It's okay.

Continuing on my quest from yesterday, I have lots of things to say, but I'm always terrified of saying them. I'm going to say them, and I might decided after posting this I don't want it out in the world, we will see. 

Fear runs our lives more than I think we will ever truly acknowledge, and for me, for the most part, I tend to jump into things head first. I have an I idea and I run with it, I get tunnel vision, there is only that thing. 

I'm not afraid to take a risk or of heights or of falling. I'm not afraid to walk down an unlit street at night, in fact most things that a person should have a healthy fear of I don't. What scares me is in my head, the thoughts and emotions that may not be appropriate for the time or place, the fleeting thoughts of ending my own life (don't worry, I am not considering suicide) however it has been a very real problem in my life before. I'm lucky enough to have survived the attempt and therefore I am here to pontificate to my friends and family on the internet, like any good millennial would.

I'm alive today in part because of those fears, knowing something wasn't right the second time so I could proactively check myself in. However there's still an incredible amount of shame and guilt that comes with it, every day I think about the people that I hurt with that attempt, it was three years ago, and I've moved on with my life and my health, but the shame and guilt are still there, recently stronger than ever. 

I'd like to broaden this away from myself because that is the best way that I can deal with these feelings, and talk about the fact that as a person who is sick and at that point in my life I did not have the coping mechanisms or the knowledge that asking for help was okay. My family is and always has been supportive, but that was not something that was spoken about. No matter how many times a celebrity gets on TV or does a long form PSA saying "you are not alone" "call the hotline", that may help some people. However it will continue to be a problem if it is not spoken about at home, if mental health issues are spoken about at home, or in schools. I think the best thing that was ever said to me was it's okay to ask for help. That might be the simplest thing, but it will make all the difference to someone like me, or someone who didn't have the incredible friends and family surrounding them like I did. 

Some things, as simple as they are still need to be said.

it's okay to ask for help. 
it's okay to talk to me about this.
it's okay to be on medication
it's okay to have to go to the hospital
it's okay to not be happy even though everything is going right for you.

Most importantly, and I think this applies to every aspect of our society, especially in these trying times 

I love you.

Peace,

Brianne

Silence is Rarely The Answer

I'm going to drop the pretense that this is an art blog, and we'll call it whatever's on Brianne's mind blog, however I can usually bring it back to making art (shout out to Mrs. Smith AP English!). 

Today might not be one of those days, and I'm trying to figure out a way to put the words on the page that need to be said for myself and no one else. I'm struggling, there are a lot of really amazing things happening to me right now, you could say my luck has finally turned around if you believe in that kind of stuff. However for me, any kind of change is usually earth shattering. I know that might sound extremely dramatic, and maybe it is, but when things change I feel unbalanced and out of place. 

As level headed as I feel right now, the feeling never lasts very long usually during the day I'm fine, but at night or when I'm able to slow down a little I hurt and I'm tired. Physically, emotionally, even intellectually. I have no spoons left. I miss my friends, I miss the structure college gave me, and I miss not being tied down to anything. I guess my overall emotional state is a weird mixture of shame, confusion, anger, and fear. All of these things I've dealt with before, I've faced bigger demons than this and came out still swinging, but I have the no lying policy on this blog and I'm fighting a fight I might need a little help with right now. Even if it's just some kind words. 

I guess I want to keep talking about this because I know there are other people out there that have the same thoughts running through their head. I want to tell them that self destruction is not the answer, that silence is more dangerous than taking a risk and telling someone the truth. I want to be able to follow my own advice, but I'm having a hard time doing it right now. 

Anyway, I hope everyone is doing well, I'm going to try to post more often and more relevant topics to the purpose of this website and blog.

Peace,

Brianne

I Can't Do That

It's been a few days since I last wrote. I've been working hard on some art related things and also have been working on a debut of sorts that will be happening in October! So stay tuned! 

Today I think I'm going to try to tackle the "I can't do that medium" issue. If you heard me in the drawing classes that I had to take to graduate you would have heard a lot of "I cannot draw, I do not feel comfortable drawing. My medium spends almost no time putting pencil or pen to paper unless you're writing out shot lists or sketches about what you want your photograph to look like. I've realized only recently (and this should have come at a more convenient time, like when I actually had to pass these classes, but I'll take what I can get. "I can't draw/paint/etch what have you" actually translates to "I'm too afraid to actually try". We as artists get comfortable in our media, especially when we start to get good at it, and I think the longer you spend trying to perfect one medium the less likely you are to branch out into a new one. That being said, many artists switch mediums in the middle of their career, but most of those artists have been able to build up the confidence that us young kids don't have yet. 

At this point in my photography career I know that the photography knowledge in my head is maybe 5% of what I will learn in my life time, and the idea that I had to spend so many years just to get to that 5% is intimidating for me. So the idea of wanting to learn another medium (right now I'm experimenting with ink and watercolor) is terrifying, because there's not a ton of overlap in the two mediums, there are some, but not enough. 

I like a challenge as much as the next girl, but jumping in to a new medium and putting toes in the water to see if I can even attempt to start at that .05% (I can mix paints, I know how to apply inks and watercolor to the paper, I have kind of a twisted mind but that's about it). But I figure I might as well try, if it's bad work I can throw it out, if it's good work I've found a new talent, and a new determination to learn the next 5% in both my new medium and my old ones. 

So the next time you find yourself thinking I can't do that, I won't have the time to learn that, I can't even draw a stick figure, maybe spend a half hour a day drawing, or making photographs, or painting, because even if you don't master it, you can always just be proud of yourself for adding another talent to your belt. 

Until next time

Peace,
Brianne

Put it in Your Pocket

Today I'm not going to write about art, at least not directly. I've been thinking a lot about how to keep myself sane while I'm trying to navigate trying to find a "real" job and not going back to school for the first time in my short life. I'm currently working a terrible retail job, but a lot of college graduates are in the same place so I'm not going to get into all of that. Today was especially grueling, ten hours straight at a place that doesn't remotely value it's employees, I need the money so at the moment I have no other choice, a 40 hour workweek is a 40 hour workweek (although I shouldn't be qualifying for medicaid if I'm working 40 hours, just throwing that out there).

On these type of days I try to keep hold to my art, the projects I have brewing, the work I truly love, but sometimes the bad outweighs the good. Today was one of those days, at least for the most part, but then this guy came in trying to surprise his daughters with crazy colored hair dye and he was going to dye his hair blue with his son. We got to talking a little bit, sometimes you meet a person for 30 seconds and you know that they get you and when they leave you can't help but smile. This has happened to me at this job one other time, the most recent before today being a girl who was trying to get back into art after being sick for a while. We talked about outside artists, we talked about the living hell retail is, and we parted ways. I find those kind of connections so brief and so rare that I can count them on one hand. 

I don't really believe in an outside force controlling your life, but I do think that sometimes the universe throws you a bone and for lack of a better word wills a person into your life for enough time for you to connect, but no more. Mostly because you don't need any more time, it was just enough to make you smile, or think, or laugh harder than you usually do, and enough that you will always remember that connection. I've decided to work a little harder at keeping those brief conversations close to my heart, put them in my back pocket for a rainy (or angry) day. It's a cheesy overused saying, but life is short, and connection is rare. 

Anyway, thank you strangers who have come into my life for enough time to change my sour mood. I don't think you all get enough credit. I hope your life is as interesting as mine is proving to be. 

Until tomorrow 

Peace,

Brianne

Out of Control

I've had kind of a rough week, I'm feeling much better now, but that's why the posts have been so sparse. I'm back on my shaky legs with a real theme today, I can't really promise coherence though. 

Today I'd like to talk about control and how feeling in/out of control has affected my art. 

Most artists I know are control freaks, some may be more subtle about it, but for the most part my friends who are artists are not going to lay back and let things come to them. One of the positive things about that is the artists I know are incredibly hard working because of this.

 I know in my work I always reach the "I'm doing this all on my own and no one can tell me otherwise" point. That's usually the point where that series is at it's worst, and I usually come out of it directly into a "I have to find someone to talk about this with" stage. However I do spend a significant amount of time in the first stage, it's hard to give up any amount of control in my work, especially when the thing I am working on is super close to my heart. Here's where I give myself advice that I'm probably not going to follow, but giving up some control in work is almost always a good thing. You don't have to follow the advice that's given to you, but it's always really good to have it in your back pocket just in case it's a better idea than you had. 

For example I had a professor in school who is almost alway right when it comes to technical things about my work. When I was doing my thesis he suggested I switch to a different type of paper, he loved my images, he thought my concept was solid, but he told me to try a glossy paper. I was almost offended, I didn't like glossy paper and this was my project so I wasn't even going to try. I couldn't give up that tiny piece of control just to try the stupid glossy paper. I'm sure you all know where this is going, I tried it after months of telling him no, and ended up loving how it looked. 

Now that was a story about paper which probably isn't a significant problem in most people's lives, but paper choice is important! And so is loosening the reigns every now and then and giving up some control in your work even if it's just for an insignificant amount of time to try the goddamn glossy paper. 

Ask Yourself Better Questions

I was listening to my favorite podcast today, and Rob Lowe was the guest, and he spoke about some of his achievements, downfalls, and scandals and while he was talking he said to ask yourself better questions. 

That phrase stopped me in my tracks (well it would have had I not been driving)

This is a way of reacting to the world that I hadn't thought of, but as someone who recently has become more confident a little more open that phrase stuck with me. I repeated it in my head on my drive home over and over and over again. 

Ask yourself better questions and your brain will give you better answers. An example that was given was:

Q: Why did that fail?
A: Because I'm a piece of garbage. 

So to rephrase that so your brain would give you a better answer (and my brain gets a lot darker than "piece of garbage", but for readers sake I won't go there)

Q: What did I learn from that failure that I can use later?
A: All sorts of things, let me list them! (says your much happier brain)

Now, of course those were the examples given and I'm sure there are many ways to rephrase things so your head doesn't give you the "wrong" answers or the sad answers. 

As I was repeating this in my head on my way home, I was wondering how I could apply this to my art practice. How I can rewire how I think about failures both commercially and personally. Many people say you learn more from the mistakes you make than from your successes, there are a ton of famous quotes from famous people about failure and how it helped them succeed, but how can you go from a true failure to a true success? And how can you keep the failure lessons in your back pocket without having them weigh you down?

Those are really hard questions, and I'm not sure anything I come up with tonight will be a good enough answer, but I feel like the actual theme for this blog is "Brianne starts out with a question, tries to answer it and ends up more confused". And that's okay with me I'm comfortable in the confusion, I almost relish it. I like looking for answers. I think, for me at least, the answer is do it again. Do it again and don't feel guilty about having to do it again. That's something that I have to work on, I have to realize that very few people can shoot one roll of film and have an entire series, it just doesn't work like that.  No one is perfect the first time around, and no one is perfect the 100th time around. I think in art, and in life, there's a lot of letting things go, and the happiest people I know are really good at letting the tough stuff go and keeping the good stuff at the forefront.  

That's my new goal. Ask myself better questions so I get better answers from my brain. I'm a smart person, and the people around me are incredibly intelligent therefore we are all able to rephrase our questions to ourselves. 

Until tomorrow.

Peace,

Brianne

Permission to be Weird.

In honor of Gene Wilder I'm going to expand what I was going to write about today and start out with a little bit of a tribute to him. When I was young I watched Willy Wonka for the first time, I think I was at a friends house and I remember being in awe, but not of the fantastic sets or the dream job given to Charlie at the end, I was fascinated by Wonka. I think even then I knew that there was something a little strange about me, and the most relatable character for me was not the kids about my age, but this kind of grumpy kind of off middle aged man (I still tend to relate to kind of strange old men, ask me about my stand-up viewing habits) . He lived in his own world, that anything that he could dream up he would make happen, and I found that incredible. I knew I needed to make a world for myself, and that movie gave me permission to retreat when I had to. 

I spend a lot of time alone, I didn't as a kid, but I like being alone now and I think that was another thing I had in common with Wonka. My circle is small and strong and I think that's really important as an artist. I can say with confidence that I am the most stereotypical introvert that walks the earth. The only kind of conversation that gives me energy is really stimulating conversation, I don't like crowds, and after a long day I need to decompress whether it's painting or writing I need to get away. I even sometimes get nervous being around people that I know and love and trust (for the most part, but we're not getting into that)

I digress, the fact that someone could be so strange and so creative and so charismatic made me feel like I didn't have to make the effort to "fit in", and I didn't. I'm still friends with the same weirdos I was 18 years ago, and I've added important people to that circle since, but they supported me in my strangeness and encouraged it. Saying yes when I asked them to do weird things like cover themselves in glitter or get naked and put paint on their bodies. Not hesitating to take a hysterical call even though they're all the way across the country and are dealing with their own stuff. Telling me I could make it through what seemed like an endless grueling "art bootcamp" that was my senior year. 

I don't know why this particular death is hitting me so hard, I think its a lot of sentiment and thinking about the bits and pieces of my childhood that imagination and creativity were essential to how we played (fairy houses, our own game of life). 

I think it reminds me that I should keep a little bit of that awe of a man who lives in his imagination and allow my own imagination to dictate my art a little more. To free myself of the restraints of second guessing and being too careful. 

So I suppose, come with me and you'll be in a world of pure imagination.

Peace,

Brianne 

Lets Get Honest

I'm going to come right out and say it, I'm a liar. Not in any way that harms others, in fact the lies I tell probably harm myself more than anyone else. I'm sure people can relate to not feeling comfortable sharing all of themselves with their friends and family (or maybe it's just me that feels as if I have to tiptoe around the truth). To be honest growing up I always felt like I needed to walk on eggshells, I never wanted to hurt anyone so I would tell half truths or just not say anything at all. It's something I struggle with today. Instead of telling a person in my life that something they are doing is hurting me or making me feel bad I ignore it until that bad turns into anger. 

None of that is the point of this post though, but the narcissist in me wants you all to know a little tiny bit about how my mind works. The point of this post is to tell my readers how art has allowed me to be completely 100% honest without actually being honest. For those of you who know me well you might look at my art and be able to piece together bits of my life that I would never come out and tell anyone. I'm a private person (that statement is not backed up by the daily blogging and photographing) but I truly am. If I had my choice I would pull a Sia and not show my face at any gallery, but alas I am neither that famous nor that talented (yet). So when I show pieces that come from the deepest parts of me, occasionally ripping myself open and sharing myself with an audience, there's a freedom there. I don't have to walk on eggshells when I put something up on a wall or on the internet. The piece speaks for itself, and the piece speaks for me. 

Art gives me the freedom to explore topics that I wouldn't even talk to my therapist about, and it opens a dialogue with other people that might in the long run end up with me being more verbally honest. The funny thing is I want to share myself with people, I sometimes think I have important things to say, and interesting ways to say them. For me though those interesting ways have to be done through art. 

Also if someone asks me about something in my work or about my life I will be honest with them. A straight question deserves a straight answer, but if you don't give me a straight question you can bet your ass I'll be dancing around that answer until you give up and go home. 

Maybe the new goal is to practice some radical honesty when the situation calls for it. Maybe that's one of the risks I'll be taking (see previous post).

That's all for tonight.

Peace,

Brianne

Lets Take a Risk

We're going to get serious again today kids, I'm sorry, but I've had an incredibly frustrating week and I think I need to work out some stuff. 

How do you make art when you don't feel safe? Safe is a pretty broad term and for this purpose I'm going to define it as secure and confident. There are a lot of other ways that relate to my life that I could talk about as far as safety goes (I've already discussed safe spaces), but for now we're going to talk about security and confidence. 

Every artist knows going in that choosing a creative field is no guarantee, security goes out the window the second that paint brush, camera, pencil, piece of clay, musical instrument or anything else gets put in your hand and you feel something different, something powerful, something you've never felt before. You feel at home even though you don't know what you're doing yet, and the excitement and passion that grows from those first few years create what I'm going to dub the "new artist bubble" some groups call it a pink cloud. Inevitably that bubble is burst or that cloud is darkened when you realize that your extremely talented peers are your competition, your mentors who you admire and aspire to be like are only just scraping by, and you can't get a job with health insurance (okay maybe that one is personal, but COME ON). 

On top of that you have your personal security and safety to worry about, for me at the moment I don't feel safe in where I'm living, I don't feel secure in my day job. I'm struggling, less so than a month ago because I made some important changes for my mental and physical health. Some days are better than others, but some days I sit and I feel like I can't keep it up. 

So I ask myself, can I see myself doing anything else? Could I live with myself if I walked away from a potential art career without even trying? Am I frustrated because I'm not patient? The answers to those questions are no, no, and yes respectively. I don't feel safe or secure in this path that I've chosen for myself, but I don't want anything else for myself. And for the other stuff, the housing situation, the shitty job, the lack of any funds whatsoever, hopefully that won't be a long term problem. 

I put a lot of pressure on myself, I have the disease of "I want it now, and I want more", and I don't really know how to give myself a break when it comes to that. I don't know how to make myself feel more safe or secure. Maybe the answer is to become less safe and secure. Take more risks instead of obsessing over the ones that I'm taking now. 

I do know one thing, there's nothing more satisfying than making a photograph from start to finish and seeing it hanging on a wall for people to see. There's also nothing more terrifying than putting your soul on that very same wall to share with those very same people. So maybe I will throw caution to the wind, maybe I will take more risks and try to free myself of this strange guilt I have for choosing a field like this. Maybe I have to stop listening to certain people in my life. 

I welcome any and all advice on this.

That's all for today 

Peace,

Brianne

I do Not Know What I'm Doing.

I think the title says it all, at this point in my artistic career I have no clue what I'm doing. I wish I did, truly. No matter what point in my life I'm at I always feel as if I should be further along than I actually am. I'm 23, shouldn't I have a job in my field? Shouldn't I be showing work in galleries? The answer to that question is a hard maybe. I'm lucky enough to have a pretty healthy art practice, is it going anywhere? Nope, not yet. Do I get feedback? Not as often as I'd like to. It's weird to say this, but I miss critiques, how do I know if it's good if a professor doesn't put a subjective grade on my hard work? How do I know if something is successful if my classmates don't subjectively tell me my work is good or bad. 

I wish they, and by they I mean every artist I came in contact with up until now, told me that when I left school I would feel like everything I do is going to go nowhere, probably for a long time. I wish they told me I would go through periods of helplessness while I try to figure out how I want my career to go. 

I do know one thing, or I think I do, I want to create my own spot in the art world. I want to work hard and build something exciting and newish, I don't think I want to go the traditional route of apprenticeship or production assistant or working in a camera store until I want to throw things. I want the adventure of taking some risks along the way. 

However you've also gotta make money, so a day job is imperative, and odds are that day job is terrible. So I guess I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing and hoping that one day in ten or twenty years I look back on that and say it's a really good thing that I didn't know what I was doing or else I wouldn't be here now. 

Until tomorrow

Peace,

Brianne

 

Just Do It.

To lighten things up today after the infuriating situation that I posted about yesterday I'm going to talk about two different things. The first being ways to encourage art practice without physically making art, and the second being exploring outside of your medium. 

Up until about three weeks ago I had nothing going on in my life that would really encourage me to go out and make work. Sure I made the occasional photograph, or painted some mildly disturbing portraits of dream people, but I didn't really have a discipline.  Then Falcon Ridge happened, and just to let you know I'm probably not going to ever stop talking about that festival being a source of inspiration for me. I'm kind of like an electric car, I can go all year until then but I have to recharge for five days on the ridge. One morning I woke up very early, and I was too anxious to watch netflix, which is what I would normally do if I'm up before the sun, instead I took a walk. At first it was just a walk, and then I started looking at things the way a photographer does and I realized there is gold all around my town. Weird lawn ornaments, strange looking buildings, rich people putting numbers on things it was awesome. So I started walking every day with my camera making photographs at magic hour. So that little thing, the anxiety I felt staying in my home pushed me to start making art again. Now I look forward to getting up and finding these things and kind of wandering until I have to go home to get ready for work. It's working for me. So you don't have to be making stuff to get encouraged to make stuff. I apologize for the lack of good wording I am very tired I spent four hours at a doctors appointment today.

The second thing that I want to talk about is going outside of your medium to get yourself moving. I've spoken briefly about this before, but I think there's value in repeating it. You don't have to be good at it, you don't even really have to like it. What you do have to do is try. Maybe you paint something and it looks kind of like a person you saw walking down the street the other day, and now you know that you should always have a camera at the ready. Maybe you find an abstraction in light that you can't quite get right on your canvas so you snap a phone photograph and study it and then you can get that light right. You don't have to show anyone these things, not many people ask to see an artists sketchbook, or at least I never would. It's wildly personal, like a journal or some peoples twitter accounts. 

That's all I've got for today, I'm still a little shaken from yesterday, which frustrates me how much this person got under my skin. Tomorrow is a new day, and hopefully the longer removed I am the easier it will be.

Peace,

Brianne

Road Blocks

There are a couple kinds of road blocks, mental, physical, monetary, people telling you that you can't do somethings. In art we have to grow a thick skin pretty quickly when it comes to hearing the word "no", because we hear it a lot. Even if it's not a direct no we hear "that's not possible at this time" or "maybe you should be thinking about going a different way" or even "I don't like that I don't want it to happen" 

The mental roadblocks that we put up are usually because we are afraid of doing what we're about to set out to do. We doubt ourselves enough that we don't even try. We think, that project is too big for me, there's too much work for one person to do (hint, if it's a huge project that can be collaborative make it collaborative). It's a crisis of confidence, can I make the thing in my head come out onto the paper, pallet, film, video, sculpture whatever. Usually no, it's not going to come out exactly how you pictured it, however it might come out better or different in a good way. Mental roadblocks are not the same as artist block, you know what you want but you don't know how to get there. The best advice I was ever given was just start and see if it works. 

A physical roadblock is something that might come if you're doing a project with a lot of people that requires a lot of planning and organizing and then all of a sudden someone pulls out or a location pulls out or someone just drops the ball. This is one I'm still working out, I'm not good at the organizational thing, it's a small miracle that I've kept this blog going for more than a week, and haven't gotten distracted yet. I guess go through the proper channels if you can, don't do anything illegal, and ask forgiveness instead of permission? I don't know. I have no clue if you have an answer it would be really awesome if you gave it to me. 

I'm ignoring the money thing, because I am too poor to even pretend to know what I'm talking about. Maybe kickstarter? I don't know. 

Also a second short one if someone tells you you can't do something (unless it's like a self funded trip to Mars) tell them to go fuck themselves. With a little bit of belief and a lot of hard work most projects can get done. Not overnight not even over a week or a month if it's a big one, but if you dedicate yourself to it, it's very possible to have it happen. 

I write this post as a reminder to myself that no matter how bleak things look I can push through it. I hit a significant roadblock today, one that morally I'm not sure I can continue on the road that it's blocking and I'm having a really hard time with it. It's throwing me off my game, and to be honest it's a little depressing. It physically hurts to not have a vision happen. I know that if I keep pushing forward something will come out of it. 

Until next time

Inspiration

I was just speaking to two really amazing artists on inspiration and how it comes to us as creative people, and we all established that it was really too broad of a topic to try to boil down to the short amount of time that we had (more on that in a future date). 

I'm going to try to tackle at least a little bit of how my process works.

The first thing I want to point out is the power of the word, the word inspire means (according to dictionary.com) means to fill with animating, quickening, or exalting influence or to communicate or suggest by a divine or supernatural influence. Those are powerful definitions. Inspire is a powerful word. I think a lot of times in todays world we flippantly use words that mean something a lot more powerful than they actually do. My two favorite examples of this is the word awesome, your sandwich was not awesome (maybe it was, who am I to judge) the grand canyon is awesome, to be filled with awe is something really powerful, the second being "I miss you". I miss you is something that we are programmed to say to someone we haven't seen in a while, like we have to say it, but to actually truly miss someone is a really intense painful emotion. 

So back to inspiration, as an artist I can be inspired by many different things, the town I live in, a comedy show, something someone says passing me on the street, pretty much anything. To get from the inspiration to the work though, is very complicated. Art takes work. Something or someone may have lit the match, but you have to build the fire up and keep it going. So to boil down inspiration to who is your most influential artist, or what inspired you to start the current project your doing? 

I think Josh Jordan today said it best, that by making that one thing the topic of discussion about your art negates the hours and hours of work that you did to refine your series or your craft or even just one image. 

It erases the work that you did leading up to the great unveiling, it ignores the fact that your blood sweat and tears went into a piece that may have been spurred on by one moment or a small piece of your life, but that doesn't mean that the muse fairy creature came down upon you and told you what to do. The closest that I've had that comes to that is when I write poetry, which is why I don't write it that often because the poems come out of me, I don't write them, they write me. As far as visual art goes, there are hours, weeks, months, even years that come out of that small speck of inspiration.

So I guess the punch line to this is, pay your artists as if you knew how much time and effort goes into fanning that match flame into a bonfire. The end product is not what the process is.  

Looking and Seeing

Today is going to be a short post, I had a long day yesterday and I've had a longer one already today. I have some stuff in the works which is very exciting for me, but it means working full time and then full time doing the other stuff. I'm being very cryptic, but I can't announce yet. Soon! 

Anyway, today I'm going to talk specifically about photography, this process can be used in any medium, but since photography is the closest to capturing exactly what you see in the real life (sort of, more on that later) onto film or pixels and it's my medium that's what I'm going to discuss. 

I knew from when I was younger that I had an "eye" for photography, I remember being very young and I had my first little digital camera that maybe had 1.3 megapixels and taking it to the zoo, and when I came home that day my parents had guests over. The woman told me that I had an eye for photography (I was showing everyone I could my camera and my photos because I was VERY proud of myself). 

As I got older oddly I got worse at really seeing things for what they could be. I started using the studio almost exclusively because I knew I could control every aspect of it. But when it came to my thesis studio shots didn't feel right. So I had to learn how to really see things again. I had to think about framing and pay attention to everything in the frame because I was shooting polaroids and there was no "I'll crop that out". That process probably saved my art practice (and my grade) because I wasn't going to be able to say what I needed to say with studio shots, and the current work I'm working on is in the same vein, I'm back to using medium format film because polaroids are expensive and unpredictable and I think I've had enough of them for a little bit. 

I guess my advice is do a project that is the opposite of how you work. Granted, I wouldn't recommend changing it up for your thesis but whatever works works. If you're a studio photographer, go out and shoot some landscapes (You will probably never see a straight landscape from me because I am not comfortable with them at all), if you're a nature photographer go play with lights in the studio. The same could be said for all media, if you're a singer/songwriter and the words come first always, try writing the tune, if you're a figurative painter try an abstraction. This is advice I've gotten from many artists wiser and more experienced than I, and the "experiments" may be a disaster, or it may be your first actually successful (critique wise) series. 

That was a lot longer than I anticipated, I am thinking a nap is in my immediate future. 

Until tomorrow

Peace,

Brianne

Obsession

We all know it, we've all experienced it, I'm assuming if you're reading this blog you have some sort of interest in art. Maybe not, if not, welcome, hope something is interesting to you. 

As a person who has only lived a certain number of years on this earth (and quite a few of them I was not conscious of what was happening)  Now you're trying to figure out if I mean when I was a small human or some crazy college years, I'll never tell. Anyway, I've only experienced a small number of things that I'm going to experience in my life, and for me I've experienced a lot more than a good portion of my age group (not tryin' to brag or anything but I've seen some shit).

However all jokes aside this tiny little section of my life is the only thing that I have to draw on to make work about, and hopefully I will have lots and lots of experiences down the line to draw on to continue to grow with my work. I have noticed a pattern in my work, and have spoken to other artists about this as well I make work about the same thing. Every series, it's about the same thing. I'm not going to give you an artist statement because I think they're lame and useless (that's another post) shout out to Chris and Craig. Every time I make a painting I'm making it about the same thing. Every time I click the shutter I'm thinking about the same thing (well, I don't actually think much when making photographs but you get what I mean). 

The best thing that was ever told to me, by a pretty famous photographer was it was okay to make work about the same thing for your whole life. It was okay to be obsessed to the point that you don't have a choice, it is a compulsion to make that work, and it doesn't mean that the work looks the same. I can put up two photographs from two different series and as an outsider you might not see the connection. But for me, for now, my work has a theme and I'm okay with it. 

I like the idea of obsession, and I know it's considered a "sick" emotion, but when properly harnessed it can make incredible things and inventions and beautiful pieces of work. 

So make the work about the same thing, you might not be done telling the story yet, and you may never be done telling that story. Thats okay. 

Until tomorrow

Peace,

Brianne

Don't Knock it 'till you Try it, and Don't Feed the Demons.

I don't think today is going to have a theme, I think I'm just going to write and see where it takes me, I've been juggling a few different ideas and none of them are ready for publication even if it is just for the 30 or so of you that consistently click on this blog. 

For the past couple of days I've been getting up before the sun rises and going to make photographs around my town so I can catch the before and after "magic hour". (also when I make photographs of the stuff people have in their lawn they are less likely to throw things at me when they are still asleep). It's kind of lovely, I find the 6:30 crowd to be pleasant because they want to be awake that early, the 8:00 crowd isn't quite as nice as most of them are still in their PJs walking their dogs, or dressed in business casual and walking their dogs. Essentially I've learned 8 am is prime dog walking time. 

I've never really been a morning person, or a night person for that matter. My brain chemistry up until very recently has been either you're up all night forever or you're going to sleep for years. So having this little routine where I listen to a podcast while I walk, make some art, and then go to a park and do yoga until the sun catches up with me. That way I get a whole day in before it's too hot for my poor Irish skin to handle, and I can still go to work. I'm made for the cold rain dammit. 

The weirdest thing is I've never been this productive, not even when I was making my thesis, and I have more things up in the air than the walking tour of my town. I'm not sure if it was a Falcon Ridge switch on top of the hill crying my eyes out, almost a cleansing that I needed to start making work again without wanting to hurt someone. Or maybe this is just going to be a productive time block in my artistic life. Either way I'll take it. I know for a long time exercise was my enemy, I didn't have time, I needed to keep working, and when I did have time I couldn't motivate myself, but this has been really great for me creatively. 

So maybe the theme of the blog is don't knock it until you try it? I'm much happier than I've been in a long time and I'm still making work that I'm content with, which further disproves the "fact" that I held on to for so long that I had to feed my inner demons to make good work. That has to become some sort of mantra of mine "don't feed the demons" 

Anyway, 

Until tomorrow

Peace,

Brianne

Perceptions

I've been thinking a lot about perception the last few days, partially because I feel in my self centered universe that I'm not doing what I need to be doing to keep me alive spiritually (at least I thought I wasn't until today). This is a hard thing to admit, but I think I'm better than my job. I feel terrible saying that, and I know I should be grateful to even have a job, also insert any other typical reaction to that statement here. I don't really have time to address my shortcomings when it comes to feeling superior or smarter than the other people in the room. It's not a positive trait that's for sure, and probably comes from feeling inferior to the other people in the room. 

I seek out a challenge, I want the people I surround myself to be smarter than me, and for the most part they are. I have a wonderful group of friends that challenge me on a daily basis, which in turn makes me a better artist.

Perception can be tricky though, and it can change in an instant. 

I graduated in May, so I know I'm putting a lot of pressure on myself to get my work out there, and hard work, dedication, and some talent will get me there eventually. But when I left school I fell into a deep rotting pit of depression. Who was going to give me deadlines? Who was going to steer me in the right direction? Who was going to listen to me when I was panicking about said deadlines? What do I do now that I don't define myself as a student anymore? The perception that I had was I wasn't going to be able to make work again after school, and a lot of artists don't. Or they go on and do other things and keep art as their hobby. That wasn't going to be me. I couldn't let it. But I was quickly turning into that person. 

"Hey do you want to do a studio day?"
"No. I've got work"
"Hey do you want to go shoot somewhere?"
"No I'm too tired"

And then people stop asking. 

So here I was, three months after graduation, with friends who weren't sure I even wanted to talk to them let alone go make art together. But something around that three month mark changed. I think I painted a silly looking face, and then I went to Falcon Ridge, and then I got a new idea for a project. It was slow, very slow, and some days I still feel myself fighting that instinct to just not. My perception of the situation has changed though, I knew that the pressure I was putting on myself was just not realistic, or safe for that matter, I had a point where I wasn't even sure if I was an artist or not, maybe I had just made it up in my head (I didn't I am in fact an artist DESPITE my preferred medium being photography) 

I have a feeling this is going to be a fight I have for the rest of my life. I'm willing to take it on though.

On Being Afraid

If you're like me you have a lot of fears when it comes to your art. I almost didn't get the degree I got because I was afraid of having to show that much of me to a group of people. I knew my art was revealing enough that there wouldn't be many question. Now, thats how I interpreted what was going to happen if I got through the portfolio review process, everyone would know everything about me, and what they didn't know they could guess pretty easily. I was terrified walking in, shaking, hear racing etc. I had only shown work to professors I knew really well, and always at an ascending level. The problem wasn't that I thought my work was bad, I was actually fairly proud of the portfolio that I put together for the review, the problem was that I was afraid I had been too transparent in my work and they would either think I was oversharing or that I wasn't developed enough to maintain myself in the program. 

I got in. The work was good. But it was too revealing at least for my style. I am no Nan Goldin, I am a good Irish Catholic raised girl who likes to talk around the issue. As much as any therapist can say about that, it actually helped my work that I was kind of a chicken when it came to outright saying what it meant, it forced me to creatively say those dark and twisty things without having everyone come out with bruises on their heads from the hammer I hit them with. 

And since we're talking about fear, how about the fear of putting work up in the gallery (after spending all semester getting comfortable with the professors and other students) for the whole fucking world to see. Well, a good portion of the staff and everyone's parents. I have never felt so nervous in my life. So fearful that someone was going to figure me out as a phony, someone who never deserved to be making work in the first place. 

And the beautiful thing was none of that happened. However I said to myself, and a few friends if I ever go into a show where my work is hanging and I don't feel like I'm going to throw up a little, I think it's time for a new career. 

Errant Thoughts and Perpetual Learning

 I don't really feel like writing today, which means it's especially important for me to do so. An object in motion or some shit like that. I had a bad day, not for any particular reason, at least none that I can put my finger on at the moment. I'm sure it will come to me in the shower or driving or it will keep me up tonight until I lull myself to sleep with the help of antipsychotics.

I think one of the things that does us in is anticipation, at the moment I'm waiting to do something that could end up being big, or at least important to me. Instead of doing the work that I want to do on this thing I'm stuck working a fairly thankless job with some not so great people.  But a girls gotta eat right? Or at least be able to pay her student loans each month. 

Here's where this post is going to go totally off the rails because to be honest my brain isn't working at full capacity at the moment. Which is fine, some days are like that. I was listening to the nerdist podcast when they had Nick Offerman on (this was years ago I believe), and he was talking about being a perpetual student and how important it is to never settle in your expertise of a subject. Always be learning. I feel like that's what art is, it allows the extra curious to continue to be students of life. I could be doing a project on my own life and then a week later I could be doing a project on the weight lifting community in Bergen county (the likelihood of the latter is very small) but I could do it. I think that above everything except for maybe expression is what draws me to art. I've always loved school. I've always loved the challenge of learning a new thing, and making art has me constantly on my toes trying to keep up with current events, academia, art history, and the modern art world. I'm not bad on a trivial pursuit team. 

Artists know a little about a lot of things and then a lot about their particular study. It's a good balance to have (especially when things tend to be unbalanced when you first start out). 

So I guess when you're having a bad day, listen to people wiser than you. And always be learning.

 

Peace,

Brianne

You Probably Have the Ability to Do It

Continuing on my "excuses" series of posts I'm going to write about a couple excuses that are always in my back pocket when someone asks me about what I'm working on. I use them to lie to myself just as often as I use them to make others think that I am thinking about what I'm supposed to be doing even if I'm not doing it at that particular moment. So for my sake, I'm going to write them down and then debunk them so I can refer back to this when I need some motivation. 

I find I give the best advice when I'm not following it myself. 

The first one is money, any visual artist (or performing, but I don't know the numbers on that stuff) knows that art supplies if they are good art supplies are expensive.  For me, it's really hard to keep up the quality of printing that I had now that I've graduated art school. I'm lucky enough to still have access because I still work for the department, but I have to work at least two other jobs to get by. How do you get around not being able to afford your medium? Well, for one, maybe wait on darkroom printing for a bit, find ways around it. Or for a little bit change mediums so at least you're making something always. Always be creating something, even if it's not good. 

The second one is not unique to me, but it is not the norm. My mental health is something that frequently prevents me from making work, somewhat ironically though when I get myself to make something it tends to bring me back to reality at least a little bit. It's a strange balance because either extreme of the bipolar spectrum I'm useless, being a little bit manic (hypomania) makes me super productive artistically but incredibly miserable to be around. This is a tough one to debunk, because sometimes it's truly impossible to make the thing happen when you have a chronic illness (see: spoon theory). The only advice I can give is if you're in a bad place write first, it takes the least amount of energy and a freewrite can help you work out what needs to happen to get you to start creating again. Another thing you can do is remember the exercises you did in drawing 1, do those at least it's something. 

Also, going to throw this out there every time I mention mental illness, if it's stopping you from making work, it's doing more harm than good creatively and maybe it's time to ask for help. 

The last one I hear all the time is time. I'm not going to justify this with a long response. You have enough time. Take a break from facebook, netflix, instagram, twitter, youtube and just fucking do it. If you've managed to text your girlfriend/boyfriend/best friend/family member all day then you have an hour to spare to make something.

Treat art like a job, even if it's not your job yet, you might want it to be. There's a reason it's called a discipline and it's because it takes hours and hours and hours to get to a point where it's ready to show. 

Until tomorrow.

Peace,

Brianne