I had always vaguely intended to go back to school, but this time the idea got in deep and would. not. let. go. I’ve gotten those irrevocable feelings before, and there’s no resisting. Whether it’s God or the Universe, or just that I can be stubborn when I know deep down, I don’t know, but here we are. So I applied and was accepted in a whirlwind of momentum and what felt kind of like destiny, and a fair bit of “oh, holy shit, what am I doing”, but there’s no stopping now, and if I did I would regret it forever. So, in January I started work on my MFA at Fort Hays State University.

As part of this program, I’ll be posting research, drawings, thoughts, photos, progress reports, and sundry other stuff.  I’m probably going to freak myself out pretty bad, putting all this out there… But that’s precisely what I’m after, digging and feedback. Abject terror and absolute confidence? That might sum it up pretty well.

This first semester, my goal is to take these pieces of research and ideas I’ve been carrying and use class projects to gain the “voice” and vocabulary I need to finish the program (in a few years) with work that I can say “yes” to, that I know for a fact contains everything I want to put into it.  And then go from there. It parallels years of (hard) work to gain my own voice for myself, and now it’s time to get it out there in my work.

I’m starting fairly basic, you’ll see shortly (I have a new, unbroken, camera coming!!), but I hope the underlying roar in me will show through as the story develops.

I appreciate all of you who have read my blog to this point, and I will continue to value that. Please comment if you feel like it, I would love to hear your thoughts as I go.

This, from a friend’s fridge magnets:  Speak your truth at all times, even if your voice shakes.

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