Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Who I Am and What I Do....

One of the many paradox's as an artist is that you've got a full time job, your art career.....but you need a steady income to pay your bills. Ive had a number of different jobs from bartending, to painting the faces on mannequins and a lot of positions in between. 

In the past, when going on a job interview I've tried to guess....."who do they want and what person should I be for them?" I am always my authentic self in my studio, just doing work for me there but I always used to think I needed to play a role outside of the studio, that my authentic self was not enough. In the last couple of years Iv'e gone on a lot of job interviews and had some amazing jobs, some of which worked out and led to other jobs and others which didn't go too far, which ended just when they were supposed to.

I used to think that there had to be some kind of line between what I do for my career and what I do for money....more and more I see that line blurring, coming close to disappearing. Ive been trying to find jobs sharing my experience as an artist

   I would love the opportunity to share my experience with students.  I had a fantastic experience at columbia in  the 80s, reading Dante’s Divine Comedy with Prof. Joseph Mazzeo was a mind blowing experience. My education there opened me up to the idea that Art could be so much more than paintings on a wall..I had a fantastic public school education in Minnesota  My high school art teacher Brad Nuorala was an exhibiting artist and all of my teachers from kindergarten on up encouraged  me to be an Artist,  consequently I let the other subjects slide without reading a single book in high school, just concentrating on art. While in high school I exhibited at the Minneapolis Institute of arts, apprenticed with an exhibiting sculptor and took college level art history courses in a joint program with the university of Minnesota.

 When I graduated from Marshall - University high school in 1977 I was Ill-prepared for college, I tried a year at the University of Minnesota, getting straight A’s in all my studio arts classes and failing all other subjects, I was not invited back for a second year so I worked hard, saved money and traveled for a year through europe and the middle east, and I did a lot of reading. I came back to NYC in may of 1983 and got a job as a carpenter on the workshop production of “Sunday In The Park with George” and applied for Columbia’s school of general studies where the worlds of literature, science and languages opened up to me. I made dean’s list my first semester there in the fall of 1983.

   I chose Columbia for the core curriculum, even though it was always my goal to be an artist I thought it was a great chance to make up in the areas of my life that I've neglected to develop in high school…..reading literature science math  …..all the professors I encountered at Columbia helped me get over some of the blocks I had constructed, keeping me from becoming a more well-rounded human being.…. I treasure my experiences …..I'm sorry that I ran out of money and I was not able to finish my degree there….still, my life is a dream come true …when I was a little kid I told my parents I was going to move to NYC and be an artist and now I’ve had seven solo shows here in NYC and been in group shows at various institutions around the world including PS1/MoMA ….it's what I’ve always wanted to do……and it took a long circuitous route to get here with many years spent on the outside looking in. It’s great to be part of the Nyc art world, and I would love to share my experience with students .
   I’ve spent the last couple of years teaching in a variety of positions. In 2011 I was hired at The New Museum to help visitors navigate the Carsten Holler “Experience” exhibition where I stayed on through 2012. Then In 2013 I was hired by Fete Paradiso to teach about the origin’s of the antique french carousels on display on Governor’s Island and Ron Athey asked me to participate in his "Gift’s of The Spirit” Performance at Participant Inc.

   From Fete Paradiso I was recruited by The Museum of The City of New York where I now give a talk to visitors 3 times a week about creativity in NYC and what it’s like to be an artist in the NYC art world. I enjoy talking about this and sharing my experience with visitors as I remember how it felt to be on the outside looking in and wondering how I could ever be a part of it. At the end of 2014 I was hired by Artwork NY to give walking tours of SoHo and The Bowery talking about the art that grew up in these areas and how. Participants find me knowledgable,open and engaging. I’m excited to share what I know and I’m turned on by curiosity, and the challenge of finding a way in for those curious about the art world.

   Ive been doing all of this teaching while maintaining my studio practice which I recently moved to Bushwick where I’m working on some Needlepoint versions of some Abstract photographs of music for a show curated by Marco Breuer at Yossi Milo gallery this June.

  I’ve taught about all these other subjects that are close to me but I think I could do the best job teaching about the subject that’s closest to me, art making, being an artist, helping other people achieve their dreams like so many other’s at Columbia helped me to do back in the 1980’s.


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