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.



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.



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



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.