In taking the time to get help and admit I need to be treating myself better (and that my mental health is worth the trips into Tokyo, the money, and the time) I have invested in myself in a manner I don’t wish to squander by exhausting myself needlessly.
I’ve started working on The Artist’s Way again. It’s not my first time, I started in 2006.
I’m not feeling blocked, not even about writing. I’m not feeling like I am un-artistic. I know I am an artistic person. I am a visual artist, a writer, and a dancer and I am talented in all three of these pursuits. I don’t balk at writing these words. My first trip into The Artist’s Way defeated many of my past demons and reservations.
But, like how I spend my waking days, I want to be better to myself.
I know I often rely on class deadlines, performance deadlines, in dance to motivate me. I wait for the problem to write. I don’t want to rely on self-created pressure in regards to things I love to motivate me in spurts anymore. No more sprinting. I love dance. I love writing. I love making things, I get great joy from it and so have others. I figure that if I am better feeding myself as a dancer/artist/writer, if I am taking the steps to nurture that, I will be able to go farther and feel more joy. The thrills of meeting a self-imposed deadline ARE wonderful, they do release the dopamine…but I suspect that if I treat myself better as an artist/dancer/writer that I’ll get MORE thrills and more happiness out of going beyond the sprints of deadlines and onto things I hadn’t ever imagined achieving.
I also know that The Artist’s Way requires pulling away from some of my life at times to be introspective. I suspect that doing this before I have to make a choice about moving, or before I have moved (when I will need to be very outwardly engaded) will serve me well.
I work at being the artist I am but I could do it in a kinder, less physically and mentally stressful way than I have been. My creativity has served me very well. It has gotten me through hell, connected me to so many people, connected me to myself, and enriched my lives and others…so I think I can take the time the book requires of me to thank it and nurture it.
It doesn't have to anything big.I don't think any of you have much liquid assets. Buy something you can afford but haven't felt comfortable justifying: splurge on some handmade soap on Etsy, buy a limited edition print, get a crass-assed scrawled drawing off ebay, buy some handmade jewelry,buy something handmade to make something handmade from (lampwork beads or handspun and dyed yarn) buy that limited edition unique t-shirt, commission an artist to do something for you, ask that photographer you like if he/she has any, say, card sized prints you could afford.
That's what I want for my birthday.
Edited to add one more request:
Artists, artisans, craftspeople...and even you authors and musicians ... on my friends list, please put a visual or quick blurb in my comments about what it is you do and shove some links so we know where to get, or at least see, your stuff. My friends list has waaaaaaay too many people who make cool shit for me to list them all. I just want it all in one place to we all can luxuriate in your talents...and maybe even buy stuff from you.
DAMNIT Phineas X. Jones is trying to smash my will. I haven't used paypal for 4 months now....but he's got another desirable print...now I am lusting after Octosamurai AND the Western Tentacled Jay and he's working on another print...http://octophant.us/octosamurai.php (and thanks to Dean Mommy, have ordered for my birthday)
Mmmmm, stinky studio/kitchen now airing out. Thinner high.
There was an ad in The Metropolis, looking for actors, dancer, models who might be interested in swapping modeling time for photos. There was something about it that didn't seem creepy, because that is an issue with The Metropolis Classifieds, so I sent them an emai. I included some shots from the Baxter shoot and Nam shoot. Soon I started corresponding with the leader/teacher of this rotating group of photographers, Tim.
He got right back to me. Once more I felt good about the vibe.
He also included shots from models and actors in the past and gave me more info like:
There will be a professional Swedish make- up artist
and a maximum of five photographers, each of
whom will give you photographs on a CD.
He also sent links to his work.
I reaaaaaaally like Tim's creepy fetal still life series on his page. I understand that they aren't going to be for everyone but I fucking love them. I told him so. Tim asked me to drop by the studio on Saturday to get a feel for the place and meet folks which I did after my acupuncture.
Tim is...a character. It's a good eccentric energy, much like Michael Baxter, except Tim is more frenetic and doesn't seem to be a hugger. He talks very quickly, which I am not accustomed to here in Japan. I don't know how we got on the topic of Studio 54 within 2 minutes of shaking hands, but there you go.
Tim's originally American, but when Vietnam started he re-connected with Canadian relatives. He's an American in Canada although I think he somehow is not a Canadian citizen. He doesn't feel like an American in America, and is now in Japan. He has gallery people who deal with his work abroad. When he sells work in New York he gets paid in Euros through Germany or something. The National Museum of Photography in Canada owns things from all of his series except the fetal still-life series...they won't touch that one...which is why he was so surprised to hear my praise. He promised me a print as a gift.
It took me a while to figure out why he looked familiar. He looks like Alan Alda but with the physical whippet-thin/tall build of Peter Fonda.
Tim, true to his word, handed me a few of the still life prints when he met me. I've promised to buy his large work when I become independently wealthy. We all good.
The set up is at National Photo in Harajuku. It's a rotating group of photographers who want more studio time and to try new equipment and get guidance from an elder, Tim. They were playing with a ring flash when I got there and a Scandinavian woman was getting used to a high-end classic studio camera which I knew, but have forgotten the name of. There was a scruffy 19 year old boy, a Kiwi man who swears by digital, a bald American my age, and some Japanese models finishing up. The chubby Swedish make-up artist was in the corner relaxing.
A large American woman came in, gave the Swede a collection of American fashion magazines, and we did the wrinkled brow "Don't I know you?"
"Maybe. Do you watch bellydance around Tokyo?"
"Yeah, actually! Didn't Danz Studio do a shoot with you?"
"No, Dan has shot everyone but me. Dan has never seen me dance...but I think we've found the same group of folks we have in common. I've done a shot with Nam"
"I just became aware of Nam's work, he did a shoot with (so-and-so) just wonderful!"
When we talked about The Afet Collective it turned out that she used to help out HELP, our charity of choice. Alexis and I know, it's a small world.
I stayed around with them for about 2 hours, chatting, watching set up and make-up. I think they are folks I can work with. The whole place feels like the the sort of artist group that I miss because I am so apart from the fine art scene here.
Eshe, Alexis and Tim both offered to donate studio photography time for charity in the future if Afet needs to do group shots. If things work out with the show and we do one later in the year, we'd be able to get studio shots of folks like me and Suiren together with other members if we need something different from the Nam show shots for flyers and publicity.
I brought some pictures of the costumes that I have, just in case. When I stood in place of the model for lighting checks Tim got very excited about how white I am...when he found out that I have an all white costume he got even more excited. He wants to play with layers of white against white with a white background so one of my costumes will be my slightly-retro white Bella with disco pants...which brought us back to talking about Studio 54 again.
He also asked me questions about bellydance make-up...because he wasn't sure if there was a special style you go for..I talked a little about dramatic eyes and he tentatively asked...
"Would you be up for something sort of...James Bond Girl..."
"Uuuuh, yeah. You have no idea how much that suits my style."
I popped open the laptop and showed him and the photographer the coin-bra shots.
We all shoot February 16th!
Prior to my trip to San Francisco I had set a goal of getting my "Cabaret Cabaret" costume professionally photographed soon. I knew that I needed some sharp images of the fusion work I do with the costumes I use for those occasions in which my pretty uber-bellydancer shots by Nam wouldn't correctly represent what I would be performing. I'd talked with Farasha on the merits of having Nam shoot it, but was still feeling like what Nam does best is capture and create a certain soft femininity that he might not be the right choice to capture the humor, movement or slight edge of my Balkan fusion. Nam will be shooting the Afet Collective event in February...and I thought that in-motion performance-shots of the costume would tide me over and give us a frame of reference for doing future studio work with that side of my dance.
( a very very very long story of one day )
It doesn't have to be pricey. Hell, even if it is it's worth it. I don't get why people spend so much money framing crappy posters that everyone has seen or bullshit that simply matches your room when there is a world of art everywhere you go.
The etchings and prints I've bought locally aren't up because I haven't sprung for framing yet. I should at least frame the one of the running salary man one of these days. I have a nice collection very well-framed etchings back in Madison, the product of many swaps in art school itaglio class and my job at a custom framing store...and if I ever settle somewhere I look forward to having them on the walls again. I miss them.
I have a few quirky canvases hung around my bed here including these two small ones
But today, between school and watching project runway, I did the following.
So, the assignment was "Draw a picture that shows something familiar with new uses." but it was phrased better. If you are familiar with Doraemon it was similar to asking them to draw an object or environment all tricked-out with great gadgets, like an Anywhere Door or a Beanie-hat-helicopter...or drawing the house that has everything.
The best part is that when they turned in the drawings they had to explain them to me. What with the nature of the drawings and my Japanese level, this was deliciously surreal.For example, I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't be able to decipher the relationship between the banana and the ninja in one of the pictures even if I was perfectly fluent!
Just so we're all on the same page here and don't think I am being modest about the tissue-paper-art.
I am too tired to update tonight...maybe I'll get a second wind later. For those of you who know the Japanese school system this quick explanation of why I am knackered will help. I have learned more about my schedule. Every other week I am an English teacher (with an average of 4 classes a day) where I work with a Japanese teacher while I am learning...the weeks that I'm not an English teacher I am an assistant homeroom teacher. On those days I rotate through all (6) of the 1st grade and second grade classes, helping the teacher. Today I helped Grade 1, Class 1 for all periods... Tomorrow I am an assistant for Grade 1, Class 2...And mind you, on these days we don't study English...we study everything else.
My flashcards are getting weirder and weirder : turnip, dinosaur, spaceship, plant/sew...and I just know I'm gonna have to learn all those fucking Pokemon.