Aging

Clara-Alex2I will admit that an embarrassing amount of time has passed since I worked on my own studio practice. I love working on Artprof.org, but it definitely has a way of consuming all of my time and head space in a way that leaves very little room for anything else.

I spoke to a friend this week who is a photographer, and we found that both of us have been in the same place: overwhelmed with work and other professional obligations, our own personal projects being neglected as a consequence. However, after having coffee together and talking through our artistic goals and considerations, I felt inspired to get up and finally do something.

The fall of 2016 was really the last time that I felt a significant drive to make artwork, which is when I worked on these Scars that Speak drawings on “sculpted” tissue paper. I always imagined that I would return to this project, but so much time has passed since then, that it doesn’t make sense for me at this point to pick up from where I left off.

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Instead, I’m doing small sketches for a fleeting idea I had a ways back which I actually think has tremendous potential.  I did a drawing which depicted the parts of my body that I’ve watched age over the past two years or so. My initial thought with Scars that Speak was that I would work with women of the older generation, interview them, draw their figures, and more. But that felt too far removed, and I’ve realized that I’m not a very good observer, and that I tend to do better with ideas that emerge from myself.  I feel slightly guilty that so much of my work seems to always make it’s way back to self-portraits, but these new sketches are a different version of that theme.

Although the sketches will be of my own body and experience, I do think that aging is a universal theme that is inevitable for everyone.  I have found myself dwelling upon this idea ever since I turned 40.  I noticed new wrinkles and creases when they appear in a way that was never the case before.  I have an awareness of these physical changes every day, so it’s a theme that is constantly on my mind.

I’m not remotely ready to create anything finished, so for now, it’s going to be small pencil sketches with cross hatching. I have noted that small moments of inspiration seem to be popping up here or there, which is a good sign that this topic is rich enough to be explored.

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The other night I woke up with night sweats, and immediately I thought of a drawing of my bed sheets. This morning I sat down with a 2H pencil and quickly rendered this version of my bed sheets.  Who knows if this image is going anyway, but I was excited that this seems to expand beyond my physical body in terms of this theme.

I was grocery shopping and an intense thought went through my head:  what if this is a project that takes the rest of my life to complete?  What if I continually made these drawings, knowing that with every passing year, the images will slowly change as physical changes continue to occur in my body. I doubt that I’ll have the patience to sustain a project for several decades, but who knows? I’m ready for a new artistic challenge.

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