Swamps and Mountains

This morning I awoke to the sound of my wife making coffee and remembered that there was still some in the pot from last night. I started worrying about not wanting to waste it and whether I should rush to the kitchen to save and reheat the 1/2 cup making its slow journey back to the water cycle. And I started thinking about all of the coffee made everyday around the world and how in some offices I've been in they no longer offered free coffee to employees. I thought, how unfair, it's the least they could do because it's just coffee and how much can that really cost?...But, they say that too much isn't good for us anyway, so maybe the company is approaching the elimination of complementary coffee as a healthy workplace initiative.

What a nightmare. And I wasn't even sleeping. All this helped me remember that many people who have vastly different jobs than mine, who go to an office or construction site or farm or school or,or,or....everyday, probably have very interesting hobbies and one of those hobbies for many people happens to be art: art making, art viewing, art collecting. The creative spirit manifests itself in many different ways.

While enjoying my first, fresh cup of coffee this morning, I am infinitely grateful that I am able to pursue my passion for the arts as a full-time occupation. To be clear, as an emerging artist, I am not in the studio 8 hours a day. I play many different roles with a wildly juggling schedule: artist, curatorial assistant at Dunedin Fine Art Center, preparator at Scarfone/Hartley Gallery, and art installer for ARTicles Art Gallery to help my family pay its bills and plan for the future. My family has given me their unflinching support and never-ending patience. Without them I would be nowhere. My community has given me their friendship, they have opened doors I never knew existed and their passion for my work has provided the confidence to keep working when it seemed most futile. My collectors have shown me what Passion with a capital P for Art looks like by inviting me into their homes and sharing how my work fits into their personal vision for their own lives. And I simply cannot forget the curators who have taken the risk of giving me the opportunity to create exhibits for their spaces and the journalists who have given my work region-wide exposure. 

The gallery that represents my paintings and drawings locally has been an incredible ally. To be able to build my nest around their constant support and strength of vision has been unquestionably valuable. I remember approaching ARTicles Art Gallery about one year after deciding to pursue painting seriously. There was a poster for Steven Kenny's upcoming exhibit there hanging at Tripp's Diner. My daughter and I walked by the restaurant almost everyday on the way to Crescent Lake Park. I believed their representation was a long shot since I didn't feel ready at all and I mean, Steven Kenny showed there, so good luck. And this has been a pretty constant theme throughout the last 4 years: not feeling ready, but always being willing to try and showing up to work with gratitude and a positive attitude.

I got a call from a designer about a month and a half ago - a designer I had contacted the year previous about a big new building project. They were looking for local artwork and asked if I'd be willing to consider reproducing one of my paintings on wallpaper for the lobby atrium at a YUUUUGE scale. I thought this would be a really interesting project and developed a proposal for it. Right around the same time, I was awarded the Emerging Artist Grant from Creative Pinellas and I thought it would be a great idea to combine the needs of both projects. 

I have to make new work for the Creative Pinellas exhibit at the end of October and we could use the piece(s) for the reproduction project. And then I could talk about the painting(s), the project and all the issues and partnerships involved in this blog. Perfect alignment of the stars!

Except, the owner of the building ultimately decided that my work was not a good fit for the lobby atrium. So here I am now, worried about wasting coffee, a little disappointed and wondering what to do for the big exhibit in October, in addition to all of the other things I have going on at the moment and coming up soon. I have two pieces in Skyway: A Contemporary Collaboration, a region wide exhibit shared by the area's three major museums: Ringling Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, and Tampa Museum of Art.

Thank you Curators Joanna Robotham and Seth Pevnick for giving me the opportunity to exhibit my work at Tampa Museum of Art (photo credit: worst event photographer in the universe, Yours Truly)

Thank you Curators Joanna Robotham and Seth Pevnick for giving me the opportunity to exhibit my work at Tampa Museum of Art (photo credit: worst event photographer in the universe, Yours Truly)

My paintings are being shown internationally for the first time in Japan as part of a group exhibit called East Meets West, organized by Noriko Kuehn at Gallery Girasole

Promotional Design by  Koki Sugita

Promotional Design by Koki Sugita

and the exhibit I organized for Gallery AIA this past April / June called CONSTRUCT is now officially a traveling exhibit, opening anew at the Palmetto Art Center October 6.

CONSTRUCT, installed and exhibited at USF Centre Gallery, July 2017

CONSTRUCT, installed and exhibited at USF Centre Gallery, July 2017

In physics, there are two theories that describe vastly different scales: Theory of General Relativity and Quantum Theory. GR deals with the vastness of the universe and QT deals with everything smaller than an atom. There are attempts to unify the two theories in a Grand Unification, but so far the math hasn't added up.

But our intuition and experience of living tells us that all is connected. We just don't know exactly how yet. 

I've got two different bodies of work. Simply put, Exit Music is abstract

Exit Music #60 (Lost in Translation), acrylic on canvas, 24" x 18" 

Exit Music #60 (Lost in Translation), acrylic on canvas, 24" x 18" 

and Pond's Edge is realistic

Pond's Edge 41, acrylic on panel, 36" x 48", commissioned for Kevin and Amy Kelso Collection

Pond's Edge 41, acrylic on panel, 36" x 48", commissioned for Kevin and Amy Kelso Collection

They are very different approaches to a singular line of questioning: what is the nature of space and time? How do I and we fit into that? 

The Exit Music series is about the willful and intentional act of creation. Pond's Edge, in contrast, is about waiting and watching. The two bodies of work serve different physical, emotional and psychological needs and I have thus far maintained them separately. Lurking for the past year or so has been the inkling to somehow unify them. I am not sure how to do this and do not feel ready. But I am willing and grateful for the opportunity to try. Let's get to work!