This is My Home

Today is not going to be about making art, at least not directly. 

As I sat on top of the hill this morning, tears streaming down my face, shoulders shaking, gasping for air as I mouthed the words "this is my home, this is my only home, this is the only sacred ground that I have ever known" along with Vance Gilbert I had a realization that I can only have at Falcon Ridge. This was the most alone I had been all weekend, but the choir of fellow music fans below me made me feel like I was one with everyone there (despite what my body language would have told you at the time). That Dave Carter song, the anthem that I repeat to myself during turbulent times, the one I have tattooed over years of self abuse, is what Falcon Ridge is to me. It's a simple beautiful tune with an iconic chorus and a little bit of political action. 

I was waiting for it all weekend, it happens every year whether I like it or not. The spirit of the ridge moves me to tears and afterwards I feel like a new person. I don't cry much in my "real" life, so it's actually something I look forward to. For me, this festival is both the end and the beginning of my year, a way to start fresh and get the energy to go into September, this year was a little different. I'm not going back to school, so I have to learn to channel this energy and peace into a different type of success. Hopefully one that will allow me to do better this year. Be better physically. Make better and more art. Take care of my mental health.

I think what it comes down to is love, there is nothing more powerful and few things as abundant on the hill (with the exception of maybe dirt). I found myself thinking quite often, how can I feel like this all year round? There's not one answer, or two. I suppose trying to keep the peace in my mind as long as possible would be the first one. Breathe. And take care of myself and others. There is an ideal way to live and that way is short and only exists once a year, but it exists. 

So treat each other well, smile when you pass someone, say hello, offer cold water for sweaty people, cry when you need to, and love each other like we do at a folk festival. 

Special thanks to my Budgiedome family, if I could tell you how much it means to me when I receive a warm hug when I greet you, and a smile every morning no matter how tired you all are. There wouldn't be enough words. 

Oh and I'm going into town for 51 weeks. I'll be back soon.

On Safe Spaces in Artmaking

Now, I roll my eyes as much as the next person to the phrase "safe space", but that's not because I don't believe in their purpose. To give someone who might not have a spot at home or in their town to get away from whatever is going on in their lives is a really beautiful thing. It's mostly because I am a cynic and anytime I've tried to use a "safe space" I always end up at a brand new therapists office. Which totally negates any safety that I may have felt in the first place. Also shouldn't safe spaces be less like offices on college campuses and more dimly lit rooms with bean bag chairs, mediation music, and chimes. (Or is that an opium den?) If it's an opium den, sans opium I think it would be a kick ass safe space. I could get behind that. But those are not the safe spaces that I'm talking about, although the ideals of them are the same. 

The reason I bring this up is because I'm about to go home to my safest space, a small folk festival in Hillsdale NY where I get to spend five days gross, sweaty, muddy, and the happiest I ever will be. There's music, there's food, there's wacky characters that are there every year. It's like coming home. It's also a creative gold mine, with musicians and artists willing to discuss art and process. I have friends there that will be lifelong friends (and I'm going to tag them in this because I am a little bit of a narcissist and would like people to read my blog, BUT I also love them)  It's pretty much a drug that I can only take once a year so I try to soak up as much as possible to bring good spirits through the rest of the year. 

So artistically I look for spaces like Falcon Ridge, rich in culture and creative people, but also rich in places to just sit and do my own thing where people understand "Hey that person looks like they're concentrating on something I'm NOT going to go over and ask them to explain what they're doing." That's a good way to maybe approach your life, yes talk to strangers it makes your life richer, and possibly you might make someone feel less lonely. However if they're sitting there with headphones in painting, writing, reading, maybe don't. 

I digress (it is the struggle of an introvert trying to get people not to discuss their lives with me), the biggest thing that I look for when trying to find a healthy place to make art is support, not necessarily teachers or professors but people who have done it longer or differently than I have. Personally I need a balance, like a 1:3 rule, 1 part discussion with peers and established people, 3 parts leaving me the hell alone so I can do my thing. And for some people it could be 3:1  or 3:3 either direction, but you've gotta find that balance, and part of finding that balance is finding a rich, safe environment where you can create art.

A professor called this place your sacred place (shoutout to Josh for the inspiration for this entry).  So go find your space, be kind to the other people in it, and understand your ratio, because that's going to be essential to making awesome work.

I won't be posting for a couple of days, I will be happily without cell or internet service, but I'm sure I will abandon the premise that this is an art blog and write all about the folk festival when I get back. If I use the word art in it, I can still make the argument for that.