2017: In Review

As I sit here and reflect on the year that has passed, I am so happy. Happy about the decisions I’ve made, the things I’ve learned. Happy about the way my life is going. 2017 began with a dream, a thought, and a conversation. I had been sad for several years that I “couldn’t control” certain things. That I wasn’t getting things I had been working towards. You work hard and do what is excepted of you, do more than you are asked, and good things happen, right? There was nothing “wrong” with my life. I had a great full time job that I was financially self-supporting. I have amazing friends, family, and partner. I have a cute, cuddly, happy dog. But in 2017 I turned 30 and everything I had done up to this point did not make me “happy”.  What was I supposed to do with that? January 27th 2017 was the game changer. In 2017, unexpected people re-entered my life to show me that I should really believe in myself. There were a few people at my job that believed in me, but it wasn’t my supervisor, or their manager. It was the people who watched me from down the hall, the people who stopped by to chat on their breaks, and the people who knew that I loved what I did for that company. They could see past the corporate frustrations and into my heart. 

By February, Valentine’s Day, to be exact my partner and I went to dinner. The conversation was unexpected. We discussed opportunities available to us outside the city we were currently living in. We weighed our options and put together a plan. If I didn’t get a transfer or promotion by April we would leave and start over. Scary, I know, but necessary. March came and I completed my largest project to date. It was magic. The process, the 14 hour work days, the final product exactly as I imagined. Still no growth with the company. Then it happened, exactly what was supposed to happen. My partner came home one afternoon, and asked me if I’d like to move to Miami. I delightfully exclaimed “YES! When?”, he responded “Soon.” I promptly crunched numbers, and wrote my 8 week notice. We would move no later than July 1st. We worked really hard through April and May and I left my corporate job on May 26, 2017. 13 days after my 30th birthday to begin a new life. Over the next 5 weeks we signed a lease on our new Miami home, began packing, and I made personal art. For 13 years my father had asked for a piece of art. I had always told him I would make him something, and I didn’t. Until this moment, that’s what I did during my 5 weeks. I made the piece “My Father’s Shirts”. We moved and everything was an adjustment. We moved without jobs, living off our savings, and credit cards, but we knew we had to do it. It was the right things in the scheme of this life. 

In August I submitted work to the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series without expectation. I had been exploring a few new things. I went and installed “My Father’s Shirts” in his dining room and the following day I received an email that it has been chosen as a regional semi-finalist for the artisan series! 1 of 15 selected out of 800 applicants to show in October. I spent the following month producing a second in the series “My Mother’s Jewelry” for the exhibition. I didn’t want to take my father’s piece from him. This was one of the best things I could have done. I noticed that I had a concept and a product that was positively responded to. September was a big month. It also marked 3 months living in Miami. More great things had happened for us during those 3 months than the pervious 3 years. My partner and I both got part-time jobs in September. It cost money to make art and live. We agreed that it was the right thing to do until I started selling installations consistently. Enter, hurricane Irma. Enter, Box Cold Brew my part-time job surrounded by coffee. Enter, Kevin from Shulman+Associates. Enter, me making personal art. Enter, being asked to be the maid of honor for one of my closet friends. Enter, a full and happy life.  

October started with the group show at N’Namdi Contemporary Gallery, my first exhibition in 5 years. Showcasing new, honest, work that I am proud of. I met other artists, and a wonderful woman who spoke my language. We went to lunch and discussed art and what could come next for me in my personal art practice. I wasn’t sure at the time if I was going to continue the series of abstractly narrating peoples objects. I had prepped the month to work on singular large shapes titled “Twelve”. Then I got my Miami Art Week installation during Art Basel and my focus shifted. From the end of October to the beginning of December I created 8 pieces of art. I learned a lot in this process. I wasn’t sure if I was going to have mental breakdown or a spiritual experience. I’m still not sure which happened, but it was amazing. If you’ve been keeping up with me than you know I’ve confirmed a solo show in February 2018 at the Englewood Art Center. This will mark one year since the first conversation that changed everything. Over the last month I made the decision to continue my series of wall constructions abstractly narrating peoples intimate objects. I kept going back to the lunch conversation with Shawna. I have titled the exhibition “Identifying Characters”. Within this body of work I will show 9 pieces. “My Father’s Shirts” represented by 35 triangles. “My Mother’s Jewelry” made of 24 parallelograms. “My Brother’s Books” with 30 trapezoids. “My Dog’s Toys” 21 diamonds. “My Partner’s Music” 23 hexagons. “My Postcards” a mass of suspended and distorted diamond-like shapes in the center of the gallery. Reoccurring themes this year as been form, function, 30 degree angles, obsessive pattern making, and intimacy. I have always dealt with intimate objects, abstract narratives and mass that describe an experience. A few months ago a dear friend from art school suggested that I make kaleidoscopes. With the size of the gallery, and my push to continue to create environments I noticed that something was missing from the floor plan of the show. I needed freestanding pieces. My friend DMC passed away in November. I reflected on my relationship with him, I had known him all my adult life. He had taught me valuable life lessons and supported me in someway. It forced me to look at two other friendships I had with amazing men with interesting nicknames, who had also passed away. With the kaleidoscopes I will honor these 3 men. “Lunchbox: 1983-2008 (Christian Andersen)”, “Snacks: 1987-2016 (Chad Michael Lee Hudson)”, and “DMC: 1982-2017 (Daniel Brice McClair)”. These are all influential relationships that have shaped who I am today.  The living on the walls, mine suspended in the center of the gallery, and the spirit world honored with freestanding sculptures that will create an installation of objects or moments. 

This past month, December, has been an adjustment. Directly following Art Week I needed a mental break to recharge, reflect, and regroup in order to finish things I started. So that I could move forward with the next most important things for me. I have been strategizing, analyzing, and assessing all the things I’ve learned about myself over the last 6 months. What is working? What isn’t working? Through a careful review of things in black and white, I clearly see somethings that are working and I clearly see things that need to change. The first 3 months of 2018 are outlined to bring me closer to my personal idea of success, to be there for my friends and family, and to honor who I am as a person and as an Artist. Cheers to the year that past, Cheers to a New Year ahead.