2014 Goals

IMG_7035_web

Short and sweet:

1. Develop something of a new body of work.

2. Work on my practice every day.

3. Take care of myself, and say no when I need to.

4. Get rid of things that don’t serve me.  Physically, and metaphorically.

Oh, and maybe learn to french braid my hair.

Year 2013 Recap

I even managed to take a vacation this year- Jessica and I went to Kelowna in May, had the whole place to ourselves!
I even managed to take a vacation this year- Jessica and I went to Kelowna in May, we had the whole place to ourselves!  I love travelling/vacationing in the off-season.

 

2013 was actually a fairly quiet year for me, in terms of my practice.  It was a year of taking a step back, re-grouping, and learning.  After my show at AGC was taken down, I was racking up the rejections (36+, until I stopped counting), and I was really busy with working a high-responsibility day job, and so I got really burnt out.  So, I stopped counting rejections, quit my day job, and started working for a temp agency (which is not very stimulating, but it allows me to leave work at work, and focus on my real work- my practice).  I miss that job a little, but it was the right decision.  Soon after making the switch, I injured my foot- actually, my Achilles heel (there’s a reason the legend exists!) which laid me up and slowed me down for a while, forcing me to take some time out.  I couldn’t walk or stand for any extended period of time, and then carried a cane for a while, so things such as going to openings and social events were near impossible.  And the flood happened. (We were fine, but the poor city…. but I’ve never been prouder to be a Calgarian!) Oh, and I’m in the process of closing up the IMR, which means I need to figure out what comes next in terms of my artwork.

I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining, I’m just pointing out that there were a lot of things going on this year, some of which directly affected my plans and my work.  I was forced to slow down, re-couperate, and focus on what was important.  I’ve focused on a few larger projects- preparing for my exhibition at Visual Arts Alberta, putting together my grad school applications, and I’ve been developing some new work (which I’m not quite ready to share).  I’ve got a few things coming up, in particular two which will help develop my next body of work – the Puppet Intensive at the Banff Centre (leaving this week- eek!) and my second visit to the Gushul Studio Residency in the Crownest Pass.  (Artists, I encourage you to apply for this- a self-directed residency in one of my favorite places in the world.)  One more exhibition, at the Harris-Warke Gallery in Red Deer, will likely be the end of the IMR, at least in that incarnation.  (I do think I will possibly have a wind up event, such as an Adopt-A-Morphoid program, details in the works.)  I think this project has been fun, but it’s run it’s course, and it’s time to move on.  To what, I’m still figuring that out.

Anyway, let’s see how I did with my goals (directly from this post):

1. Get one more rejection letter in 2013, than I did in 2012.  – Definitely achieved.  I needed 22, I ended up with more than 36 when I stopped counting.  I don’t think I will set this goal in this manner again, it was pretty tough watching the rejections pile up, especially with a concrete number.

2. Apply to grad school. Done!  Applied to York, Guelph, Windsor, Waterloo, and Concordia, all for MFA programs. Now, I cross my fingers and wait.

3. Attend a minimum of 20 openings, not counting my own. Failed. Miserably.  (See note about Achilles heel.)  I made it to maybe 4 or 5, all year.

4. Send out 4 newsletters. Hmm…. well… I sent one.  Fail.

5. Spend more time working on my arts practice than I spend at work.  This was a possibility, and I was doing it for a while while I was working for ASA.  I was able to determine my own schedule a lot of the time, and work from home, so there were a few months there where I did do it.  After I started temping, though, I changed this for myself, to working on my practice at least a little, in some form, every day.  For that, I would give myself a 85%, a passing grade, as there’s been times where it didn’t happen, but for the most part, I did pretty well.  Temping, while it does take up a lot of my time, doesn’t take up as much of my energy, so it’s been a good fit.

6. Expose my work to more/different audiences.  Umm… honestly, this one is a fail.

7. Quit working by 9:30PM every night.  This one I adjusted again, with my new work schedule.  I stopped working by 10 or 10:30 every night, so, Pass.

So, did I pass or fail?  Does it matter?  I did better than I would have done, had I not set any goals.  Goals are just guidelines, to get (and keep) you moving in the right direction.  And I’m going in the right direction.

Acceptance!

Burmis tree anaglyph_web

So, if you’ve been following me on Facebook at all, you might know that one of my goals this year was to get more rejection letters than last year, which I passed in early summer- June-ish.  Currently, I’m at more than 30 rejections, and until last week, ZERO acceptances.  I have two exhibitions coming up this year, but knew of both before January.  I haven’t posted many details about them yet, because I don’t like to post too much about any new projects until they’re confirmed, so as not to jinx them.  When I hit 30 rejections, without any acceptances, I decided that it was time to stop counting, as it was starting to undermine my confidence.

Anyway, my acceptance- I’ll be going back to the Gushul Studio in March!  I’m really looking forward to going back there, and wish I could leave next week!  I feel like I need the time to really focus on developing some new work.  I am finding that really difficult here in Calgary, working full time hours- by the time I get home from work, eat and maybe check my email, it’s almost 7:00, which means I’ll get two to 2 1/2 hours a night to work on my own stuff, if I’m lucky.  I am trying to get as much time in as I can, but it’s definitely a challenge to develop any momentum, making work, stepping back to contemplate it, adjusting, remaking. You know, the process.

Anyway, I’ll be going back to the Gushul Studio in March.  You might remember I was there before, in September of 2011, collaborating with a complete-stranger-turned-good-friend, Latifa Pelletier-Ahmed.  We were paired together, to work together, and through our experience made this piece, which we called Ephemeral Home.  While I wanted to go back together at some point, Latifa is not able to join me, as she is currently in England, pursuing a Master’s Degree in herbal medicine.  (Way to go, Latifa!)

My intention while I’m there is to really focus on two things: making work, and listening to myself.  I am going without a concrete plan, other than just to make things, and am really curious to see what happens.  I am intending to bring all kinds of materials, tools and supplies, whatever I can manage to fit into the Cruiser.  I will have no distractions there, no friends, no tv, no day job, so I’m hoping I will come out of it with some new-found wisdom.  We’ll see.

And, it’s one of my favorite places in the world.  And, the trains!!

Values…

Rose bud

The goals I have set for myself for 2013 also fit really well with my values.  Here is some of my reasoning behind them.

1. Get one more rejection letter in 2013, than I did in 2012.  You don’t get opportunities if no one knows you’re out there and ready for them.  At least half of the game is getting on people’s radars, and being visible. Exhibitions and events help with that, but so does putting in a good application.

2. Apply to grad school. Advancing my education will create more opportunities, such as teaching.  I would love to teach, and think I would be good at it, although teaching is not my end goal.  Also, having two years to focus exclusively on your practice would be luxury…. I really do miss that.  Community is also an important part of this, and expanding my perception of the world.

3. Attend a minimum of 20 openings, not counting my own. Community.  Having a studio in my house is great, but sometimes it gets lonely.  And people forget about you if they don’t see your face occasionally. (And it’s fun, of course.)

4. Send out 4 newsletters. Community, keeping in touch with people, promotion.  Staying visible, and accountable to myself and those I know.

5. Spend more time working on my arts practice than I spend at work.  Although I work for an arts group, I don’t want my day job to take over my life.  I am still primarily an artist.  There is lots of overlap between the two, but I need to make sure to protect my studio practice.  The day job is important, but it is there to support my practice. If it overtakes my practice as an artist, I am not doing what I’m supposed to be doing.  This goal is to help me remember my priorities and my core purpose.

6. Expose my work to more/different audiences.  Expand on my current community to include people who may not have seen my work.  I see this as moving outside of the art community in Calgary, in various ways.

7. Quit working by 9:30PM every night.  This last one is not really a goal, but a reminder to relax and maintain a balance.  I can be very busy doing a lot of things, but need to make a point of having down time as well, even if it’s only an hour before bed.

I think these are in line with my most important concerns: keeping and building on the community I have, learning as much as I can, and using my time wisely, to spend it doing what I should be doing, including relaxing.

2013 Goals

Windmill Door

Here are my professional goals for 2013.  I realize that some of these are slightly vague, but rest assured that I have defined them much more specifically for myself, but I’m not sure I’m willing to share that much information to the internet at large.  Here are my six goals for the year:

1. Get one more rejection letter in 2013, than I did in 2012.  This ensures that I put myself out there, researching opportunities and sending out applications.*

2. Apply to grad school.*

3. Attend a minimum of 20 openings, not counting my own. 

4. Send out 4 newsletters.

5. Spend more time working on my arts practice than I spend at work.  This is a tough one.  A friend told me about someone she knew who made a point of spending one more hour per week on his practice than he spent at work, so that he had no issues calling himself an artist, first.  While this may sound unrealistic, if I can keep my work at an average of 30 hours a week (over 4 days), I think I could do it.  I will count anything related to my practice in this: sketchbook/ thinking time (including on the train), supply shopping, research -all kinds, including conceptual, scientific, process (such as electronics, etc), art business, opportunities, etc-, writing applications, studio time, goal setting (ha ha), etc.  30 hours/week is not unrealistic, if I want to keep my practice as my focus. Honestly, I’m probably pretty close to this amount anyway, although keeping track will give me a better idea of where I actually stand.  (I blame my BFA for that- it’s almost impossible for me to sit still anymore.  That means I’ve been trained, I guess.)   Because this one is a tough one, I might have to revise it later on, as I see how it plays out, or adjust my schedule to help it- for example, if I worked from 8-4, instead of 9-5, I’d have an extra hour of potential studio time in the evenings.

6. Expose my work to more/different audiences.  This one is also purposely little vague.  I do have some ideas for this, but again, I’m not sure I’m willing to share them all at this point.

7. Quit working by 9:30PM every night.  This last one is not really a goal, but a reminder to relax and maintain a balance.  I can be very busy doing a lot of things, but need to make a point of having down time as well, even if it’s only an hour before bed.

* Notice that the format of these is very specific.  Rather than say, “I’m going to have 6 exhibitions in 2013,” which I have absolutely no control over, I present my goal in a form that I DO have control over- sending out a certain number of applications (thus guaranteeing the receipt of rejection letters).  Regardless of the amount of exhibitions/ opportunities I get, I am still in control of whether I have reached my goal or not, and anything else is icing on the cake.  For the grad school one, it’s “apply to grad school,” not “get into grad school” or “go to grad school,” as I probably don’t have control over that, however, I do have control over whether or not I apply.

The other part of goal setting is being accountable to it, and keeping it easy to track.  I will put this list up on the door of my cupboard next to my desk, where I can see it all the time.   It’s also important to for me to keep my goals in line with what I want, and what’s realistic for me.  Notice that I didn’t list “Make $X in 2013,” or “Sell X pieces of work.”  These just don’t apply, or fit in my plan for the year.  I’m also making a point of keeping the big picture in mind.

2012 is a tough year to follow, but I’m sure this one will be just as good.  Stay tuned!

2012 in Review

2012 has been an excellent year for me.  Let’s recap.

The Institute of Morphoid Research at the Art Gallery of Calgary –  This was an amazing opportunity.  I showed some of the Morphoids in cages, and my ‘documentary,’ Morphopodia.  As an entertaining aside, a friend of mine has a young son who reports having made Morphoid environments in the AGC school when visiting the gallery.  It’s, and I quote, “a triceratops with feathers on it’s butt,” who eats eyeballs and seashells.

The AGC Artist Talk – I did a Q&A Style artist talk on December 6th, about my exhibition.  It was actually a lot of fun.  I quite enjoyed the Q&A style, as it was less formal, meant less prep work for me, and therefore was less stressful to prepare for.  I was excited about it, but not too worried about it, because there’s no subject I know more about than my work.

The New Alberta Contemporaries (at The Esker Foundation) – I felt very privileged to be a part of this exhibition- it was the first exhibition at the Esker Foundation, made up of 44 artists, recent graduates of the 4 schools in Alberta granting arts degrees (ACAD, the University of Calgary, the University of Alberta, and the University of Lethbridge).  I also particularly enjoyed the opening, where I had an animatronic bacteriophage that I used to draw people into conversation with me.  (The looks on their faces were priceless….)

The Bacteriophage Dissection – This was a time intensive project, right from the beginning.  In 2011, in the St[art] Residency, I starting building Morphoid innards. It took quite a lot of thought and studio time to develop the structure for the insides and the Dissection.  (Come to think of it, I still need to ‘explain’ everything from that…)

Meet the Morphoids, my show at the Untitled Arts Society, is where I started on the informational panel idea.  I have also used this in the AGC show, and will likely use more in the future.

I’ve been working for the Alberta Society of Artists as their Artistic Coordinator since January 2012.  I’ve learned a ton, met a lot of interesting and wonderful artists, and have worked on quite a few interesting projects.

Also of note this year, is doing the cover of the Hanna History Book and the Centennial (and drinking with my mother and other people in the cemetery), and the launching of the IMR Gift shop.

Up soon (hopefully), goals for 2013!

 

Possibilities of Meccano, etc.

 

I’m not entirely sure why someone would build a machine like this, but it does show you some of the possibilities.  I’d really like to get a Meccano set to do some building of things.

I’d also like to learn more about electronics, as there are many possibilities for my work there as well.  It’s quite the learning curve, so it’s on my wishlist.  I will start with practicing putting together some simpler circuits from books, etc, to learn what I can, and hopefully that will help.

My mother was up the other day (Hi Mom!) and we looked at some of the stuff I’ve got in my stash, and talked about a few things…. I’ve got some more possibilities now, but how to get from point A to point 357 remains a mystery to me.

Time, effort and research.

Looking Back….

2011.

It was an interesting year.  It was definitely a year of transition for me, of growth and learning, and though the year is done, I am not (really).

Let’s recap (in no particular order):

1) The biggest one for me this year, GRADUATION.

Feeling like all my hard work over the last five years has paid off, and at that moment, I was exactly where I should have been.  This was the right choice for me, and I know/ knew that it would be a difficult path sometimes, but I love the adventure, and the personal rewards and the community is a treasure.

2) The GUSHUL RESIDENCY.

Amazing! The experience was amazing, my studio mate was incredible- fun, smart, motivated, caring, and adventurous, and I learned a lot! It was great to feel validated as an artist, and to get to spend a whole month concerned about nothing but having an adventure and making work was incredible, a luxury I hope to have again sometime.  Definitely an amazing first artist residency experience in on of my favourite parts of the world, and not too far away from home. Trap/Door Artist Run Centre.

3) SPARK (Fluid Festival)

Undersense. By Veronica Benz and Jennifer Akkermans. Photo by Ron Checora.

The two week intensive collaborative residency taught me to trust my own decisions and those of my partner.  It was definitely a unique experience, resulting in a very interesting show.  I learned a lot about my own creative process, as well as that of others, and by the end of it, felt like I had made twelve new friends!  (And all the Happy Birthday texts showing up in one particularly memorable audience interaction piece was very sweet!)

4) Making my film, MORPHOPODIA through EMMEDIA.

Humongous project. I learned to use what I had access to.  EMMEDIA was great with the technical stuff- teaching me how to use the equipment and software to edit, and allowing me the opportunity to make the film, but, in all honesty, there is so much more involved in taking on a project like this.  Planning, writing scripts, finding and coordinating actors, volunteers and helpers (all of which have their own busy schedules), finding someone with a vehicle to move large amounts of equipment around reliably (more than I’m used to carrying on the train, anyway), setting up sets and scenes, adjusting lighting, sound, acting, editing, etc.

5) Terrarrium / International Festival of Animated Objects

This exhibition, in Stride‘s +15, was an opportunity for me to explore how the Morphoids would interact with eachother over a period of time.  The show was up for two months, February and March, I believe, and because it was part of the IFAO, I adjusted the exhibit twice a week, creating a storyline, like a very slow stop-motion animation. The personalities of the Morphoids came out, and there was an accident, resulting in one of the Morphoids getting eaten. (It’s funny, this seems like much longer ago, probably because I’ve done a lot since then.)

6) ArtaWEARness

A lesson in time management, depending on other people, and building things for the body.  In particular, this shoulder piece.  It was so complicated to get to sit in the right place and stand up, but I count it as an engineering success. (Model: Sara Girletz.)

7) St[art] Residency/ Calgary Allied Arts Foundation.

This is the last thing I have participated in this year, and I actually still have the space until January the 8th.  I used the two month residency in art central to do some drawings, develop some ideas for the insides and organs of some of the Morphoids, and I built a set and animated a Morphoid hatching.  A great opportunity to do something I would not have the space to do properly at home. Calgary Allied Arts Foundation

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In terms of my practice, this year has been pretty amazing.  I made the transition from student to artist, showing work, looking for opportunities, and developing my practice.  I learned a lot, including learning to work with film and basic animation, modeling materials, constructing things from wood, etc, etc, etc.  There have of course been other cool things going on this year, but these are definitely the highlights.

I can only hope that next year yields as many opportunities!

Goodbye 2011!

(Hello 2012.)

 

Spark Meet-n-Greet!

I went to the Spark Meet and Greet the other night, at the one of the curators, Kris‘s house.  We had a little potluck, and did a few different exercises, including reading something we had brought for a few minutes.  It was interesting to see what people had brought, and I wonder if/how it will influence my opinion of them.  I knew quite a few of the other “visual arts” participants from other instances and opportunities in my professional life, but there were a few that I didn’t know, including a couple of guys who had just graduated from U of C.  I don’t know many of the dancers.  I think they said there are 12 of us in total, which will be paired up into teams.

This project sounds like it is going to be a really interesting sort of collaboration.  I hope that I take full advantage of the opportunity, and use it to both grow and push my boundaries, and produce something I am proud of.  The opportunity could open up new possibilities for me, in terms of new ideas and ways of working, and meeting new people to potentially collaborate with again, down the line.  I am curious to see what comes out of this and where it could possibly lead.

Gradu-macated!

My official Convocation was yesterday, with the grad show opening the day before.  I don’t have many photos yet, because they’re all on my mother’s camera!  This is a photo of my brand new BFA with distinction, and my Board of Governor’s Award!  (Photo taken with my graduation present- a DSLR- a Canon Rebel T1i!  So excited!)
Hopefully I’ll have more photos soon… including the ones my mother took of all the Fibre gals!

New Year’s Resolution

So, it’s 2011.  Seems like the time I’ve been waiting for.  It’s going to be a busy year! This is a little later, but better now than never.

Here’s what I’ve got on the go:
– I am finishing up my BFA and graduate this spring.
– I am an artist in a couple big shows coming up:
– ArtaWEARness XI, and
– the Festival of Animated Objects.
– I will be doing a practicum (don’t know where yet).
– I will be working on my application for grad school.
– In terms of my studio work, I will be experimenting with the scale of the Morphoids, and stop-motion animation, including developing a narrative and some kind of soundtrack.
– I aim to attack my “summer problem” a little differently this year (more to come later).

All this leads into my only New Year’s Resolution.  To take care of myself.  By that, I mean, to take time out once in a while, not take on too much responsibility or too many projects.  To spend more time with Brad.  To chill out, and eat better. To be kinder to myself, and not expect too much.  A lot, but not too much.

All the best in 2011!

2010 in Review

One of the things I do every New Year’s is review what I’ve done in the last year.  Here’s this year’s list:
-Developed an interesting body of work.
-Got good grades, leading to a Louise McKinney Scholarship
-hosted 2 smART seminars (smART-inars)- Dee Fontans and Debi Andrus
-Volunteered as SLC rep, and peer mentor
– Set up the Polly & Esther Gallery as SLC rep.
-Recieved 3 scholarships for leadership – (ACADSA’s Legacy Scholarship, Susanne Agopsowicz Memorial Scholarship, ACAD Student Experience Leadership Award)
– participated in the Contextural resdiency
– Ran for VP Academic for Student’s Association (which I’m actually glad I didn’t get)
– Sat on jury for MNG
– Was asked to be assistant to the host for ArtaWEARness X, accepted to be an artist in ArtaWEARness XI coming up this year.
– Accepted to be part of La Famiglia, the Calgary Animated Object Society’s International Festival of Animated Objects
– Attended ACAD planning day as student rep.
– Went to Santa Fe (department field trip)
– Had a solo show in the MNG (put myself out there by putting out my journals.)
– Updated and finished my website.
– Contributed to my blog.
– Set up my home studio to meet my needs.
and…
-spent a LOT of time at school.