Man, these breaks from this blog aren’t getting any shorter. Not for lack of material, either. Maybe there’s something to the art of the annual Christmas Letter, where one just does a massive free-associative dump of all of the year’s news in one fell swoop. David Sedaris, of course, wrote one of the finest fake examples of this in “Seasons Greetings to Our Friends and Family!!!”. And for years, my friend Nick has sent out an entirely real, and entirely strange and smart, holiday letter worthy of framing for its beautifully inscrutable, textual perfection.
But it’s still only September, so I better get off my ass and get things up to date, yet again. One thing that’s been pulling me elsewhere has been my other website (yeah, I’m like that guy who dies and everyone discovers his other secret family, one town over): I’ve mentioned it periodically, but since I was trying to keep the identities of my two sites fairly distinct, I didn’t trumpet about it too loudly.
See, the thing about moving here and 1, deciding not to teach in Prague, plus 2, the slow-going nature of building professional fine arts connections in Europe, is that this left me with no immediate sources of income in the fields in which I’ve been trained.
Teaching would have been the easy thing to do, but I’ve never been too good at “easy” (which is kind of a paradox, since I’m also lazy). I absolutely love teaching but I didn’t want to teach English (the most direct path to employment in Prague) enough to pay for TEFL certification, and to get into teaching art in the Prague university system would have taken more time than I’ve felt committed to being here for. On the fine art front, even if I were to meet a gallerist tomorrow who wanted to give me a show, it would be at least 6 months to a year before said show might materialize, and there would still be no guarantees that my work would sell. I’m not trying to be a pessimist or an excuse-maker here: just trying to set the time-and-money conditions which made freelancing a more practical income-earning decision.
So. For these reasons, I figured I’d try to build up some other related skills and see if free-lancing as an illustrator and designer might be something I could do in a more-than-occasional capacity. It’s slow-going, but getting better all the time. (That said, I’m always cruising for more gigs, if any of you have projects or referrals for me.) It’s forced me to learn some new skill sets, which I feel painfully behind on in comparison with friends who have been doing this professionally for years now, but I will say it’s actually been pretty fun flailing my way through the newbie thing. Beginners’ enthusiasm can take one far.
Some recent work for Hyphen Magazine:
For Engine 43:
The fine art thing is still happening as well, of course. It has not been abandoned.
Stephanie “Sisig” Syjuco invited me to participate in her “Shadowshop” project at SFMOMA, so I’m working on a few pieces for that.
The Eartha/Imelda project went on hold for a while there, but I’m back on it.
There are some applications for other residencies, shows and other arts programs that I’m about to crank out.
If poor Sam Chanse isn’t sick to death of waiting for me to edit it, there will soon exist the Greatest Video Ever from a little project she and I worked on when she came through Prague at the beginning of the year.
Still taking pictures of portapotties and piles of cubes.
Have fallen in love with Berlin, and am trying to make things happen there (more on that shortly).
The Mail Order Brides/M.O.B. are doing our first project together in a few years, and in collaboration with Carlos Villa! We’re doing this long-distance with our dear friends at Green Papaya Art Projects, in Quezon City. Working remotely and collaboratively has its challenges, but we diasporic types are up to the challenge.
Especially now that we’ve discovered iChat.
M.O.B. meeting, last week