All the shows are over and done and I feel emptied out. From June till last Saturday, some part of my attention was occupied with a room away from my house filled with my artwork. Thinking about if anyone was looking at it, how to get more people to do so, then, hopefully, to inspire them to take some of the artwork home with them so I wouldn’t have to bring it back here.
The stacks of pictures returned from exhibitions are like an epitaph or obituary reminding of how my efforts fell short. The goal is always to bring back nothing, even if I’ve rarely managed it.
Now that all this crap is back here, I have to recharge and rethink. To decide what’s next. To assess how I failed this time and how it was different or similar to previous failures.
Don’t assume that this talk of failure is necessarily negative; it’s just my process. Most of anything and everything fails, I believe. It’s the nature of the beast. The consequence and price of trying anything at all.
Three exhibitions back to back to back. I’d never done that before and probably won’t ever do it again. I pushed myself harder and in more directions than I had before. There was also the publication of a new book as the cherry on top. That process is unfortunately not yet in the rearview, as the printer hasn’t completed the entire run I ordered. Once that little disaster is behind me I hope to truly have a clean slate to work with.
I don’t really know how to do nothing. I don’t meditate or take long walks by the lake. The last few Sundays I’ve been going to Wormhole Coffee and doing one-shot gouaches before my bartending shifts. I expect to tire of this soon. It’s sort of a throwback to a thing I used to do. Like covering an old favorite rather than writing a new song. It’s low stakes. Muscle memory more than anything else.
I’ve laid out a book surveying my paintings and drawings the last thirty years. I need to write short essays to go with each section, then think about how to publish it. Considering the mess with my current printer, more research will be required. I’m not all the way in it yet. Hoping that something else will hook me. The prospect of sitting on a dozen more boxes of books very few people want isn’t so attractive.
A couple days ago I ripped out half the pages from a young adult book and started collaging in my personal detritus. So there’s that. I’m reading the epic new Lou Reed bio.
The near future is cloudy but I’m okay with that. Something will present itself demanding my engagement. It always does.