Art Homicide: Is it Common?

We rolled it to the point where it was a 7 foot paper taco and carried it down the street home like that. It was too thick from collage to roll up completely. Once home we put it on top of the wood bed posts on the frame around the posts. Every time I lay on the bed I could see the underside of my masterpiece slowly crumbling from the weight in the middle that wasn’t supported.

Having it there along with another big round mandala piece was not a great idea psychologically. If we had stashed it somewhere it may never have met its gruesome end and the other piece wouldn’t have been collateral damage.

Most people don’t get angry at their apartments to the point of feeling like destroying stuff, but I never was” most people”. One day or week I got so frustrated with the chaotic state of my house, that the feeling kept building more like a fire when it catches on to something and the next minute the whole building burns down. As I couldn’t burn down the building, I decided it was time to destroy the mandala. I’d been eyeing it for weeks wondering how and if I wanted to fix it as it was getting damaged.

Suddenly it was clear how to solve the problem. This huge piece used to hang in my old studio on one wall and took up all the wall space. It was up there so many years I remember looking at it and thinking, “What will I do if someone buys it or if I have to move it? Maybe it will be here until I die.” It felt that permanent. Fast forward to me ripping the whole thing apart and destroying it. I don’t remember it well even though it was probably only 4 years ago. After that, I took on the piece that was my height in diameter, like a lion after a kill who finds an extra dead animal baby and eats it just because it’s there.

Do I regret doing it? Do I miss the piece that I still consider one of the best or at least most ambitious things I have ever made? I don’t know because I had forgotten about it until I recently destroyed something else that I liked. I guess if I could have it back I would and it might be in my studio now or  I would have sold it and been happy it had a place. It did serve a purpose in its short life of being on that studio wall because my clidnts faced that wall when they sat in the chair across from me. I remember one client seeing a person in a wheelchair in the middle of it. It was a completely abstract collage. I can probably find a photo of it to post with this. So when it was alive on the wall, it was serving a purpose and beign seen by lots of people. Back then the Tribeca Open Artist Studio Tour still existed, so for those few days in April annually, I had crowds of people come through my studio and see it as well as the smaller piece.

I know a lot of big deal artists have destroyed their work, but in a very calculated way, not in a sudden fit and not something they thought was one of their best work. Part of the delight I took in murdering my big mandala was that it was really one of my greatest achievements, so it was a really crazy meaningful kill.

I have destroyed many peices before and since which I will write about in another post…

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2019!

I’ve been foregoing lists of goals, resolutions and intentions for the new year and replaced it with choosing a word for the year that reflects what I want for the year. This year’s word was a search for something that would be fun, like the word I chose for 2018 – AWESOME, and related to aspirations and intentions like 2017’s word, ABUNDANCE. I had decided for my professional aspirations to focus most on selling my art, involving getting more art made, making a good new artist website and using the app Spreezy that I downloaded over a year ago, which is an easy way to sell work already on one’s social media. I also looked into an old Flickr account I haven’t used and decided to post on that too.

First I thought my word would be “Wonder” or “Magic”, to follow up a word like Awesome. So I was thinking of words to express success, achievement, actualization, fruition, and accomplishment, but something more fun and special.

Then I watched the movie “Serendipity” again during my holiday break, when I always watch a few holiday movies, some cheesy and bad, some cheesy and great. I hadn’t seen the movie in years. The main thing I noticed in watching holiday movies was enjoying old New York; “Serendipity” came out in 2001 and was pre 9/11 2000’s NYC, so you see a lot of NYC from that era. On a side note, my favorite Christmas movie of this break was “Three Days of Condor” made in 1975. It’s great as a Christmas movie as it has nothing to do with Christmas but you see NYC during Christmas throughout the movie, and it’s a thriller. The topic is not a romantic holiday type movie. Within the first 20 minutes or so, the main character played by Robert Redford comes back from a lunch break, and all his co-workers at the CIA have been murdered. The movie shows the twin towers often, and there is a scene in the lobby and in an office in the Trade Center. It was great to see the twin towers from so long ago.

After watching “Serendipity” which is an overdose on the idea of synchronicity and the concept of serendipity. When the characters try too hard to refind each other it doesn’t work; eventually the concept of least effort applies, and they bump into each other finally.

So I decided to make my 2019 word “Serendipity”. It is a good confluence of my original words about magic and wonder and my wanting to focus on a specific goal. It has the meaning of happy accidents, fortunate events happening in an unplanned and unexpected and delightful way.

Usually with my art career as with most other things, I find if I put effort into specific things and then balance it with letting go and trusting in serendipity, things will indeed happen in an unexpected and delightful way. Like my most recent sale of a drawing through Facebook. It was unplanned. I just posted images of my drawings and writings from starting my 15 minutes a day in May. One day a friend who lives Berlin Facebook messaged me that she wanted to buy one of the drawings I posted and she did. I sent it to her in Berlin. I’ve had other Facebook inquiries and interest, but this was the first time I sold an art work directly from posting images on my personal Facebook page, and I do have a separate professional Facebook page.

Another serendipitous sale is my favorite story of selling artwork. I was on an airplane to Albuquerque in the spring of 2006. I took out some art supplies and started a drawing on the pull down table of the seat in front. A guy sitting to my left started asking me questions about being an artist and we had a conversation about his interest in art, etc. Then as I was finishing this little drawing, part of my Inner Landscapes series, he asked if he could buy the drawing. He paid 100$ cash while we were in the air. I love airports and airplanes and flying, so I couldn’t have wished for anything cooler than selling art on a plane. Also I was going to New Mexico for the first time, and I had built up a big fantasy about New Mexico for years as this magical place full of replanted artists and a place where fine art, folk art, jewelry and other media are equally valued. The “Land of Enchantment”. I saw it as a harbinger of a special time in a very special place, which it did turn out to be. I ended up spending the 100$ on a hand made doll while I was travelling the Turqouise Trail.

So I am putting my trust in Serendipity for an enchanting and marvelous 2019. Happy New Year! What is your word or intention for 2019?

Altered Books Process: The Invitation

I had a very long document about the stages of making altered books with clients, so I decided to make it into shorter parts and post each part separately on this blog.

This is about the stages of the evolution of the making of the altered books, and the activities and art therapy “directives” I recommend using. The first part is of course the beginning, which is the introduction to the project. I’m changing the document by including some examples from my experience. The beginning part is perhaps the most important part of the process, as many clients stop/abandon their chosen book at some time during this process.

The first part I call “The Invitation”. I’ve found it works best when the invitation comes from one of my altered books out in my studio; the client sees an altered book and asks about it, so I bring one or two out to show them what it involves and then invite them to do one if they seem interesteed. Often I get excited when they are interested and have to be careful to watch my enthusiasm level. at times I’ve brought the project up as an option, when a client is looking for a new project and seems to want something unusual and unfamiliar.

In some cases people will want to bring in one of their own books that they have a personal connection to. Pertinant Issues to Process include the client’s relationships with books, reading books, and with writing, and what it is like to contemplate using a book to make art with. Usually, given that most people are unfamiliar with altered books and are uncomfortable with treating a book this way, they will find it easier to choose a book you have in your office.

If the client chooses to try the project, I bring out a bunch of different kinds of books to choose from and explain how it can be easier to pick one of these than to bring one from home. It is best to have a variety of choices of books that you supply, so the person does not feel like they have to “ruin” a book of their own and feel that the therapist will hold the “bad” part by giving permission to “destroy” a published book. Most of the time, the client chooses one of my books and we dive into the process.

At this point I have to decide whether I am going to do an altered book with the client, in “parallel process”,  or sit with the client and witness their process without doing one myself. It’s not much different from other times when I decide to do artwork in the session. Sometimes I will ask the client directly, “Will it help you if I do one while you’re doing yours?” In some cases I do start one and then can be aware of times in a session when I stop working on mine and just have it in front of me, as the choice is still there to not actively do mine alongside the client. It’s an important moment to be aware of when a client who naturally talks and makes any kibooksnd of art in the session chooses to stop what they’re doing and start verbal processing, and when they turn back to the art work. My clients tend to talk during the art making process, and thus, we have two dialogues going on, the verbal and the non-verbal. With altered books this is the same.

On several occasions I have had a client follow through on bringing in their own book to use, which has been memorable, as most do not. One graduate student of a psychology related program brought in a copy of the DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), and had the obvious goal of getting out their frustration with all different aspects of the program and being a grad student. I was able to find on hand a copy of a Melanie Klein for Dummies book and decided to alter it while my client altered the DSM 5.

At this point, we have the book or books and are ready for the next stage.

New Post: Feature, Altered Books

Today is my first day back from vacation. I kept up a lot of daily habits while on break, but did not keep up my writing daily at least 15 minutes habit, so I’m starting up again.

The last assignment in the WordPress Blogging Fundamentals class was about having a Feature topic.

 

  • First, think of the type of regular feature you can commit to — something you’ll publish weekly, biweekly, or monthly.
  • Next, start your new post by clicking the button below. This can be the first installment, or an announcement of what’s coming.
  • Finally, give your post a few tags, including bloggingfundamentals, and publish it.

 

My Feature for this assigment is going to be Altered Books, no surprise, which I hope to post at least weekly about in order to have it be helfpful for preparing for my looming upcoming workshop on Altered Books and Gender Identity.

Last time my Feature was Gender Identity, which should continue to be a Feature and at some point  the two, Altered Books and Gender Identity, will of course come together in some way.

Anyway, I haven’t really approached altered books in terms of writing about what makes me interested in them and topics connected to that. Things have to have a starting point.

Some ideas for separate topics for this Altered Books Feature include:

How did I get interested in Altered Books as an art form.

What was my first altered book that I made.

What led to my using altered books in sessions with clients and supervisees and even for peer supervision.

Some nuts and bolts about altered books, how to make them, the important stages of making them, the materials used.

How altered books involve a great way to use almost anything as an material from paper clips to coffee filters to coins as some odd examples.

What it means to finish an altered book vs. abandon one in some stage of the process, especially with clients in art therapy.

More specifics about the workshop and using altered books to explore gender identity.

I had started writing about the first topic, but I think introducing the Feature is best for this post and I will focus on beginnings in my next Feature post.

 

More on Yoga

“We know what we are now, but not what we may become.” -William Shakespeare

Writing equals ass in chair. Stephen King

I am reading a book called Meditations from the Mat: Daily Selections on the Path of Yoga, by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison. Rather, I am being read to, as it’s in the form of an audio book.

I’m able to do my yoga practice while listening to the book. This is not what you’re supposed to do if you’re working on mindfulness. The first idea is to try to do or focus on only one thing at a time. As an art therapist I work with people who often talk while they are making something. There are lots of reasons for it.

Anyway, the thing I like about listening to the book while doing my yoga practice is that it feels like I’m being reminded what is going on that can’t be seen, whether in body, mind or spirit. Also, today I was doing seated head to knee posture right when he started talking about the posture; that was cool. It’s a male voice reading the book, which doesn’t lend itself to remembering that two people wrote it, one seems to be female. They start each daily reflection with a quote, and they quote from a wide range of sources, from Shakespeare in the above quote to scriptures of all religions to poetry to Tom Petty and yoga students.

Both the quotes above kind of go together and to the practice of yoga and writing. In order to do yoga, I have to make the time and get the mat out and get going. In order to write I have to put my ass in the chair and write. Showing up to your life is a concept that we all recognize, easier said than done.

Today I’m not sure what I’m writing about. Maybe this is my reflection on today’s practice. When in my studio, I use the floor and walls. The yoga mat is usually dusty and little pieces of paper or glitter or whatever collects on the floor gets on the yoga mat. My feet and hands get dirty from touching the floor. I shake this stuff off when rolling up my mat.

Actually rolling up the yoga mat has been a constant struggle since I started doing yoga about 18 years ago. It seems so impossible to get the mat to roll up properly the way everyone else does it, so that one side isn’t bulging out. I’ve tried doing it slowly and other things, but often I give up and leave it rolled up but not even. The other day someone said, “Just hold both sides at the same time.” I’m sure I have tried that many times; this isn’t rocket science. For some reason, being reminded or told that, I was able to focus on holding both ends and got the mat rolled up quite evenly. It is still not a guarantee that the mat gets rolled up properly. I have never been a symmetrical person in any way, so I start off balance. My body isn’t balanced; neither is my mind. One of the most important things I learned in yoga is to attend to both sides equally. If you do something on the left side, then you do it on the right side. If you do a headstand, you counter it at some point with a shoulder stand. Even walking down the street with a bag on my shoulder, I hear my yoga teacher Liza telling me to hold it on the other side as well. When she came last week, I found out my left hand doesn’t stay even with my right hand in child’s pose. I felt like I was putting my left hand way in front when she corrected me even though it was now even.

Yoga evens me out is the message. Balance and equilibrium are hard won. Every action having an equal and opposite reaction. Very basic. Most of the stuff I get excited about that I learn from my yoga practice is very simple stuff I seem to never have really known or completely forgotten. Just getting back acquainted with the hands and feet is a revelation!

That is it for today.

Wednesday: Image Post Day

I started doing “Mindfulness Drawings” at the beginning of this month, February. I got the idea from a patient who showed me their journal and how they were trying to write down the time and do something to get them more in the moment doodling things.

It’s a great idea and has brought me back to drawing in an observational way. It’s also a great way to draw everyday things without judging your drawing harshly.

It started like this one below in my journal, done on Feb. 4. I wrote down words that were either in my head or observations of the environment or conversation if I was with other people.

I was thinking about mindfulness principles in this one here, like “Observe and Describe” from DBT Mindfulness. In DBT there is also noticing when you’re in “rational mind”, “emotional mind” and “wise mind”.

Some of these drawings are layers of time, where I did some one evening and added more the next day.

The drawing below shows the heart hole puncher I drew as I was using it to make Valentine’s. I drew most of it during a phone session. My communications expert friend had told me recently, “Communication creates reality.” and I shared it on the phone. It was resonating for me and my patient.

This image below is the other side of the page posted as the first image, with the words “Observe and describe.”  I was looking at my watch and a clock so I drew the hands of my watch as well, and the song quoted was going on in my head about time…

The image below from Feb. 9 is in my journal. I started drawing scissors a lot because they were there. I hadn’t yet gotten inspired to make the objects talk.
  This one above is the other side of the journal drawing from the same day/time.

This one below is from yesterday afternoon during another phone session, and the tea pot is talking…

The one below was done last Friday, when I discovered that the heads or objects on the page were talking to me and about me. It started with the objects saying whether I drew them right or not and kept going. I had been drawing these heads from the coffee mug I made out of my images. The heads are from a collage piece; I noticed I was thinking about posting this picture of this drawing on Facebook which I do a lot, so the heads made a bet about when I would post it!  

This one above is from earlier yesterday. I had been drawing pens a lot and hadn’t drawn a bunch of pens in a cup as it seemed too hard. I was thinking of Morandi’s still lives and looking at post cards of them. I think I’m also thinking of Morandi as he mostly did still lives of everyday objects, and this series is starting to be about objects which are used, mostly basic office materials or art supplies, cups, etc.

This one above is on a piece of drawing paper and done last night as the date shows.

These drawings have become a way to be reminded to be mindful, in a different way than the bracelet. Drawing things you see often does get you into a different level of discovery, of looking closely at things you see every day.

This morning I drew the keys on my keychain; I’ve been challenging myself to just draw things, which get rid of judgment, another aspect of mindfulness, which is to be neutral about what is going on right here right now.

The added discovery of the objects talking to each other or saying things is partly thanks to my reading more this year, and thus reading more graphic novels, which inspire me to make my own talking pictures…

End of Month Art Post!

I started this as an ongoing regular series of images posted the end of each month, specifically involving images in my journal.

As of this month and for the new year, I’ve decided to change the focus to posting pictures of my art at the end of every month and reflecting on my goals, objectives and accomplishments. So this month I picked my series entitled (for now) Expansion. All work is made with pens on paper. I’m considering adding pencil into the mix.

 
These four are older ones I started in mid May 2015, about 6 and a half months ago. 
This one, begun in May, I have been working on for two days. My current new goal after restarting this series in the fall is to focus more on finishing the drawings I’ve started.

It’s nice to have a goal that is doable and what I enjoy about this series is that my goal for each drawing is to cover the whole paper with marks, so it’s easier to be able to know when I’ve finished one. 
   
This one is a large one started recently. 

 
This one is an example of a finished drawing.  It’s the biggest I’ve completed: 15 x 18 inches.

Here below is a picture of that one with other finished ones on my studio wall: I will end the post with it. So by next month I hope to have finished at least 5-7 more of already started ones!  

Serially Lost: How many beautiful pens by Retro 51 will I lose?

  Ben and Jerry’s Oatmeal Cookie Chunk
Limited Batch 2003
Full-Time Flavor 2004-2012

“From the moment that this oatmeal went
There’s been no end to fans’ lament.
If you’d “sowed more oats” before the reap
We wouldn’t have buried it quite so deep.”

This is all in the context of my misplacing things a lot, and, it seems to be very particular things. The Retro 51 pens are the most crazy. I discovered this pen many years ago when another pen enthusiastmily in my fa gave me a couple of them on different occasions. At some point, I got excited about them. At that point I had an old red marbleized one, a cork pen and matching cork pencil, and a very pretty bubblegum pink one. Then I found a leopard print one and started to get obsessed with these pens. the design is simple, retro and beautiful, and they keep coming up with cool patterns and textures for them. The first one I lost was the bubblegum pink one. I got that one when my gifted gave me a shiny red one. I didn’t like the red color and already had a red one, so I went to the Fountain Pen Hospital, cool pen store down the street from me and exchanged it for this great pink one. I remember losing that one mostly because I remember frantically looking on the internet for a replacement one as I loved the color so much, and it had become my favorite pen. I snagged one probably on Ebay and payed around 28$ to replace it. I had my head on with that one, as I at some point decided to leave it in my studio and use it there. It is in my studio and with the leopard print one it stays there, the only place these pens are safe from being lost.

I now cannot find a photo of it, but here is a photo of the cork ones, which I never lost, mostly because I forgot about it for a few years and only recently got it out with it’s pencil partner when looking for several other ones in a frantic attempt to find a few of them: This pen now resides in my studio, and the pencil is precariously traveling with me in my bag, in great danger of getting lost! This is an old set, and they are of course out of stock, so I luckily have a rare set that I have yet to lose

http://www.monstermarketplace.com/pens-and-leather-executive-gifts/retro-1951-tornado-deluxe-vino-pen-and-pencil-set

Coninuint my saga of my growing relationship with Retro 51 pens, a few years ago, I found a really cool Limited Edition “Bloom” pen, which I gave as a gift to my Retro 51 family member; I liked it so much, I ordered one for myself. I think I lost that one twice; I have memories of frantic searches and snagging a replacement, but get this: I lost the replacement one. I can’t even remember when or how I lost it, but I was so annoyed with myself; I had to give up. By then I had expert skills at trolling the internet and knew all the pen stores and pen blog sites,so I gave up. Recently I found the Retro 51 blog and commented on a post. The guy from the company actually gave me a phone number to call, so I called them, still a year or so later desperate to find this beautiful red pen with flowers on it. A person from the company actually called me back and did a search for me to no avail. I then confess that about two weeks ago, I texted the family member I gave it to and described it, asking her if she wanted to trade it for a different one. Rightly so, she said she likes it and wants to keep it. I’m the fool who gave it to her and then gave myself two copies of it! Here’s a photo of this pen that feels like The Pen in my life; the one that got away…
There are only 500 of these that exist, so I am very jealous of the 498 ones out there and the two that I lost:

Continuing my ridiculous saga of this pen obsession, which you can understand more when you look at their website: this company has something cool going on with their retro look. Limited Editions have become a big thing in the past few years. I’ve actually gotten obsessed with the concept of the “limited” edition. Ben and Jerry has Limited Edition Ice cream flavors. I still remember one of them that I got obsessive about finding and figuring out which places still carried that flavor. Ben and Jeryy actually have a “graveyard” filled with their Limited Edition flavors, what a great idea to have a “graveyard” for objects that are purposefully “ended”, as a way to torture the consumer and make the obsessive collector happy they have something special! This week Target had a crazy crash on their website due to the new designer they are collaborating with,; it was similar to the 2011 fall Missoni for Target, which was very limited. I confess to loving Missoni, and I scored on that one as I was very crazy, went online the moment it came out, and even as late as a year ago, found a pair of gloves from them under the 20$ or so they charged just by looking on Ebay. I was happyy to read about this craze from a distance, and to not have had any interest in running to Target or their website for this round of Crazy Designer Collaboration. Here’s the Ben and Jerry graveyard: the little poem at the top is about the flavor I obsessed about for a few years of its existence! They not only have the graveyard with tombstones of ice cream flavors, they have a separate link to the most missed flavors. They have a great flair for feeling the enjoyment of the Limited Edition: There is something almost sexual about this whole idea of tasting something, or having something, that then becomes extinct and gets taken away, that only a select few get to keep!
http://www.benjerry.com/flavors/flavor-graveyard

Retro 51 have a series of Limited Edition pens. Since the “Bloom” pen incident, I have bought a few more of these pens, mostly in the past six months or so. The next one I remember getting was the Pinball one, called a “Popper” pen, this one is “Flipper”. I think the Popper series is one of Limited Editions. So this one is still hanging out on Amazon and in other stores. There are 750 of them, of which I have now bought two.
http://www.amazon.com/Retro-51-Flipper-Tornado-Rollerball/dp/B00M18XETI
I got this one a while ago, very excited as Pinball itself is a very vintage retro game that I loved playing in college. I manage to keep this one for a while, during which I discovered another “Popper” called “Splat” Snapper. It immediately seduced me as it is a comic book graphics design. There are 750 of them out there. I resisted buying one, as I felt guilty about my recent purchase of the Flipper, so I decided to ask one of my relatives to give it to me for a holiday present, which ended up being a late birthday present that i just recently scored. This cool pen which you actually push down to open instead of rotating the top, I have managed to take with me on my spring vacation and kept in two different bags without losing it. Since losing the Flipper one right after my vacation, I put this one in my studio. IT’s there right now, and I think I need to leave it there until I learn how to hold on to these pend hns.

These limited edition pens are their Pop series and have a history which they explain on their blog, if you’re actually crazy like me to want to know about this idea of torturing people with a 500 or so limit!
The Tornado POP Series
Right before getting the Splat gift pen I had suddenly realized I lost another pen recently purchased. This one is from another Retro 51 collection named “Vintage Metalsmith”. I bought the “Roosevelt” when I was obsession about trying to get the Bloom Popper and failing; it was meant as kind of a replacement pen, some device I invented to feel less guilty about spending so much time and money on these pens and losing them constantly. I’m not sure how long I had the Roosevelt, as I actually lost it but did not even notice I lost it until a while later by which time I had no ideaa where it was. I had taken it on my week off in December I think but it disappeared at some point. Meanwhile I found out about the “monochromatic” ones. As an artist, this appealed to me that the pen is dipped in color and the whole thing is that color. OF course I got the bubblegum pink one:
http://www.retro51.com/fwi_tor_vintage.html
By the time I had my spring break upstate a few weeks ago, I had spent a frystrating time looking for the Roosevelt and the flower one and getting those last two. So I brought a bunch of pens and art supplies on my trip, including the Pow, the Flipper and the monochromatic pink one, as well as my newly dug up cork pencil; I knew I was tempting the Fates. Could I hold on to that many Retro 51s and carefully use them?

The answer was no. I got home and as usual, had “forgotten” about “checking” that I had them all until some time last week when I realized I had lost my Flipper pinball pen. I was so enraged at myself that I shared my loss with a patient who has a lot of so-called “anger management” issues; the share was about me being annoyed at myself and super frustrated and feeling angry right before seeing this patient, who I’m sure was amused to see me so pissed off because he commented on it.

I then in secret proceeded to find one of the 750 online that I think cost a few dollars less than the first one I got. I received it in the mail this monday at my studio and it has not left my studio.

I am happyy to report that i have refrained from getting the following other Retro 51 pens that tempt me. The bamboo one: that was hard; I almost bought one but managed to stop myself!
http://www.retro51.com/fwi_tor_bamboo.html
The “stealth which is kind of monochromatic black one:
http://www.retro51.com/fwi_tor_deluxe.html

And I now almost lost this whole post, which I better save or I will go nuts!

writing this post caused me to really look at their whole website, and I discovered just now that they have started making tiny little pens, so cute. I will not buy one. I will not buy one. I will not buy one. I will just check how much they cost…
http://www.retro51.com/fwi_tor_elitebpandpc.html

Worst of all, going to the blog post on their website about the Limited Edition Popper series, I saw the very first ones, so pretty and floral, and now I’m thinking, where the heck could you find one of those?

Luckily the pen industry seems to have no graveyard, no place to get second hand pens. Ebay sells Retro 51 pens, but only the ones that are recently out. No pen collector seems to want to part with their old Retro 51s.

So anyway, now I am trying to hold on to the lovely pens I have, the pink, the leopard print, the cork pair, the old red one I left in my house, and the special Flipper and Splat. I am attempting to keep the monochromatic pink one in my bag with the cork pencil. Who knows how long I can hold on to them, but I like to draw and write in my just found journal with these writing implements, so I will carry only one or two on me, and keep the rest safe. I will attempt to avoid purchasing any more for at least six months. Let’s see if that lasts…

Day Two: A Room with a View

Writing 201 Assignment: If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?

A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.
– Joan Didion

A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction. – Virginia Woolf

Substitute studio and art: A woman must have money and a studio of her own if she is to make art.

Susan Rothenberg: I believe very strongly that if you’re not in your studio physically most every day, you’ve denied the possibility of anything happening. So, even if you’re reading a detective novel, you should be there. I don’t go to the studio at night anymore, unless I’m on a deadline or fussed at Bruce; then I go back. It’s my sanctuary. It’s a great studio. It’s a great place to have a studio.

I am lucky enough to have a studio of my own, it’s even two rooms. I got my first such room years ago right after college; It was in Paris in 1991, a tiny room in the top floor with a sloping roof; a little bigger than the size of a regular bathroom. It’s the only one I’ve had with light pouring in from the ceiling.

My second one was also back then in Paris. I moved to the Monmartre area and had a two bedroom place with a tiny kitchen. The second bedroom was my studio and it was large with windows.

Back in NYC in 1993, I got my third studio, my first NY art studio, in Tribeca, around the corner from my current one. 368 Broadway, number 510 on the fifth floor. It actually had windows. Back then the Tribeca Open Stuido Tour (TOAST), which has become a big event with lots of ads and marketing was called “Franklinfest”. My studio was between Franklin and White streets. I participated in this first small open studio tour back then. When I moved to a bigger place at the end of 1997, I thought I could have a studio in my apt., but realized it wouldn’t work with the setup, so I went back to 368 Broadway and got a smaller studio with no windows on the 4th floor. I shared it with another artists for a while. It was the studio I had during art therapy grad school. I kept this studio until 2003, when I moved to a bigger studio on the 3rd floor of the same building, Suite 307. It had a window stuck next to a brick building so air, but no light. I stayed in that studio the longest, for 10 years. I made my biggest art piece in there, a 7 foot diameter mandala. I was convinced I would stay there ten more years, but in 2013, I had to move out as the landlord would not renew my lease after 20 years in that building.

I was very happy and lucky to find this last studio, my sixth in my lifetime, around the corner from my old building, 59 Franklin st. on the second floor. This studio has no windows but it is two rooms and has a column in the second room. When I first moved in, the column was painted whiite; I made it a community art project to paint the column, inviting all visitors to paint it, all ages, patients, supervisees, colleagues, other artists, friends, family.

I just renewed my lease for two more years. However, a while back, I found out that my building was going to be demolished so the owner could build one of those big residential high rises, like the other ones in my neigborhood that caused all kinds of places to close. The big art store, Pearl Paint closed about a year ago, which was devastating. I had been in the neighborhood over twenty years. The deli on the corner of Broadway and Leonard street where I used to get bagels and lunches closed about 6 months ago after years of being a presence there. The great P & S Fabrics store has moved three times but is still within a block of my studio.

This is the trajectory of my own “rooms” for creating. But a room is not just an art studio; it is something you carry with you. I have many series of drawings and other work made outside the studio, in transit, wherever. Right after 9/11/01, I did not go back to my studio for quite a while and started making very tiny art work. It was a “moveable studio”.

I was shocked that this new studio I managed to score right when getting kicked out of the old one, that I have grown attached to, my best studio so far, is again a fragile reality; here today, gone as soon as the owner kicks us all out.

Which brings me to the main part of the assignment: I’m interpreting this not as where I would go to right now in this moment, but an opportunity to score my ideal studio, my future room of my own:

Ever since I heard of Pollock and saw his “barn” studio in East Hampton, I have had a “barn studio fantasy”. I saw photos of one of my favorite artists, Susan Rothenberg’s barn studio in New Mexico,
Here is a great interview with her, including her daily habit and the importance of the studio:
http://www.art21.org/texts/susan-rothenberg/interview-susan-rothenberg-the-studio

photos of Pollock’s barn studio:

So I want my studio to be not just in a barn, but the whole barn. A big red barn with windows that has been winterized to have heat. Gigantic ceilings, even some old partitions that animals used to occupy. Plenty of room for old big paintings to be stored. A lot of space even if I end of in a corner sitting on the floor making tiny art. room for all kinds of materials. Ideally this barn would be in New Mexico, like where Susan Rothenberg lives, with beautiful light and a beautiful view, for my New York starved for light artist.

http://www.art21.org/images/susan-rothenberg/production-still-from-memory-2005-22

That’s really it. A big beautiful barn art studio. That is my own and that I actually finally own! The only thing that can kick me out of it is my own demise. I would like to be working there when I am an old lady artist.