Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Why I make art

I have performed this exercise before and if I remember correctly it didn't go well the first time. In the midst of having an emotional art making breakdown, I had decided I make art for me and that was that. Anyone who had a comment or disagreement about it could take it elsewhere.

How Trees Work, mixed media on wood, 2007
That was about six years ago now and it is amazing to see how much my life has changed since then and my intentions as an artist. Writing poetry in fleeting moments of adolescent love, living in complete idealism with nothing at stake, traveling for months at a time, risk-taking at the expense of no one (except maybe your parents), all I have moved on from. I will admit all of those things were great for creativity, and I often look back at previous paintings and crave those moments back.

But presently, why do I make art? While I don't have any passionate heartbreak or fleeting moment of individuality to create art about, I do have a very serious and passionate intention. The future of our planet instantly becomes most imperative when you bring a little one into this world. It is not us that will pay the price, it will be our children.  She has influenced me in a way no heartbreak, or solo trip to South America could ever do.

Tending to a relationship with the environment, ultimately becomes a tending to others and can inspire potential change. This relationship with our environment is what I would like to confront through my work. How can we cultivate mindfulness to become more aware of our environment?

There is no denying that art is a selfish act, but motherhood is a self-less act. The combination of the two have created a very interesting place in my present life. One that requires considerable management in order to strive towards both continuously with dedication and drive. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

enough said.

the balance game

Nearly five months have passed since a new chapter began in my life. Seven or so months ago, I was given an opportunity I had only dreamt of; to be a full time Professor of Art. It was a dream come true. Or was it? The catch was, not only would I lose valuable time with my now two year old daughter, but I would commute to Idaho, a 2.5 hours drive on a weekly basis. That is, I would spent Monday - Thursday in Idaho away from family. Needless to say, I was in quite a conundrum. Now, five months into it, my decision to accept the position remains in question.

How many mothers play this balance game? When you choose to go to the gym rather than play with legos. When the thought of a weekend away leads to unbearable feelings of guilt. When you take a job in another state to expand your resume, only to be saddened by missed moments.

Often we find ourselves wishing to be somewhere we are not. I knew that merely being offered the position had left me in a hole. That if I did not take it, I would have regretted that I hadn't. And if I did (and I did) I would constantly (and I do) wish that I hadn't.

What is the answer? How do we find balance between motherhood, art, work, life?

A friend of mine recently came out with a book that looks at the hardships of working mothers: