Category: My Studio

Work in Progress….

I’ve been taking a lot of photographs as I’ve been working in the studio lately, and thought I’d share a few.  That’s about all I have time for at this point in my MFA.  (Hopefully sometime I’ll be able to give this site a little more of the attention it needs.)

This piece is getting really close to being finished.  And, wow, realizing how much my work has changed.

Roots1 Roots2 Roots3 Roots4 Rootsprogress

Building up again?

Mouth House_Akkermans

Here are some photos of things I’ve been playing with in the studio, stuff I’ve been making.  I’m not really sure what it is yet.

Merry Go round_Akkermans

– Merry Go Round (Please excuse the bad photo.)

Windmill in progress_Akkermans

– Windmill (in progress- will move hopefully, as I’m interested in making it kinetic.)

Barn_Akkermans

And this barn I’ve built….

Barn2_Akkermans

… which I’ve been playing with projecting inside of, with a pico projector.

Since starting my MFA here at Waterloo, I’ve blown everything up, and am currently in the process of building things up again.   I’m not sure how things will come together, but that is the point of doing my MFA, to figure that out and hopefully come up with an interesting body of work.  These are just the first few steps in that direction (hopefully).  I think that the “trying to capture a real moment” that I’ve been doing as well might end up colliding with these, but at this point, I have no idea how.  We’ll see.  🙂

First Day of School

First Day of School

As the people I went to high school with are posting their children’s first days of school, I’ll post this photo of my first official day of classes of my MFA.

Studio2

And a few pictures of my studio.  I am curious to see how it changes over the next two years.

Studio3

Studio

My first class today was Hybrid Digital Media.  As part of the class, I will be keeping another blog, a digital sketchbook, to keep track of research, ideas, and projects I am working on.  If you’re interested, you can check it out here.

Goodbye, Calgary!

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Even though I am excited about what’s coming up in my life (MFA at the University of Waterloo), it is tough to say goodbye.  I’ve spent the last 8 years of my life in Calgary, and it’s become my home.  I grew up only a couple of hours from here, so my family is close by (but not too close by).  I did my undergrad here, and most of my friends live here (or lived here).  I cut my teeth as an artist here, and learned a lot of lessons here.

It’s tough leaving, saying goodbye to all my wonderful friends, B, and my life here.  I think the thing that’s making it most real right now is my empty studio- a far cry from what it was even a few months ago.  I’ve thrown out, given away or sold a lot, packed up what I want to keep into my car, and come Saturday, will be on my way.  I’m driving all the way to Waterloo.  (Crazy, my neighbour says.)  It will take me a week to get there, but I’ve done the distance on the bus, so am aware of how long of a trip it is.  I’ll be fine.  (Actually, I think it will be a crucial part of the transition.)

I think the trip out there scares me more than school, although maybe that’s only because I haven’t gotten there yet.  Maybe.  In addition to my classes, I will be TA’ing an undergraduate course.  There is also a fall field trip planned for the MFA’s, but more on that later.  (And then the internship!  Who knows where I will be next summer!)

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The studio now has nothing in it, even the table and chair is gone. All that remains are Brad’s things (the tv, the couch, and the DVD’s he’s moved downstairs) and the curtains.  Sad.

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My relationship with the studio…

Generally, I love my studio.  It’s the best place in the world.  It’s cool in the sweltering heat, and contains everything I need to work.  I can make a mess down here, and no one minds.  It has good light, is comfortable, and has lots of storage. I can work at my desk, the sewing station, or the long counter, and if I want to do some computer work, read, or sketch, I can sit on the loveseat in front of my main desk.  It is a happy place.

As a professional artist,  I make deals with myself for studio time. I must be down there on work days. I am allowed upstairs to make lunch, and unless I am actually working on the computer, it is not downstairs with me, as it can be too distracting.  On studio days, which I try to schedule ahead of time, I try my hardest to let nothing interrupt.  No going for coffee with a friend in the middle of the day.  No supply runs during studio time. I find that these “flexibilities” are often just excuses when I feel stuck on something, or just plain don’t want to be there.  It happens.  Sticking with my 9:00-5:00 schedule helps me to take myself seriously.  I don’t always need to be doing serious work during this time, but I do need to be down there, not on the computer, and not reading books for pleasure (unless they’re directly related to research).  If nothing is coming, I doodle.  Or stare at the wall.  Or clean up.  Pull stuff out and look at it. Sketch.  Flip through older sketchbooks. Usually just spending some time in the space helps me to loosen up and let things percolate.  I have lots of things in various stages, or that I’m not sure if I’ve finished yet- they need time to sit with me for a while before I know what they need.  Just having things in my line of sight helps them stay in the forefront of my mind.

Sometimes it flows, and sometimes it’s the last place I want to be, if I’m feeling tired, or stuck on something. Sometimes I feel like I’m clawing at the walls, trying to get out. Even on these days, I have to be there until the end of the day.  If this means I need to pull out something completely different than what I’ve been doing, then so be it (like the paintings above). While I know that the common concept of an artist is that they must be “inspired” to work, I often find my best stuff comes out if I push it a little.  The pushing helps me to make work that I maybe wouldn’t have made if I hadn’t kept my rule, such as these drawings of Morphoid skin cells.  It also helps me to finish up things that maybe I haven’t finished yet, or that should be tweaked or altered.

I work in my sketchbook in this time, and on the train, and I make a lot of lists- things to do, supplies I need, etc.  I also use the time to work on writing proposals if I feel stuck, or behind on that.  That often reminds me about ideas I’ve had and gets me excited about things again, kickstarting the process.

They say that it takes 10,000 hours to be a master at something. And I believe that to be an artist, you have to make things.  Not just once, but every day, or almost every day.  It has to be always in your mind.  It’s so easy to slip out of the habit, and once you do, it’s much harder to get back into it.  The easiest way for me to keep things moving along is to simply put in the time, whether I feel like it or not.

Sometimes it’s an incredibly tough battle.

Birthday Splurges!

As it’s coming up next week, I bought myself a couple of things for my birthday.  Meet Gerardo, my new studio sock monkey!  He has such a happy tail!

He fits my studio perfectly- he’s spunky and funky, and colourful.  Has a bit of attitude, and is unusual.  I think he’s a great addition.

The sock monkey is much more fun than the other part…. research.  I’m also planning to put part of my payment for the Art Gallery of Calgary show towards some materials, some electronic parts and building supplies.  Before I do that, though, I need to decide what I need.

 

Some books from Amazon:

Twyla Tharp, the Collaborative Habit (I absolutely love the other book I have of hers, the Creative Habit.  It helps a lot when I need to reground myself, when it seems difficult to work.  Often times, it helps me get going again, reading a section which stands out to me.  But that may be another post…!)

Making Things Move (Dustyn Roberts) is about building simple kinetic machines… lots of info on mechanisms, materials, basic electonics, motion… physics, actually. I’m hoping this will help get more moving Morphoids started.

The Arduino Cookbook (Michael Margolis).  This one is a beast.  673 pages of technical stuff and arduino code.  (Gulp.)  However, if I get even a little out of this, it’s worth it.

Making Things Move and the Arduino Cookbook aren’t easy reads… I have taken both out of the library, but to get the most out of them, I will need to write in them, underline things, sticky tab pages, break the bindings, you know, USE them.  (It seems that in buying myself a birthday gift, what I’ve really done is give myself more homework!)

 

New Studio Photos… and a new Flickr membership.

I started a Flickr account!

These are a few recent photos from my studio… recently cleaned, so I thought it was a good opportunity.

More photos here!

(I’ve also realized that I like chaos.  It’s clean, but definitely full.  I don’t think there’s a clear square foot of wall space anywhere.  And I’m not even going to talk about floor space…. it’s used efficiently, anyway.  Lol.)

New Studio Photos… and a new Flickr membership.

I started a Flickr account!

These are a few recent photos from my studio… recently cleaned, so I thought it was a good opportunity.

More photos here!

(I’ve also realized that I like chaos.  It’s clean, but definitely full.  I don’t think there’s a clear square foot of wall space anywhere.  And I’m not even going to talk about floor space…. it’s used efficiently, anyway.  Lol.)