For the past 11 years I have chosen a word for the year rather than making any rash resolutions. This year I thought long and hard and had a hard time finding a word that suited my current state of mind, my hopes and intentions for the near future and how I was feeling about myself and my work. My words have mostly related to the kind of art I was wanting to make in the coming year. Honestly, my thinking lately has been more about the things, related to my work, that I don’t want to do. Here’s the thing—I spend a lot, really most, of my art making creating work for specific exhibits that tell me a theme to follow and a size the work must be. In addition, there’s a deadline, of course. I am bound by the parameters set forth. Bound. While it’s always a thrill to be asked or chosen, I am feeling itchy to do something different, of my own choosing, maybe altogether new.
I’m signed up for two exciting classes this year. Where might those lead? I have ideas I want to try. I have different expectations than I did 10 years ago. I want the freedom to follow an unknown, meandering path. I’m older and slower, but still engaged and no longer feel the drive to do more, more, more; become famous; win prizes and recognition; travel in lofty circles. While I will probably be responding to the call of the big exhibits, it will take much more to tempt me in. I am loving the idea of small, experimental, local and community-oriented. I long for a space of time unbound by rules about sizes and conforming to themes and meeting deadlines, and packaging and mailing requirements. And so, the word is UNBOUND. My little banner of declaration hangs on my studio wall with all those more ambitious words of past years.
So, how to accomplish this “unbinding” process? One of my last acts of 2018 was to turn down an invitation to submit work to an impressive-sounding national exhibit. The people organizing it are terrific. The theme is intriguing. I’m sure it will be excellent. It was pretty tempting, but the size requirement for the piece is so big I knew it would dominate a huge chunk of time and energy, and I would have all those rules and restrictions— my new mindset took over and I said “no” without regret. The same day, I bought a book about a printmaking technique I’m eager to try, so “yes” to learning something new and having the time to experiment!
Another plus to fewer big exhibit projects is that most of them prohibit sharing ones work-in-progress online, which has frustrated me. I hope to be blogging more about what I’m currently on, so check in from time to time and see what I’m up to!
Happy New Year all! I am hoping, fervently, that this coming year will be one of hope and renewal.