#002 i didn't used to be an artist

I haven't made anything in a while. Anything that is my art. The art that I spent my first 28 years studying and working on. I went to many schools for many years to study dance and dance-making. And it's been a little while since I've actually done any dancing (beyond my living room) and dance-making.

I've been reading a ton about artists lately. About artists who are making work, actively and sharing it and succeeding with it and also failing with it. I tend to be the kind of artist who, when given an opportunity, will totally take it and make things and play and feel great about the process. And when I need to go to work and make money and pay my rent and buy groceries, my art is the first thing that gets pushed aside.

Slightly related is this joke that Jordan and I play with - everyone gets a certificate of participation. Meaning, there is a thought that opportunities should just be handed over, not worked for or earned, because someone went to a special school or who's mom thinks is very special. I am someone with a very strong work ethic - I was raised by a former Naval Officer who always went to work, always paid his bills and always did his best. In my thirties, I realize how deeply that has been instilled in me. My art will be forgone for a salary and health benefits. (I feel a bigger issue brewing here.)

Dance and dance-making are still slightly off the main path of art, in my opinion. In a very general sense, the practice of it needs to happen where there is space. Space that is big enough to safely move one's body without fear of hurtling into a wine rack or a vacuum. The space also needs to have the type of floors that don't hurt one's joints if jumping or rolling or whatever happens on them - no concrete, for the longevity of the health and wellness of the dancer. So, there's less of a chance of being a regular person who works a job all day and then comes home and paints or writes or plays music, because of the physical toll on the body and the space requirements of the form.

Post-modernism in dance was essentially derived from themes that related to this. So dances were made in bathrooms and Lucinda Childs made a piece by dumping the contents of a wire basket onto a table, wearing it on her head and placing the contents in and around the basket, now hanging on her head - Carnation, 1964. It was beautiful and fueled a period of dance that challenged the viewer's notions of the form. It's a form that I'm interested in, but not necessarily the kind of art that I make... I'm more likely to spin and fly and throw myself across space.

At any rate - I think these thoughts of not enough space, not enough energy at the end of the day to go to a dance class, not enough ways to show work have allowed me to become more and more scared of the process. For so many years, I made work and showed it bi-weekly to my professors and my colleagues. We talked about it, dissected it, challenged it and questioned it. It conditioned me to look at things with more of a bird's-eye view. To take things less personally and look at feedback as a tool to help make me and it better and more interesting (hello, real-life too, right?).

They're called excuses.

 photo by paula court

photo by paula court