Even though my rational side understands that the concept of a “new year” is just an arbitrary marker of the passage of time, which is itself a human construct and we will all die alone in the end…. I admit, I become much more reflective during this time of year. I can’t help but look back at the work I’ve been making and the progress that I’ve made as an artist.
2015 was my first full year of being a post-BFA graduate. I was thrust into “real life” without the constant supervision of my professors and peers. Upon graduating, I essentially felt like that guy from the first Jurassic Park movie who, upon sitting down for a leisurely poo, watches all four walls of his little outhouse fall to the ground around him like Popsicle sticks, revealing a hungry T-Rex just outside its (in actuality, probably cardboard) walls. To make matters worse, and more comical (in the movie at least) his pants are down. In this metaphor, the T-Rex is REAL LYFE!!11! Just a few hours after graduating, I remember sitting in my room when a wave of dread and panic came over me. I couldn’t help but think that the T-Rex of REAL LIFE was going to thoroughly kick my ass and I would end up one of the many BFA grads who ends up not producing any new work shortly after graduating. But really, nothing so tragic or dramatic has happened. I’m still making work, and even thought it doesn’t always feel like it, said work is developing.
I went through this whole year making work in a pretty wide variety of media- everything from watercolor, oil, acrylic, various other painting mediums, mixed media, even embroidery.
a sampling of my “2015 best 9” posts on instagram, which showcases the variety in my work this year pretty well.
I kind of have 3 main “series” of work that are in progress. Because of this, I basically felt like I was all over the place, because I kind of was, medium-wise.
I have my “Doe Eyes” series, which really just started as small sketches, but gradually turned into a series of small mixed-media works on paper:
Doe Eyes: Green Mascara | gouache, watercolor, crayon on paper | 5×7″
Then, I have my Fixation series, which is mostly done in acrylic paint/mediums on canvas:
Fixation: Eye III | acrylic, false eyelashes on canvas | 12×12″ |2015
Finally, I have my “Clown” series, which is the most recent. It’s a series of self portraits:
Self Portrait: Clown III | oil on canvas | 20×30″
All three of these series, although different medium-wise, share a common thematic concern: they all have to do with feminine beauty rituals: the type of beauty that is dabbed, smeared, and applied. It’s not like I’m never conscious of this commonality while painting, but I can’t help but feel like I’m all over the place when I’m jumping from watercolor to oil to acrylic gel. I even went through some old portfolios and ended up destroying a lot of things from school in the name of new year’s cleaning (sorry, Mom,) where I also ended up finding a lot of examples of me exploring these kinds of ideas as early as freshman year of my BFA. It’s interesting to see how far back the core ideas for work that feels “new” often go.
So, 2015 was a year of experimentation, but experimentation with a pretty focused set of concerns and ideas. That seems to be a pretty good place to be in. I’m also pleased to say that I sold my highest volume of work this year at Art One Gallery. I still have a long way to go in my burgeoning art career, but I look forward to continuing to explore and develop in 2016, hopefully with less existential fear of T-rex attacks.