Jul 10, 2010

Painting Questions

I experimented the other day with painting what I don’t know. It wasn’t as fulfilling as I’d hoped. I was really just journaling, the pieces were mostly too personal to share, and since love was the topic of my exploration I felt I was setting myself up to feel ingenuine, as if relationships were just source material for my artistic explorations. Journaling is always useful, but it isn't the thread of consistency I thought I needed to create a meaningful body of work right now.
It was a very useful experience in that it disengaged my notion of needing to disseminate a grand truth or save the world through art. I have worked hard to overcome that desire; to be humble and receptive, but the need to do something obviously helpful has gnawed at me the whole time. Somehow painting questions instead of answers created enough space to finally see through it and the academic pressure to do something unique and conceptually interesting. It makes me really uptight to feel like I need to know what I am making art about before I make it. So instead of painting about love itself, I am just going to paint what I love and let the pursuit form its own content.

Jul 2, 2010


Last night I had some bizarre dream about college. I don't remember any more than sitting at a picnic table with my family when this very hip music student sat down right next to me but wouldn't talk to me. I do, however, remember waking up and thinking quite clearly, Oh, yeah, school's over I need to leave. I had noticed the other day that I was still telling people, Oh well I just graduated...blah, blah, blah.... While I have come to appreciate that transitions can take longer than we expect, I realized it was time to move on.

The dream clarified something important for me. I loved school SO much I thought the trick to life after school was to somehow create a similar structure. Now I suspect that the task is to go into the outside world and do something new with what I've learned. The tricky part, is deciding what to do. So far I've been thinking about it as what to say. I used to really want to say, the world is so beautiful would you please notice it, every moment is like a poem. But somehow I feel stifled by that now. Maybe I am ready for new content or maybe I am just afraid that I sound preachy.

The problem with wanting to say things is that I am mostly interested in the things I know the least about. Love, for instance, is my favorite topic and it remains a complete mystery. Every time I think I learn something important it soon becomes obvious that the knowledge doesn't hold water in a new time and place.

Now, if you are a normal person who wasn't raised with a placard on your wall that said, Alexandra, helper of mankind, you might be thinking, so make art about what you don't know, why do you have to disseminate wisdom or answers when you could ask questions? Well, maybe I will look into that.