Thursday, September 24, 2009

Elephant In The Room

In our bedroom hang three pictures from my senior thesis show. I’m proud of what I produced… therefore I hang it in the bedroom. I understand that some people are squeamish about nudity in any form, so that is why they are not in the living room where we entertain.

Today my husband’s dad is coming to visit us and Zachary asked that I take down my pictures. My gut reaction was ‘sure’ simply to please him and ease the situation but then I came to realize how upset that made me feel. I can understand why he would want it taken down because his dad is not someone who might be open to that type of art… but you know what, not everyone is going to be okay with everything I make. I think I’m more upset that some people can’t see what I see when I look at those pieces. It’s when I peaked as an artist in school (not in life I hope)… I earned a degree with these pieces. It frustrates me that I have to hide what I did in school from my in-laws and all guests in our home. (PHOTOS TAKEN BY AISHA KHAN...BACK IN THE DAY).

Please go to the BakerArtistAwards for more of my work. Be sure to check out the videos on the bottom of the page. They are only snips of the larger, longer videos… Most of my videos look like still shots because I stay so still. Only a subtle hint of breathing or involuntary twitches occur. It is almost a form of painful meditation.

When I graduated last year, someone posted this on their blog.

You see, it’s this type of shit that really just pushes me over the edge. The funny part is how I didn’t even see this site for at least a year after my senior show. Who are you to decide what I should and should not be making? Well it’s this sort of heckling that has caused me to move away from the performative aspects of my art. I’m a little indifferent about it. I’d say that I’ve been away for that part of my life for long enough that I can’t really defend myself and what I did anymore. All I know is that I was happy with what I was making at the time and that is important. If it were not for the processes I learned while making my previous pieces and taking in my previous concepts and feedback, I never would be making what I am now.

"I want the viewer to do a lot of work and feel uncomfortable. They should be made to feel responsible for their own view of the world rather than look at an artist's view and be critical of it"-Damien Hirst

I Want to Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now

This Damien Hirst book is an amazing experience to read. I’m really glad I bought it. It is a real inspiration.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Religion (Or Lack There Of)

I’m sure you’ve all seen the South Park Episode where the hippies take over…

In a way, I believe that I had a very similar experience in Art School, but rather with religion. Everyone was extreme left-wing liberals… self-proclaimed revolutionaries in their own individualisms and awkward outfits who detest any sort of presence of a higher being. I don’t want it to seem like my college years were negative but I do feel like I “lost my religion”…to put it in the great words of REM… to my peers.

Today, Zachary will be taking his qualifications exam to become an official PhD candidate in the Chemical Engineering Department at Stanford University. I’m really excited for him!! This is probably one of the biggest days of his life! If this had taken place before I went to college, I would most likely pray for him. I’d pray for God to give my husband the strength and confidence to get through his presentation and for his worries to all be put to rest… but now I find that I am in a very different place in my life. I don’t attend church and very rarely did I attend at MICA. Even though I can sit here and write out what I would pray… it all seems so empty to me and even scripted because I no longer have that connection with God and my Catholic roots. Now that I am out of school, and out of the hostile, anti-religious mentality of art school… I find myself wondering if I could ever get that back. It took 12 years of my life to get to the level of faith I had when I entered my freshman year of college. It just baffles me that all that could be taken down in a mere 4 years.

Naturally, the answer to this problem is to just start attending church again, right? I don’t think it’s that simple at all. I’m skeptical now. I don’t know what I believe anymore and I don’t want to force myself into anything either. There is nothing worse than being pressured into anything! It has come to a point where I view organized religion as a guilt trip or a way to take money from me. That may sound selfish, but it’s true. The rare times that I went to church while visiting home on breaks during school, I felt like I would basically go to Hell if I did not give something to the church (because they were going BANKRUPT). I love how when collection rates are up, diocese are praised. Last time I checked, that was not the main purpose of organized religion… but sadly it has become a focal point as of late.

I think the last time I did confession was the first time to get my sacrament. In fact, I’m 100% positive about that.

The real root of the matter… besides having no connection towards religion… is that Zachary and I will be raising children soon. We have to make a commitment of sorts so that the kids won’t get confused! Right now I’d say that Zachary and I are equally non-religious. It may be because we have been living together for a while now that we are kind of on the same “spiritual level” and take on each other’s ideals. I feel like we need to provide a religious background simply to offer an additional stable constant. Read theses interesting studies on the affects of religion and academic performance:

University Of Texas

Maybe our child should just be Jewish. Case solved.

Great article about picking a religion for your children:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Who Does She Think She Is??

I’ve never been much of a writer… I think that is an important detail to note before delving into this blog. The idea of a blog has always been somewhat unproductive to me, but it is also a great way to document a period of time, thoughts and experiences. I am in the throws of a huge turning point in my life as an artist and as a wife. The changes and progressions are so amazing that I have been driven to start this blog that melds my “professional” artistic life with my evolving marriage with my husband and the beginning of the expansion of our family.

I am 2008 Alumni of the
Maryland Institute College of Art. It is there that I received my bachelor degree in General Sculpture Studies and where I fell in love with women/feminist performance artists. Most people cannot name 5 women artists off the top of their heads.

Louise Bourgeois
Ana Mendieta
Ann Hamilton
Marina Abramovic
Magdalena Abakanowicz
Tara Donovan
Rebecca Horn
Judy Chicago
Eva Hesse
Agnes Martin

These are some of my most influential artists! It really saddens me that there is not more of a feminine presence in the art world today. In the 60s and 70s, there was such a fire brought by women artists which was fueled by the women’s liberation. Art institutes’ student body today consists of 80% women, but in the professional art world outside of the institute, men make up 70-80% of successful, gallery artists. On top of that… most of the few successful international artists do not have children. Art has such a potential to take up all of my time, so I can understand this statistic… If I did not have to work 9 hours out of the day, I would most likely be making all day and night. A good friend of mine, May Wilson, was talking to me on the phone the other day and she stated something very interesting… how “good” could we be if we focused on our art all the time like we did in school? I try not to think about that too much, because it’s somewhat depressing. I’d hope that someday, when my husband is out of school and working, I might be able to actually pursue my art as a full-time job.

Lately I’ve had this strong desire to have a child with my husband… which is funny, because if you knew me in high school and/or college… I’ve been pretty adamant about not having children. I am a true believer (now) that there is a nurture/mother instinct that is within us all that happens to intensify after getting married. It’s out there. It exists. It turns out that getting pregnant is something that could actually happen in the very near future since I’ve settled into a stable job that can support my family during my husband’s education. (Zachary does bring in some money… give credit when credit is dueJ). Some would say that it would be selfish to have a child and work towards becoming a successful artist simply because the time it takes to make art, even if on the side, could be spent with your child. I feel like that is the same sort of mentality that people have towards women who work with children. I don’t see how it is bad to want to support your family by working, but still have children.

I’d like to see this movie if it’d ever come out on DVD in the next millennium…
Who Does She Think She Is? Trailer:

A very good article about the pros and cons of stay at home motherhood and working moms:

Mom VS. Mom

After reading this article, I feel like it was mainly pro-working mother. Once again, I do not see anything wrong with working and having children as long as you are able to provide, love and support your children! My husband and I would not be able to afford a child if I stopped working. Also, I do not think that having children means that I have to discontinue my pursuit of my hopes and dreams. If I were to stop making art, I know I would most likely slip into a deep, intense depression. What kind of atmosphere would that create for my child? I think finding a balance is best in order to teach my children through example.

I am getting ready to read a book called: “
Strong Hearts, Inspired Minds: 21 Artists Who Are Mothers Tell Their Stories.” Based on the reviews, it seems very hit or miss. I, for one, am just curious about what other mom-artists are doing because I know for sure I’m not the first to take this path. I’m hoping for some success stories. I want to have the best of both worlds and I want to know it’s achievable.

A review will come in the near future!