First Friday 7 and 8

I was away from my studio for First Friday at the Banana Factory back in October attending the future Faculty Recruitment weekend at R.I.T.So I had my friends King and Matthew open my studio for me. They said that by all accounts it was a lovely evening though it was not as well attended. I think the biggest take away I got from their reporting is that I need more small inexpensive items for sale. I have to confess that its a struggle for me to think of my studio as a workplace and a store front. Lately my studio has turned into a refuge of sorts where I shut out the world as much as I can. Sometimes all I can manage to do is get to the studio space and other obligations such as opening up my doors and welcoming in the public is a bridge to far for me. I think the mystery of inspiration is very baffling to the public. The desire to be a spectator of an art-maker collides with the understanding that creativity is often a lonely and solitary pursuit. Its pretty clear to me that while my other Banana Factory comrades have struggled with the “when to open up and when to close the door dilemma” that I have, they are also more resigned to the compromise of working in this building and use it as an asset. With a little more time I hope to be equally as comfortable and accommodating.

This last First Friday was busy. Just about the busiest I’ve seen it here. It coincided with a big photo event taking place in the Lehigh Valley called the InVision Photo Festival. There were several shows in the building dedicated of course to photography this last week and they all seemed to showcase equally competent artists. Now I’m not a photographer so its hard for me to judge that craft well, but I did enjoy the balance of weird awkward juxtapose works that I saw, particularly from the undergrad show in the hallway gallery in the building. Many of those works deserved to be in the bigger shows in our larger exhibition spaces at banana in my opinion.

As far as visits to my studio I received some really great comments. One fella asked me when do I know when I’m done with a work. I get this question a lot but thought about it differently this time he asked. I simply told him when the process tells me I’m done, which for whatever reason felt to me like it wasn’t the answer he was looking for. My work is process driven as I have explained in the past however there are times when I wonder if i can let go of the process enough to just end a piece randomly. I plan to make some collaborative works with my good friend Michelle Neifert in the new year so perhaps I will find out then. I also got comments on how my works look like video games. I’m no big gamer except for the game Civilization, so I was intrigued by that association.

I received a very brusk visit from two ladies in the middle of the night who grilled me about my work in a very aggressive way. I was surprised that I was able to keep my cool long enough to answer their questions calmly without commentary on their intimidating approach. Fortunately these ladies seemed to have my best interest at heart and gave me a few career suggestions and encouraged me to continue working in my present vein, which I appreciated. In fact advice was flowing all night including several references to teaching jobs and ways of putting together wood panels. The evenings culminating piece of encouragement and advice came from a board member of the Banana Factory who asked me to consider volunteering to be on the artist committee. That last one is something I really need to think about because it is a big time commitment.

All in all the evening was a great success, once again proving to me the invaluable benefits of have a studio in this center. And I must have had a good time because I fell on my ass at one point trying to make a silly point, the effects of too much whiskey I’m afraid. Here’s some images of how I set up my studio last night. Until next time…


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