Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Dream come True

I'm an artist, I make visual work and show it regularly in museums and galleries in NYC and all around the world. It's a real job and I love it.

I work in many different styles and mediums, I've had 7 solo shows in NYC and they often look like group shows. The one consistent thing in my work is that it's often a record of an ethereal experience, there's usually a story behind everything I make. Wether it's my high school girlfriend's love of Judy Garland or the first time I heard The Pixies, there's a lot of myself in my work and my life, I try to be as authentic as possible and I like the fact that I'm unique.

I don't really live in an Ivory tower though, I grew up in Minnesota solidly middle class and luckily I was exposed to art, music and dance all throughout my childhood, so I believe art is really for everyone.

I used to keep my art and my "day job" separate, then, a few years ago I was asked to come help out at the New Museum on Bowery, the were overwhelmed with visitors for the Carsten Holler "Experience" Exhibition. The museum basically just needed bodies to control the crowds. I learned that I liked interacting with the public in this kind of environment.

From there I went to "Fete Paradiso" a carnival of Antique French Carousels on Governor's Island. I did all the things that one does at a carnival from cleaning up baby vomit to helping an 8 year old find the carousel horse of their dreams. I also read and learned some of the history of the carousels and willingly shared that with  the visitors who asked, I was pretty good at that and people liked me.

Then, I was asked to come speak at the Museum of The City of NY about what motivates creative people to move to NYC....for me  it was a postcard of beatniks in Washington sq. park that my 3rd grade teacher gave me back in Minnesota, that prompted me to tell my parents "When I grow up I'm going to move to NYC and be an artist".

My life is a dream come true, and I'm loving it...

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Takin' me back....

   I remember when I was a little kid, I craved excitement. I loved the carnival, the circus and pin-the -tail-on-the-donkey....I loved chaotic environments because that's where I felt most at home, when things were still and quiet at home I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the drama to begin. I never wanted to make the drama begin myself,  I didn't really know how ...... and my older brother and sister and mom and dad were all so much better at it then I could ever be. But there was always some drama playing out between my parents and siblings, I survived by learning how to be entertaining or invisible.

   So when I first came to NYC I loved the pace and the constant surprises, I learned how to recognize the different sounds of the uptown and downtown trains at my subway station and I rushed and ran when I heard my train coming. Now, when I hear that sound I tell myself it's not an emergency. As I'm preparing for the final exit from my art studio of 8 years, the place where I make my artwork, not the apartment where I live. I spent a couple of weeks waking up in the middle of the night with an overwhelming sense of dread......."I'm not prepared",  "It's too much work" "I won't be able to find an affordable studio" , "I can't aford a mover"........thoughts like this overwhelmed me, but I addressed the move one step at a time, I'm halfway done and Ive learned so much in this process....mostly that I don't have to be in a hyper-excited state of emergency to get it done. It's just part of the job, a regular part of an artist's life. Other people have gotten through it and I will too.

   It took a long while to learn this, to not catastrophize every major event in my life and even though I knew I shouldnt, I couldnt get out of that trap....it was like an addiction.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Kansas City 1999

It's been a fantastic experience preparing for the move to my new studio, I've had six weeks before the final move. I've already brought some things into a friend's storage space thank you, my friend!…. and in preparation for the final day of the move I've had a lot of time to go through everything in my studio and find good homes for the things I no longer need and examine everything I've amassed. 

   The gems from my record collection I've been posting along with snapshots from early on in my career. As  most art world people know, Bill Arning and I were boyfriends for 8 years, from 1994 to 2002 and Bill loved to take snapshots. Even before Instagram and Facebook he was always taking snapshots and giving me copies of the ones that I was in, Ive lost some things to basement floods and other clamities  but I was really thrilled to come across the group I'm posting here.These pictures are from New York:Neither/Nor at Grand Arts in Kansas City....one of the few times Bill curated me into a show. I don't see that with any regrets or remorse as it was very strange kind of a double edge sword to be dating a well-known curator as I was just beginning of my career. I met all kinds of fantastic people through him, which benefitted me enourmously and that was very helpful in getting my talents out into the world,  but some people were suspicious of any success that I might've received thinking it was a result of my famous boyfriend. 

   I remember very early on,  Bill decided to have an after party for a show he curated at a Gay Bar in the East VillageVillage called “The Bar" . I happened to have a self organized exhibition of my own paintings up at the bar and at Bill's party someone came up to me and said “Wow this must be so great to be getting shows like this because you're dating this famous curator” ....... I think this guy was serious, maybe he didn't know that it was really easy to get a local bar that you patronize to put up your paintings, anyway, it was clear that some people had some kind of suspicion about any success I would achieve. ...so although Bill and I did not talk about this a lot it was clear that he was not going to be curate me into every show he was doing and I was fine with that. I wanted to be recognized for my own talents and really did not want people to be suspect of my career for any reason, I figured my talent can speak for itself. 

 In 1999 Bill organized an exhibition for Grand Arts in Kansas City called "New York: neither/ nor " and I'm really glad he curated me into this because the whole lot of us got to go out there and spend a week in Kansas City putting up this exhibition and having as much barbecue as we could possibly stand and having rooftop parties, smoking like crazy. In most of these pictures Bill and I have cigarettes in our hand and not sure where this happened but it one point we snuck Rachel Harrison into a men's room…. maybe it was at the "Dixie Belle" the fantastic Drag Bar in KC,  I'm not sure where but in any event it was really fun trip and a great exhibition, I’m really proud to be part of it .


 On my way to work at The Museum of The City this Sunday morning here in NYC and I think seriously about so many opportunities I've had and made the right discussions or maybe it seem like the right ones at the time, but certainly no regrets….there are things I want to achieve that I haven't achieved yet and I do my best not to beat myself up over that . I've been doing the best I can with the tools I had at the time and now I try and see every challenge is a new set of doors, a new set of experiences to learn from. It’s taken a long time for me to get over my fears of both success and failure and accept my God-given talents and feel I am  worthy of them and just plain own who I am....I like myself, I'm a pretty good guy....








Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Gifts Keep Coming

I had a thing a while back with someone who was hot, smart and a lot of fun. He said he was kind of new to guy/guy relationships and I took his word for that. He said he wanted to be in a committed relationship of at least one year before he came out to his parents. I was like, "where do I sign up ...!!!" I could do this! I could be the one who is there for him and then after a year I'd be presented to the parents, have knighthood or something bestowed upon me and be declared a hero, I couldn't wait.

The idea of being needed is very appealing. Many years ago I committed to stay in a relationship with a BF who joined AA. We had moved apart but I promised I'd be there for him for that first year and it felt good to be needed like that. I was proud of myself after that first year when I was there for him.

Now I realize, it is great to commit to helping a friend or partner, but it's not about getting some kind of reward at the end, it's not about me, it's about them. No rewards are guaranteed, but they'll probably show up in unexpected ways....maybe now or maybe sometime in the future or maybe they already did, years ago.

So when me and hot/smart/fun went our separate ways I was devastated, I missed him....but it was something more......it was that prize that I was working for being denied me. This lesson took a lot of time to learn. I'm grateful that I was able to learn it...

Crawling Out from Under a Rock

   I got a new studio in Bushwick, for the first time my studio is not in a basement and I feel like Ive crawled out from under a rock....it feels great. I guess I always thought I had to have some shady under the table kind of deal and thats what Ive had in the past. Consequently, I've had very few enforceable rights when the landlord wants to move stuff through my space or come in and change the plumbing.....I thought I had to just put up with that until I made enough money to afford a more professional space.

It turns out a got a space similar to my current basement, with less floor space but twice as much wall space in bushwick for 2/3 of what Im paying now......amazing, and I deserve it!

Friday, November 21, 2014

I'm Not Perfect....



 I teach at the Museum of the city of New York and I recently made a mistake, and admitted it.....someone immediately said to me "I could never do that!" and we started talking and I got to thinking how I used to have a hard time admitting when I made a mistake, consequently, I had a hard time forgiving others when they made mistakes.....I realized, the bar was just too high for me and everyone else.

Now that I got a little easier on myself and can admit I make a mistake, without beating myself up.....I'm a lot easier on the people around me too....try it!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Mina 'Something' 'The fool on the hill' da 'Mina canta i Beatles' '93



Its weird to say this but, I adore MINA. Cher and Madonna are fine by me, all the other Gay Icons have probably done something I like but for some reason Mina is the diva for me. I get so much pleasure watching her performances from the 1950's up until  now. If I were ever asked who would you like to perform at your MoMA OPENING, THE ANSWER WOULD BE, OF COURSE MINA, because Ive gotten so much pleasure listening to her recordings